Thursday, July 31, 2014

He's 2 - seriously?

You know those days that change your life forever?  Well - that's exactly what happened 2 years ago today.  July 31, 2012 - Charlie Carter came into this world a little after noon at 8lbs and 9oz.

I sat in my bed last night with my new sweet baby girl asleep in her rocker right next to me thinking about how 2 years ago I fell asleep in a hospital bed - getting ready for his arrival the next day.  The nurse called it our last "date night" for a while.  Ha.  My blood pressure was high.  It was HOT outside.  I was rocking a wicked headache.  I remember being so excited and so scared all at the same time.  I had NO idea what to expect of the whole giving birth process and even though I thought I was prepared to be a mom, it was clear to me the first time they put you in my arms after our long 10 month journey together and we finally met - I had no idea what I was in for.

You instantly stole my heart.

I couldn't help but start to cry thinking about the whole thing last night.  My first experience with motherhood.  All those memories are so wonderful.  So scary, but so wonderful.  The first night we had Charlie at home we put him in the pack n play next to our bed asleep and I cried - telling Jimmy what happens if we can't take care of him?  What if we don't know what to do?!

Well guess what - two years later - there are days that I still feel like that.  Not knowing if we are doing the "right" thing and scared that we won't provide you with all the things you need, sweet Charlie.

But then I see you smile.  And laugh. And tell us how the train says "choo choo" over and over again.  You insist on milk - wait, you changed your mind, you'll take water and then you change your mind again.  You point out every body part on yourself and others.  And no, your sister doesn't have a "peno", but that will be something I correct and explain later on sweet boy.  And your hugs are the best.  But your kisses are better.  And the best yet, when you give kisses on your own to you little sister.  It all makes me realize that no matter if your dad and I do what's "right" or really know what we are doing - as long as we love you - which we do so much - we are in fact doing this parenting thing the right way.

We love you so much sweet boy.  And that love that I felt the first time I held you, it just grows and grows stronger each day.  You are so funny and fun loving and sweet and social and hilarious.  Your curly hair is adorable and your tooth filled smile is even cuter.  You are not the best eater and love to snack.  You NEVER sit still and always want to be doing something.  You are the best dancer.  No really.  Your dance moves are amazing.

It has been such a pleasure being your mom the last two years.   It has been so fun to see my role as a mom and your dad's role as a dad emerge and change over the past two years as always keep us on our toes that's for sure!

So here we are.  Your birthday is coming to a close.  Next year this time you will be THREE and I can't even bear to think about that, but I know it will be here before we know it.  I pray that you continue to live this next year to your fullest.  Keep smiling and laughing and hugging and kissing.  Keep saying your prayers at night and brushing your teeth.  Keep loving me and your dad and your sister.  And don't kick the dogs!!  While so much has changed in this last year, I'm sure there will more changes this next year to a big boy bed and no diapers (hopefully!!), so brace yourself young man because we are in this together.

And thank you Charlie - for making me a mom.  I love being a "boy mom" so much and especially being your mom.  When I hear you ask for mommy and want to snuggle with me and kiss me, there is no better feeling in this world.

We love you so much!!!  Happy 2nd birthday sweet boy!!

That smile - gets me every time.

Family picture in front of Fritz's.

And this is real life - trying to get a picture with a toddler.  And then he SCREAMED his head off the whole way home.  Watch out terrible twos!!!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let's monkey around - Charlie turns TWO

This upcoming Thursday marks two whole years since Charlie Carter came into this world.  And what a two years it has been!!!

So that calls for a celebration for him! And celebrate we did this weekend!!  I have to say as his party got closer it was way more fun than last year because he actually understood what was going in and would talk all about his party.  

Needless to say, as planning began, I knew I didn't want it at our house.  While we do have a much bigger house then last year, factor in that we have a 3 week old (if she came on her actually due date, we would have a 2 week old), I didn't want to have to deal with he cleaning before, extensive set up and then Clean up.

We have taken Charlie there a few times in the last year and he just loved it.  A huge indoor playground.  A win for getting rid of some two year old energy and it's in a contained area so you don't have to worry about them running away like at a park (wait- your child doesn't do that?).  Factor in that this kid was born in the middle of July which usually means HOT temperatures- it is inside so no one has to sweat.  Excellent.  Add in the fact the whole thing is an hour and a half?  Even better because I can fit feeding my little baby girl in too!

I booked it and never looked back.  I could have for sure taken advantage of all the services they offer, like food, drinks, etc.  but if you know me, that's not how I roll.  I'm more of a semi-homemade type of girl.  And it worked it great.

Seriously, I keep thinking back to the smile on his cute face as he was sprinting between slides and can't help but smile.  It was so fun!  For everyone!

Finally for some pictures!

The best picture I got of his shirt that I made for him.  Maddie had a matching onesie too!  Duh!!

A pic of my uncle helping Charlie with the zip line- he, my aunt and cousin all came in town along with my grandma!! So special of them to be there and to meet Maddie too!

Carter cousins going up

Carter cousins sliding down...

And Carter cousins crashing.

Yes, this did end in tears for Charlie...but he got over it quickly.

Sweet Bo!!!

Arden loved the place too!! And we are SO happy that she and her mom took a break from moving to come play!

And she likes doing yoga with cousin Maren!

Big cousins are the best for catching him at the end!

So the package we got was for 12 kids to play with one other party group for an hour and then 30 minutes in the party room.  The catch?  You only have 10 minutes to set up for the party because there is another party in there before.  So in planning everything, I had to keep hat in mind!  But knowing that, I was able to make it work with a few extra hands!

Cousin Kenlie in the birthday chair!! Haha!

Some cute signs I hung up.  All the printables, including the invitation (below) are from an etsy shop called Storybook Lane Crafts...

The room all set up waiting for the cute little kids to come in!

Treat table and presents.

Since te party was at 3pm and snacks were at 4, we didn't so a full meal, but I wanted to have enough snacks and a good mix of healthy/sweet.  Of course more sweets though!

Above are the following:

Jungle mix: pretzels sticks, Cheerios, and white and milk chocolate chips 
Grapes for Apes: cut up grapes
Monkey Vines: a whopping 5lbs of red licorice from Costco (yum!)
Monkey tails: White chocolate dipped pretzel sticks with sprinkles
Monkeys in a blanket: little smokes wrapped with crescent rolls (cut those in thirds)

And then the cupcakes.  They turned out really cute (an idea from Pinterest) and actually tasted decent too.  Just had a mix of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and then bought black and red glitter frosting and mini Nilla wafers (halved for the ears) and regular size Nilla wafers (with the top 1/3 cut off for mouth).  Surprisingly, they didn't take too long to put together!!

The party table!

My cute little birthday boy enjoying his ice cream!

And the adults - there were lots of them!!

I love Arden's face - she was all about the chocolate icing!

And then Arden and Charlie jumped in the birthday chair for this adorable picture!!  Only fitting since they are only 3 weeks apart and she will be 2 in just a few weeks!

And we tried to snap a family picture.  Ha.  This was good enough!!  Kind of shows Maddie and Charlie's matching shirts that I made.

Overall, it was a success.  It wasn't too stressful for me getting everything together, the kids seriously had a BLAST - which is the most important part, and Charlie somewhat behaved.  Ha - the terrible twos were already in full swing.  He woke up from his nap SO mad at life...but luckily when he got there, he was happy to play with his friends!  We made it through about 1/2 of the presents and then he just walked out of the room, pretty much saying "I'm done with this".  Such is life with a 2 year old, right?  On a positive side, it actually made it kind of fun because he had more presents to open at home!  Oh Charlie.  But the staff there were so nice and helpful - I would highly recommend Little Monkey Bizness if you just want to go play inside with your kids or for a party too!

I carried Maddie around in the Ergo most of the time and she slept, which was nice.  During the cake/treats/presents, I handed her over to my mom, but she was so good!  She's seriously a wonderful baby, which made the whole experience easier 3 weeks postpartum.  

So now are on to one last celebration on Thursday for his REAL birthday, which will entail a fun breakfast, school and then a fun dinner at Fritz's, which is a tradition we started next year.  Seriously, still in denial my little boy is TWO!!!

Thanks for all who helped with the party and everyone who came.  It was a bummer we couldn't invite EVERYONE, but it was nice to have the 12 kid limit with the party package and keep it somewhat small.  

Maybe next year we can combine parties??  Or is that wishful thinking? ;)

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Monday, July 28, 2014

The birds and the bees

Oh my.

This whole having a boy AND a girl thing is making for some interesting situations for our family already...but mainly the conversations between Jimmy and I.

Sunday night we were finishing off a great day.  It started out with early breakfast with my dad to celebrate his 61st birthday and we said goodbye to my aunt, uncle, cousin and grandma that all were in town for Charlie's birthday party (more on that later), then spent the day at my parents house with my mom while everyone else helped my sister and her boyfriend move.  Then our little family headed out to Jimmy's oldest brother's house for a BBQ.

So much fun.  

Cousins and aunts and uncles swooning over our sweet little Maddie, cousins RUNNING around everywhere playing having a great time, and adult beverages and best of all, adult conversation for me (one thing I miss a lot about being on maternity leave).  

It was almost time to leave and Charlie walked out of their house grabbing his crotch and crying.  I thought it was weird so I picked him up and went to change his diaper.  I laid Maddie down on the floor next to him and when I opened up his diaper he started SCREAMING bloody murder.  Like a scream of pain that I have literally never heard in his almost 2 years. His diaper was full of number 1 and number 2.  Couldn't have felt good running around outside in that all that time.  

But then I looked and literally his ball sack was bright red.  I panicked and brought over the best experts I know, my two sister-in-laws to check it out.  (at this point, Charlie is literally screaming SO loud, I'm frustrated because everyone in the house is surrounding him except Jimmy - no idea where he is - and Maddie is just laying there chilling).  Is it a bug bite?  Diaper rash?  No clue - but he will NOT let you touch it.  I took his diaper off and held him and then let him run around a bit.  Still no relief.  My SIL started a bath for him to see if that would help.  Nope, nothing - he wouldn't even sit down in the tub!  Luckily, Jimmy came up and got him calmed down.  Thank goodness for dad's.  

Oh and if you're wondering where our infant was during this time...her cousins had it taken of.  My other SIL snapped this adorable picture of the all watching over her.  Thank goodness!!

When all was finally calm, Jimmy informed me that he thinks it is just a bad case of chafing and it happens to every guy and a girl just wouldn't understand.  He's right - I don't get that part of a male's anatomy at all - as a child or an adult.  So after we stuck shorts (no diaper) on our big kid and stuck him in the car seat - crossing our fingers he didn't decide to pee or poop on the way home (don't worry - he peed on the floor when we got home before we could get up to the bathtub) - and got our babe in her car seat, a very interesting conversation happened.

Jimmy informed me all about chafing.  And how it happens and why and tried to explain how much it hurts - because you know, I just don't understand.  And he's right - I don't. 

Then we started talking about girl's anatomy.  You know, the multiple holes (this part of the conversation was quite similar to the one in season 2 of Orange is the New Black...) and tampons vs. pads and why pads are not OK to wear to the pool - you know, all the stuff that you know as a girl that you just assume all guys know.  Well apparently, when your husband grows up with only brothers - he really has no clue about this stuff.  And vice versa when your wife grows up with only a sister.  Funny how that works. 

The whole conversation made me laugh.  The stuff you talk about as parents.  Explaining the ins and outs of your own anatomy to your significant other really so they can have some sort of compassion for your kid.  And after learning about male chaffing, I did feel bad for Charlie.  However, I think it just made Jimmy dread the teenage years with Maddie when she starts her period.  Oh joy.

Once we got home and Charlie was forced to take a bath, Jimmy did a great job of calming him down by talking to him after his bath.  Saying, he's sorry that his pee pee hurts (Charlie then says - "Peno hurt") and that he's sorry that he made Charlie wear tight pants because that likely contributed to it (Charlie then says - "no more tight pants").  This conversation went on for like 5 minutes and I was cracking up listening to it.  These boys.

While we haven't had to have the official "birds and bees" convo with our kids - and likely won't for a long time - I felt like we had our own version of it.  And it made me smile and laugh and just realize - yep, we are really parents.  And while I thought I had a good idea of raising a boy, I have NO idea what I'm in for. 

Oh and thank goodness for baby powder to make it all feel better.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Tired eyes but a full heart.

Seriously though - I really think that newborn babies are just the cutest thing ever.  And it's even better when they are yours to have all day long.  At least in my opinion, all the diapers (and she poops A LOT) and feedings and lack of sleep are just worth every single moment.  

Loving my days with my sweet baby girl and afternoon/evenings with our boys too!!  I'm soaking up these naps on my chest because they don't last forever!!

Happy hump day friends!!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our trip to the ER

I would have bet a substantial amount of money that our first trip to the ER would have been for Charlie.  You know- our crazy 2 year old that climbs all over everything and could fall at any moment even with eyes on him all the time.  But nope, our sweet baby Maddie had us all fooled and wanted to make her first few weeks of life interesting I guess!  And boy did she.

Saturday night was like any night with a newborn and almost 2 year old.  Charlie was sound asleep and jimmy brought Maddie up to be fed around midnight.  I fed her and she ate but not for a super long time.  I swaddled her up and laid her in the pack n play right next to my bed and we both went to sleep.

Then at 12:20, I woke up to her coughing pretty hard.  Now she's a loud grunter, especially when she's hungry but I got out of bed to just see if she was ok.  When I went to pick her up, I was alarmed because her swaddle by her head was really wet and age was aggressively gasping for air.  I flipped on the lamp and saw there was a lot more spit up on the sheet where her face was. She's not a spitter upper, so that was my initial freak out.  Then I was holding her in my arms patting her back and trying to get her to breathe normal and catch her breath, which usually doesn't take long.  But something was different this time.  It was a much harder gasp and was starting to scare me.

I yelled at Jimmy and he woke up and saw me freaking out.  I turned her over and held her with one arm and patted her back with another in hopes that gravity would help, but when it didn't...I made the executive call and told Jimmy we are going to the ER- now.  

It's crazy to think back to that moment because it was such a fast decision, but in the 1.5 seconds I contemplated the options in my head - the only two outcomes I could see in my head were sitting at our house and not knowing what to do and she stops breathing completely and then we have lost time that should could have been helped/saved or get in the car and drive to the ER immediately for her to be helped  there.   I instantly didn't like the part where she could stop breathing at our house, so we threw on decent clothes (I found one of Jimmy's t-shirts, he put on basketball shorts), he grabbed Charlie out of bed, we all went to the car with me holding Maddie and doing everything I could to get her to keep gasping/coughing/sneezing...breathing.

We went to a small and newer ER out by our house and the was no one there.  I thought it was closed at first because no one was in the waiting room or at the front desk.  So I went through the doors and saw a doctor and nurses and just cried holding her saying "can you help my baby?".  

And typing about that moment makes me want to cry again.  You feel so helpless, so scared and just fearful that this sweet little baby that you got to call yours for two weeks might not be ok.

Luckily, they were able to strip her fast, suck out fluids from her nose and mouth and her breathing got better but her coloring was still way out of whack and her breathing was still heavy- but she was breathing.  That was great! I was pumping out all the information I could to him about her delivery and then he said he was going to call children's mercy because he was worried she might have an infection from the lack of antibiotics that were in my system from testing strep B positive in my pregnancy. 

As he went off to call them, the nurses tended to her and got a chest X-Ray, urine sample and the worst- put in an IV. After one failed attempt in her hand, the nurse did get one in her arm- I'm just so happy it wasn't in her head like they do with some babies.  Poor girl.

Then we say there and waited for the children's mercy ambulance.  Poor Charlie was just so confused and just wanted to sit on the bed with me and Maddie.  Jimmy called my parents in the midst of all this and they came to pick up Charlie and take him back to our house to sleep while we were headed downtown.  Poor sweet boy, but we are so thankful that we have family close and willing to drop anything to help us.

When the transport team from CMH arrived, we went through everything again while they assessed her and then strapped her on a tiny stretcher and wheeled her away with me walking behind her. Seeing your small, little, two week old baby in a stretcher is sure not something that I wish on anyone.  

I was able to go in the ambulance by had to sit in the front and I cried the whole way there. All 25 minutes.  The guy driving probably thought I was crazy.  But it was so scary, the whole thing. And then having to take her to a children's hospital was just so scary because I have only been to CMH once in my life when I was only in seventh grade.  And now my sweet little newborn was going.

When we got there and got to her room, the nurses were so nice and welcoming, they strapped her to all these monitors...but the good news was, he had a great ride down there and was completely stable at that point.  When I finally got to breastfeed her, you wouldn't believe how happy it made me to hold her in my arms and snuggle.  Oh man.

Then we waited.  The nurses brought is snacks (since it was 3am) and said we would need to wait until the doctors rounds in the morning to get more info.  So we did.  And jimmy slept on a make shift bed and I slept with Maddie in my arms in the rocking chair.  I wasn't about to let her go.

The doctors came around the next morning and looked at her and said for now they were just going to monitor her. The risk was if she was to spike a fever, they would have to do a pretty invasive test on her back to see if she had meningitis.  As if she was exposed to strep B she could have pneumonia (hitch they ruled out) or meningitis. 

So we sat there and waited.  They wanted to monitor her for 24 we did.  Tracking every feeding, diaper change and making sure her heart rate, oxygen levels and beats per minute were all staying at good levels.

Let me tell you what- sitting in that hospital like that.  You just feel helpless.  You can't imagine leaving your sweet baby for a second (I actually didn't leave her room until Monday right before we left) but then you think about your other baby at home that you know is missing you and you are missing him.  You want to leave but you want to stay to make sure that everything is ok with your sweet baby.  So you just sit there.  In clothes that you have been wearing since you went to bed on Saturday night, no make up, haven't showered since Friday and using a toothbrush from the hospital. 

Sitting there you just think about so many things.  You think about those parents that sit there with their terminally ill kids day in and day out and you want to cry.  For them, for their kids and feel silly that you are upset about such a short stay on the hospital.  You play through scenarios in your mind about how you got what if I put her in the elevated rock in play versus the flat pack in play that night- would that have made a difference?  Or what if she did stop breathing at home- what would I have done?  And then you go to the worst case scenario in your head and you lose it and start crying while holding your wired up baby in the middle of the night.  So much time to sit and think and be thankful that everyone that walks in is so nice and so optimistic and that everything is pointing in the right direction!!!

Needless to say, it was quite the emotional roller coaster, but we are so happy with the results.  With all the positive things that came out of the stay, it seems like she was literally just choking on spit up and just could not catch her breath.  So that made us feel a bit silly for taking her to the ER in the first place...but then going back to the moment that she wasn't catching her breath and it wasn't stopping anytime soon and wondering if she ever would catch her breath- I knew it was the right thing to do. I refuse to take any chances like that on my kids.  And it felt good that our pediatrician said on the phone to me that we absolutely did the right thing!!!!  

So ultimately, the outcome was very positive and she is doing great right now. Had a great first night back and home and her brother was thrilled to see her and us!!!  But talk about a scary couple of days and lots of time to realize just how important family is and how precious life can be!!

Some hospital pictures of our sweet babe:

Maddie in her crib sleeping away

Just so crazy that her age is "16 days"!!!!

My sweet girl snoozing away with all the cords hooked up to her.

The IV going in and coming out had to be the worst part.  Just such a little arm!  And then she had to wear the poor board on her arm to keep it somewhat straight.  Not easy to nurse with!

I hope I don't have a picture like this of any more of our children.  And this is nothing!

Where I "lived" for 36 hours.  Slept here, nursed here, sat here watching her and holding her.

The amusing part of our stay!?  Jimmy went out to get us a red box Sunday night so we could pass the time. When he opened the DVD player he thought this said "Spring Break" Bikini Bottom Adventures.  His face when he pulled it out and read it was hilarious.  He was like "what kind of place is this?!?  Well - turns out it is really Sponge Bob square pants and the Bikini Bottom Adventure. Haha. I think we were just delirious tired so it was seriously so funny at the time.

We were so thankful for all the text messages, phone calls, emails that we got from family and friends.  A pastor from our church came to visit and actually read to us my favorite bible verse and prayed over our sweet babe.  But most of all - my parents seriously went above and beyond.  I made Jimmy call them when we were at the ER because I was a mess and knew that me crying on the phone to them wouldn't have helped, but they came immediately and swooped up Charlie and went back to our house to stay with him Saturday night, all Sunday and Sunday night and then took him to school on Monday morning. Pretty much they had a blast (tiring blast for them, but Charlie loved it) and we were so happy to get Charlie pictures on a regular basis because we sure missed him a lot.  From his cheeto face to pictures of him trying out the big potty, I think he had a good time given the circumstances.  We couldn't wait to pick him up on Monday after we got discharged.  He was excited to see us and gave baby "addie" lots of kisses.  So pretty much they were rockstars.  And I was a mess, so it was nice to have hugs and kisses from your own parents to reassure you that it really was going to be ok.  And thankfully, it was.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

The first two weeks

It's crazy because like they always say...the days are long, but the weeks are fast (or do they usually say years are fast? I'm going with weeks in this case).  Some days have been great and I don't feel tired and then others it hits me like a ton of bricks- and reminds me that having a newborn is no walk in the park.

However, as tiring and hard as it is...the perspective we have as second time parents is helping get through it all.  Because we know that these little baby toes won't stay little forever and her snoozing the days away won't either.  The frequent waking up at night to feed her to make sure she's growing and getting enough won't last forever.  Soon enough she'll be sleeping longer (we hope!) and smiling and starting to develop a personality of her own as the newborn stage ends.

And guess what? I love little babies.  All little ones but especially my own.  Maybe it's that look that they give you when they are nursing or the snuggling that they only want with mom.  Or that sometimes all it takes is my arms to calm her down.  Yes yes yes. I cannot explain how much I love that feeling of knowing this sweet little human that I grew for 10 months needs me to survive. It's pretty amazing and gives my life a whole new purpose. 

As for the whole having two kids to take care of - it's for sure overwhelming at times, but it's very very nice for me and Maddie (and Charlie!) that he is still going to school/daycare everyday.  We are loving our days together and I'm loving all the time I get to spend with her and bond and Charlie goes to school, plays with his friends and has a grand time and then can't wait to see me and Maddie when he comes home.

Things I don't want to forget:

- While it doesn't help with the whole sleeping thing...she grunts versus cries at night when she's hungry.  It's LOUD but kind of cute too.
- The way her brother will all of a sudden stop his crazy shenanigans and go and kiss her on the head.
- The way she looks at me with those gazing eyes when she's finished nursing
- Her stares at who knows what during tummy time
- How the first night was fabulous and both kids slept so great - then the third night WHOA.  That hit us like a ton of bricks and no one slept.  I repeat...NO ONE.
- How it seriously takes forever to get out of the house.  I thought getting out with a newborn was bad - add in a temperamental two year old that sometimes wants to do everything BUT cooperate with his parents and will just randomly sit down.  (It's really hard to pick up his 30 lbs and carry the infant car seat...)
- Spending time with just Maddie and spending time with just Charlie.  Charlie and I got to go and play outside just the two of us tonight and it was just so great.  He's getting so big and sweet and I cannot wait to see his role of big brother evolve.
- Her first two weeks and one day old...and she freaking rocked it.  We only started with 2.5 ounces and she sucked it down and then I topped her off.  Seriously, total opposite eater than her brother.  Thank goodness!
- Her belly button FINALLY fell out today.  Whew.  For some reason I feel like Charlie's fell out sooner and I was just dying for it to fall out.  Makes her seem less fragile.
- The sweet baby coos.  Cannot get enough.
- All the love we are getting.  We are loving visitors and all the quality time with friends and family during this time.
- breastfeeding is still a challenge the first two weeks- even if you have done it before.  My boobs hurt so bad, but I knew making it to the two week mark they would hopefully feel better - and they do!!
- Changing a newborn diaper a bizillion times per day is still better than changing some of Charlie's poop diapers. Especially after he eats black olives- gross city.

Some pictures from the first few weeks:

 Two life saving baby devices if you ask me!

Movie watching!

Shopping with mom.  She's not the best errand runner - even when she goes in asleep, she usually wakes up screaming halfway through!

So much fun to dress these girls!

Me and my favorite two year old.

Checked each other out - a nightly ritual.

I might have to add a mirror by the changing pad in her room (this is in our room temporarily). She loves it and is so curious!

Melt my heart.  I love this view.

Our first walk!  Which we have been on two more since - sans stroller and sans dogs (used the Ergo baby instead) and we have liked that a lot better.  Sorry pups!

Haha - look at that face!

Willy is obsessed with this girl.

Oh my! Lucky me!

Giving Maddie some water!

How he watches the tv now!!' H

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