Thursday, September 17, 2015

Our Wedding

To Mike,

I'm forever grateful for the years you and I have spent together and am so excited to see where this life takes us as husband and wife. How wonderful to think that God gave me you.  He let us cross paths right when I needed you the most, right when I felt least deserving of anyone like you- someone who is noble, stable, giving and trustworthy when it comes to a relationship.

I vow to never take you for granted, to always appreciate the way you live your life dedicated to Keegan and me, to always make sure your needs are cared for in the same, selfless way you care for mine, and to never fail to love you unconditionally. 

You are quite simply, my rock, my biggest fan and my number one supporter.  You believe in me and my wishes and goals, you strive to always make me feel happy and important and you are the reason I feel safe, secure and loved.  You are the definition of loyal, loving, dedicated and hardworking, everything a man, husband and father should be.  The effort you put into making your family your top priority is one of the most special qualities you have. 

I don't tell you enough how much I appreciate you.  You are the best partner I could have ever imagined and I'm beyond blessed that we get to do this married life together. Thank you for being the love of my life.  

P.S. I've never seen you look more handsome 

.. ( well,  except for maybe softball uniform season ;) ) I love you!

Beautiful Pictures by: Stesha Whitney Photography

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Preschool for the Win!

Honestly, all my worries and reservations about preschool seem so pointless and miniscule now that the first two weeks have passed us without tears.  I am so pleased with this outcome and could not be any more thankful.. fingers crossed for a wonderful year!
We made these cookies the day before preschool started,  as a snack for after the day was done.. A fool proof way to get him excited!
Keegan's first day went very well, and by that, I mean no tears when I left ;)  There were tears from Mommy as I was driving away but, hey, that is just a given.  The only time Keegan became upset was on the first day when it was time to put the toys away and join circle time.  Poor guy just loved all the new toys to play with! Lol Since that day though, there has been no trouble transitioning from activity to activity, and I even got a report today that transition to circle time was independent after clean up, meaning no coercing from the teachers to get him to come over.  

When I picked him up the first day, the only question he answered was what he ate for snack... "Cheese and Milk".. I acted excited but..... yuck.  Supposedly there were options of watermelon, cookies and cheese, but he only wanted cheese and milk, soooo... ;)

Keegan's therapist shortened her days coming to the house to a half hour a week, but she also spends a half hour or so at school on Thursdays to help bridge any gaps the teachers have with his speech and to help him with speaking to other kids (repeats what she believes he's saying.)  At this age, it is mainly parallel play but a lot of these kids are chatterboxes!  I cried happy tears while reading the first report I got back from his therapist about him interacting and speaking and playing with the other kids because that's what I was worried about the most!  Sometimes he is so reserved around new children and people and will often put his head down when people ask him a question.  I couldn't be more happy that it doesn't seem to be the case in school.
I've watched his every beat these past three years, I wish I could just peek through the window and watch him all morning.  *Crazy Mom*  I so love that our therapist is now my fly on the wall and reports back with what he played with, how he played, with whom he played with and my favorite, how he sang along and interacted during circle time!!!  Couldn't be more proud of him and I'm so excited to see where this school year takes his speech and confidence!!  

Some exciting speech realated things: Keegan's stutter has subsided for now (that was probably due to an abundance of new words into his speaking vocabulary and he just couldn't keep up fast enough .. pretty common with speech-kids like himself) and he has spoken his first sentence.. A question-sentence at that!!! He does a lot of "where" questions like "Where my 'pu-er' at?"  (computer, aka leap pad) "Where Bear go?" etc. Small but HUGE steps for my big boy!!

Thanks for everyone's reassuring and helpful words during the stressful days leading up to pre-school.  It was much needed and appreciated at that time.

Last minute laugh: I try to make an exciting breakfast for him on school days to make the day extra fun, and since I made this..
..he wants pancakes for every meal!  Fine by me ;)

Have an awesome weekend!

Friday, August 28, 2015

To My Baby- On Your First Day of Preschool

Well, here we go.  Your first day of preschool is upon us.  I’m not quite sure how this happened, since just the other day I was accepting your tiny body into my arms for the first time.
I was scared, then.  Were you?

It was a whole new world for both of us:  a world full of selflessness and exhaustion for me, a world full of uncertainties and helplessness for you, yet, that world we were scared of soon became a world full of life and vibrancy and smiles and giggles…
We made it through, didn’t we?
We figured things out and made it through together.  It was my job to comfort you, to love you, to sing softly and hum songs in your ear, to cradle you in my arms and assure you everything would be okay.  It was your job to giggle and smile and squeal with delight to assure me that we were doing just fine…

And… we made it through.

Now you and I are about to venture into a whole new world just as we did that day you felt my embrace for the very first time.  We were in that adventure together, weren’t we?  But, this is one adventure we will have to take separately, at least for a little while. 
You are about to enter a whole new world of school. 
A world where you will probably feel the same kind of uncertainty you felt your first day on earth, but I’m quite positive that your world of school will soon be filled with the same life and vibrancy and smiles and giggles that filled your world with me. 
I will still be there at the end of your day to hug you, to whisper comforting words and hum in your ear when things seem uncertain or you feel vulnerable.
And you know what?
I might need those hugs as well.  This is new for me, too.
You’re my first child and we’ve learned a lot in the three short years we’ve been together.  But, what I haven’t learned, is how to leave you in the care of someone new.  I don’t know how I feel about not being your only teacher.  I don’t know how I feel about not being available to be your voice when you can’t seem to find it yourself… 

But, we’ll both be okay, won’t we? 

You’ll make friends who will love your giggle and your mischievous grin and I’ll be happy to see you learn and thrive with others.  This is just one stepping-stone into the many new worlds you will face, and just so you know, as long as you need me, I’ll be there.  Maybe not at the exact moment you call or the very second uncertainties arise, but I’ll be there.  And although I won’t be showing it, I’ll probably be needing you, too. 
           Stesha Whitney Photography

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

If I Could Keep You Little..

So, I’ve been second-guessing my decision to send Keegan to preschool this year, like extreme, hard-core second-guessing: thinking about it all day, praying about it all night kind of thing.  This book, “If I Could Keep You Little” by Marianne Richmond, brought on an epiphany, one that I think I needed.
I had bought this book on a whim: cute illustrations, short n’ sweet, and it seemed to have a cute message, but what I didn’t realize until I finished reading with Keegan, was that it probably wasn’t made as much for children as it was made for mommy’s, just like me.  …Mommy’s who are sending their babies out into a different world for the first time, mommy’s who have a hard time wondering how their child’s going to do in the care of an unfamiliar teacher in an unfamiliar setting surrounded by unfamiliar children, or, Mommy’s who simply have a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that their children are growing up!  It’s really a good encouragement for all the in-denial or worrywart moms ;) Ugh, SO. ME. 

Just wanted to share this book and how it seemed to make its way into my life when I needed it to the most!
It was the kind of reassurance I needed, that I can’t keep him little, he needs to blossom himself, and a few hours a week away from me isn’t going to harm him………. 
It isn’t.
He’ll be okay.
 I’ll be okay.
BRB going to read the book again….

To my Keegan:

If I could keep you little, I’d keep you close to me.  But then I’d miss you growing into who you’re meant to be!
-“If I Could Keep You Little” by Marianne Richmond

-I can’t wait to see you become YOU!  Although you may still be “little” for a short while, bit by bit you will need me less and less, and that will be a bittersweet time for Mommy.   I can’t keep you little or close to me forever, but, I’ll always be there for the times you to decide you need to stay close to me.    

Love you, Mommy

Monday, August 17, 2015

What We’ve Been Up To:

Last weekend we went to a Reading Phillies game, courtesy of Mike’s dad who got tickets.  What a fun night!! Keegan cheered and danced when the crowed went wild, got an autograph from the mascot, ate lots of ball game food and watched beautiful fireworks- the perfect night for a kid!  

 This past weekend we went with Grandma and Grandpa to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum at the Reading Regional Airport, talk about a dream come true for my little boy.  First we walked through a hanger that had a bunch of planes and then we went outside to see the planes they had displayed out there.  These were near the runway so from where we were standing, Keegan was able to see some planes take off – his reactions were indescribable! He even got a few waves from some pilots and a special little plane to take home.  We definitely need to take another trip very soon.
At both places, Keegan had the time of his life!  Isn’t it so amazing to see things through the eyes of your child?  It makes everything that much more enjoyable.  I also find myself paying attention to him more than what we’re experiencing – just seeing him have so much joy and excitement about things makes me teary eyed!  Love to see him having fun and experiencing life, I could watch him smile for hours! Seriously, I'm a sappy mom and I love it.  

We also did some (preschool, what?) school shopping, which honestly was primarily through second hand stores.  You can find some awesome and stylish clothes out there for next to nothing, plus they play hard at preschool and need to be able to pull up their own pants (elastic band) so gently used is fine by me!  Also, I’ve been trying to come up with a teaching schedule for school and Sunday School related things for Keegan incase preschool doesn’t work out…… Am I freaking out enough about this school thing or what….. ? :)

Keegan has also developed a liking for not listening… a phase I hope…. And I also hope it passes before preschool starts. (Life isn't always sunny skies, here! ;) )

Swimming and playing and reading and relaxing are always on our to-do lists, but one of the best surprises this past week was getting all of our wedding pictures back!!! I must post them soon. 

Have a fabulous week!  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Creamsicle Cookies

If you're craving a sweet, and creamy summer cookie, look no further!  This morning we made one of our favorite sweets, Creamsicle Cookies- all the flavor of the ice cream treat, packed inside a cookie.  
So easy and quick to prepare, the only thing you have to worry about is not eating the whole batch.  Seriously.

What you'll need:
1 box Duncan Hines Orange Supreme cake mix
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
6 Tbsp orange juice
white chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Mix the first four ingredients together
-Fold in the chips (I don't use a whole bag, probably 2/3)
-Bake 10-12 minutes and ENJOY! ;)

These are one of Keegan's favorite to help with because the steps are so simple.  We have, for the most part, been eating healthy and making wise food choices, but you have to indulge every once in awhile.  Why not treat yourselves!!

Have an extra sweet day ;)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Chores for Toddlers

While I don't have a set schedule for our days, I wanted to have something set in stone to help with Keegan's responsibility, helpfulness and independence, so I decided to assign him some CHORES.  What a dreadful word for me growing up but so far so good for our three-year-old.  With that being said, a three-year-old's skill level can only go so far, so the chores are limited and still quite fun for them, but I think it's important to learn responsibility at this young age.  
There are currently three chores on his chart every morning, sometimes two, all supervised, of course:  Feed the dog- Bear, water plants, and clean the door windows where Bear rests his nose :)  The last one is a favorite, because what kid doesn't love a squirt bottle full of liquid?!  For this, we use The Honest Company window cleaner, a safer alternative to the chemical based cleaner, or you can find a similar recipe to make your own, here.  As he finishes a task, he "checks" the box off next to the list of pictures I draw for him on our chore chart.  I bought a cheap white erase board and made it more fun with some washi tape, can't beat an opportunity to craft! ;)  After breakfast and teeth brushing, we complete the chores before the fun can start, except for on the weekends.  Weekends, there are no chores!

Amongst other things Keegan volunteers himself for doggy duty quite often.  Don't ask me why but he seriously loves helping and hey, I'm not about to complain about that, but this chore in particular needs extreme supervision...... LOL! Occasionally he will help with the wash, dishes, and preparing meals (pulling grapes off the stems, washing fruits and veggies, tearing lettuce, etc.)  and everyday he must help pick up toys, make bed and put dirty clothes where they belong.  Believe me, the three chores on his chart don't always get done with a huge smile but for the most part, Keegan is a great helper and I'm thankful for that. 

These are just some ideas and I don't ever MAKE Keegan do the helpful things like supper and dishes, but he knows that it is his job to complete the chore list and that's wonderful enough for me.  You can't make a child want to help, you just have to guide them to find it in themselves to want to be a helper.  

What kind of chores did your children have at this age?
Have a wonderful day :)