Looking Back on October

I love this time of year. It’s filled with such fun family activities. Definitely makes the days and weeks fly by. Before November gets away from us, I want to take a moment, and share some snippets of the fall memories we made last month.

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We kicked off October with Liam’s Fall Festival at his elementary school. It was still pretty warm out that evening, but we pretended otherwise 😉 ….he thoroughly enjoyed the hayride they had around the field.

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There was no shortage of bouncy houses for the kiddos. He tried out almost all of them, of course!

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This one was an obstacle course….

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Then, there was the jail. It was literally all the rage with the kids, including mine. You could pay to put a friend in jail for a few minutes as a joke {& all money went to the school as a fundraiser}. My little? Well, he just wanted to put himself in jail 😛 ….totally hilarious!

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Later on in the month, we hung out with our regular crowd for our annual Halloween get together. Liam ditched his chosen Grease costume in favor of being Darth Vader for this party.

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That night, I actually put the camera down for a bit & just enjoyed the night. That’s rare for me. This was the only photo I nabbed besides the one of Liam. I’m pretty sure I ate most of that guac….LOL!

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Halloween night was on a Monday this year. For the 1st time, this was an actual school night for us, but we still made it work and had great night of trick-or-treating. We made the rounds with the Bengels in their neck of the woods, and the weather was beautiful! Liam looked fab in his Danny Zuko costume from Grease.

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This year, he was too cute with how he went door to door. In year’s past, he was a little timid and definitely let our friends kiddos, Alli & James (who are a little older), lead the way. This year, he was a trail blazer. He RAN up to the doors and rang the doorbells himself. Many doors, he didn’t even look back to see if the others were caught up to him. Then, he turned and literally RAN away and would yell out to us, “lets go! we have to go get more candy!”. It was adorable!

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Silly kids goofing off 😛 ….Liam was pretending to be a zombie. Lisa told him to smile in the second pic and he laid himself out on the grass….HA!

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One house made their garage into a haunted house. I think the our ‘big boys’ (aka the hubbies) were more excited for this then the kids.

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Checking out his loot!

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October went by in the blink of an eye, but it was a blast!

HERE is a look back on last year’s fun.

Happy Halloween!

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Spooktacular Fun :: Jacksonville Zoo

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Happy Halloween! We recently had a great time looking for tricks & treats at Spooktacular at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens.

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We headed up their opening weekend & it really was a fantastic time. We went with my dad & stepmom, who also live up in Jax. You can read more on our road trip in my latest post with Orlando Moms Blog HERE.

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Over the summer, Liam started watching Grease a lot …like ya know, how kids are when they hone in on a movie or show. It becomes an obsession. It was definitely like that for us with this movie. It’s a classic & we were pleasantly surprised he became so fond of it. When we acquired a bag of hand-me-down clothes recently from a friend for him, there was this black leather jacket in it. Little man immediately grabbed it out and said, this is Danny’s jacket!!! {a.k.a. Danny Zuko} ….He then declared that he was going to be Danny for Halloween, and it stuck. A few more miscellaneous items later & the transformation was complete ❤

Ladies & Gentleman, let me present ….Danny Zuko

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The entire gardens were decorated for Halloween. It was impressive to see the amount of pumpkins that were carved! This scarecrow was a real person 🙂 …Liam was not too sure of them. We tried to get him to take a picture with it, but that was a no go. LOL!

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Several different themes were displayed throughout the park, and were definitely from movies we all know & love. First up was The Wizard of Oz!

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LOVE THIS! Catching up with all the gang ❤

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This event was event was at night, so almost of the animals were asleep. Only the nocturnal animals were out.  Totally ok & understandable. We did, however, get to see some of our favs, still. The giraffes were hanging out when we 1st got arrived. The baby’s are adorable!

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Also snuck a peak at Mr. Elephant 🙂

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It was a gorgeous night. A cool breeze was coming through & the moon was full & bright. I loved the lights that were up all around. Such awesome atmosphere & so pretty!

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Glow in the Dark Cotton Candy! …super fun, but oh my!!

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Spooky Bridge all lit up for the night

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Liam’s all time favorite Halloween movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas. We were all over the moon excited to see the section the was decked out for this movie, including his fav main characters, Sally & Jack Skellington.

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Look! We found the Lost Boys 😛 …don’t tell Peter Pan

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Fantastic night & great memories made! The holidays are busy times but we really love to get out there & adventure through our community….there are awesome events to experience together!

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Until next time, friends!

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Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores 20th Anniversary + Giftcard Giveaway

Hello friends! I don’t know about you, but I am super excited for the fall season to be upon us now. In fact, I believe we actually may feel some slightly cooler temps here in Orlando this week! So nice! If you haven’t started planning for it (or actually started), the holidays will upon us before we know it, and that means holiday shopping, too. That’s why I am a big fan of trying to plan ahead and shop smart. One way I do so is by shopping the outlets. Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is an ideal place to shop for all of your fall weather needs, as well as your holiday shopping.  In fact, they are about to celebrate their 20th anniversary in just a few weeks, and have some fun activities planned that are FREE AND FUN for your whole family ❤

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Win a $50 gift card to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores – Celebrating Two Decades of Great Deals

It’s time to celebrate! Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is hosting a free admission, family-oriented celebration to mark its 20th anniversary as one of Central Florida’s first outlet centers and a favorite destination for the area’s best outlet deals.  Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores’ Deals for Two Decades 20th Anniversary Celebration is on Saturday, October 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with fun activities for every age. Join the celebration featuring more than $8,000 in prize and gift card giveaways at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm (must be present to win), bounce house, DJ entertainer, strolling magician, face painters, balloon sculptor, stilt walker juggler, 20 cent hot dogs, drinks and more. Many stores are pulling out the stops with $20 gift card giveaways, 20% off deals and special store activities. Have your picture taken with Sunnie, the Sunshine Foundation’s mascot.  All proceeds go toward the Sunshine Foundation, the original wish-granting organization, a charity founded in 1976 bringing unimaginable joy to children living with chronic life-long conditions.

Just over a week later, the center will host a frightfully fun and safe “trick or treating” event on Halloween, Monday, October 31, from 1-9 p.m. Participating stores will pass out treats to the children while families can shop. Prices are so low, it’s scary! Everyone is invited to join in the fun and children are welcome to dress in costume.

Photo Credit: LBVFS

Photo Credit: LBVFS

Shopping is hassle-free at the outlet center, where you can find factory-direct premium quality merchandise at savings up to 75% off (and sometimes more). Plus,there’s easy store front parking, so getting in and out quickly is a breeze!

Don’t miss your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the mall, where you can select merchandise at most of their outlet shops and get great deals at Express Factory Outlet, U.S. Polo Assn., Nike, OshKosh B’Gosh, Tommy Hilfiger Stores, plus other well-known outlets including G by GUESS, Justice, Carter’s, Crocs, Calvin Klein, Levi’s®, Aeropostale, Converse, Fossil, Rack Room Shoes, and many more. Don’t forget to stop by and treat yourself at Lindt Chocolate, too!

 Even if you don’t win, you can get in on the savings by downloading a coupon from the Center’s website, then bringing it to Travelpro at the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores to receive a coupon booklet valued up to $400 in savings. Savvy discount shoppers can learn about these discounts, as well as specific stores and their hours by following the center on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as visiting http://www.lbvfs.com. Many stores offer last-minute deals so it’s a great idea to follow the center and check online frequently! Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is located just one mile from Walt Disney World at 15657 S Apopka Vineland Road (State Road 535) Orlando, FL 32821-6316, two miles south of I-4, Exit 68. Open daily. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10am-9pm, and 10am-7pm on Sunday.

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Ok, friends…I promised you a giveaway & here are the details:

Just in time for your fall & holiday shopping, Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is providing an awesome $50 gift card to one lucky reader of this blog. Please note that this offer is only valid for one winner, one time, through 2016.

Winner must pick up gift certificate in the mall office any week day between 10am-5pm, OR at the mall’s Information Booth on Saturday, October 22nd during the 20th Anniversary Event. Please be prepared to show a photo ID. Please note that gift certificates MUST be picked up between October 17 – November 17, 2016.  Gift certificates are unable to be mailed, sorry.

Contest runs today, October 9th through Friday, October 14th at 8:00 am, EST. Winner will be chosen at random and will notified by reply to comments in this post. Winner must respond back to me within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited & another winner will be chosen at random.

TO ENTER:

1. “Like” this post

2. If you do not already, please subscribe to follow this blog. Enter your email address on the “Follow Us” link on the left-hand side-bar of this page.

3. In the comments below, share your preferred holiday shopping strategy. For example, are you a plan ahead type, or do you like to do it all last minute? …Or, maybe a little of both? 🙂

NOTE: One entry per subscribed email address, please.

That’s it! Pretty easy, right?!?!

Photo Credit: LBVFS

Photo Credit: LBVFS

Good luck & Happy Fall Shopping!

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This is a sponsored post with Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores. All opinions posted are my own.

Happy Halloween!

Trick or Treat!

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Seriously, how much fun was Halloween on a Saturday night?!?! I vote to have it on a weekend every year!

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We kicked off the weekend with dinner on Friday night at IHOP. Liam got a FREE spooky pancake. So fun!

When we got home there was a special delivery from Papa G & G-Ma –> a Halloween tin of yummy flavored popcorn!

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On Saturday, the 1st thing Liam said was: “it’s Trick or Treat day!!!” ….he could barely contain his excitement 😉

We continued our annual tradition of hanging out & eating dinner with our good friends & walking their neighborhood.  While Liam dressed up in a few of his different superhero hero costumes in the various holiday events we attended throughout the month, he had selected Baymax from Disney’s Big Hero 6 movie as his trick-or-treat outfit. He adores that movie! ❤ …I mean, it’s a Disney’s superhero movie, afterall, right?!?! 😉 ….It was hilarious because some of the people handing out candy did not know his costume & asked him if he was an Avenger. He, very matter-of-factly, stated: “No, I am Baymax”.  Then, he would turn around and yell down the driveway, “They thought I was an Avenger!!!”

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Halloween is the look of mischief…..

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Daddy did some cool modifications to the wings to get them to stick out and not be flopping around. We glued tongue depressors to the inside flaps & then, he painted them red. The mask also fit a bit tight & squished his nose. Stephen added a few foam pieces (such a thoughtful daddy!)….however, Liam still didn’t keep it on most of the night. Ya know, it’s still pretty hot & sticky here in FL 😉

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Let the fun begin!

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Liam was so polite at every house. He said, “trick-or-treat” and then, “thank you” after getting his candy. Then, to each person, I also heard him say, “Happy Halloween!” ….my heart melted! We stayed out for about 2 1/2 hours. We even brought our wagon because we thought he would get tired and need a rest, but no, he trucked along & kept up the whole time. Heck, he even pulled the wagon (by his request) toward the end. The only thing he did ask for was to dump his candy bag and “start over” because his little bag was getting too heavy. This mama had thought about that ahead of time, so I did bring a bigger bag….lol!

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He ended up with quite the haul of candy by the time we got done. Here he is — tired, hot & sweaty…but so proud of his little stash 🙂

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It was a great weekend! We were a tired little family when all was said & done, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. When Liam woke up on Sunday morning, he asked if it was still Halloween. I told him, no, it was now November. Then, he asked if was Christmas. I said no again. Little dude proceeded to cry….I felt so bad! Once I explained that Thanksgiving was next & reminded him what that meant, he was ok. Being a 4 year old is tough work sometimes 😉

Here’s a look back on the fun from the last few years:

2014 // 2013 //

2012 (back before the blog …check out this adorbs pic). This was Liam’s 1st time trick-or-treating!! We just pushed him right up to the doors. Haha! …but he held his little bucket!

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2011 (also, back before the blog …Baby’s 1st Halloween!!)

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Until next time!

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Spooktacular Fun!

We recently spent the day over at Sea World & took in the sites for their Halloween Spooktacular! What a fun-filled family day 🙂 …I really love that Sea World includes the holiday festivities as part of the park admission. A definite plus, so we put our annual passes to good use again! As you can see, we brought Thor with us that day 😉

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One of the special holiday events that we elected to do was the Dine with Shamu Spooktacular Brunch. While this was extra from our admission to the park, I have to say, it was totally worth it! We had a great meal, and best of all, we enjoyed watching two of the whales swim literally right next to us. Liam was in awe ❤

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To our surprise, we had a private show while dining!! Stephen & I honestly thought it was just going to be watching the whales swim around in the tank while we ate, which was cool enough for us…..

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….but, the trainers gave us an entire show & it was incredible! We could not have asked for a better morning 🙂

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After brunch, the kiddos were excited to check out the Halloween decorations around the park AND there was Trick-or Treating!!

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Liam posing with his bestie, Kenadie & her brother, Karsten

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Trick or Treat time 🙂 ….every time he got a candy he showed us his bag & said, “Look what I got!!” …Loved the excitement!!

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The “Sea Witch” thought these two were pretty adorbs ❤ ….Liam said she smelled like candy 🙂

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After candy time, we hung out & did some rides. Liam rode the kiddie roller coaster there for the 1st time! He also rode this one, below, “Ocean Commotion” — safe to say he loved it!

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I think I asked Liam about a hundred times throughout the day if he wanted to take his costume off ….mama bear in me was worried he was too hot in this FL heat, but he always said ‘nope, I’m good’. So, Thor accompanied us the entire day 😉 and I would say he had a fabulous time …. we all did!

Until next time, friends!

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Welcome October!!

1st week of October is in the books! Yes, this family is excited 🙂 …I think I saw it posted somewhere last week that as of October 1st there were 30 days until Halloween, 58 days until Thanksgiving, and 85 days until Christmas. I’m ready for it! I love this time of the year ❤

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We brought the fall decorations down from the attic & Liam was thrilled to help me put them up. I like to put up fun Halloween decos for October and then switch it up to more general pumpkin, turkey, and fall-leaved themed things for November.

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We have some fun family activities planned over the next few weeks, so that always helps to keep us in the holiday spirit….even when the temperatures here in FL make us sometime question it 😉

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We kicked things off a few weeks back with a trip to Legoland. I had scored us an awesome promo deal for tickets through the Children’s Home Society of FL …we literally all got into the park for less than a full price ticket at the gate. So awesome!! Best of all, a portion of what we paid for went to their agency.

Loved seeing the cool Halloween Lego displays throughout the park! Can you see little dude’s head peaking out of the big pumpkin Lego below? 🙂

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We were uber excited this visit because little man was tall enough to ride a few of the “bigger kid” rides. He chose ‘Merlin’s Challenge’ — a mini Himalaya flat ride. I think the smile on his face tells you how much he enjoyed it 🙂 …this mama actually got dizzy…lol!!

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Since starting Pre-K, Liam has had some enjoyable events at school, as well. The 1st was Pirate Week, which ended with a fun Pirate Parade. We squeezed him into his ‘Jake & the Neverland Pirates’ costume to wear for it. Seriously, he was THE cutest!! They also had Community Helpers Week, and had special visitors to the school from Dr’s, Police Officers, and the Fire Dept. He LOVED it.

I’m not sure how/when it started, but Liam frequently asks me to tell him a story when he’s falling asleep about Super Hero Liam and Super Dog Timber. So, I try to be a ‘cool mom’ and make up fantastic stories of these great adventures that he & Timber go on. It definitely challenges my creativity and story telling skills 😉 ….then, one day at school, we see this neon plastic guy with a dog. Clearly, I know it’s designed to flag parents to slow it down through the parking lot…..however, my child immediately says, “Mommy, it’s superhero Liam & super dog Timber! They are at my school!” He was thrilled! I thought it was hilarious that is what he thought of when looking at them. So….we took a picture. And, each time we see these guys, he says hello to his new friends. LOL! One day, I will definitely tell him this story 🙂

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In other news, we went to a good friend’s birthday party at a local Sports Complex last weekend….and yes, even in hot & sunny FL, we ice skated. Liam was overjoyed!! I, on the other hand, ….could not move the next day 😛

It really was so fun, though, and I am happy that I could introduce him to something I loved to do as part of my upbringing in New England. Next time, we’ll hopefully convince Daddy to get out there with us!

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 Until next time, friends!

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Recent Happenings

Remember me? It’s definitely been awhile….this momma was sick these last few weeks & honestly, the thought of sitting at the computer (for anything other than what I had to do for work) was just not appealing.

In the meantime, life moved on, as it always does, right?!?! LOL…I just tried to keep up. Thankfully, I had Mr Murphy there to help and lucky for him, he didn’t get it. Liam got a touch of it, but I’m happy to report that we’re all feeling much better now.

So, here’s what we’ve been up to the last few weeks….

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Halloween was so much fun! Liam was ALL about it! He was allowed to dress up for school, but yes, I was afraid his costume would get messed up soooooo he wore a back-up {go ahead & laugh….it’s ok}. He had a great time sporting his ‘Sheriff Woody’ costume all morning. We even saw from the cameras that he kept his hat on! — way to go, dude! 🙂

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Halloween night, we went over to our friend’s, the Bengels, and hung out for dinner {delish homemade pizza!} and then the kiddos trick-or-treated together. The ‘Hulk’ made his appearance for this main event!

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Getting ready to hit the neighborhood! Liam walked the entire trip. Such a little trooper! He loved going up to the doors & saying, ‘trick-or-treat’ …he’s still talking about it, a few weeks later 🙂

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The next night, we headed back out to gather with our friends for a 2nd Annual S more’s Roast. It was the 1st cool night of the season, so it worked out perfectly! The adults attempted a roasted marshmallow Kahlua shot….pretty tasty, I must say.

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The kiddos had a blast roasting marshmallows & making s more’s out back once it got dark.

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Last weekend, we headed downtown for the Touch-A-Truck event. This is a community event where the kiddos can explore various big trucks, construction vehicles, and public safety equipment. Liam LOVED it!

Here he is checking out a steam roller.

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There were a few mini monster trucks there. He thought they were the coolest things ever.

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We even got to squeeze him into the driver seat of one. Such a big, little man 😉

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Fire Truck!

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Saturday evening, we headed over to Mimi, Papa D & Aunt Heather’s to celebrate baby cousin, Sierra’s very 1st birthday ❤

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Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

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On Sunday, I got a little creative while daddy was watching football & made this turkey with Liam. I asked him for 5 things he was thankful for to write on each feather….He said: mommy, daddy, timber, rainbows, & letters

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It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving will be here next week, but we’re definitely excited & looking forward to it.

Until next time, friends! 🙂

~H