5 1/2 Years!

As we said good-bye to January, we said hello to 5 1/2 years old for this little man. In keeping with our family photo tradition, here’s the latest teddy bear pic ❤

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February was a pretty eventful month for us, so the time slipped away from me before I could get this update posted. We had some fun playing with his shadow one evening after school just before we broke his arm — sooo, this WAS pretty close to his 5 1/2 mark, which technically fell on January 31st.

AGE: 5 1/2 years // 66 months

WEIGHT: 51 lbs.

HEIGHT: 3 ft., 9 in. // 45 in.

CLOTHES: size 5 or 6 to a size small — depending on the brand ; He went through a major growth spurt over the summer and continues to get taller. I feel like we had about a year & a half where he had slowed down a bit with growth and now he’s definitely making up for it 🙂 — He also is very into his own style of dress and I think I said this before….gone are the days where I can buy & dress him in whatever I want. He knows what he wants to wear on any given day and will often fight you on it. At least, he is into matching colors. HA!

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WHAT’S NEW:

Liam has continued to immensely change & grow since his birthday. Since he’s our only child, it’s hard for me to compare him to anything else, but at this point, I would say it’s probably this age. He’s just like a sponge and it’s really amazing to watch him learn and be curious about the world around him.

Since just after his birthday, he began Kindergarten. As I recapped in THIS post, he has far surpassed both Stephen and my’s expectations for what he’s been learning. Most currently, he is reading beginner sight word books, and eagerly asks what words are that he doesn’t recognize. He picks up on the meaning of things that I wouldn’t even dream about him getting. For instance, in the Disney movie, Moana, I didn’t think he would understand the significance & connection of the grandmother’s death and the stingray. As we were watching, he immediately told me, ‘I think the grandma just died and that’s her in the water now as the stingray to help Moana‘. I was blown away.

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In September, he started taking Taekwondo lessons. If you see my posts on Instagram, I usually refer to them as karate, but the boys are quick to correct me, as it is technically Taekwondo, and he is now certified with the American Taekwondo Association. He just completed his 2nd belt promotion and competed in his 1st tournament, so not only is he excelling but we are also so proud of the hard work & dedication is showing. A separate recap post is coming soon on all this, but of course, I’m running behind {story.of.my.life}.

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Our new obsession is Disney. We love ALL the parks here in Orlando, and for the 1st time for any of us, we are feeling total Disney magic being able to drop into  any of them when we have free time. Santa brought us annual passes and let me tell you, we have been totally been taking advantage of that! I haven’t counted exactly, but I think we’ve visited the parks about 8 times since the 1st week in January. I have so many super fun pics to post soon! 🙂

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NOT SO INTO:

I’m putting this update under the ‘not so into’ as it was a bummer. On Valentine’s Eve, little dude fell off a slide during after-care and got a hairline fracture in his humerus bone on his left arm. He was in a cast for 3 weeks. He did very well with it, but it was an adjustment. We had to keep it dry, so bath time was interesting, but he & Daddy did great with that! He is a lefty, too, so he was a trooper with getting by with his school work & using his right-hand for a while.

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The struggle is REAL people with homework, friends. Little man does fantastic with his schoolwork, and while he doesn’t get a whole lot of homework…he is NOT a fan {I mean, really, who is?} …We do the bulk over the weekends, and there is usually some timeouts involved & stern talks…lol! One day, I’m sure we’ll look back on this & laugh, but man, this is the one area where he really pushes my buttons.

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At some point, over the last few months, we magically {maybe?} entered the gaming universe {help me!}. I think it partly is due to the fact that there is an XBOX and a Wii at the after-care room he attends, so he’s been exposed and allowed to sometimes play it since school started. We also gave him my old iPhone {as an iPod} not too long ago when I upgraded. All I know is that one day, I feel like I blinked, and he was playing games on the iPod, iPad, and Wii more than he was touching his regular toys. I started complaining to Stephen, and he just laughed. Not cool! LOL 😛 — He was back in his play room over this past weekend digging into his toys, so needlesstosay, this mama was over the moon. I love technology, but I’m also all for old-fashioned fun for as long as possible.

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You can catch up on all our previous monthly/yearly updates HERE.

Happy Half Birthday, Liam Michael! — Mommy & Daddy love you SO VERY much!

xoxo

Until next time friends,

A Winter Holiday Celebration

Little man has been busy spreading holiday cheer, and we are eating it up! Look at this super cute angel he made in art class ❤

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Last week, I headed over to his school in the morning to catch his Kindergarten Winder Holiday Celebration. Each of the five classrooms performed a Christmas themed song. He had shared bits & pieces of his class’s routine with us at home, but he made sure to tell us that we had to wait to see the whole production in person.

This little smirk is what I get from him often ….sometimes it means he’s being shy (as he was a bit in this pic) and sometimes he’s up to no good 😉

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The song his class had was ‘Groovin’ Elf” ….so, of course, they all came in dressed as cool little elves. LOVED IT!

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Mr. Mason, his music teacher 🙂

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No stage fright for little man Murphy….

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At the end of the show, all of the classrooms got on stage together and sang — We Wish You A Merry Christmas

After the show, his class had their holiday party, and they made a few crafts. Last Friday was also Pajama Day at school, so he was stoked to wear those PJ’s to school!

The bell craft was fun, as it’s a countdown to Christmas. He gets to cut a ring off each night. He knows when it’s just the bell left….it will be Christmas!

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A few weekends ago, we had also went up to his school for Breakfast with Santa ❤

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The cafeteria was decorated so cute by the PTA. Liam asked if the real Santa was there or if this was a helper. {We tell him that the Santa’s that he sees out & about in the malls & stores are helpers that report back to the North Pole}. I told him this was also a helper, but he looked at this guy, and told me I was wrong. This was the real one ❤

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Love this boy & all the holiday magic he brings into our home. It’s just THE best!

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Welcome to Kindergarten!

To say that the last few months have flown by is an understatement for sure. I started this post so long ago, and it just kept getting pushed back. We are in a good season of life right now, but it sure is a busy one. A few of our friends told us over the summer….’just wait until Liam starts Kindergarten, your schedules are going to be so crazy.‘ I honestly think I laughed at them….Well, folks, they’re laughing now because they were so right.

It’s November, and the majority of this mama is still in denial that we’re here — Kindergarten. How did we get here already? I still remember dropping him off for his 1st day at daycare ❤

I know this year is going to continue to fly by, so I’ve been trying to soak up the highlights. Here is a little BTS Interview that I did with little man after he got home on his 1st day. The last bit? ….He literally came running up to me when I picked him up & said that! It was a GREAT 1st day 🙂

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We had ‘Meet the Teacher’ on the Friday morning before school started that following Monday. The three of us went together. We found his classroom, met Mrs. Juarez, and dropped off all his classroom supplies. Stephen & I were cracking up because we had assumed we would drop off the bag of supplies we had to buy, but there was actually a page of instructions we had to follow for how to put them away. It was very efficient for the teacher ….but we immediately felt like we were the ones back in school 😉

Liam’s room is a jungle theme & is super cute! He loved exploring & checking it out while we put everything away.

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 The night before the 1st day, I got his backpack ready to go. He has a purple folder that goes back & forth between school & home each day. We already had forms from Meet the Teacher that we had to send back. I had picked up a cute Clifford book at Kohls to send as a welcome gift for Mrs. Juarez. This was also her 1st year at Liam’s elementary school.

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Little Dude woke up full of excitement on his first day!! — August 15th

I think I was the nervous one for us…lol! He picked out his own outfit and was ready to go. All smiles ❤

He was just THE cutest!!

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We dropped him off for his 1st day. Again, I was anticipating the standard tears & maybe even being scared….I mean, this was the 1st time we were leaving him at a different place in the morning. He had always only ever been at the same daycare. So, when the bell rang and the teacher opened the classroom door, he walked in …there was still only all smiles. He then looked back over his shoulder and waved good-bye to us……THIS.MAMA.LOST.IT

You see, he was fine. He was better than fine. He was great. He felt safe and happy, and I knew we had done our job. And so….I felt relieved and just lost it for a moment. I walked away, so he never saw my tears, but there were a few ❤

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His 1st week of school was awesome. He brought home the cutest projects that they did during the 1st few days. The Kissing Hand Story is one that helps kiddos who are feeling sad about missing their parents while being away from home. So so cute…..

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Love it!…

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We celebrated the end of a fantastic 1st week of school with our fav….sparklers!!!

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Right after the beginning of the school year, Liam went in for his 5 year check up with his pediatrician. He grew 3 inches since last year and gained 9 pounds! He had a great & healthy check-up …and for sure, he is keeping us on our toes with the growth spurts. Little man’s gonna be taller than me in no time {not hard to do, I know}….and then, I will cry. LOL!

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In the middle of September, we got to go back to the his classroom for Open House. It was nice to check in with his teacher & get an update on all that been’s happening, as well as take a peak around the school. Liam was super excited to show us where he sits each day in his room. We also got to see the Mangrove seedlings that his class planted outside with the help of a UCF professor 🙂

We actually do hear from his teacher almost daily, as she emails updates on classroom activity, homework info, etc. That honestly was an aspect I didn’t realize until school started. Everything is SO electronic now. You even log online to add money to his lunch money account. I love it, but I had just not realized it. Things have definitely changed since we were in school!

During the school days, Liam participates in Gym class (PE — Physical Education), Art & Music. For Open House, we also got to visit these room and meet with his teachers for these ‘special’ areas.

Since school starts after we go to work and ends before we get out work, Liam does before/after care with the daycare/summer camp he had attended. So, we don’t actually ever go to the school. We drop him off & he rides the bus. He LOVES riding the bus, and we trust them so it’s a win-win. The times like this night for Open House, then, are nice to be able to catch up with what’s physically happening there. Sometimes, though, it does feel weird to me that I’m not dropping and picking him up from there daily, but it’s just not our routine.

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This note below was in the packet we took home from Open House & I just loved it. Such a thoughtful reminder…..

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At the end of September, he took his very 1st official school pictures. We’ve done pictures with the daycare the last few years, but these were special. Kindergarten pictures, people! ….There were tons of backgrounds we could select from, but Stephen & I thought this one was cool. When we showed it to him, he said…”how did a castle get behind me?” 🙂

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Most recently, at the end of October, it was the end of the 1st grading period, and he received his very 1st report card. At his school, the kiddos don’t receive letter grades until 2nd grade. Thus, his marks are Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, or W — which is for ‘working on it’, since they are just newbies in school and learning all these skills.

During progress reports in September, he had a few W’s, but mostly all S’s. For his report card, he earned all S’s and one W. We are so proud of how hard he is working, and you really could tell how proud he was of himself, as well. We also think that it helps that he had such an excellent Pre-K program last year that gave him a strong foundation going into this year.

I have to say that it’s really incredible the curriculum that these children learn in Kindergarten now. It is completely different that when Stephen and I were in school. He is learning things that I know we didn’t even begin to touch on until grade school.

They are already teaching him beginning reading skills, math that includes comparisons and less than & greater than signs. They have language arts, science, social studies….my mind is blown away repeatedly by the things he comes home and tells us. He also uses computer programs….we never even let him touch the computer before school began! What we are most grateful for is that he has a love for learning. He truly enjoys school and is excited about what he is learning about.

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On the day he received his report card, he was also honored with the Principal’s Award for making good choices. He was beyond excited to receive this, and he had his name called out over the loud speaker for the whole school by his principal. So cool!

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We are off to a fantastic start to the school year, and are eager to see what else Kindergarten has in store for this sweet boy ❤

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Until next time!

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Summer Camp In a Nutshell

Before August wraps up, and we get too far away from memories of summer fun, I want to share what fun little man had during his very 1st experience with SUMMER CAMP!!

When Pre-K wrapped up in mid-June, the very next week, we had to continue care for him through the summer until Kindergarten started, as it’s no secret that we are a two-parent working family. This was the 1st time we actually had to stop and plan for what we were going to do. There wasn’t just a transition to another room at daycare. This was a family discussion about where he would go, cost, etc.

Since we knew starting Kindergarten would be a huge change & transition {for all of us…lol!}, we opted to do Junior Camp at the same school he attended Pre-K. It was an easy transition for him and us. Compared to other camps in our area, it was also cost effective. Side note — holy cow…..summer camps are expensive & can be overwhelming with different options, packages, etc! I know for next year, we will have to plan ahead, as some even book way in advance of summer starting.

Here he was on his 1st day of camp ~ 6/13/16

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The theme for camp all summer was fitting & perfect for the season …..the Olympics! Each week, the kids learned about a different country, as well as athletes from that country that participated in past Olympic games. We were definitely excited for the Summer Games in Rio!

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They also did crafts each week to coincide with the countries they were studying. He loved it & was so creative!

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Everyone was super excited the splash pad was back in business, too! They only get to go during the summer months, and it’s super fun times!

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Without question, Liam was MOST excited for the weekly field trips. The trips in Pre-K were sparse due to new DCF regulations that the daycare was trying to catch up with for their buses. So, when we reviewed the list of where they were headed, well….he was stoked, to say the least. This mama…well, she was nervous….they were some big trips for her little tyke! I tried my best to not be a helicopter mama but I did chaperone the bigger trips…that was my compromise 😉

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Crayola Experience!

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Sea World! ~ I played chaperone for the 1st time on this trip. Quite the experience with 24 littles but such great memories! 🙂

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It was SO hot that day….I think he was tired of hearing me say, ‘drink your water‘ by the time we left 🙂 …we also did a lot of activities that our family hadn’t done in previous visits to the park, so that was cool!

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Liam’s 1st time seeing the Shamu Show!

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Mad Science came back the school a few times throughout camp for ‘in-house’ field trips. Liam really enjoyed these days and had some interesting facts to report back to us. They did a great job with the kids!

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Build – A – Bear Workshop!! This trip was so much fun, and also was another one that I went on with the class. This was our 1st time going here, so Liam was very intrigued by the whole process. All of the kiddos loved each station where you helped put your bear together. Very creative and interactive!

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Washing him up & brushing him out after he got all his stuffing ❤

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Decisions, Decisions….everyone got to pick a shirt to dress their bear at the end.

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Meet “Cottonball” —  Liam chose him, made him with love, dressed him and brought him home! He’s the latest addition to our family and little man has been holding him tight ❤

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“Cottonball” got his own Darthvader costume to match Liam’s 🙂

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Legoland! ~ This was one of the last trips he went on & again, I was fortunate to be able to hang out with him & the class. This was my & Liam’s very 1st time going to the waterpark side, and it was SO much fun!! Since it was a scorcher of a day, we did keep the kiddos over there in the water the majority of the afternoon. Loved all the waterslides, the play-structure in the water for the kiddos, and all fun foam Legos you could build with in the water. There was even more that we didn’t even check out yet, like a wave pool and a lazy river. We’ll, for sure, be back!

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What trip to Legoland is complete without pictures next to the life-size Lego figures?

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Quick selfie before the ride starts ….Merlin’s Challenge.

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Seriously love the Lego figures! ~ Heading into The Quest for CHI

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The kids had fun dueling each other on the separate boats! They were like big water guns 🙂

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Cool Lego mermaid at the entrance to the waterpark side!

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So.Much.Fun!

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Trying to get him to sit still for 5 seconds to snap this pic was nearly impossible…lol! This play structure was SUPER fun for everyone…kiddos & adults!

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Junior Camp wrapped up with Spirit Week …each day was something fun for the kids to dress up in or wear. Crazy Hat Day was a fav for our little man!

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Had to snag a pic with his AMAZING camp teacher, Ms. Mallory ❤ ….from a mama’s perspective, she was great at easing the transition from Pre-K / daycare life. This included dealing with a room full of littles who dropped nap!…YES!! THAT happened over the summer for us! …in preparation for Kindergarten, we officially gave up nap. OMGEE….really, though, it was a pretty smooth transition for Liam & we are so thankful we prepped for that before real school started. Junior Camp was filled with kids who were like Liam and prepping for Kindergarten and all the way up to 2nd grade. That was a pretty big gap, at times. Ms. Mallory handled this group beautifully and kept everyone in line and having a great summer! Liam adored her and that made our hearts happy!

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Lots of great memories were made this summer at Junior Camp for our little man! He’s already asking about what field trips he’ll go on NEXT summer, so I guess we better prepare ourselves 🙂

Until next time, friends!

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BirthDAY Fun at the Jacksonville Zoo!

While we celebrated with Liam’s 5th birthday party the weekend before the BIG day, we still wanted to make his actual birthDAY special. So, we packed the boys up & headed to my dad & stepmom’s in Jacksonville for the weekend. We spent his 5th birthday at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, and we all enjoyed it so much! I have to say that we’ve been to the zoos in our immediate area fairly recently, but this one takes the cake {total pun intended}.

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The whole park was absolutely beautiful — the grounds & all the scenery, as well as the animals, of course. I loved that the animals had enormous free areas to be in, and yet, we could still see them so up close. Also, given the extreme Florida temps, there was an abundance of shade to keep us cool, plus fabulous “cool spots” throughout. These were actually air conditioned viewing areas….can we say awesome?!?! There is also a super cute splash pad for the kiddos. We didn’t get a chance to do that on this trip, but we’ll definitely be back!

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They have a train that runs all along the perimeter of the park with a stop at the entrance of the park and another at the back. Once you buy your ticket, you can literally ride around all day. So fun! This was one of Liam’s favorite parts of the day. We rode it 3 times 🙂

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Sitting on the train with his Papa ❤

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Checking out the birds & duckies…

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There was bamboo all over the zoo & the guide on the train told us that it was used for both shade and a sound barrier to the animals from the main road that the zoo sits on. I thought that was pretty neat!

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Peek-a-Boo!

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There were so many interesting sights all throughout the zoo. This was the Tiger Skywalk.  The tigers can actually walk across those bridges from their enclosures. So cool!

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This waterfall in the tigers area was so majestic to walk into & see, and they were awesome to sit & watch! They are such big cats & so beautiful.

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On our way out, we caught one of them dropping down from the skywalk & grabbing a snack. It was crazy to be so close to him & he totally didn’t care we were there 😉

A snapshot of some of the gardens area. It’s hard to see, but some of the trees in the distance are blue!

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Flamingos!

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More of the bamboo, and I loved this bridge…another example of how beautiful this zoo is!

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Hanging out in one of the aviaries & feeding these lovelies some sweet nectar ❤

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Squirrel Monkey….

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Chimpanzees ….the one over by the wall was totally lounging while snacking. There was a sweet baby in the mix, too, but it’s hard to see in this pic.

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Giraffes!! — These are my favorite ❤ …Liam giggled because he saw one of them pee & while we watched them eat, he couldn’t believe how big their tongues were 🙂

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The one on the far right of this pic below is one of the two babes they have there right now ❤

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Just hanging around! 🙂

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Lions! …they were napping.

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I spy a gator…..

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These two otters were hilarious! They wouldn’t stop rolling around & playing. So hard to grab a pic of them.

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Warthogs…

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For those of you who also watch ‘Jessie‘ on the Disney Channel, you will appreciate our excitement over seeing ‘Mrs. Kipling‘. hahaha!

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Family group pic …

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And, of course, what birthday would be complete without cake? He requested an ice cream cake…

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We had the best day with our little man at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens to ring in his 5th birthday! Definitely made some great memories! ❤ ….and, I still cannot believe our little baby boy is FIVE!! Facebook keeps showing me flashback memories from 5 years ago of all of these pics from his 1st weeks home & it’s totally tugging at my heartstrings. Don’t ya love it?!?!

Until next time, friends,

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Happy 5th Birthday, Liam!

Today, we celebrate our kiddo’s 5th birthday! It is definitely a magical time for all of us, as the excitement on his behalf can barely be contained. Stephen & I have just been watching him grow in astonishment…..1st, we seriously can’t believe we made such an amazing little man. 2nd, he is growing way too fast!

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Here is the latest teddy bear pic ❤

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If you follow our adventures, you know this teddy bear pic is a fun regular measure of growth for us. Check out all our past pics & updates HERE


We continued our tradition of a BIRTHDAY INTERVIEW. The free printable of this can be found HERE.

As with last year’s interview, some of his answers were both quite surprising & hilarious!

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More from the previous year’s questionnaire that we used:

What is your name?: Liam

How old are you?: holds up 5 fingers

What is your favorite food?: (taps cheek as he’s thinking) pizza

What makes you laugh?: When Daddy makes funny faces

What are you afraid of?: bears

What is the best time of the day?: summer

Where do you like to go?: the beach

What do you like to do with your family?: the zoo


Other notable things these days …

He still refers to both me & Stephen as ‘guys’ , or as ‘hey guys’ …I pointed this out in last year’s update & that has not changed. It’s hilarious!

He is still a whiz with the iPad.

Dancing and Music are his passions. At any moment, he will break out with his latest moves or sing his heart out.

We have seen a tremendous amount of growth in the last 6 months. Both physically {as in we had to move him into size XS/S clothes after spending this last year in 4T/5T and we’re about to go shoe shoppi g again} and also emotionally/mentally. I know I have always said how easy going his personality is, and yes, that still holds true. However, in recent months, he has also began to assert himself more and test his boundaries. I think part of it is being in summer camp and being around older kids. He sees more now and is trying his limits at times.

He officially gave up naps in June.

We are officially not in daycare anymore as of last month. This summer, he has been enrolled in a Junior Summer Camp with kiddos Kindergarten age through 2nd grade.

He will start Kindergarten next month!!!

He has been taking a soccer class with camp this summer & really likes it.

He has also recently taken an interest in basketball.

He definitely has his own sense of style & is excellent at matching his outfits each day. Gone are the days when I can buy just about any cute clothes that I like. He is VERY picky about his shirts/tops & most days, they have to be character shirts {superheroes, star wars, disney, etc}.


Here is a look back at the last 5 year’s of birthday pics….

1st Birthday

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2nd Birthday

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Happy 5th Birthday, our sweet little man, Liam Michael!!

Words cannot express how much love fills our hearts for this kiddo. He is a blessing to us each & every day ❤

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Splashing Good Birthday Fun!

Last weekend, we had a splashing good time celebrating Liam’s 5th birthday with family & friends. While his actual birthDAY is not until this weekend, we opted to hold his party a week early due to venue scheduling. We had such a great time at the Oviedo Splash Zone last year for his party, that we held it it there again this year. It definitely did NOT disappoint!

Little Man selected STAR WARS for his theme this year. I found these clever invitations on Etsy:

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The quiet before the storm of kiddos. The weather was already hot at 9:00 am, but we were thankful for gorgeous FL sunshine! Wee-man was ready to get his 5th birthday par-tay on 😉

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 This place is seriously amazing. It wasn’t even a question to not come here again this year. It’s literally a playground in the water ❤

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Since we are surrounded by water and everyone is playing, we keep the decorations simple. We decided to go with cake pops this year in lieu of cupcakes, and they were THE BEST. Ms. Lauren from Little Boy Blue Bakery in Oviedo completely outdid herself with these fantastic Star Wars themed pops. Be sure to follow her on Facebook and Instagram (@littleboybluebakery) and see all of her amazing creations!

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What kiddos doesn’t love a good party favor? Keeping with the simple, yet fun, theme, I found THIS idea online and was thrilled with the result! The TAGS were another find from Etsy 🙂

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One of my fav shots of the R2-D2 cake pop! // photo credit: Little Boy Blue Bakery

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I really have to brag about these pops because all I told Lauren was the theme and she completely delivered. We had Darth Vader, the Death Star, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and Stormtroopers. And, of course they ALL were SO delish!!

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Here’s a snap of 4 of the 5 masterpieces ….all of the Death Star pops were eaten by the time I thought to take this…lol!

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Jase & Liam 🙂

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Liam & James….

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Trying to get these boys to stop playing for 5 seconds and say cheese was IMPOSSIBLE…hahaha! // Brandon, Bryce, Liam & Jase

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Love these girls! They always have my back ❤

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And this lady has had my back since birth 😛 …my momma! So happy she’s back in the sunshine state with us!

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Sillies….

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Liam & Matthias…

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double trouble 🙂 ….Liam & Kenadie

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My heartstrings….my boys ❤

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We had ordered a Darth Vader cupcake from Sweet! here in town so we could put a candle in it & sing to him. As cute as they made this for him…..he loved Ms. Lauren’s pops so much that he never ate this 😛 …he later declared that he “loves loves loves cake pops” ….so, I believe we have a new fav around here!

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Love this family of mine….

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Munchin’ on a Darth Vader cake pop!

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….and, back in the water to play some more! All the kiddos had a great time & played ’till the facility literally turned the water off on the playground equipment to signal the party was done. Then, all of us parents had to pry them out of the pool 🙂

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One VERY happy & blessed boy!

{who shockingly did not fall asleep even on the drive home from the splash park}

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Thanks to everyone who came out to splash around with us! It really was such a great day & a super fun time to celebrate this sweet boy turning 5.

Hugs!

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