Potty Training Boot Camp

June is National Potty Training Awareness Month. As we close out this month, I wanted to take a moment to share a post that was originally posted HERE for Orlando Moms Blog. It was actually the very 1st blog post I wrote for them back in 2014, and as I re-share this in the same month it was first published, I also want to share with you that my time writing with them has now ended. I enjoyed the the posts that I did have the opportunity to share on their platform & will re-share some more in the future ❤

With this particular post, it’s always fun to look back on these milestones and see how far we’ve come. Potty Training is definitely one area of parenting that we all can relate to, no matter what way you decide to tackle it. There is no magic trick. You just gotta go for it! Here’s our story….

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Have you ever heard the old saying life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon? Well, I kind of like to think that our potty training experience has been the same. Here we are, in June, Potty Training Awareness Month, in fact, and well folks, we are in week 15, as we started this journey back on February 21st. So, yes, we are a good 4 months into this process, and it’s just now that I feel comfortable to say that my almost 3 year old son is potty trained. Like, I said… marathon.

We utilized the 3 Day Potty Training method provided by Lora Jensen’s e-book. I have to say that for our family, this method worked extremely well. I took that first Friday & Monday off of work, and we followed Ms. Jensen’s advice to stay home and focus strictly on the training. My little dude did excellent, and we were celebrating after each day that whole weekend (which we nick-named, ‘Potty Training Bootcamp’).

Our first hurdle came when I returned my guy back to daycare on day 5, which he attends full-time, as we are a two-parent full-time working household. I had pre-warned all his teachers that this was coming & even sent him to school with a full written page update of his progress from our boot camp.

However, I have to tell you that the first day and then that week, in general, were a nightmare. Against my wishes, he was put back in a diaper; there were countless accidents, and poor communication between myself & the staff. Not to mention, my little guy had a hard time learning to use the potty at school. He was doing fantastic at home, still, but it was a whole different story at daycare. I honestly did NOT anticipate any of that, and to be quite frank, that threw me for a loop. We pushed on, and it took a good month & a half to two months before we consistently had accident free days at school. That took a lot of working with the staff at his school and sending lots of back of clothes… definitely a tip for any parents starting this process and using childcare… pack extra clothes!! Including socks AND shoes!

Call me a gluten for punishment, but in the midst of this loveliness, I decided that we should start swim lessons… umm, this doesn’t exactly help your child to stay dry at night when they are in the pool gulping water between 6pm to 7 pm four nights a week for 7 to 8 weeks. Yes, genius idea. Our friends were amazed when I was telling them that we were staying dry all night long (P.S., I was too!), but then, since swim lessons started on week 7, he has been wetting the bed almost every night. So not fun for any of us. To make matters even more interesting, he is not a fan of wearing a pull-up at night. I have been torn about this for weeks now about whether or not it would confuse him to wear it at night, as I did not want him to start having accidents during the day, but on the other hand, washing his sheets EVERY.SINGLE.DAY starts to get old, as well. We are trying the pull-ups for now (we refer to them as, ‘night-time undies’) and we shall see how it goes. My hope is that once swim lessons end (this week is it!), that we can possibly start to stay dry at night again.

Another hurdle that has taken some time in this process… going to the potty in public! Oh my… why didn’t any of my mommy friends give me a better heads up about this?!?! There were literally a few times in that first month or two that my hubby and I felt like we couldn’t take our preschooler out in public any more for fear he would have to go. It didn’t matter which one of us took him… we would get in there and then he would refuse. We even bought one of those portable potty seats to use. It didn’t matter. For this, all I can say is that time and diligence is what made it work. At one point, he finally went & we celebrated like crazy. It’s been a piece of cake after that. Whew!

Our last obstacle in this journey has been the dreaded poop. Again, going into this process, I had no idea that pooping on the potty would be an issue for us because my son actually went a few times on the big potty while he was still in his diapers. So, I thought, no problem. I even ignored all the advice our little guide gave us with the tips. Boy, was I wrong! About a month into training, he stopped wanting to poop on the potty and starting going in his undies. We tried offering special treats, candies, you name it. Nothing peaked his interest. Finally, one day while he was at home, and I knew he had to go, I decided to tell him that if he went poopie on the potty, I would give him a small new toy. THAT got his attention. He went into the bathroom and FINALLY pooped! There was huge celebration! I had a few match box cars saved for a rainy day that were in a bag, so I let him choose one. He was thrilled. After that, I told him that if he pooped on the potty, he could get pick out a new toy from the ‘poopie bag’. Yes, I realize I was not very creative with my naming of this bag, but hey, it worked because he has pooped on the potty ever since. I honestly can’t believe it. The next day I had went to the dollar store and loaded up on some random toys to fill the bag, and he has been perfectly happy with his selection. Some friends have asked us how long we plan to do this for. I don’t have an answer for that right now. There have been times when he doesn’t ask for a toy after he goes, so we don’t go to the bag. I’m sure eventually it will phase itself out.

In the grand scheme of things, our story has not been a difficult one, but it’s definitely proven to be an interesting one for us. I hope you have enjoyed reading about our journey and maybe even learned a thing or two!

Our Easter Egg-Stravaganza! {2017}

We had so much fun for Easter last weekend!

I had put up our decorations around the house earlier in the month, so we had been feeling festive already 🙂

After work & school on Friday, we attended Good Friday services at our church. Brad Gray (@WalkingtheText) was back again to guest teach & his message was awesome! Liam hung out in the Kids Care area and did this cool art project while they learned about the significance of the day. It was a chalk handprint and of course, Simba walked all over it out of curiosity as I was trying to snap this pic 😛

We had a busy holiday weekend planned, and we jumped into it 1st thing Saturday morning. Orlando Mom’s Blog was hosting their 1st ever Egg Hunt out at Lake Meadows Naturals Farm in Ocoee. I loaded the boys up & we headed out to have some fun, and I was also working their craft station for the morning.

Would you believe there are 2000 chickens in this room?!?!

Well, hello little cow! Liam loved exploring the property and greeting all the animals. In addition to this cow, he saw a horse, a llama, ducks, goats, a pig and baby chicks.

This is such a neat little gem tucked away in our Orlando area. I can’t believe I never knew it was here. They raise cage free chickens and sell the hormone free eggs. They have a small general store on site, and even have fresh produce that is grown on property.

Once my work with OMB was done, we did the egg hunt together & had a great time! It was a fun morning!

When we got home, it was time to color Easter Eggs! Trust me when I tell you that this was THE FIRST TIME that we have done this with Liam, and seriously the first time Stephen & I have done this in probably 20 years. It was a learning experience for all of us to say the least, but we had a good time with it! Liam thought it was such a neat thing to be dropping the eggs in the colored water and watching them turn colors! By next year, we will be pro’s 🙂

Liam’s 1st batch of colored eggs for Easter!

It was a long day so we all were tired that evening. It was to bed early, especially so that the Easter Bunny could make his rounds. He was pretty excited with his surprises for Liam this year and they didn’t all fit in his regular basket, so he had to leave out an extra one 😉

We were up before the sun to check everything out. Not surprisingly one of wee-man’s favorite things was this stuffed poop emoji. LOL!

We had to be at church at 7:00 am, so we were out looking for the eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny with a flash light. Hilarious!!

Easter service was great! Here we are in our Sunday Best ❤  …we went for family breakfast at KeKe’s afterwards. It was so yummy!

That afternoon we were invited to our good friend’s Jenni & Delia’s for an Easter Sunday Lunch — Cuban & American style. We had an excellent time catching up with friends & hanging out. Look at these super cute cakes we enjoyed for dessert. They were courtesy of both Delia & Lisa — and let me tell you, these ladies duked it out to make sure they were on point! haha!

After lunch, it was our last egg hunt of the weekend. This one was serious business. I was trying to take pics while he was hunting and he literally told me,”No time for pictures, Mommy!”.

Afterwards, all the kiddos sat on the front lawn & were checking out their loot. It was all business talk, as they even were making swaps & trades. Too funny!

Finally — he posed for me!

Believe it or not, Liam was still not tired once we came home, so we made our very 1st trip to the pool for the year. I don’t think we’ve been in since September-ish. His swim instructor, Ms. Katie would be super proud of him because he jumped right in and swam like it was nothing. He remembered everything she taught him. I know I was very impressed! I could already tell it’s going to be a great summer!

We had a jammed packed weekend, but it sure was another Happy Easter! We are blessed!

Until next time,

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,

Because We’re Moms

Hi Friends!

My latest post with Orlando Moms Blog is up today and it’s another one that I wrote from my heartstrings. ❤

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You can link to the full post HERE.

Being a mom is hard work but it’s THE MOST rewarding part of each & every day. In this post, I share some snippets of what being a mom means to me.

Because we’re moms, we hold their hands for a little while….but they will hold our hearts forever.

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thanks for reading!

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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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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

smash cake

2nd Birthday

2nd Birthday_2

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2014-08-03_liam-3rd-bday-party-143

2015-08-01_liam-birthday-party-1

2015-08-01_liam-birthday-party-6

2016-07-23_5thBirthdayParty 024

2016-07-23_5thBirthdayParty 096

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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