My Dearest Alexander Blake, On Your First Birthday

I know I’m suppose to be grateful you’ve been blessed a year older–and I am–but I can’t help but cling on to this fleeting time with you as an infant.

I want to remember… 
How your brown eyes greet mine every morning when there’s not yet light peering through the curtain… 
How you scrunch your little nose because you know it will make me laugh… 
How your sweet little voice sounds, right before you fall asleep…
How your tiny fingers grasp my thumb as you nurse and stare at me with wonder… 
At first I thought you were looking at me for guidance, but now I believe it is me that is finding answers through you. 
You have taught me… 
That, despite my best efforts, time doesn’t slow down so I need to live in the moment… 
That snuggling on the sofa is more important than making sure dinner is on the table on time… 
That listening to birds chirp is more important than waiting for a phone to chime… 
That reading “one more book” is more important than folding “one more basket” of laundry.

Son, I will be there for you with a bandage when you fall off your skateboard, and I will be there with an emotional bandage when you go through your first break-up. I’ll be waiting by the door to pick you up from your first day of school, and I’ll be waiting by the door when you come home late for curfew. I’ll stand by you when you embarrass me with an epic meltdown in the middle of the store, and I’ll stand by you to embarrass you with hugs and kisses in public until the day I die.
Although I wish I could keep you little forever, I look forward to the memories we will make in the years to come. I vow never to take my time with you for granted, and to be grateful for each and every moment I share with you.
Time is fleeting, but my love for you never will be.
I love you, Bubbe! 
Forever, 
Your Mommy 
Photo Cred: Salina B. Photography
Never Grow Up Shirt: Lainey Kay Creations

Life Lately

To say that life has been crazy around these parts lately, would be an understatement. So much has been happening, that I don’t even know where to begin.

No, I’m not pregnant.

But my baby did turn ONE YEAR OLD!

I cannot believe it. It’s silly to think that we may or may not have once been disappointed when we found out she was a girl. We had our hearts and hopes set on having a boy. But now? I cannot imagine life without her. Not! One! Single! Bit! Every piece of Adelaide was meant to be in our lives. It has been a blessing from God to watch her grow over the past year. And I cannot believe that we are still going strong on our one-boob nursing journey! It’s incredible to think that I have kept a small human alive with one single boob!

(Okay, I’ll change the subject…)

I have loved watching Emmalyn step up as Big Sister. Although, I must admit, it’s quite exhausting shouting, “Put her down!” and “Stop licking your sister!” ump-teen times a day!

At four-and-a-half, Emmalyn lives up to her “in-utero” nickname of Diva Muffin. That girl has more sass than Liberace had sequins! She keeps me on my toes–that’s for sure. But she’s also quite entertaining, with her endless imagination, and her love for making up songs and dances.

Probably the biggest news in our neck of the woods is that WE ARE MOVING! This Florida Girl is spreading her wings and seeing what else the great U.S. of A. has to offer! Blake and I have moved three times in our five years of marriage, but this is the first time either of us has moved out of Florida. I’m very excited, but tremendously sad to be leaving my friends here.

Blake and I have spent many nights pondering if we’re doing the right thing. It seriously breaks my heart, taking Emmy away from her sweet little friends. She has made some of the most amazing friendships at such a young age. But then I think about how some of my closest friends live in New York, Louisiana, and Florida. We may not see each other in person as often as we’d wish, but when we do, it’s like we never skipped a beat. And with the amazingly crazy invention of FaceTime, we’re only a click away.

Here’s to continuing our adventures!

loyally,
katie

Instagram: @katievanbrunt
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Ballet & The Boobie Barre

If you would have told me five months ago I would be nursing my baby in the middle of ballet class, I would have thought you were a crazy person!

Five months ago I was struggling so much with breastfeeding. Every other day I wanted to quit. Practically every other day I was visiting my lactation nurse. I was constantly text messaging friends for support. I was telling my husband, “Don’t let me give up!”

And look at me now:

It brings a whole new meaning to “The Boobie Barre”!

I also didn’t think I would be getting back into dance at three months postpartum. But I did it! I was determined to stick to my mantra of “just get moving!” I’m so thankful that my ballet class allows me to wear Adelaide, and bring Emmalyn. This class is something I look forward to each and every week. Sometimes I am super stressed leading up to it (…Emmalyn doesn’t want to get her shoes on, I accidentally take a wrong turn and end up on the interstate, Adelaide’s crying, etc., etc.) BUT I leave it all on the dance floor!

I couldn’t do the class without the amazing women and teacher who help and support me each week. They help me schlep my entire house baby stuff into the studio, and hold Adelaide while I do pirouettes across the floor.

Oh! I could easily make excuses for not going. I could easily say: “It’s just too much work… It’s too far of a drive… I’m too tired…” because let’s face it–all the latter are completely true.

But it’s so worth it. 

The hour-and-a-half my feet glide across the dance floor is therapy to me. It’s hot and sweaty therapy! For that hour-and-a-half I get to be me.

I never foresaw nursing my baby at the ballet barre in my future. But looking down at her sweet cherub face, catching her smiling at me mid-plies, is quite magical. Sharing my passion with my littlest one is special and unique, and well–just magical.

Five months ago I would have thought you were crazy for saying this was in my future.

And now? I’m the crazy person.

And I love it!

loyally,

katie 

P.S. Do you think So You Think You Can Dance will add another genre of dance next season called Boobie Ballet? 😉

*TELL ME: What do you like to do for exercise post-babies? What *excuses* are holding you back? I encourage you do go after what you want–and make it happen! You are way more capable than you think!

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Emmalyn’s 1st Dance Recital

It was a day I will never forget. An emotional one. One filled with joy, pride, relief, and love. 
Emmalyn performed in her first dance recital yesterday. 
Many of you know I’ve been extremely worried over whether I would go into labor just days before her Big Stage debut and have to miss it. I expressed to my husband how devastated I would feel if I couldn’t make it—although I know in the long-run it wouldn’t scar Emmalyn. Friday afternoon was her rehearsal and I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders: I got to see my baby dance on stage, and she got to hear me shout words of praise and squeeze her tightly. I thought to myself, If I go into labor tonight, at least I got to see her dance.

Saturday came and no signs of immediate labor—phew! It looks like I would actually get to see her do “the real thing”. My next biggest fear became if she would pee her pants while waiting backstage. As a former dance teacher, I know how nervous the little ones can be without their mommies and how many bathroom runs I’ve made with them just minutes before they go on stage. I had visions of her walking on stage with wet tights! But alas, she was a rockstar!

She was the fourth number to perform and I couldn’t wait to see her shine under the big bright lights. Just as the teacher was walking the girls on stage, an usher was bringing down a party of six or so people to their seats… in front of us. Oh hell-to-the-no! I was furious! There was no way I was going to let them obstruct my view of my daughter’s big moment. I grabbed Blake and said, “Let’s go!” and ran down the aisle. 

I bypassed Mama Bear and went straight to Mama Ape Shit. My 39-weeks-and-5-days-prego-body physically shoved the usher and group of rude latecomers as I said, “Excuse me. Please move. My daughter is on stage. RIGHT! NOW!” I may not have said it politely, but at least I used polite words…

I knelt down in the middle of the aisle and just completely lost it. I’m not talking about a trickle of tears down my face. I’m talking about releasing a full-on ugly & hysterical cry. 

I told you it was an emotional day!

The whole time I watched my tiny dancer I couldn’t believe she’s actually mine. I clung on to those two short minutes, utterly amazed and motivated by her natural confidence. It’s frightening dancing on a professional Broadway stage, let alone being three and doing it.

She was incredible and stunning and simply captivating.

I was mesmerized. I was so proud.

When I returned to my seat, the water-works didn’t cease. In addition to my heart filled to the brim with love and pride, I also felt a huge sense of relief: I made it. All the worrying and “what-if-I-go-into-labor” dissipated. I made it for my Big Girl.

I was grateful to God for allowing me to be present, and to share in this incredible experience with Emmalyn.

When she came off the stage at intermission, I scooped her up, smothering her with kisses, as she smothered me with black glitter. It was priceless to hear her say, “That was so cool!” As her mother, I will never forget that day.

loyally,
katie

So now that I successfully made it through the recital sans water-breaking, can we please have a baby now?!

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On Turning 27


First of all, *27* is an odd number and I have a weird thing with odd numbers. They’re just not as cool as even numbers. Don’t ask.


But speaking of weird, I also have a weird thing with birthdays. I’m not a fan of celebrating my own. It’s not that I mind getting a year older–because I don’t. & hopefully by turning a year older the lady at the nail salon will quit asking me if I’m single because I look too young to be a mom. True story.

But I digress…

I absolutely l-o-v-e celebrating other people’s birthdays! Just not mine. I really don’t like the attention all on me. I get so uncomfortable. And then there’s the whole cake thing. I don’t like cake or cupcakes so what do I blow out the candles on? A cucumber?

Twenty-seven is so young, yet I have already done so much in my life: graduated college, been married 3 1/2 years, mommy to a daughter and another baby on the way, moved three times in my adult life…

Twenty-seven makes 17 seem like a lifetime ago! At seventeen, I was thinking about college, although secretly wanting to dance my life away on a cruise ship, while still semi-obsessed with a boyfriend who was totally and completely toxic. Thank goodness for college and finding The Man of My Dreams! For reals. When I think about turning thirty-seven in 10 years, I think about how I will be a mom to a full-fledged, crazy teenager (Lord, help me!) and a mom of a nearly ten year-old. I imagine Blake and I will be semi-settled in a city we love, although honestly, we probably still won’t be home-owners since who knows where in the world the military will have taken us by then?!

Being twenty-six this past year has been jam-packed-full with all sorts of emotions. I was on such a high of excitement, with thoughts of moving out of my hometown. I was enthralled to move to a new city and time zone; make new friends and start a new life with my little family. Twenty-six brought the breathtaking news of adding to our family, but it also brought an almost complete meltdown. Twenty-six brought on the realization of ceasing to strive to be Super Wife and Super Mom, something I feel profoundly proud about now, as I see those older than me still struggling with this concept. A part of me wants to slap them upside the head and say, “Just say no! It’s not worth it. You’ll be a much better person if you say no and do less.” The benefits will be so much richer and sweeter for you and your family. I think that’s a pretty deep thing to discover at only twenty-six.

Now, I don’t fight the fact that twenty-seven is quite young. After all, more of my friends are single than they are married, and only a few have started having children. But having a baby at twenty-three sky-rocketed me into adulthood a little sooner than most. I skipped the whole Getting Your Shit Together and Finding Yourself project, and jumped head-first into the role of Mommyhood, where, let’s be honest, you quickly learn no one ever has their shit together. I saved myself a lot of trouble by learning that little secret.

I pray my twenty-seventh year will be one of peace. Or as much peace as a gal can have when having a second child. Okay, let’s be real… this next year is going to be completely chaotic! But I think with everything I’ve learned while being twenty-six, I will be able to handle it with more knowledge, poise, and grace than ever before.


& just for fun, here are 27 Things I’ve Learned by 27: 



… just say no

… ask for help

… it’s okay to put yourself in uncomfortable situations. the outcome is almost always worth it

… moving far away is thrilling

… moving far away is scary

… it’s impossible to live happily in the past and the future. we only have here and now

… happiness is a choice, not a reward or privilege

… family is everything

… standing by what you believe and not stepping down is imperative, even if people don’t understand it

… just because a friend is in a different “season of life” doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends

… ‘say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out, honestly i wanna see you be brave’

… change is scary

… change is amazing

… thinking of ’27 things i’ve learned’ is tough!

… it’s always more important to be grateful than to be anything else

… never forget to take care of yourself

… prime time comedy can cure almost any bad day

… letting go is hard, but the benefits can be so rewarding

… a messy house means a happy house, not a crazy one. okay, maybe a little crazy–but in a good way!

… bad memories from the past don’t have to stay bad. you can learn from them and turn them into something positive

… doing nothing at times can be just what your body and mind needs

… nothing is every worth losing your cool over

… grace and tact can carry you a long way

… waking up before your child is a lifesaver

… hanging on to your muchness is crucial

… figuring out who you are is a journey that will last a lifetime

… 27 is not so odd after all


loyally,
a new 27 year-old,
katie



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Bumpdate: 17 Weeks ~ Baby #2


How far along: 17 weeks, today.


Symptoms: Sporadic headaches, terrible allergies (I had this happen with Emmalyn, too), awful groin pain, making it quite uncomfortable to walk at times (already?!)

Maternity Clothes: Living in mostly regular leggings, although my maternity ones from H&M are much more comfortable. I have a pair of maternity jeans from Target and a brown pair of skinnies from Motherhood Maternity since I no longer fit into my pants! Since I’m pregnant during a different season this time around, I purchased long-sleeve maternity shirts, as it will get a lot colder in our new city.

Total Weight Gain: 3 pounds. I’m definitely showing a lot sooner than I was with Emmy.

Gender: This Type A Girl is anxiously awaiting! I was originally told I would find out next week, but could not get an appointment until December 31! I’m so bummed because I wanted to find out before my birthday, which is next Thursday (the 20th), but it looks like I will have to wait. Hmph! I’m impatient! Although…. it may be kind of cool to announce it at midnight…

Movement: It’s funny how this time around I was able to detect the little flutters right away, at around 11 weeks. I’m sure it had to do with the fact that I already knew what it felt like. Just this week I’ve started feeling the baby move around while I’m up and moving, too, whereas before it was just when I was sitting or lying still.

Sleep: When I’m not blowing my brains out into a tissue, I’m sleeping pretty well. I have finally stopped peeing a million bazillion times a night, so I’m thankful for that.

Cravings & Aversions: Nope to both!

Funny Moments: Uncontrollable peeing.

Not So Funny Moments: Uncontrollable peeing.

Nesting: I definitely have a lot more energy now that the first 16 weeks have passed. Before, I was so nauseous and felt like I couldn’t move from the sofa. Now, I am going from one errand to the next, and getting out more with Emmy.

Best Moments This Week: Hands down, having Emmalyn go to our ultrasound last Wednesday. The doctor let her *do it* and when she saw the picture on the screen she said, “Look Mommy! It’s our baby!” It was the most beautiful moment. I can’t wait for her to be a big sister. She’s going to rock it!

What I Miss: Having a little bit of alcohol at a restaurant.

Looking Forward To: Looking a little more pregnant. Right now I’m at the “is she, or isn’t she?” stage.

loyally,
katie


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Emmalyn’s 1st Day of School!

“I can do anything.” –Madeline

That’s the mantra I went in with today as I dropped Emmalyn off at her first day of school. (so maybe we watched Madeline a bazillion three times yesterday while it was raining) I just can’t believe my little girl started school already! & I can’t believe I’m old enough to actually have a little girl starting school.

Granted, she’s only there for an hour and a half today–but still!

For this first week, the children only go for a limited amount of time to get them acclimated to the classroom. Next week, Emmy will go two days a week, for four and a half hours at a time.

Seriously, this whole time leading up to her going to school I’ve had My Brave Face on, and truly I believed it. But, y’all, when I drove away from her school this morning, it hit me!

Hard.

I cried painful sobs all the way home.

& it wasn’t even because she was crying, because she wasn’t.

I think the depth of the whole situation took me by surprise. My little girl is growing up. Sounds terribly cliche, I know… but it’s true. She baffles me everyday with her ever-growing conversations and stories, her kindness (we’ll leave out the part about her ever-growing temper), and her sense of wonder and curiosity.

You might wonder why, as a stay-at-home-mom I’d be sending my child to school? Why not soak up every.single.moment? Well, to be honest, we were getting bored with one another. It’s not like we didn’t go out and explore almost everyday (and with other kids) but I could tell that I wasn’t giving my daughter enough at home. She needed something else. 

And I’m okay with that. Not an ounce of guilt. 

She’s insanely curious and always getting into things. When we moved to our new town, we literally went “school shopping” until we found what we thought was the perfect fit for Emmalyn. This school focuses more on the child’s freedom to explore, discover, and select their own work. They empower independence through asking questions, puzzles, and focus on learning without having to be “spoon-fed” by the teacher. This is something we felt was important for Emmalyn based on her personality. 


This whole summer I’ve been extremely excited for her new adventure! Practically every day we talked about her “First Day of School”, and Emmy would always ask, “You’ll come with me?”

Well, umm… not exactly. I feared she would cry and protest on her first day considering how attached she is to me, but Nope! She was a champ! I was so proud to see her walk confidently into her classroom with her head held high. I think that’s the pivotal moment that sent me over the edge into Cry Town… Seeing my little love take on such a brave task.

So how did she do?!

She was super! Which bring me to my next Madeline mantra: “I’d rather be super everything than super nothing.” She came out of that classroom with the world at her fingertips. Smiling. Accomplished. Happy. Ready to do it again!

And Mommy was relieved! …and glad to have my baby back! 

& what made it all the more sweeter was having Daddy surprise us at pick-up. Icing on the cake to the Best First Day of School!

The first thing Emmalyn told us about her day was that she made new friends.

Can I get an Awwwww???

I’m so proud of my little love and can’t wait to see what she does next!

loyally,
katie 

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My Moving Tips.

So it’s been well over a month since we have moved, and if I had it all to do over there are a few things I would do differently!

#1 PACK TOILET PAPER

Self explanatory, don’t ‘ya think?? I actually had a box filled with essentials (toilet paper, wipes, etc., but didn’t know which box it was in!) Fortunately for us, the tenants before us left a couple of rolls behind. I texted her a “thank you” and she said she has moved enough times to learn her lesson!

#2 DRINK COFFEE

Life works so much better with a cup of coffee. Honestly, I don’t think of myself as a coffee drinker. Maybe once a month–if that–I would drive thru Starbucks for a Frap, but while we ate breakfast with my in-laws at their hotel, I figured I’d give it a go. Let me tell you, I was wayyyy more productive than I normally am, and it felt so good. The ONE morning I didn’t drink coffee, our landlord commented on how tired a looked. Coffee it is.

#3 BE ON THE SAME PAGE AS YOUR HUSBAND

Sooooo super important!! There were a few discrepancies that threw us for a curve ball… i.e., where furniture was going… where the TV remote was… & others that I have probably blocked from my mind. Next time, we will come together well in advance, and map out a plan!

#4 LET YOUR INNER OCD/TYPE A PERSONALITY OUT!

I’m a natural Type A girl, but I vowed to myself that I would go with the flow for this move. But this was not the time to be all loosey-goosey. My husband kept saying, “Why didn’t you make a list? I figured you would make a list. You always make lists.” & I was all like, “Because I was trying to be relaxed!” Lesson learned.

#5 HAVE A ‘DO NOT PACK’ BOX 

& pack it up in the car BEFORE the movers arrive. I had a DO NOT PACK box clearly labeled, but it still got packed in the moving truck. It had all of our important bank information/checks in it! Yipes! Fortunately, it was delivered with nothing missing. Thank goodness! On the day that the movers came, we were scrambling to grab stuff so they didn’t pack it up. These guys were fast, let me tell you!

They even packed Emmy’s “port-a-potty” with PEE IN IT! Yes! You read that right. Our sitter had taken Emmy to the park for a bit, then came back for lunch. She put the potty in the bathroom, and before she could even tell us it was in there, the movers had wrapped it and placed it in a box! I’m sure glad we found which box it was in otherwise it would have made for an interesting unpacking!

#6 HAVE A BABY & PUPPY SITTER

Thankfully my parents kept Indy out of our feet, and our sitter took Emmalyn out of the house while the movers packed us up. We couldn’t have had such a smooth move without my in-laws entertaining Emmalyn in our new city. They took her to the zoo, the beach, a museum. I got so much accomplished without her around. (No offense Emmy!) 

#7 HAVE YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW UNPACK YOUR KITCHEN

This was amazing! A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I couldn’t be more grateful!

// // //
Having the Military set up our moving service was an absolute dream! They seriously spoiled us. I wouldn’t do it any other way!
loyally,
katie

Our First Flight–We Survived!

Welp, we made it back in one piece. Flying with a two year-old was quite interesting, to say the least.

Here’s a break-down of our trip and what I learned…

Flight to Texas:
Who’s terrible idea was it to make a child get out of their stroller to go through security?! Obviously they don’t have any children, otherwise they’d know that it’s absolute hell trying to get a toddler back into the stroller. My husband is usually the one to do such manual labor, when said toddler is kicking and screaming and squirming all over the place. Finally, between my mom, dad, and me, we manage to get Emmy into her stroller.

*Lesson Learned: I would suggest putting the stroller through the conveyer FIRST, that way I could work on getting Emmalyn in while the rest of our stuff was being scanned. Plus, Emmalyn would have already been in the stroller, freeing up my hands to unload everything off the conveyer.

While waiting at the gate, Emmy had a grand time running back and forth alongside the windows, pointing at the airplanes. She even spotted the University of Central Florida triathlon team and shouted, “U-C-F! Go Knights!” (The guys got a kick out of it)

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 {i apologize for the crappy iPhone pics}

I made the decision not to bring Emmy’s car seat on the flight, but rather check it at the gate. (I also didn’t want to check it at the curb because I was afraid it would get beaten around too much.) The downside of all that was that we had to carry it from the car to the gate. In the end, not a huge nuisance.

So like I was saying, we let Emmy sit in the “Big Girl Seat” and she thought she was hot stuff. I thought for sure having her sit like a big girl was going to be the ticket to a smooth flight. But alas, I was wrong. When it was time to buckle up, Emmalyn didn’t want any help doing so. Normally she can buckle her regular car seat, but with this seat belt she had it backwards and refused to let anyone help her. Typical two year-old. She was thoroughly convinced she had it right and nothing was going to change that.

The flight attendant came over and told us we needed to get her in her seat. So… the screaming began… My daughter was quite frustrated and mad at me for forcing her in her seat.

Once she was buckled in, she seemed to settle down and was onto her next discovery.

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One of the biggest suggestions I received from friends was to give her a lollipop at take-off. This was a huge deal for me because I’ve NEVER given Emmalyn a lollipop before. It’s a personal choice, but I strongly believe in not feeding my child(ren) candy. However, I made an exception because I was more concerned about her ears hurting with the change in pressure.

I laughed because Emmalyn looked at me and said, “What’s this? How does it work?” when I gave her the lollipop.

Side Story: Jelly Beans were the center piece of my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah (the reasons for going to Texas) and Emmalyn picked up every.single.one off the floor and threw them in the trash! That’s my girl! 😉

But I digress.

Overall, Emmalyn did OK during the nearly three-hour flight. Curious George on the iPad entertained her for a while, then a new game on the iPad. Then Girlfriend wanted to climb all over me, which drove me insane. But not as insane as when she wanted to go potty. Have you every tried to bring a two year-old into an airplane bathroom with you?! It should be an Olympic sport, people! Enough said.

Emmy threw another fit when we had to put her back in the seat belt to land. & again when we had to put her in the stroller after exiting the plane. Exhausting.

// // //

Our time in Texas was filled with family, new friends, and plenty of laughter and memories. But that’s all for another post.

// // //

Flight Back Home:
Again we had to take Emmy out of the stroller, and again, I wanted to beat up the person who implemented this rule. People were staring at us: Emmalyn screaming, and me with a determined-to-survive-this-flight look on my face, dodging innocent passerby’s.

*Lesson Learned: Never judge people dragging little people at the airport.

At the gate, Emmalyn didn’t want to sit still–she kept running off amongst a sea of travelers. Thankfully I could take turns chasing her with my parents. Not sure what I would have done if I were by myself… who would have watched my bags while I ran after her before she boarded a flight to Mexico?

Because Emmalyn wanted to play *musical air chairs* on the first flight, I thought maybe it might be a better idea to bring her car seat with us this time. It was worth a shot, right?

*Lesson Learned: BRING CAR SEAT ONTO FLIGHT!!!

Best! Decision! Ever!

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{with Silly Putty, a.k.a. “peanut”}

Although she fought me getting into her seat, it was smooth sailing, er–flying, from there. I believe she did so well on this flight because her car seat brought her a sense of comfort and order. She didn’t ask to get out once during the entire flight. {Except for when we were descending and she said she needed to go potty… thank goodness for Pull-Ups!}

On our way to land, Emmalyn looked at my mom and said, “I can’t hear.” Poor thing, but it was cute. Thus, her second lollipop in history was distributed 😉 A little while later my mom asked her if she wanted a drink of water to help with her ears and she said, “No, I can hear now!” When we got in the car to go home she told my husband, “My ears are all better now.”

// // //

Overall, I’d say my first time flying with a toddler was a success. I know it could have been a whole heck of a lot worse… like the poor parents several seats behind us…. stuck with two very young, screaming children.

I was proud of my girl for going with the flow on this new adventure.

& proud of ME for surviving, too!

Now I just need a vacation from my vacation!

loyally,

katie