5 on Friday | December – Week 3 – McKenzie’s Favorite Things Edition


I’m linking up with Darci and friends from the good life blog for another version of 5 on Friday! This week’s theme is McKenzie’z Favorite Things!  These aren’t necessarily things that she’s wishing for from Santa, but items that we have and love and think you should too!


Fisher Price Little People Christmas Story!
  This was actually an early Christmas present to McKenzie this year from her grandmother.  We wanted her to be able to play with the set and really enjoy it.  It was also a great time to incorporate the Christmas story in to her play-time. She loves the set and little animals and even says Jesus…well, more like Cheeze-us, but we know what she means!  If we ask her to find Jesus, she runs and gets the little baby in the manger!  So sweet!

Mr. Christmas Red Lighted Goodnight Lights Ornament!
 Kenzie received this little ornament as an early Christmas present, as well.  I had never seen something like this before, but thought that it was a novel idea.   The ornament is Santa holding a candle.  It has wires running down the back of the ornament that you run through your tree.  These wires are attached to a box that you plug-in to the electrical outlet.  One you hang the ornament and run the green wires down through the tree (just as you would your light wires), you plug your lights into the box and the box into the electrical outlet.  That’s when the magic happens.    The candle has a small pin-sized hole in the front of it.  If you want to turn the lights the Christmas tree lights on, you blow on Santa’s candle.  If you want to turn them off, you blow the candle out.  It’s adorable and McKenzie loves it.  She can’t walk by the tree without pretending to blow out the candle.    She doesn’t have the height or enough power, but it’s fun all the same!  Plus, Brian and I love it, because it means that we don’t have to maneuver around/under the tree to get the lights plugged in.   It’s adorable!  Check it out!

Highlights!  For those of you who grew up in the 80’s, you probably already remember this magazine.  I know I loved it!  There were stories, crafts and hidden picture puzzles.   My mom mentioned that there was a new version out for toddlers – Highlights Hello.  I was so excited!  We signed McKenzie up and she now she receives her own mail and magazine each month.  The books are amazing.  Toddler sized and printed on durable paper that can’t be torn and can be cleaned!

Amazing!  Printed with non-toxic ink, the magazine’s durability was even tested by being placed in a washing machine!  As good as new!

McKenzie loves the short stories, the songs and the hidden picture puzzles.  There are even tips throughout the book for parents on how to incorporate the themes, stories and songs into learning each day.  Plus, it’s one of those books that’s small enough to throw in to the diaper bag or purse and will keep her occupied forever!  Love!

Rileyroos!   These have been our go-to shoes since McKenzie started wearing shoes.  Sadly, her big feet no longer fit in them, so we’ve had to move on.

These shoes are developmentally friendly, with flexible soles and curled toes to provide leverage as your little one learns to crawl.  They are lightweight and perfect for providing the protection and traction that little ones need…all while imitating barefoot walking.  Plus, Rileyroos is  a local company from Baltimore – a win-win!  Kenzie literally had shoes to match each of her outfits.  I know…it’s an obsession!

If you’re looking for adorable shoes, that both you and your baby/toddler will love, check out Rileyroos!

Crochet Creations by Bibi!  Need a small gift that’s affordable, yet personalized for babies, toddler’s, tween’s or even adults?  Then check out my mother-in-law’s page!  She’s working on getting her Etsy page up, but for now, Facebook is it!  She has created some adorable hats and will work to create a personalized piece just for you!  Don’t see what you want?  Send her a picture with your request and she’ll create it for you!  What talent!   Hats range from $7 to $18 (plus shipping) and are completed within a few days!  Check out her page and let her know that you heard about her from Heartbeats and Little Feet.  There may just be a surprise in it for you!

Side note: Bibi is what Kenzie calls her grandmother.  Both my mother-in-law and father-in-law refused to pick their Grandparent names, so we chose for them.  It was a very scientific choosing. Brian typed Grandmother and Grandfather in to Google translate.  And there you have it…Bibi and Babu – Grandmother and Grandfather in Swahili.  I bet they wish they had thought that decision through! 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone!



Fabulous Holiday Fun!

What a weekend!  Busy yet so much fun!

Kenzie is in love with Christmas lights.  She ohhh’s and ahhh’s as we pass houses with lights.  She points out her window and giggles.  As more and more people are putting their lights up,there’s even more to look at.  Friday night after dinner, we decided to drive to the Herr’s Factory to look at the light display that they put up.  It was a great night, filled with Christmas music on the radio, and pretty lights to see.  Kenzie loved it!  It was raining, so we didn’t get a chance to get out and walk around, but still so worth it.  Here are some pictures that we captured!

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Saturday, we spent the morning doing laundry and cleaning up the house.  We were hoping to get the outside decorated, but ran out of time!  We’re hoping to get it done some time this week so that McKenzie has time to enjoy them before the holidays are over.  As an aside, I have never been a fan of lawn decorations at Christmas and I refuse to get a blow-up one, but a simple light up snow man or reindeer may be in our future.  Kenzie would love it, since she’s obsessed with Frosty!


A-Ra, Jessica’s Aunt, spoiled her by buying her every Christmas movie possible.  We’ve watched a few of them, but Frosty is her favorite!  She marches around the house they way Frosty and his crew marches around town.  Her stomping is hilarious…she only marches with one foot.  It’s adorable!

Saturday evening, we went to dinner to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.  It was a great evening had by all and we are lucky to have her in our life.  After dinner, we stopped at a local creamery that makes homemade ice cream.  Kenzie’s patience was starting to wear thin, so I downloaded the JibJab Elf Dance App.  I quickly snapped pictures of everyone and created an elf dance sketch.  She loved it!  It kept her laughing for the rest of the evening!  Oh technology!  I highly recommend this distraction technique!


On Sunday, we took McKenzie to have breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  From a distance, Kenzie thought Santa was the coolest.  She would point to him, smile and wave.  Up close, she didn’t care for him too much!  She didn’t scream, but was really unsure.  Look at her clenched little fists.  I think Mrs. Claus was our saving grace!  Very cute little breakfast put on by our local volunteer fire house.

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santa 1

It started snowing around 11 yesterday and didn’t stop until the evening. Then we had bouts of freezing rain and sleet overnight.


We spent the day making cookies with my Mother-in-law, Mom and sister.  It was such a nice way to spend a cold, winter day.  There is more baking in store, but we had to call it quits so that we could get home before the roads got too bad.

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Kenzie is currently spending the day at home with Brian and loving life!  I can’t even stand how cute these pictures are!

Kenz snow 1

Kenz Snow 2

Hope everyone had a great week!

The Thankful Project: Day 25 – Something You Know

After cutting down our Christmas tree and decorating with a toddler this weekend, I learned a lot.  Who would have thought the lesson would have been taught by a toddler?

Let me back up.  This weekend, we spent Saturday cutting down our Christmas tree.  It’s a tradition that Brian and I have done every year.   Last year, Kenzie was just 6 months old and I carried her in the baby carrier.  Let me tell you, much easier!

family 3

Tree Farm 2012

This year, we have a 18 month old who has more determination and will to do things her way than most adults I know.  Honestly!  We arrived at the tree farm and had a slight melt-down early on because we were making her wear a hat.  Once we were over that, things were smooth sailing…until they told us the tractor that takes you to where the trees are, wasn’t up and running.

“OK”, we thought, “we’ll walk it.  It can’t be that hard.”  Again, naive parent’s here.  McKenzie wanted to walk the gravel road herself.   She wanted to walk it at her pace and if you attempted to pick her up, then she would lose her mind.


See the tree on the upper left side of the screen? The one at the top? That’s where we walked to!

The whole tree experience, that should have taken 30 minutes from start to finish, ended up taking 2 hours.  When we finally reach where the trees were, she had a melt-down because she didn’t want to walk in the grass.  She wanted to stay on the gravel road.



We finally found the perfect tree and cut it down.  We figured she’d be tired and would want to be carried on the walk back.  Again…we were wrong.  She walked the entire gravel path back.

bri tree

Our tree 2013

I wish I had a way to track how far this little girl walked.  It was easily 3 miles.  She never gave up.  She never quit.  She just kept walking, as fast as her little legs could carry her.

So you know what I know?  Toddlers…they can teach you a lot.  Like how to slow down, to enjoy the moment, to take your time and to really appreciate the things that you are doing, because if we hadn’t, we would have missed the opportunity to capture such gorgeous pictures – the lake, the green trees and the sky.


Tree Farm 2013

I’m really thankful.


thankful project titleI’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!

McKenzie | 18 Months |

Again, a little late, but better late than never!

So little McKenzie…You’re a 1 and a half!  How in the world did that happen?!  Weren’t we just planning your first birthday party?!  This past month has been so much fun with you!

What’s Happening:

The Start of Potty Training
You’ve shown interest and I’m cautiously optimistic! I know it is probably still a little way off, but you’ve told Jen at daycare and us when you need to go!


I can’t even believe that I just typed that.  How did we get here!?  I’ve been researching local preschools for the past month or two.  First, most are way more expensive than I realized that they would be.  Second, most are charging a lot of money for only 2 hours, 2 days a week.  I was shocked!  After researching a little more, we found a local preschool that we love!  I can’t even wait for you to start there in September!  You are going to learn so much and have so much fun!

I’m not even sure how many words you know now.  You talk all day long!  What I love about your learning words is that you are finally able to communicate with us!  A few nights ago, you were so exhausted.  We gave you your bath and I sat down with you, just as I do each night, to hold you for a few minutes before you climb in to bed.  You lost your mind.   I wasn’t even sure why!  I assumed it was because you were overly tired.  As I listened closer,  I finally caught on to what you were saying as you were crying! Book! You were upset that we didn’t read!  My little creature of habit! I let you pick out a book, we read it, you curled right up in my arms and went to sleep without a fight.  I love that you can tell us things now!

Your newest phrase that you say each night as we end a story, is “The End!”  You are listening and learning and I love it!

Leading up to Halloween, we taught you Boo, since you were going to be a ghost.  Anytime we asked you what a ghost said, you would yell, “Boo!”

We’ve moved on and skipped over Thanksgiving, since “Gobble Gobble” is a little harder to say.  We’ve started working on Christmas.  If we ask you what Santa says, you reply, “Ho ho!” and if we ask whose birthday it is on Christmas you say, “Baby Cheezus”.  It makes me giggle every time.  There is some slight confusion though because any time you want a Cheez It cracker, you will say Cheezus.  We’ve got some clarification to do!

Favorite Thing
Singing the ABC’s.  It’s your favorite song.  As we sing it, you join in with a random E, G, I, or Z.  You bob your head as we say each letter.  After we’re done singing, you will sing it on your own.  You have the rhythm of the song down, but mumble through most of the letters until you hit your favorites – E, G, I and Z.

You eat a lot, but are still kind of picky.  You hate any form of meat.  Veggies and fruits…you’ve got it.  Put a chicken, ham, turkey, or meat loaf in front of you and you remove them from your plate.  It’s so bizarre.  We’ve been working on finding new forms of protein that you will actually eat, but haven’t been too successful.


You have also become finicky with how your food is presented.  Some days you want things cut, so we cut them up.  Then the next meal, you refuse to eat because you wanted it whole.  Then the next meal you want things cut up.  We can’t keep up!

Sleep Habits
Your sleep habits have been less than stellar ever since daylight savings time.  I think we also had a touch of sleep regression going on at the same time, which means we haven’t been getting the greatest sleep!  For about 2 weeks, you would wake up at 2 in the morning, open your door and stand at the gate.  You would call for me and I would come get you.  As soon as you saw me, you would run back to your bed, grab your blanket, and motion to be picked up.  We’d sit in your chair and rock and you’d fall back to sleep quickly.  You would sleep until about 5:15.  Then you were up again for good!    We’ve been a little tired, but it has gotten better.  The past few nights, you’ve slept through the night again and have only been getting up a little earlier than normal!

We’ve been busy this past month!

You had you’re second Halloween.  Such a cute little ghost!


You went to your first show – Disney on Ice. We went with your friend Ella and you loved it!


You thought you were home, because you insisted on taking your shoes off!

Date Day with Dad – Daycare was closed, so Dad stayed home with you.  You went to a bounce house with inflatable moon bounces with your friend, Adelyn, and then out to lunch!  You had so much fun!


This month has been one of the best!  You are for sure your own little person, with an ever emerging personality.  It’s so fun watching you grow and I’m so thankful that I’m your Mom!

I love you through and through.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow too.


Little Ghosts and Goblins Halloween Pajama Party Link-Up

I’m joining Darci from The Good Life Blog and Meredith from The Tichenor Family for a Halloween Pajama Party!

Last year, we were still getting the hang of the parenting thing and were preoccupied with getting prepared for Super Storm Sandy to have any fun around Halloween.  Halloween was actually postponed and rescheduled in our town.   This year, it’s a different story!  I’m loving that McKenzie now Oooooh’s and Ahhhhh’s at the Halloween decorations.  It’s going to get better each year from here!  Her Halloween pajama’s just make me giggle.  These glow in the dark!

Don’t mind the shoes in the next series.  We’re still in the phase of loving shoes.  She had just taken a bath before we put on these adorable pajamas and she insisted on wearing her shoes.  Again, they were removed after she was fast asleep!





Pajamas from Carters

Here’s your chance to join in the fun!  Can’t wait to see how cute all of the little ones are!


McKenzie | 17 Months |

Although a little late…I’m still posting!  Enjoy!

17 months old!  Where has the time gone?  It’s hard for this Mama to even imagine. You change each day!  There’s always something new you’re doing to keep us on our toes. Here’s a little re-cap for us to look back on and remember!

What’s Happening:

You officially have a cousin!  Aunt Erin and Uncle Brian delivered a healthy baby boy and we are over the moon excited for them!  You got to meet Nathan last Saturday and loved him. You gave lots of kisses and kept saying. “Baby!”.  You will be a great big sister one day!

So Sweet. P.S. You were playing dress up, so you had a tutu on! Nice outfit choice!

Vocabulary Explosion!
Your vocabulary has taken off!  I can’t even keep up with all of the words that you say because you mimic everything we say.  Words that you use on your own on a regular basis and that are clear now include: baby, apple, juice, apple juice, Ouch, more, ball, book, Ellie (for your favorite stuffed elephant), shoes, truck, cat, Stop!, Yeah, and No…along with all of the originals – like Mama, Dada, and dog.  It’s so much fun to see what word you come up with next!

Speaking of mimicking, you copy everything we do.  In the past month, Dad and I have become even more aware of not only what we say, but what we do around you!  You are watching us and learning, even when we don’t realize it!   The video below is just one of the moments that Dad and I caught of you copying us.  You were being grumpy in the back seat on a drive home, so we gave you the I-Pod with you favorite Fisher Price learning games on it.  Dad and I continued with our conversation, but could hear you talking in the back seat.  When we stopped talking and turned around to look at you, this is what we saw… My favorite part is where you hold the I-pod out in front of you as if you are wondering why no one is talking back!

Favorite Thing
This month marked your first time on a moon bounce.  It was at a birthday party we were attending.  You weren’t sure of what to make of it at first, but soon learned how fun they can be!  We went inside for cake and gifts and you were not happy about it!  You were determined to lead us by our hands back out to the moon bounce.  so cute!

You are still a picky eater.  We normally get one great meal out of you each day.  Other than that, you just snack and nibble throughout.  You seem to always be eating something though, just not always at the specified meal times.  I’m hoping this will get better with age!

You are a climbing machine!  You will use anything and anyone to climb up on the sofa! You’ve pulled toys over, your Pottery Barn Chair, used Dad’s legs quite a few times and even the dogs (although we stop you from that!)  A few times, you’ve even gotten up there by yourself…I think you are hooking your foot in the cushion.  Hilarious!

Bed Time Routine
You’re bedtime routine has changed a bit.  You no longer let me hold you while we say our good night prayers.  You happily climb into bed on your own, point to the blanket and request to be covered up.  Then we hold hands and say prayers while I kneel next to your bed.  It’s our favorite time of the day!  I’m sure Dad’s excited too!  You would only ever let me be in the room when we put you to bed, but you’ve started allowing him to join in as well.  It’s one of my favorite times of the day now.  Thanking God for everything we have, for our families and friends, and asking him to watch over all of us. Love it!

Last Friday night was a cold and rainy night.  Dad was working, so it was just you and me. I decided that we would watch Cinderella!  I put the DVD in and you instantly squealed when you saw the Disney castle on the opening credits.  You sat in your Pottery Barn chair, covered up with your blanket and stuffed animal, Ellie!  You watched the movie for a little, but then moved on to playing, while watching.  The whole time, you loved it though!  You would point out Lucifer, the cat, and laughed from your toes when I called you Gus Gus!  I look forward to more cuddly evenings with you!

McKenzie, life just keeps getting better.  There are still days that are far from fun, but even on those days – I am thankful for a healthy little girl who is able to throw such fits!  From working in a hospital, I know that not everyone is as lucky!

Continue to grow, but not so fast!

I love you through and through.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow too.


We’re All In This Together!

Today’s post is about an event that happened over a month ago.  I wasn’t going to write about it, but then it’s one of those moments that keeps coming back to me.  Every time I think about it, it bothers me more.  It was one of those moments as a Mom that I will never forget, for multiple reasons.  Let me explain…

Brian was out-of-town.  McKenzie and I went to dinner to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday.  After dinner, we headed to a local creamery to have ice cream.  After waiting in line for over 30 minutes, we finally had our ice cream and were able to sit down outside at a picnic table.   Thank goodness for McKenzie’s grandfather, who kept her occupied the entire time we waited in line.  You know how patient toddlers can be!

McKenzie made her rounds at the table, taking a little bite of everyone’s ice cream.  Initially, she walked around to everyone for a bite.  Then she sat on the table in front of me for some time.  Eventually, McKenzie scooted to the center of the table, to be the center of attention, naturally!  She stood up on the table, but was surrounded by all of our family.  She wasn’t in danger.  She wasn’t hurting anyone.  We were at a picnic table outside.

That’s when it started…the judging.   There was another curious toddler nearby, who instantly zoned in on McKenzie.  She was older than McKenzie (maybe 3 or 4) and wanted nothing more than to come over and talk to her.  She kept pointing to her and attempting to walk over.  As she pointed, we could hear the mother say, “Yes, I see her.  I don’t know why she’s standing on the table.  We don’t stand on tables.  I don’t know why her Mommy is letting her.”   OK…that was the start of it.  I understand at some point, I too will be in a position to have to explain some unwanted behavior of another child to McKenzie.  I didn’t fault the Mom for this.  It was more of how she was going about it.  Either way, I was ready to let it go!   It didn’t really blip my radar.

Then the little girl proceeded to come right over and sit next to me.  The Mom walked over with her.  McKenzie loves other children, so she instantly started waving and smiling, still on top of the table.  As any Mom would do, I talked to the little girl who was now sitting next to me, “Hi there!  How are you?  What’s your name?”  The little girl didn’t reply, but I hadn’t really expected her to.  This is where a normal mother would have said, “Say my name is… and prompted the little girl.”  I don’t have a problem with you joining our table, but at least be social as a parent.  Even wild animals grunt!  Instead, the woman stood there silent, with a look on her face that I will never forget, still judging me for having my daughter on the table.  I said it again…still nothing.  Still judging.  At this point, I was freaking irritated.  If you’re going to come over, at least be social.  If you think my child is such a heathen and you don’t want to talk, then don’t come over to us.  Right?

Let’s pause the story for a moment before I continue with the epic ending…

Moms, I know that we all don’t raise our children the same.  Some children are allowed to do things that other mother’s wouldn’t tolerate.  I get it, but let’s be honest.  We are all in this together.   Some days, if standing on the table is going to buy me 5 more minutes of peace before a meltdown, then so be it.  If she’s safe, it’s OK!  We weren’t at a fine dining establishment.  She wasn’t standing on the table in the middle of Ruth’s Chris.  She was on a picnic table, which lives outside, which is exposed to the elements…all elements, including seeing other mother’s changing their children’s diapers on these tables.   So was it different from the rules that you have set for your child? Yes.  Will I allow McKenzie to stand on tables when she’s 4 years old? No.  Will I allow it now, while she is still relatively small? Yes.

My point is, stop judging!  We’ve all been there.  If we haven’t, we’ll all be there at some point! Instead of loudly judging, both with words and facial expressions, give that Mom a smile.  Let her know you know exactly how frazzled, frustrated, overwhelmed, and tired she is.   A smile that says, “I get it.  It’ll be ok.  This too shall pass.”   Whatever you do, don’t judge!  We may all raise our children differently, but we all have the same struggles.  So please, stop judging, because we’re all in this together.

Now the epic ending…

The judging continued and the awkward silence ensued while McKenzie and the little girl waved to one another.  With perfect timing, McKenzie grunted and turned red (you know what that means).  Then, before I could even stop her, she hopped and landed, with a blow-out of epic proportions.   It was only up her back, but definitely visible.  As irritated as I had been with this woman, I was now mortified.   How embarrassing!   Again, we’ve all been there, so laugh at the grossness, smile and say have a good night.  Instead, the woman shrieked, picked her child up and ran away.  I will never forget the look on that woman’s face.  Score 1 for McKenzie for giving “shit” right back to the woman who had been giving us shitty looks all night!  Go Team!