When Dad Is In Charge

When you’re a mom, it’s assumed you are the one to always power through and take care of everyone at any given moment, but what happens when you get sick? I know, I know, what a horrible thing to say, but it happened! I have been struck by the flu. THE FLU! A three-letter word we as parents, especially moms, never want to hear. It’s like “he who shall not be named.” Don’t say it! Get it out of my house NOW!

The origins of my illness are unknown. Could it have been something my kids brought home from daycare? Was it someone I shook hands with from work? The list of culprits is extensive, but none of that matters, I have been out of commission and the three men in my life – husband, toddler, and baby – have been left to fight for their own.

Now, I will give it to my husband, he does a great job, but a screaming toddler and teething baby can take a toll on anyone. As I laid in bed with a headache like no other headache I’ve experienced before (the fluorescent lighting was trying to take me down), I just let go of my mom control issues and just assumed the following would take place:

(When dad takes the daily photo)

  1. Lotion? What lotion? My husband hates the feeling of lotion, so I assumed my kids will not be moisturized and fall victim of the winter chap.
  2. My toddler would be exposed to some Netflix series, well over his head. Today they watched Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which I can’t complain too much. At least it wasn’t something ridden with gore and death. I’ll just have a nearly three-year-old question his existence on this planet. Swell!
  3. My children will bully their father. When you have two kids yelling at the top of their lungs, you give in. If my toddler will want puffs, pretzels, cheez-its, goldfish, fruit chews, pediasure, yogurt, and an orange and he’ll get it, because one screaming child is better than two.
  4. When they bump their heads, or face it with my child, fall off the couch, they get a rub on the head and a “you’re OK Bud” instead of some serious mom cuddles.
  5. Finally, my toddler may or may not wash his hands following the use of the potty. Who needs basic hygiene? Not my son!

I could highlight the things I would have done differently, but when it all comes down to it, my husband rocked it. He confirmed everything we speculated, he’s an AWESOME dad! While I was quarantined, my kids:

  1. Got quality one-on-one time with their dad.
  2. They were able to play lightsabers or ninja with their dad without mom chiming in on safety issues.
  3. My toddler was able to follow his dad around and help with his baby brother (who absolutely adores him).
  4. They learned about the infinite expanse of the universe with Neil deGresse Tyson
  5. Finally, they were showed how much they are loved by their dad – more than anything.

To say we are lucky to have my husband is a complete understatement. Hun, if I haven’t said it enough, I love you, the boys love you, and we appreciate everything you do for us!

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Toddler Time – Good Night, Baby Moon

If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you know how important the bedtime routine is in my house, in particular, the books we read together as a family at night. My toddler will mull over the books in his bookshelf and carefully select each literary masterpiece we read.

He is known is to pick the same books, even when he sits there and stares for five or more minutes at his collection. We can all admit, it’s easier to default to what we know and feel comfortable with, but I often encourage my toddler to step outside of his comfort zone and pick a book that is fun and exciting, but is also packed with educational opportunities.

DK Publishing’s Good Night, Baby Moon is the interactive, educational, and charming book, both child and parent will love. What’s cuter than a family of curious rabbits who have rhythm? Not much in my opinion! In this special book, your little one can follow this family of furry critters as they examine and learn about the various phases of the moon.

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We’ve recently been talking to our son about the sun, the moon, the stars, and the clouds floating by in the sky.  He’s finally at the age where he is excited to learn! Good Night, Baby Moon, provides the perfect opportunity for us to go outside and point at the moon and compare it to the journey of the little bunny family as they learn about the various phases of mother moon.

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Did I mention the front cover of this book lights up?! My son is so eager to press the button and see the moon behind the rabbits shine bright. I caught him the other night flicking the light on and off in the baby monitor. That’s right! He loves his copy of Good Night, Baby Moon so much, he insists on taking it to bed with him at night. Who needs a stuffed animal when you have DK Publishing’s Good Night, Baby Moon?

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Do you want to stroll through the woods with the rabbit family too? Well, your wait will be over soon. On September 5, 2017, you can get your hands of this perfect bedtime read. Mark your calendars, so you can make bedtime even more fun!

“Watching the moon helped the rabbits to learn, that when it goes away, it will always return.”

Website – DK Publishing
Instagram – @dkbooks
Twitter – @dkpublishing
Facebook – DK Books

How to Get the Boy Mom Look

Now, I have something very important to tell you and it might come as a shock to you…I am a boy mom! I know, it’s shocking! Who would have guessed?!

My life is outnumbered by some extremely handsome gentlemen. It’s like living in a frat house and I just so happen to manage it.  Since I work on my own personal Greek Row, I have mastered my boy mom look. It’s not entirely glamorous, but it allows me to get the job done with a smidge of style.

Here’s how to build the perfect boy mom look:

Boy Mom Style

Closed toe shoes – No mom is ever fully protected unless she is wearing closed toe shoes, especially with boys. I rely on my trusty Converses (my shoe of choice since middle school) to protect me from the dangers of “death by Lego.” There is nothing more painful than running around the house barefoot, chasing your toddler, and stepping on a hidden Lego. Truly, nothing as painful.

Long short sleeve shirt – I’m not only wearing a long t-shirt to hide my post-pregnancy bod, but to protect my dignity. Have you ever had your child pull your shirt up in public so they could put their stuffed alligator under your shirt? No? Well let me tell you, it’s an experience. For some reason there is a fascination to lift my shirt and hide things under it (shakes her head in confusion). Also, when you have boys, you are constantly lifting, tossing, and spinning, so a long shirt eliminates the exposure of unwanted areas.

Shorts – Running around preventing your child from jumping off platforms, frolicking in the street, or flying of the playground slide, requires comfortability, breathability, and functionality. You can certainly do this in jeans, but you’ll just be hot as hell.

Flannel shirt or sweatshirt – Did I mention I’m a style icon (she says sarcastically)? Well, I am, in my own mind, and I like to accessorize with flannel. Now, I don’t wrap a flannel around my waist for 90s nostalgia, but to keep my shirt down and in place. Remember when I mentioned earlier my son likes to lift my shirt and hide things? Well, with my handy, dandy flannel, this no longer happens.

Diaper Bag – With two kids, in particular two boys, I need a diaper bag that can move with the energy of a toddler and hold all of the snacks, toys, and diapers a mom can possibly possess. My FAWN Design diaper bag gives me the functionality of a backpack and much needed style! Seriously, this is best bag for parents with multiple children.

Mama Gear – I like to call myself a mama bear, so I like to proudly display my self proclaimed title. My bangle from Just Bee Charmed allows me to do just that! I am obsessed with the quality of work, customer service, and personalization of each bangle Just Bee Charmed offers. Get yourself one TODAY!

Just Bee Charmed

Messy Bun – The general “mom look” is only complete with the addition of a messy bun. Let’s be honest, we can save time and ourselves from the torture of having our hair ripped out. Also, running around and chasing the little ones can get hot and sweaty. Having hair stick to the back of your neck is annoying and not cute.

Now that you have the basic understanding of the “mom look” go out there, embrace your boy mom style and raise some outstanding young men!

7 Toddler Must-Haves for the Pool Bag

It’s that time of year again. The time where we take everything out of the diaper bag and move into the pool tote. Now last year, my oldest was still too small to fully enjoy the pool, but now as a spritely two-year-old, he was ready to jump in feet first!

Pool Day with Rorie

Like every other family on Memorial Day weekend, we trucked it to the pool with all of our neighbors to christen the pool for the start of the summer holiday. Our neighborhood has both a “big kid” pool and a kiddie pool equipped with a frog slide. To say my son was in awe as we approached the iron gates of the neighborhood watering hole is an understatement.

My youngest is still small enough (8 weeks) where I don’t have to worry about him flinging his body into the crystal blue lagoon, unlike my oldest. The only concern with the newborn is to keep him cool and comfortable, so scouting out the perfect shaded area was the initial mission. Once we found OUR spot, it was time to prepare ourselves for the energy of our two-year-old. I wasn’t too concerned, because I spent the entire night before our pool excursion packing the pool bag full of toddler must-haves.

Here are the 7 items I take to ensure my toddler has a fun and safe time at the pool:

1. Skin safety is of the upmost importance with the little ones (you should also protect yourself), so I make sure my kids are lathered head to toe in sunscreen. Even though he is a redhead, he doesn’t burn easily, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need to apply and then reapply multiple times during our time at the pool. Here are three sunscreens I recommend and would use on my kids any day!

Protect All Over Sunscreen by Beautycounter
– Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Sunscreen
– Tom’s of Maine Baby Sunscreen Lotion

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Photo courtesy of Beautycounter

2. Swimming diapers are so important! The pool had to temporarily shut-down, multiple times, this weekend, because a certain family refused to put a swim diaper on their kid. If you’ve seen the movie Caddyshack, the scene where the Baby Ruth candy bar is thrown in the pool and mistaken for a “doodie” is what happened in our neighborhood pool. Instead a delicious chocolatey treat, it was actual “doodie.” I never ever want to be the parent whose kids pooped in the pool. Not that I would be embarrassed, just that people are ruthless with their words. With this said, my kid is clad in Pampers Spashlers!

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Photo courtesy of buy buy baby

3. When you have a kid as fearless as ours, you can never be too safe. Since we haven’t put him in swim lessons (I know, I know, I need to get him in classes ASAP), I need to make sure if he flings his body into the pool he will in fact float back to the top. Speedo Swimming Fabric Arm Bands are perfect for my kid. They slide right on, but stay in place while in the pool. As an added bonus to the safety they provide, these floaties are adorable!

Speedo Swim Wings

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

4. Your kid probably plays with toys at home, so they will of course want to play with toys while at the pool. I went to my local Dollar Tree and stocked up on water toys (i.e. water pistols, buckets, balls, etc.) to add a little extra fun to pool time without breaking the bank. I didn’t head over to the mama holy land, Target, as I normally would because of the unspoken neighborhood pool rule – If you leave your toy(s), they get inherited by whatever family finds them or they live a sad life in the moldy lost and found box near the lifeguard’s office. Take my advice, it’s the way to go, on all levels.

5. My son loves to play in the pool, but he doesn’t like to carry the wetness into the car. Instead of mixing in his wet swimsuit in with the other pool bag items, we put them in our AWE Süsse Wet Bag. Listen, this wet bag is wonderful! It keeps the wetness inside and does not leave a mildew smell. Not to mention, my son is obsessed with saying his alphabet and our wet bag has alpha monsters. He practices his ABCs while we carry it to the car.

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Photo courtesy of AWE Süsse

6. My son doesn’t understand the concept of “adult swim,” so when he has to abruptly get out of the the pool, let’s just say a stage-five tantrum ensues. In order to distract him from the ten painful minutes he has to stay out of the pool, I offer up snacks, snacks, and even more snacks! The Munchkin Snack Catcher is perfect for toting around crackers, goldfish, grapes, and other delicious treats while keeping the crumbs contained. As a former lifeguard in my teen years, there is nothing more frustrating (well maybe cleaning poop out of the pool) then having to cleanup soggy cracker pieces from the pool deck. Don’t be that parent.

 

Munchkin Snack Catcher

Photo courtesy of Walmart

7. My son is going through the phase of wanting to be just like mom and dad. When we have our sunglasses on, he always wants to snatch them off our faces and put them over his eyes. Since our sunglasses our too big for his face, he ends up playing with them, twisting and turning them until they break. When I was strolling through Target, their dollar section had mirrored glasses for kids. I grabbed a few pair to throw in the pool bag, diaper bag, car, etc. so my son would have them on hand. Not only does he get to be like mom and dad, but he protects those deep chestnut eyes from the sun’s rays.

 

 

I would say our first trip to the pool for the swim season was a success and it was in large part to my mommy preparation. Now as the summer continues and our trips to pool increase, my pool bag will transform to meet my kid’s needs, but for right now, these items are perfect for keep my toddler safe and entertained while taking a refreshing dip.

What are your must-have pool bag items? Let me know what you would add in the comments!

When in Doubt, Pull the Bubbles Out

If you were a superhero, what super power would you have?

We’ve all been asked this question at least once in our lives. I used to say I would fly or have the ability to read minds, but now that I have children, I want the power of anticipation. I want to be able to anticipate when my toddler is about have breakdown; a full-fledged meltdown.

Tantrums can be tricky. As parents we are constantly walking on eggshells during our children’s toddler years, because we never truly know when a tantrum is about to take place. For instance, the other day my son had a stage-five breakdown.

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Try to follow this scenario, if you can. I’m still scratching my head as to what happened. My son ultimately wanted to carry his Little Tykes basketball hoop. Cool. Fine. No problem at all, except for the fact that the he kept losing his balance. The inability to standup with the hoop was only the surface-level problem. The true dilemma was when he couldn’t decide if he wanted the post in or out of the base. My poor husband would dissemble and reassemble the basketball hoop over and over again and my son would scream and cry out of frustration. How could we not understand what he wanted? How?!

All aboard the hot mess express!

Now when things like this happen, I have a set of strategies I rely on to tame the tiny beast that is my son. First, I always try to talk him through his feelings. This technique works about 80% of the time. He can be easy to reason with, when he wants to be; however, when reasoning doesn’t work, I turn to the “switch.” The method of “what can we do instead of [insert activity]?” If a trade-off is unacceptable in his two-year-old eyes, I turn to one thing and one thing only – bubbles!

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Who would have thought a bubble wand would be my go-to tool in my tantrum artillery belt? It is a known fact that a liquid sphere containing air can transform anger into bliss. I can understand what my son sees in those reflective soap balls. I too smile when I see a bubble. Let’s be honest for a moment, if you don’t smile at a bubble, I will and should question you as an individual.

I may never have the power of anticipation, but I have one the weapon I know will change my kid’s mood instantaneously. Shout-out to my friend bubbles! You’ve always got my back.

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What do you say, do, or use to tame your kid’s moments of insanity?

The Newborn Night Owl – Part 2 (The Update)

We did it folks! We’ve had a breakthrough! At 17 days old, our newborn has made significant strides in his sleep schedule. We went from waking up every one to two hours to waking up once for a 30-minute feeding!

Let’s all collectively jump up in the air and click our heels together while simultaneously dishing out high fives.

I made it my mission to find a routine that was going to work best for my little man. With my firstborn it was a matter of feeding him right before bed and he would quickly drift off into dreamland. With our newborn, I had to establish a strict routine. This routine can not be changed. It must remain the same.

I have a feeling he’s going to be extremely particular in the future.

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Little man likes to stay up, wide awake, with mom and dad right until we are ready for bed ourselves. We begin our routine by changing his diaper. I’ve been putting him a diaper that’s one size larger for bed, so he has more movement. Once he’s changed, I swaddle him up tightly. I’ve found the most success with the Summer swaddle wrap. It’s a blessing! Finally, I breastfeed him and then top him off with a bottle of breastmilk.

By the end of the routine, he is clean, comforted, and full. When he wakes up for his nightly feeding, we repeat the same steps.

I fully recognize, there may be a change in this routine as he continues to grow and develop, but if this works right now, I’ll take it! Yay for sleep!

10 Things I Never Thought I would Say to My Boys

As the mother of two boys, I’ve said a handful things that I never thought would come out of my mouth. I don’t say these things just once in a blue moon. No! I repeat these phrases on a loop each and every day.

Let’s face it boy moms, our little love bugs are in fact gross, but it’s OK, we love them no matter what. Life with boys is a constant adventure and each day is full of unexpected surprises. Truly unexpected 😮

Here are the top 10 things I never thought I would say to my boys:

Potty Training

  1. We do not put the potty seat on our face (life of potty training a boy).

 

  1. Buddy you don’t need to worry, it’s still there. Your penis isn’t going anywhere.

 

  1. We don’t drink the bath water off of the bath mat!

 

  1. Yes, you do have to wear pants today.

 

  1. Please don’t lick the wall. It’s not food.

 

  1. Instead of grabbing your crotch and walking around, please let mommy know when you’ve gone to the bathroom.

 

  1. No, we can’t run around the house naked.

 

  1. Can you please get mommy a tissue? We don’t want snot running down your face into your mouth.

 

  1. Can mommy go to the bathroom by herself? I love you, but I need some privacy.

 

  1. Let’s not eat the [insert snack item] from under the couch.

 

What are some of the strange things you’ve said to your kids?

The First Meeting – Toddler and Baby

The weeks leading up to my youngest son’s birth, I was filled with panic about how my toddler was going to handle the new little person entering our lives. The pregnancy hormones, which raged throughout my body, kept me weepy until the moment I held Duncan in my arms.

I cried about if I was being unfair to my oldest son, if he would hate us, if he was going to hate his baby brother, and the list went on an on. I couldn’t keep myself together. Every time I looked at him, I started to cry. Not just standard tears, but crocodile tears which gathered in pools around me everywhere I went. I was fearful of how he was going to react, because until April 3rd, it had always been just the three of us.

My parents watched over my son while we were at the hospital with the new baby. I was so eager to see him and give him a little kiss and hug. Unfortunately, children under the age of 12 were not allowed on the Labor and Delivery floor of the hospital, due to the increased occurrence of flu within North Carolina. With this said, my mom called us via FaceTime, so we could talk with our baby boy.

His reaction to seeing me hold his little brother over my mother’s iPhone 7 screen, left much to be desired. He ignored us and he had zero interest in looking at his little brother. The moments we had shared over the smartphone, were the moments I feared the most. He hated us, I just knew it!

When we finally made it home and settled back in, I was eager to pick up my oldest from school. I wanted to first, get a hug and kiss from my little nugget and second, I wanted him to meet his baby brother (she said with some hesitation).

The five-minute car ride home consisted of a lot of conversations about baby brother and how he was a big brother, but still our baby boy. There were a lot of “okay” and “baby?” coming from the backset of the car.

When we walked into the house, he ran over to my husband and gave him a big hug, but he soon saw the rocking cradle in the living room. My heart briefly paused as he stopped in his tracks and said “baby?”

Rorie and Duncan 3

He squealed in delight when he saw his baby brother. At that moment I breathed a sigh of relief. He wanted to take it upon himself to pick up the baby and hold him. He kept repeating “Hi! Baby!” over and over again. When my family came over and visited the following day, he didn’t want anyone to touch the baby and kept saying “Mine baby!” to everyone who approached his baby brother.

For the past week, each morning he runs to see his baby brother and give him a kiss. When he gets in the car on the way home from school, he asks about his brother throwing his hands up saying, “where’s baby?” When it comes to the end of the day, he goes to his brother and says “Night, night baby! Love you!” Y’all, these are the moments that make a mother’s heart full.

Rorie and Duncan 2

I now feel silly that I was so worried about my boys coming together. I look at the two of them together and envision all of the wonderful times they will have growing up as best friends. I made these two amazing people and I believe they will always have each others backs. I’m a proud boy mom!

7 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

As I get closer and closer to the day of delivering our second child, I thought I would get a few frustrations off my chest. People can say some of the most ridiculous and offensive things to women during their pregnancy. I’m the type of person who makes a mental note of every time someone says something that really grinds my gears (clearly I don’t hold any grudges).

Over the past 39 weeks, I have made a list of the top 7 thing you should never say to a pregnant woman, unless you are looking to be obliterated by hormone induced rage.

  1. So you’re having twins, right? Are you sure one is not hiding behind the other?

    I’m pretty positive my clinically trained doctor would have informed me if I was having twins as well as the ultrasound technician that I spent 45 minutes of my life with.

    When it comes to the second child it’s all about the muscle memory as my doctor put it. So, yes I know I look bigger than normal, but trust me there is only one baby in this womb.

  1. Oh you’re having another boy?! I’m so sorry…you can always try again for a little girl!

    How do I put this? Just because you would be disappointed by not having the opposite sex the second time around, doesn’t mean I’m upset about having another boy. I’m looking at you Harris Teeter Florist. What is the “nuclear family” anyway these days?

    My oldest son is a true blessing and has made me realize that being a boy mom is just alright with me! I’m probably more equipped to play Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers than I am dressing up in princess clothes and plastic high heels. Don’t get me wrong, if we are to be blessed with a little girl later down the road, I will be thrilled. As cliché as it sounds, I just want happy and healthy babies.

  1. You’re having another one…already?

    Yes, I am having another baby and yes, it was planned. Please don’t make assumptions about my timeline. There is nothing more frustrating than receiving unwanted judgement. I appreciate you keeping your thoughts to yourself (she said in the politest way possible).

  1. Don’t you think this will be hard for your son? Gosh, I couldn’t imagine loving another baby!

    Honestly, of all the things you could say, this is probably the worst. All I do is think about my son and the impact another kid is going to have in his life. I’ve cried more times than I want to, so you bringing this to my attention, does not help the situation or my emotions. Words of encouragement are more than appreciated though!

  1. Can I rub your belly?

    When someone asks me this question or goes straight for the belly rub, I envision myself grabbing their wrist and flipping them over, like in a scene out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This has never happened, because I have more self control than that, but it would feel rather satisfying.

    Please note, that if you are not my husband, two-year-old son, or a close (very close) relative, I would rather you not pet my stomach.

  1. Oh, you’re naming him that?

    No, it was a joke. I’m not naming my son this particular name that my husband and I spoke about in length. That would be ridiculous!

    I promise I would have asked for your input if I needed it. I won’t question your selection in names, if you don’t judge mine.

  1. Are you sure you know what you’ve gotten yourself into?

    What does this even mean? I, in no way, believe this is going to be the most perfect transition, but if the universe wants to make it easy, great! I believe I have the right people involved in my daily life to ensure my family unit moves into a family of four with ease.

    No, I don’t know exactly what I’ve gotten myself into, but you best believe we are going to get through this triumphantly.

So, the next time you want to make a comment to a pregnant woman – pause, think about what you’re going to say, and decide if it’s best for your safety to keep your mouth shut. I promise you, hell hath no fury like a pregnant woman scorned.

A Letter to My Firstborn

 

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Dear Squishy Boog,

I am sitting here in the living room watching and listening to you through the baby monitor as you read “Little Owl’s Night” to your best stuffed pal, Anton the Alligator. I can’t help but laugh at how cute you are as your words drift off and then you strongly enunciate one word as you read aloud. You have so much passion in your voice, even as a two-year-old.

As I stare at your adorable little face, I can’t help but think that in a matter of days, we will be adding a little brother into the mix, and I know your world is going to change. All of our lives are going to change, but the one thing that won’t change is my love for you buddy. You’re my sweet cheeks, nugget, and love bug. My little best friend.

I strongly believe the changes that we will be experiencing as a family will all be positive. Our love for you will not lessen because we have another baby, but will grow! You are going to be a wonderful big brother. This baby is beyond lucky to have you. The truth is, he will probably want nothing to do with mommy and daddy, but everything to do with his big brother. He’s going to be your little shadow, following you around and mimicking everything you do. Who wouldn’t want to be like THE Rorie Ayden?

It’s important that you know, no matter how old you are, YOU little man, will always be my baby boy. Our lives began the moment you entered this world. Before you, daddy and I never knew how much we could truly love another person.  You are our firstborn; a true light of our lives.

With these approaching changes, I want to make some promises to you.

  • I promise to always be there for you, no matter what! You will never have to question my love or dedication for you.
  • I promise to always have my arms wide open for hugs and kisses. I’m not sure I could make it if I didn’t have my daily dose of snuggles.
  • I promise to make you aware of how proud we are of you every single day!
  • I promise to continue to tell you how much we love you (double the amount) on a daily basis.
  • I promise that you will ALWAYS be a priority and that you will know you are the heart of my universe.

Again, I can’t believe you are going to be promoted to big brother. A BIG BROTHER! Wow dude, that’s a big boy job, but out of all the kids I know, you are the most qualified. 🙂

I have to say one more time, that even though there is going to be a shift in our lives, a bump in our daily routine, and a new life in our household, I will always love YOU, and that will never, ever change.

It’s you and me little man!

With all of my heart and love,
Mommy (also known as Mummy if you’ve watched a lot of Peppa Pig)