Grayson Is 4!

Grayson Is 4!

I know every mom says this at every child’s birthday, but I CANNOT believe that our little nugget is 4 years old.

Party Details
For Grayson’s party, he wanted a Power Rangers theme… specifically Tommy – the green power ranger.
*Banner – I DIYed this banner when the wall decal I ordered did not arrive in time
*Balloons – this pack of Power Ranger balloons is from Amazon, we have this helium tank to blow up balloons at home (highly recommend)
*Green Cups – these adorable Power Ranger cups we ordered from Sequins & Lipstick on Etsy, I have friends that have ordered custom cups/napkins/etc from her for parties/events and I always thought it added such an adorable and personal touch, so I figured I would try them and I LOVED them! I will definitely be order more in the future.
*Cookies – these cookies were not only adorable but so delicious! We got them from a local bakery and will absolutely be going back for more custom goodies and our next donut run!

Update on Grayson!
For those of you who know me (and Grayson), know that one word I use to describe him is passionate. He is passionate in all he does, whatever he is doing.. playing, feeling, anything – he does it to the extreme. Grayson is funny, random, and the absolute sweetest. He says what is on his mind and tells you exactly what he is thinking. I pray that this sweet little boy never loses his ability to laugh at the smallest things, his ability to make others laugh, and his ability to make others feel special and loved.

Height & Weight
Grayson has always been a peanut – and he is sticking to that trend. We had his 4 year check up earlier this week and he is just over 38 inches tall (11th percentile) and 31 pounds (10th percentile).

Schedule
Grayson will usually wake up anywhere between 6:30-7:30 in the morning. All three boys will go down for a nap/rest time in the afternoon anytime between 1:00-2:00. During this time, Grayson usually sleeps for at least part. If he doesn’t sleep then he just plays quietly in his room until his Hatch Light turns red (which is when he knows he can leave his room). Rest time is typically about 2 hours. Then he will go down for bed anytime between 8:15-8:45, on a normal day.

Activities
This summer Grayson (and Hunter) played t-ball, and loved it! All three boys have completed the ISR program and refreshers. At this point, he is not in any activities and outside play (here in Chicago) is a rarity. We cannot wait for the weather to get nicer and be able to play outside and sign him up for outdoor sports!
Grayson is such a homebody and thrives in the comfort/safety of his own home. He loves anything and everything that Hunter loves (Legos, Star Wars, etc) but he also loves Power Rangers (hence the party theme), monster trucks, and Blippi. He enjoys puzzles, playing with Preston, and also playing solo a ton too.
G is also in school 2 full days per week and absolutely loves it. He always tells me that his favorite part of the day was “all of it because I love school”. Grayson has always shown an interest in “academics” and is always asking about letters, words, and numbers. His sweet little mind is always wondering, thinking, and investigating.

Eating
Grayson is a pretty typical child when it comes to eating. He could live off of yogurt, mac n cheese, and fruit (berries, apples, bananas, clementines, grapes, all the fruit). He much prefers snacking throughout the day as opposed to meals. For breakfast Grayson will usually ask for oatmeal or pancakes & turkey sausage. Lunch would be a yogurt parfait every single day if Grayson had it his way. Dinner is not his favorite meal by any stretch of the imagination, he always tries what we are eating and sometimes it’s a win and sometimes it’s a flop.

Happy Birthday G-Money! We love you!

Valentine’s Day Cards For Kids

Valentine’s Day Cards For Kids

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we wanted to share with you all the Valentine’s that the boys picked out for their friends at school. Our boys absolutely love donuts, I wonder where they get that from.. ๐Ÿ˜‰ so when they saw these darling donut options – they were both sold!

We got these Donut Valentine’s from Ellington Paper Company and could not be happier. Our original plan was to get either a donut or a couple of donut holes for the each child in the boys’ classes but no food is allowed to be passed out this year. So we had to rethink the donut theme after we received the Valentine’s. Instead of giving each child a donut we made a little bag of donut themed goodies for each child! If you still need to get Valentine’s for your little ones, it is not too late! You can place an order and then print them yourself. Below are my top three choices of Valentine’s that you can purchase through Ellington Paper Company’s Etsy shop.

Valentine’s Cards and Pairing Ideas
1. These WELLY Valentine’s would be adorable with a package of Welly bandages
2. I Dig You Valentine’s are so cute for those who love trucks and it would be perfect to pair with this little toy truck!
3. These Pink Bunny Valentine’s would be perfect to add with these bunny ears or even Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks

Black History Month: Books for Kids

Black History Month: Books for Kids

Books are such a great way to open up conversations with your children, about any topic! See some of our favorite books to help you celebrate Black History Month with your little ones. The topics range from jazz music and confidence in your appearance to slavery and marching for civil rights. Many of these books are biographies but all are inspiring!

Books Linked Below
ABCs of Black History – this book takes you thought the alphabet of Black history and culture
Dream Big, Little One – this book features 18 black women who have blazed the trail in American history
Hair Love – this book features the relationship between a father and a daughter, where he has to do her hair for the first time
A Smell of Sweet Roses – this book is about two young girls who sneak out of their house to not only witness but help change history
Trombone Shorty – this book follows Trombone Shorty’s dream of becoming a musician and how, despite the odds, he became an international sensation (this is a favorite of my boys, they like listening to the read aloud on storylineonline)
Follow Your Dreams, Little One – this book highlights true stories of black men in American history
Henry’s Freedom Box – this is a true story of a slave who escaped by mailing himself in a crate to freedom
The Power of Her Pen – this book tells the story of Ethel Payne and her journey from growing up on the southside of Chicago to becoming a journalist, where she was one of three black journalists who were issued a White House press pass
Let the Children March – this book tells the story of thousands of children who volunteered to march for civil rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History – this book educates and inspires as it tells true stories of 40 black women in American history (this book is the “older child’s” version of Dream Big, Little One that we mentioned above)
The Oldest Student – this book tells the story of Mary Walker, who was born into slavery in 1848 (she learned to read at the age of 116)

Valentine’s Day Activity

Valentine’s Day Activity

I love an activity/craft that is 1. quick & easy to set up (and clean up) 2. where I have all the supplies already 3. and one that all three boys can enjoy! This craft covered all three of those areas and you all have asked for more kids craftities so I figured I would share this.

Supplies:
*Large Paper – we have this one for our easel, so I just cut off a large section. You could easily do this craft on regular construction paper too for a smaller, individual craft.
*Painters Tape
*Crayons

Steps
1. Tape the paper to any surface. I decided on the floor since all three boys were participating in this together at the same time.
2. Use the painters tape to spell out your message or design.
3. Color away!
4. Once the coloring is complete (making sure that all areas around the tape are colored) then carefully pull up the painters tape on the paper to reveal the design!

The boys had a great time with this activity. I love that all three boys (5, almost 4, and 22 months) were able to have fun with it! I will say that Hunter (5 years old) had a hard time understanding that on this activity it was okay for him to “scribble scrabble” and not worry about coloring on the tape. Once I explained to him what would happen when we took the tape off, he loved being able to scribble as fast as he could!

Valentine’s Day Basket for the Kids

Valentine’s Day Basket for the Kids

Valentine’s Day brings back such nostalgia for me. I vividly remember celebrating in elementary school, making homemade card holders out of construction paper and writing out Valentine’s for my classmates. It’s such a fun holiday for kids and I want to provide Kylie with the same fun memories. I ordered this cute Valentine’s Day bucket for her and will be a fun tradition to use each year (for Valentine’s, cards, etc!). This year, I am putting her Valentine’s Day gifts inside. I got her this book and this adorable baby doll diaper bag.

See below for additional Valentine’s Day gift ideas for kids!

Matching Sweatshirts

Matching Sweatshirts

When you don’t have a daughter to match with…. you borrow your sister’s!!! We all know how much I love having my boys match (we’ll see how much longer they let me do that), so when I saw these sweatshirts (kids size here) from Pink Lily – I could not pass up the opportunity to match with my sweet niece!

I am typically not a “graphic tee” fan but this one spoke to me! The simplicity of the white sweatshirt with the blush xoxo is so darling. If you are looking for a bolder option they also have a hot pink sweatshirt that is sure to be a showstopper. I love how pretty the lettering is, it is super lightweight, and so comfy. With Valentine’s Day coming up, this sweatshirt will be on repeat – but since it doesn’t scream Valentine’s Day, I know I will be wearing it nonstop year round!

Kylie is Two

Kylie is Two

How in the world is my baby girl two?! I know, I know, that’s so cliche to say but it’s SO TRUE! I can’t believe how fast these first two years have gone. Each and everyday she does something new or says a new word/phrase and seeing her grow is the greatest joy of my life. I say this at every stage but this is certainly my favorite age! We have dance parties galore, play with baby dolls for hours and hours, and cuddle while we read books. I never want to forget these moments and I’m hanging onto these days where I get her all to myself.

Kylie’s shirt is old H & M but here is a similar option, hanging decor garland here

Due to the pandemic we didn’t have a birthday party but we were able to celebrate with each set of Kylie’s Grandparents. We are so blessed to be so close to them and Kylie adores her Gigi & BudBud and Grandma & Papa. Give the girl her Grandparents, balloons, and cake and she is set ๐Ÿ™‚

I wanted to capture and share our daily routine as well as share a few of our daily must haves! Below is what a typical day looks like:

7am-Wake up! Kylie wakes around this time…she’s still in a crib and so content there (knock on wood!). Most days she hangs out and plays/talks to herself until Kevin or I go get her. We still use the HelloBaby monitor and it’s by far one of our most used products since day 1. The price is great, it doesn’t connect to wifi, battery life is wonderful…the list goes on!

8am-Breakfast…her favorites are pancakes, chicken sausage, cereal. We absolutely love these Skip Hop utensils!

8:30- Playtime! Her favorites right now are this dollhouse and puzzles…oh and lots of dance parties!

10:15 -Snack – our “go-to” snacks are smoothies, cheese/crackers, yogurt & granola, and fruit

10:30 – Outdoor play or activity. Kylie LOVES the park and I love to get outside even in the winter months. I know it sounds silly but her favorite thing to put on when going outside is this scarf ha!

12:00- Lunch and it’s usually nothing fancy…quesadillas, mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, tomato soup

1:00- Nap time. She wears the woolino sleep sack (she has since 6 months old!)

4:00- Hands on activity (cooking, arts & crafts, sensory bin play) I try to get creative but other days it’s books, stickers (and running around our kitchen island) and ipad until dinner time ๐Ÿ™‚

6:00- Dinner, we eat together as a family every night and it’s so fun! She typically sits in this booster seat however recently has wanted to sit solo…

7:00- Bath (a couple nights a week), she loves this little bath shower!

7:30 Bed-We do one book (one of her current favorites) and then it’s lights out!

What items are a must have with your toddler/two year old? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Gifts for 2 Year Olds

Gifts for 2 Year Olds

With Kylie’s birthday quickly approaching on the 18th (cue the tears!!) I wanted to round up the best toys to gift a two year old. These are all toys that we own (or she is getting for her birthday this year!) and gender neutral!

  • Little People Big Yellow Bus– a pull toy plus a real life “wheels on the bus” #winwin (here is amazon link)
  • Play Kitchen with running water – a close friend (with a toddler boy) recommended I get this for Kylie. She assured me water does NOT get everywhere and it’s one that will actually keep them occupied
  • Fishing Game – Kylie was gifted this for Christmas and it’s been the biggest hit by far! She loves to play this by herself or with someone else. (here is a cool puzzle version, too!)

  • Look & Find Books-another gift that she LOVED getting at Christmas. This Frozen one was a hit. Other good ones: Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street, and Muppets
  • Train set-it doesn’t need to be anything elaborate. My parents have a fancy train table and 9 times out of 10 she goes for this wooden set. (Target link here-but cheaper on amazon!)
  • This or this airplane toy and Hello Airplane! book would make a cute gift set! Kylie loves to read this book!

Gingerbread House Making!

Gingerbread House Making!

One of our newest tradition is making gingerbread houses with Rob’s side of the family and the boys cousins on that side. This year was the 2nd year that we did this and we had SO much fun! I love that our boys are so close in age because they can all somewhat participate in the all activities that we do. But at the same time, there is such a drastic difference in how they participate in everything we do!

he had so much fun!

Hunter was super into making the gingerbread houses this year, so much so that he made 2! He was focused and precise in his decorations. It was so sweet to watch and so much fun!

all. the. candy.

Grayson loved eating the candy! He didn’t have much interest in putting the house together but he loved decorating and putting all the candy on his house.

sweet lovey

Preston … well he just ate – the. entire. time.

love their sweet little friendship

We love this sweet tradition that we started last year!

Hunter is 5!

Hunter is 5!

I cannot believe that Rob and I have a 5 year old!!! I honestly do not know how our sweet baby boy is going to be starting Kindergarten next year!

excited to be 5

Although we were not able to have the birthday party with Hunter’s friends from school, we had such a great time celebrating with family and he loved every minute of it. He was SO excited to turn 5. I loved getting to see the joy, excitement, and anticipation in his eyes in the days and weeks… let’s be honest months, leading up to December 3rd.

boys sweaters * birthday banner * cake topper

Party Details
For his party, Hunter wanted a Star Wars theme (insert eyeroll here from the least loving Star Wars’ mom -haha)- but anything for my sweet boy! So I started buying items that would make both Hunter and myself happy, majority of it is from Etsy! I purchased this downloadable ‘Happy Birthday’ banner, that would be perfect for any black and white theme birthday (just take out the Darth Vader flags). We easily hung this with clear fishing wire, but you could add in a ribbon too! When I found this Darth Vader cake topper I knew Hunter would be obsessed – he did not want me throwing it away after! Ever since he went to his first birthday party with a pinata, Hunter has been asking for a pinata so when I saw this Darth Vader pinata I knew it would be a hit. Then I found these Star Wars Cookies (that were delicious) and Darth Vader chocolate lollipops for our family to take home after the party. Rob and I also did our first attempt at a DIY Balloon Garland that we bought off of Amazon. It wasn’t awful to put together either … after a late night facetime to a girlfriend… and then handing the reins over to my much more creative husband! We also got these Star Wars balloons from Amazon to finish out the decorations. Hunter loved every detail and decoration!

Delicious Star Wars themed cookies to give to our cousins after the party.

Update on Hunter!
Hunter is always on the go! The moment he wakes up in the morning he has to get dressed (he thinks its “gross” to stay in pajamas) and make his bed so that he is ready to play. He has endless amounts of energy, is super into all sports, LOVES to help out with anything and everything we are doing, and just adores his brothers. Hunter is a total first child: typically always does what we ask/tell him to, big rule follower, pretty cautious until he is comfortable, and does well with structure. We just adore this sweet, happy, energetic boy!

Height & Weight
Hunter has pretty much always been tall and lean. At his 5 year check up, he was 44 inches tall (73rd percentile) and 36 lbs (22nd percentile).

Schedule
Hunter typically wakes up around 6:30 but does not leave his room until his Hatch Light turns red (thank you to the genius who created this light!). Depending on the day, his light changes to red anytime between 7:00-8:00am.
Anytime between 1:00-2:30 we put all the boys down for ‘rest time’. During this time Hunter stays in his room and plays quietly or sleeps. Rest time is about 2 hours.
Depending on the day, we put the older boys down for bed anytime between 8:15-8:45.

Activities
Pre-COVID, and in the summer when we could be outside, we had Hunter signed up for different sports. He has tried hockey, tball, and soccer at this point and has LOVED them all. We are currently in a refresher course with ISR for swimming. But now with outdoor activities being limited with the weather, and indoor activities being canceled with COVID, we do not have him in an activity regularly at this point.
At home, Hunter has recently shown an interest in coloring and putting things (puzzles, legos, etc) together, the first time he choose to sit quietly to do this I was SHOCKED. He is also loving to play board games as of late too! Typically, he is running around and playing Star Wars, Transformers, or Superheros with his brothers. When we do get to go outside, he loves riding his bike and playing soccer, baseball, or hockey.
Hunter is also in school 2 full days per week. It is so sweet to see him starting to get a bit more interested in letters and words. Before this school year he had no interest in letters, drawing, writing his name… anything ‘academic’, but he is now coming around to it, at least a little bit!

Eating
Out of all three boys, Hunter is by far the most adventurous eater. He loves olives (specifically from Pescatore Palace, out family’s favorite restaurant), fish, pickles, and is actually a big veggie lover too! His favorite dinner to have at home is a taco salad or hotdogs wrapped in crescent rolls. For breakfast he likes bagels, oatmeal, pancakes, or hard boiled eggs. He definitely goes through random stages where he loves something one day and the next time he refuses to touch it.