Holiday Photos

I have to admit… the first year we did Holiday card family photos was a HOT MESS! I coordinated our outfits, picked a location, threatened Josh’s life atleast 5 times, and yelled “why can’t we just smile and look at the camera!” It was miserable. I immediately realized I wanted to do something different. 

So the next year I bought comfy matching pj’s, we took photos on our bed at home, and we didn’t do a single “pose.” And it was GLORIOUS! Everyone was happy and it showed in the photos! I knew right away that this was a tradition I wanted to continue. So this year we did the same thing. I found some comfy matching pajamas and adorable matching slippers from Dear Foam. (I could not resist the Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Lil’ Bear and Baby Bear slippers!) We did the photos at home in our living room, and I let the kids choose our poses 🤣. They are absolutely some of our silliest and craziest- yet most relaxed Holiday family photos. And I love them!

So, if you’re planning your family photos and you’re already stressed about it- scratch all plans and make it fun! You will not regret it! And schedule them early so you aren’t scrambling to order cards and mail them to everyone a week before the holidays 🤣.

Check out the photos from our fun, family shoot with Dear Foams below and let me know which photo/photos you think should be on our Holiday card!

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Dear Maclan

Dear Maclan,

We are ready for you! We can’t wait to meet you. Your big brother and sister have been asking when they would be getting a new baby for over a year! Well, technically Maddox has been asking for two babies 🤣

I remember being so worried in the beginning. With my other two pregnancies I was never nauseous but this time I had 24/7 nausea for about 3 weeks. And for some reason that really worried me. Like somehow this pregnancy was different and that scared me. We even paid for extra testing to be sure. Don’t worry- all the tests were good! They were more to ease my mind than anything else. 

I remember one night in the beginning when I couldn’t sleep. I was up worrying about how I would sleep and breastfeed this time. (Since we currently cosleep with both kids and Marlow is still nursing). Then I worried- how can I be the parent I want to be to 3 kids.. can I do it? Will I be a good mom to 3? I only have 2 hands. And honestly it wasn’t until we told Maddox and Marlow the news that I suddenly felt calm. They were so excited. Maddox has all the answers- “Mom you feed the baby. Daddy will change diapers. I will play with the baby. And Marlow will take naps with the baby.” And Marlow kept repeating “I hold the baby. Won’t drop it!” 🤣Something about their words made everything seem like it was meant to be. Like three was going to be our number. 

Your dad chose your name right away. I suggested it and he said “yep, that’s it! Mac!” Marlow says your name is “little baby.”  And Maddox insisted on calling you “Max.” When I said no he replied “Ok, well you can name the baby whatever you want and I will just call him Max.” Luckily he has since come around and agrees to call you Maclan. And both kids knew you were a boy before we did. 

Your dad has been calm from the beginning. First thing he said was “Prefect, now we can use that extra bedroom upstairs.” Then he said “I wonder what his personality will be like.” You’ll find out soon but you have an amazing dad, two incredible siblings, and an excited mom who are going to smother you in love! 

Now If I’m honest, I wasn’t going to set up a nursery. But when I saw Delta Children’s new line in Target I knew you needed one! Your entire family came over to put everything together. Uncle B.A. (Brandon) and Sara moved all the old furniture out of the room while Lolli and Poppy put the dresser together. Then nana, Maddox, and even Marlow joined in on putting together the crib. It was such a fun day and you are so lucky to be surrounded by and loved by such an amazing family already!

We can’t wait to meet you! We hope you like us as much as we already like you! And we hope you like your new room! It’s all yours buddy!


Your Family!

You can shop everything from Maclan’s room on my or click the photo below to go straight to each item!

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Preparing for Baby #3 with Living Textiles

I remember preparing with Maddox, my first. Brand new everything. So much thought and preparation. Then with Marlow, my second, we did almost just as much. Being the first girl meant she needed all her own “girly” things. So when we found out I was pregnant with Maclan our first thought was “Well we already have everything. No need for anything new.” I quickly realized I missed the preparation, the planning, the “new” baby stuff. He would be getting hand-me-downs for the rest of his life. He need some special things that were all his own. 

They say the third child gets less. Less attention, less new things, less time. And that may be true. We’ll have to wait to see. However, while Maclan may get less “new” (I mean he’s got an older brother and cousins who will pass everything down to him. Why waste money, right?! 🤣) He definitely won’t be getting any less love. If anything, he may get more. He has two older siblings who already love him fiercely and are already fighting for his attention. 

So before we throw him in his hand-me-down onesies and toss him a few old toys (haha I kid, sorta). I decided he needed a few “news.” Some new blankets, lovey to snuggle with, and some nursery décor just for him. Full disclosure- Marlow may be “testing them out” to get them ready for him. 

When it comes to soft, quality baby items I turn to Living Textiles. They have the most adorable things for baby and everything is highest quality. Be sure to check out everything they have and use code: KiraMarie20 for 20%!

The first thing we got was the Baby Bento Gift Set – Muslin Swaddle Blanket + Mini Theodore Elephant. We may be purchasing another set because Marlow has definitely already claimed the adorable little Theodore Elephant as her own. She did agree to let baby Maclan have the two Muslin Swaddle Blankets though. So that’s a start. Since every baby needs their own baby blanket, we got Maclan the Muslin Jacquard Blanket. It is so incredibly soft and snuggly. It feels thick, yet breathable and is made of 100% cotton. Luckily, Marlow has designated this as “Baby Maclan’s blanket.” Lastly, I had to have the Knitted Star Garland. It was too cute to pass up and matched his new blankets perfectly! 

If you’re in the market for some adorable, quality baby items I would definitely check out Living Textiles! I already have a few other items in my shopping chart for an upcoming baby shower! And don’t forget to use code: KiraMarie20 for 20% off! You can also find some cute inspiration on their instagram @livingtextilesco and their Facebook Page as well!

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My Favorite Photoshoot to Date

This photoshoot was so fun! I told the kids they got to plan their very own, special photoshoot. The helped pick out their outfits. They each got to pick out a new pair of shoes at the store. Then Maddox chose where we would go to take photos. I didn’t do any posing or planning. We found a spot with good light and I let them do their thing. The results were everything I hoped they would be. Which ones do you like best? I’m trying to decide which ones I want to print large for the house. Comment below to let me know!

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Dear Josh

First let me start by saying I never thought I would write something like this. And I would never do it for anyone except you. Because you deserve it.

I love you.

I love that the first thing you ever said to me was “Hey, girl!” I love to tell the story that I instantly turned around, rolled my eyes, and walked away annoyed. But the truth is- and I’ll never admit this again- I hoped I’d run into you again. I thought you were cute, even in your size 3x basketball clothes, huge fake diamond earrings, and sleeves rolled up to to show off your gigantic tattoo.. I know.. paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it? 🤣

I love that we were together for 6 years before we got married. We both came from divorced families and wanted to be sure we’d make it. But besides honestly being my best friend (gag I know, so corny) One of the traits I admired most and held the most weight when we talked about marriage was knowing the kind of father you would be. We had very similar ideas and beliefs when it came to raising kids but most importantly I knew that you agreed to put the kids first. And while that sometimes means taking a backseat for us, we always agreed we would have a lifetime together and to prioritize the kids while they were young and needed us most.

I love that like your selfless views on being a dad, you always put our family first. You are without a doubt the hardest working person I know. People always joke that you work so much- but they TRULY don’t understand. You wake up early and go to work all day. You come home and devote yourself to the kids and me. Then you stay up into the wee hours finishing your work before trying to squeeze into the sliver of bed space the kids and I have left for you. And you rarely complain. Well… you definitely complain about how much space we take up in the bed, but that’s about it.

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Gingerbread Houses- the Easy Way

I’m always looking for fun things to do with the kids. Especially around the holidays. One thing we do every year is make gingerbread houses. I thought I would share how we made our gingerbread houses this year- the easy way.

I came across these premade gingerbread houses at Target the other day for 9$! FYI I’ve also seen the premade gingerbread houses at whole foods and Trader Joe’s. We usually buy the kits and put them together ourselves. However, it’s always a disaster. They don’t stay together and it’s always so hard for the kids to understand that they have to wait before they can decorate it. But with these premade ones everything is ready to go!


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Fighting in Front of the Kids

Do you fight in front of your kids?

Before we even had kids, Josh and I talked a lot about how we grew up and how we want to raise our kids. One of the issues we talked about before we had kids was actually about whether or not fighting in front of the kids was okay or healthy.I think we can all agree that aggressive, volatile, or physical fighting is always negative. However, I think whether or not healthy arguments in front of kids is okay is still up for debate and depends on each family. So here’s how we look at it, and what we decided was best for our family.

People argue and disagree, even people who love each other very much. It’s just a fact of life. To never disagree would mean that one of you was totally suppressing your feelings and just being a doormat. Nobody wants or respects that. But there’s a big difference between healthy fighting and unhealthy fighting. And I do think it’s important that kids learn to understand the difference. One of the best ways for them to understand that is to witness it. For example, Josh and I will have disagreements and debates in front of the kids. But any big issues, arguments, or heated discussions, and any that involve something related to the kids, we really try and do after the kids are in bed. At least while they are young. I’ve actually noticed that Maddox understands and can comprehend whenever Josh and I are having an argument or disagreement. There have been times when Maddox interrupted us and said “Guys take turns!” And I admit at first this shocked us and made both Josh and me step back and talk about whether or not this was good. But we ultimately decided that this was a healthy thing. We don’t want the kids growing up thinking that healthy relationships mean there’s no disagreeing or arguing. People who love and respect each other can still disagree. I think that to never show this side of a relationship would portray a fairytale that isn’t real or obtainable. I don’t want them growing up thinking that people don’t fight, but I want them to learn how to argue with respect. That means no name calling, no belittling, no violent words or actions. They need to know the healthy boundaries of how to argue.

So we do our best to demonstrate healthy discussions/arguments. And while there will definitely be times that we will slip up and have an argument in front of the kids that we should probably have kept to ourselves- we are only human. And whether or not you choose to hash everything out in front of the kids or behind closed doors is totally up to you and your family. But this is just the decision that we’ve come to for our family.

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Marlow’s First Birthday: The Non-Pinterest Party

Marlow’s 1st Birthday: The Non-Pinterest Party
Sometimes I feel the pressure to make things “photo worthy.” You see all these adorable kids parties and think ” I can totally do that!” I have about a million party ideas pinned on my Pinterest page. I have entire boards dedicated to DIY decorations that fit the perfect beautiful party theme! And I would LOVE to be able to say I’m featuring some crazy cool handmade, one-of-a-kind party decor for Marlow’s first birthday.. but that is just not the case! Ain’t nobody got time for that! 😂 And the party was absolutely perfect and turned exactly how I would have hoped!

Instead I took the easy way out! I hit up the dollar area at Target and stocked up on some adorable birthday decorations! They had an entire section of pastel, polka dot themes party decor that was PERFECT! They had banners, signs, balloons, and tiny party hats. I also grabbed a few things for goodie bags. Each bag had fruit snacks, a glow stick, a kazoo, bubbles, a bag of Pure Growth Organics popcorn, and these adorable handmade bows from Ivy & Simone!

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Becoming a Stay at Home Mom

FullSizeRenderI never thought (or if I’m honest, even desired) to be a stay at home mom.

Growing up I always thought of myself as a an independent, take-charge, feminist, ready to stand up to any man and take on any challenge! I wanted to break glass ceilings and shatter stereotypes. All the women in my family worked full-time outside the home, and as far as I knew, they always had. (I didn’t realize at the time they had almost all stayed home when their kids were little.) So I just assumed that I would have a full-time job as well. Even when I got pregnant with my son, Maddox, I fully planned to return to teaching after a short maternity leave.

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One Big Happy Wonderland!

My family has always loved Christmas! A time to give, love and celebrate family. One of my favorite Christmas memories, although it drove me crazy at the time, was from Christmas morning when my mom would make the entire family wait on the stairs while she took a family photo before we could go down and start opening presents. As a kid, I swore it took her 3 1/2 hours to take the picture! It was like she was torturing us! Haha! But the waiting and anticipation somehow made the present opening even more exciting!
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A few years ago my mom started a new tradition of matching family pajamas! At the time, once again, I thought she was crazy. Then, when I had my own kids, I totally understood and I’ve carried on the tradition with my own family. Every year we pick a new set of fun holiday pajamas. Even though Josh whines every year, I KNOW he secretly loves his pajamas! This year I let Maddox help me pick our matching pajamas and he chose these adorable holiday bear pjs from Gymboree! For 10 days, from December 1 – December 10, across stores nationwide, Gymboree is helping customers add wonder to the season by gifting them with a holiday memory in the making. When customers visit the store, they’ll give them a scratcher at checkout. The scratcher might inspire family game night with a Mattel Prize Pack of Uno, Apples to Apples and Pictionary plus $50 to for Gymmies to outfit the evening! Or perhaps, a gift basket of Mrs. Fields Cookies – sweet treats for Santa! Or, a mid-holiday shopping trip treat with a Free Auntie Anne’s Classic Pretzel. Two lucky customers will be treated to their next holiday vacation, with a Club Med all-inclusive family vacation. Every scratcher will reveal a special surprise, One Big Happy Wonderland!
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What are some of your favorite or most memorable family traditions? Every year we add new ones. Be sure to visit a Gymboree store near you (between 12/1/16 – 12/10/16) to outfit your favorite holiday moments and pick up a scratcher for a chance to add more wonder to the season!
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