What’s Up Wednesday

Happy hump day!  This week is absolutely flying by!  I feel like October will have come and gone before I can turn around!  I’m linking up with Shay, Mel, and Sheafer.  Here’s “What’s Up” with us…

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What We’re Eating…

Lots of wraps!  I have had a almond butter, raisin, agave syrup and banana whole wheat wrap three mornings in a row!  I bought a big pack of wraps from Trader Joe’s to make veggie wraps for lunch last weekend.

What I’m Reminiscing About…

Previous falls!  I love these pictures of Holden taken at the annual CHKD Make-a-Scarecrow.  ❤

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Here’s this year’s!

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What I’m Loving…

Catching up with my mom twice this week.  This is a big deal since I don’t live around the corner.  She came and stayed with us on Saturday, and she stopped by with my dad this evening on their way back from an appointment.  So nice to have a little talking time that does not involve a cell phone!

What We’ve Been Up To…(and Sort-of What I’m Dreading…)

For me, it’s been work, home life, sleep, repeat.  I have started going to the gym in the mornings two days a week.  It’s a little challenging find that time to workout for myself with two little ones in the afternoon.  Thankfully, the Mr. is super helpful, and he gets both kids up and going in the morning.  Love him!  Holden has been up to some soccer, lots of “creations” aka making things out of stuff in the recycling bin, and all sorts of fall-themed activities at his preschool.  Helen is eating solid food(!).  She’s had rice cereal, bananas, and avocados.  Bananas are her favorite.  Shocking, right?  The Mr. is heavily anticipating hunting season.  I’m happy for him, BUT I do really miss him when he’s off on those adventures.  Check out these funny e-cards (all from Pinterest) below…

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What I’m Working On…

Feeding Helen solid foods!  I take my food prep, children’s food, etc. very seriously.  I’ve been making all sorts of food (sweet potato, pear, banana, avocado).  I hope to do some winter squash this weekend.

What I’m Excited About…

I’m actually excited about decorating for Halloween this weekend AND our costumes this year.  Holden decided on “Indian!” and we’re all following along.  The Mr. is still saying that’s a big N-O to him dressing up.  However, I hold out hope.  We are making Holden’s, but I did buy him a little bow and arrow and a brown shirt.  We’re going to make him an Indian vest out of a paper grocery bag.  I so loved doing this as a kid!  Have no clue why we did it, but I vividly remember it.  I also got elastic headbands (and a brown onesie for Helen) for both kids that I plan to hot glue feathers to.  Here’s Crayola’s advice on how to do it.  

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What I’m Watching/Reading…

I did watch the presidential debate and instantly felt like an informed citizen (If you know me, you know this is a lie.  I’m usually clueless about current events).  I just finished Beautiful Day.  I would recommend it if you like an easy read with lots of family drama that isn’t your own!  I love the setting, Nantucket!

What I’m Listening To…

I jammed out to Mariah Carey’s “Hero” this morning.  So good!  I typically listen to Christian music mostly all the time.  I like this new song, Thy Will.

What I’m Wearing…

I’m still sporting all my summer clothes.  It really doesn’t feel like fall here yet with temps mostly in the 80s.  I feel like I need to be wearing rain boots all the time.  We had so much rain last week that school was closed on Wednesday and 2 hours late on Thursday due to flooding.  I kind of want this trucker hat…why does a hat cost 20 bucks?!?!

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What I’m Doing this Weekend…

Cleaning, Soccer Game, Visiting with the Hs’ C-Pa and Meme, finishing up Sunday School online training, teaching Sunday School, enjoying being with my fave people, and lots of other things!  Weekends are busy!

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month…

  • my sister-in-law’s wedding
  • Halloween and Granny’s visit
  • some teacher work days plus Veteran’s Day off with my babes
  • cool breezes
  • some runs before it gets chilly out there (I’m such a baby when it comes to running outside in cold weather!)

What Else is New…

Not much!  I will say my attitude is new this week.  I’ve been really trying to focus on gratitude, finding as much joy in the day as I can, and just being super thankful for all that God has given me.  I want to treasure all these blessings and use/tend them the best I can.

Hope your day has been a good one!  Only two days until the weekend.  Hip-hip-hooray!

Natalie

 

 

 

 

 

Weekends v. Weekdays

We are in the thick of the “weekdays” right now on this Wednesday morning.  It feels like it has been raining for 100 years, but it has really been only a full day of rain.  I woke up once for Helen and once for Holden last night.   Both times it sounded just like someone had turned a faucet on over our house!  Don’t you just hate the rain?!?!  It’s kind of cozy if you can stay home when it’s going on.  Unfortunately, that’s not what we were up to yesterday.  I have about a 30 minute drive to work in typical traffic.  Yesterday’s rain extended that quite a bit.  I just hate being late to work!  I have a hard time keeping the day going in a positive way when that happens.  Which brings me to what’s on my mind…weekends v. weekdays!

This past weekend was Holden’s first soccer game.  He loved it, and we loved watching him!  It was pretty warm with temps in the mid 80s.  The team split into two small teams, so the kids could play the whole time with no subbing.

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P.S. Boys 6 and under soccer is when things start to get a little more serious and a little more competitive!

Besides soccer, we got to attend a baptism of our old friends’ baby boy.  The Mr. was the godfather.  Doesn’t he look handsome?!  Baby and Godfather!14355539_1462250590457984_1420083822664243896_n.jpg

It was a beautiful service with lots of delicious food afterwards.  We also had a visit from Holden and Helen’s Meme and C-Pa.  This delayed nap time, so Holden was quite pleased! It was such a nice (and busy!) weekend.  I confess that Monday was not my favorite, and Tuesday was really not my favorite.  I’ve been really not feeling the work scene lately, and it’s been very noticeable.  Not to mention I’ve been pretty vocal about it!  Don’t ask me how I feel unless you REALLY want to know.

I know when I have times like this the most important thing I can do is to pray more.  Well, (sadly) I feel like I tend to pray less.  This morning I finally got myself together and spent a little time reading.  I came across this verse in Hosea 7 (verse 14).

They lie there sleepless with anxiety, but won’t ask my help.  

Instead, they worship heathen gods asking them for crops and for prosperity.

So true in my case!  I have chosen to fret and worry and obsess and just WALLOW about in my despair over working outside the home (let’s be real…there’s work inside the home too!).  Right now it seems to be my portion.  Although people say you can always change your course, I don’t feel that’s anything I can do now.  I’ve got to figure out how to make this work AND somehow enjoy it aka not be super miserable everyday.  A key part that I’ve been missing is PRAYER.  I totally have been skipping this in my life right now for worry, crying, whining, anger, and just general despair.

 So…I’m going to try to do better.  Does this seem like it’s the theme of your days?  I feel like it happens to be mine.  I am thankful for new days and fresh starts.  Even if today I may float away on the way to work.  It’s STILL raining!

Have a great hump day.

Natalie

 

Summer Love

Okay…it’s official.  I’m in love with summer vacation.  If I was on a typical maternity leave plan, I would have gone back to work just a week ago.  Instead I’ve got lots of summer days ahead of me with these two sweet kids.  I’m SO SO SO thankful.  Holden is loving his MWF half-day summer camp, and I’m loving the time it is giving me to talk, read, and just play with Helen.  I also am able to get SOMETHING done when she goes down for a nap around 10:30/11:00.  We pick big brother up at 12.

Tuesdays and Thursday are our ready-for-fun with all of us days!  On Tuesday, we went to Mt. Trashmore.  Holden did some bike riding while I walked with Helen in the BOB and Roscoe.  Holden also played for a bit at the Kids’ Cove, and we flew his kite at the top of Mt. Trashmore.  So fun!  It was a nice and windy day…perfect for kite flying!

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A boy and his kite!  Best Dollar Tree purchase ever!

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After lots of outside time, we took Roscoe home to cool off and headed to Chik-fil-A for Cow Appreciation Day aka a free entree if you dress up as a cow!  I printed off our costumes and cut out the details.

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Yes, I walked up to the counter (it was a drive-thru/counter window only) at Chik-fil-A with a paper cow tail taped to my pants.  We ordered up some nuggets for Holden and a grilled chicken sandwich for me.  After that, we hit the road to make it home in time to feed Helen.  We enjoyed our lunch with some sides from home.

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After naps on Tuesday, we did a little home work-out…

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even Helen was exercising!  Get those neck muscles girl!

 

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Wednesday was summer camp for Holden and lots of cleaning for me.  Daddy also came home early, so we got a little walk in before dinner.  Yay!  Holden is doing great with this mini glider that the Mr. borrowed from a co-worker.  It’s really helping him work on his balance as we prepare to take off the training wheels.  I would highly recommend buying one of these even before getting a traditional bike.  See link to buy here.  

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Today was a busy one!  We had planned to go to a Lego build place today, but the place has a summer camp running from 10-12.  😦  That’s our prime “let’s go out for the day!” time.  Plans changed, and we toughed it out at the local park for a little bike riding and playing time.  We pretended to be hunters looking for bears.  🙂  Roscoe the dog came along too!  It did get too hot (in the 90s) after a short time.  Then, we returned Roscoe to the abode.  Holden painted a crab mug at Color Me Mine last week, and we were off to pick that up.  Unfortunately, I ran over some spilt nails from a work truck on the way.  I couldn’t see the situation until I was already driving through it.  I’m so hoping the Mr. can fix it up.

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I gave Holden a lesson on checking tire pressure!  He was very interested!  To wrap up our day, we popped into the library for some new books for all.

Well!  It has been a busy week!

I hope yours has been a good one!  If you’re looking for a fun, light read, pick up this one…

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It got it at my local library.  Yes, yes I am icing my knee.  I have an odd “twinge” below my kneecap.  😦  We’ll see how that goes…9 miles on the agenda for Saturday morning.

Have a great day!  Almost Friday!

Natalie

Our New Routine – Swim & Library

Happy Hump Day!  This week has been flying by!  I admit that I was kind of dreading the whole swimming lesson thing, but it has given a nice focus for our days.  Holden is doing awesome at lesson.  It’s so much fun to watch him!  We’ve also enjoyed two fun library events {free too!}.

So proud of this boy!

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The pool is very warm as well as the greenhouse-style building.  Helen and I were MELTING inside today.  Tomorrow I think we’ll have to watch from inside the A/C.

The Teeny Tiny Farm visited the library branch closest to our swimming lesson spot.  We checked out rabbits, a pig, a llama, goats, a sheep, two horses, and a cow.IMG_3517.jpgIMG_3518.jpgIMG_3519.jpg

Today we visited the library AGAIN to meet The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  The library also had a simple make-a-caterpillar craft set up, and Holden made two.  We got new books as well since we are reading so much every day.  IMG_3533.jpg

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The book pictured above reminded me of my sister!  She hated to have her hair brushed as a kid.  This little girl finds out that mice like to make a home in her hair, but she’s okay with it for a little while…ewww.

We’ve been continuing our “school” time in the morning.  Holden absolutely loves it!  We are working on beginning sounds and number identification.  P.S. He does his best work in his undies.  🙂IMG_3501.jpg

In the afternoon {after naps}, we’ve been doing some crafting.  Very, very simplistic crafting…

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Planning to finish up our flag today!

Miss Helen got in on the action with some baby-friendly painting…which was mostly Holden and me telling her the colors and showing her how to mush.

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I’m actually enjoying having both Helen and Holden home with me a lot more this week.  Last week was the first week, and anything is hard the first time.  I do wish Helen would take more of a break in the afternoon i.e. NAP SILLY GIRL!  However, I think we’re doing pretty well with our party of 3 {plus Roscoe}.

How’s your week been?

The heat is crazy here!  I wish we could be outside more, but I feel like we are in a sauna by 10AM.

Natalie

 

Thoughts on Thursday

Happy Thursday!  It’s been a pretty great week!  Little Miss H is smiling with more frequency and definitely giving up lots of half smiles.  Roscoe P. got his senior (yes, he’s now a senior but not getting any senior discounts at the vet!) wellness check.  The best thing I can say about that is that no one was harmed in his examination.  Also, the week has not been a total rain-out.  Who am I kidding?  Any four day week is probably a good one!

Sadly, I have to report some bad news.  Luvs diapers stink!  We are now the proud owners of an Amazon Prime membership.  I thought “Great!  Let’s order diapers!”  They are very noisy due to material, and they are scented.  I HATE scents!  The smell of baby powder (which is what they smell like) reminds me of a time that I used way too much baby powder as a child and nearly made myself ill!  Looks like I am off to Sam’s Club again for diapers!

Since I’m home on maternity leave (which is officially over in a week as Big H will be out of his M-F preschool), I have a bit more free time when the Little H naps.  I’ve been trying to return to my daily devotional time.  So far, I’m doing pretty good!  I think the best thing is to be flexible with when it actually happens.  This is also true for work-outs, but I digress.

I like to flip through my Bible and read random selections.  Now, I prefer the New Testament.  I mean, who doesn’t?  However, I try to show some love to the Old Testament sometimes.  I happened to flip to Ezekiel and read chapter 34.  It was talking about a bad shepherd v. a good shepherd.  It talked about how the good shepherd lovingly tends the sheep and does not rule with force or cruelty.  This passage reminded me of my children.  If I do not tend them, they become prey to any “animal” that comes along.  It also says that the good shepherd will give the best food, rest, and peace to his sheep.  Now, the good shepherd spoken of in this passage is God.  I realize that I can’t be the perfect parent/do everything for my children to make them have these perfect existences.  However, I do feel sure that God holds me responsible for my “flock.”  As I was telling Holden last night, I have to correct him and teach him how to behave.  I have to be an example of whatever I want him to do.  The Mr. and I are their first teachers, their first coaches (you should know how much sweat and tears have gone into H’s first soccer season), first confidant, first of many things.  It’s my job.  God gave me these two precious little people, and I only have them for a few years.  I’m so thankful for the job.  Even when Big H asks ten million questions in 2 minutes and Little H has been crying for an obscene amount of time about NOTHING, I am thankful for them.  It would be completely fine though for everyone to take a moment of silence every once in a while.  🙂

Ezekiel – Chapter 34

11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord.16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

from Bible Gateway

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Cute little sheep, aren’t they?  I’m quite sure they smell better too.

Natalie

Memorial Day Weekend + Summer Fun List

Wow!  It’s so crazy to think this is the last day of May.  We had a great weekend, but it admittedly did not go exactly according to plans due to the rainy weather from a tropical storm off the coast.  Saturday was a great, sunny day.  We enjoyed a very brief visit to the beach.

I also got a manicure/pedicure, but I was pretty unexcited about it.  The weather was so nice.  I would have rather stayed at the beach!

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I got to finish a really good book on Saturday…

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Sunday was slightly eventful to say the least!  Everything started off nice and easy.  I decided to stay home from church since we would be having a visit from Poppy and Moochie soon.  I was out on the deck doing a little HIIT workout when the Mr. brought me Little H with no explanation!  Just take the baby!  When we went back inside, I realized that Holden was throwing up.  😦   Apparently, he threw up in his bed, and the Mr. was trying to get him cleaned up and…yeah, he threw up some more.  This continued for quite some time.  Eventually, he was able to sleep for a bit.  Moochie and Poppy were already on their way over for the baseball fun, so they kept on coming!  Holden perked up when they got here.  After the grown-ups had some lunch, he said he felt up to going to the game.  Off we went!  Then, the sprinkles started and became big fat raindrops once we were in the stadium.

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I was super excited to be out with these guys!  Unfortunately, it was short-lived.  The game was officially cancelled a little over a half-hour from the original start time.  We’ll have to try again!

Since the weather was officially cramping our Sunday plans, my mom and I hunted (literally, we had to hunt!) down a coffeehouse open on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  We ended up at Bad Ass Coffee.

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P.S. My mother is always on-point with her attire.  Please notice her patriotic themed outfit.  She also had a match purse.  I will never be that grown-up.

She said her coffee was good.  I had the decaf which was good, but it did taste like it had been made for quite some time.  The hazard of drinking decaf!

We enjoyed hot dogs, baked beans, corn on the cob, salad, and berry trifle for dessert.  It’s always so nice to have my mommy and daddy visit.  🙂

Monday was rainy!  Again!  We did get a walk in with all children – furry paws, big boy feet, and baby toes.  A Trader Joe’s trip also happened as well as a gym/Wal-Mart visit for me.  Holden watched a ton of TV this weekend with the classics, Jungle Book and Dumbo, to round out his viewing pleasure.  Even though it was rainy, it is always nice to hang out with my favorite people.  Seriously though….the sun!  Come out and stay out why don’t you!?!?

Last Wednesday, I went on a field trip with Big H’s class to a farm/strawberry patch.  So much fun!  However, also so much NOISE on the bus with all those kids!

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Checking out the hive in the picture above!

Although it isn’t particularly sunny today, I do have summer on my mind.  Here’s our list from last summer…

  • Sprinkler time
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Visiting all the Eastern Shore family
  • Color Me Pottery {paint your own!}
  • Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, VA
  • Brickheadz {Lego Play Center}
  • Norfolk Zoo
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Jamestown Visit
  • Visiting Granny (& Auntie Brookie and Uncle Michael)
  • Fishing Trip for Daddy, Big H, and Poppy
  • Baseball Game – Try, try, try again at this one!
  • Beach – Hopefully, we may even try some quick trips with me and the two H’s.
  • 4th of July Parade – Holden loved being in the parade last year.  We’re looking forward to doing it again!
  • Swimming Lessons
  • Library Visits
  • Little H’s Baptism
  • 1 night getaway for me and the Mr. in July – It will be the first night away from kids since Little H’s arrival!
  • Play Dates with new and old friends
  • Ziplining Date with the Mr. at The Adventure Park

I’m so excited about all these things!  My personal goals for June include

  • Put together easel and little table for Holden to use this summer
  • Develop a little summer schedule for Big H’s days at home {He will be attending summer camp starting in July MWF for half days.} with some fun activities
  • Read 3 books!
  • Take Holden on a Mommy – Son date
  • Run outside once a week

I’m going to be busy!  Hopefully, half this gets done.  We’re going to have a great summer with our newest addition.  🙂  Hope you are having a great Tuesday!

Natalie

 

Baby Gear – Top 5

Well, I am no baby expert by any means.  I do have a few favorite actual items and a certain way I like to organize our day to help make things go more smoothly and make us all happy(ier) campers!

ONE

Halo Sleep Sacks – Love these!  I have no time or inclination to become a blanket swaddling expert.  Those receiving blankets look great, and I definitely use them for tummy time or for a light cover when we are in the stroller.  BUT…I don’t swaddle with them.

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They are great!  We used them for big H.  We even bought the ones without the swaddle portion, so it’s basically a wearable blanket.  I believe the rule is no blankets in bed until past 1 year.  Am I making that up?  I probably knew the exact time when I was researching as a first time mom.  You just put the baby in, zip up, and then fold across the sides.  The top layer has velcro, so you can make the swaddle nice and tight to comfort a fussy baby (or just a baby that likes to be swaddled!).  They are pricey $25 and up.  However, you might find some older styles for cheaper prices at Babies R Us.  I used gift cards to purchase mine.  We also have another swaddle thing-ma-do that the baby wears, but we definitely have no blankets we use for swaddling!  Here’s Halo’s website.  

TWO

Angelcare Baby Monitors – We are reusing our monitor we had for big H with little H.  There are ones with sound and image monitoring.  Ours is a sound one only.  The thing that makes Angelcare special is the fact that there is an under mattress sensor that detects vibrations such as those made by baby’s breathing.  Our monitor also shows the temperature in the room.

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Website

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Little H was having a “moment.” You can tell how the bar shows how loud the baby is being.  As if the wails didn’t tell you!  

It gives us so much peace of mind knowing that everything is OK in there.  I find this especially reassuring as we put both big and little H in their own nurseries by the two week mark.  We really like reclaiming our bedroom as ours and giving each baby his/her own quiet space to sleep in.  HOWEVER, it is much easier to do this when you can monitor the baby closely and know that everything is A-OK.

THREE

Vibrating Cradle – This cradle was an attachment from our last Pack & Play which had to be trashed due to some mold/mildew on the little mattress.  We tossed it but kept the cradle.  Our little girl has a (typically) very fussy time around 6:30/7:00-8:00 every night.  We try to let her self-soothe in her room, but she’s not quite there yet.  She’s working very hard on being a thumb sucker like her brother!  When it seems like she just isn’t going to be able to calm down and rest on her own, we put her in the cradle.  IMG_3253.jpg

She loves this thing!  We never used it nearly this much with big H.

FOUR

Babyganics Care Products – I had a student gift me with some yummy bath products for Helen, and I love them!  There is a whole section on the website talking about how the company works hard to make each product very safe for babies.  At our house, the Mr. is usually in charge of bath time, and I admit that sometimes I’m jealous.  I do like a break in the evening, but bath time looks fun as little H usually just lays back quietly and chills.  My favorite product from this line is the lotion – chamomile verbena.

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Website

FIVE

BOB stroller with infant car seat adapter – We’ve finally started taking some short walks together (me, the baby, and Roscoe).  I got our BOB stroller when big H was already big enough to ride in it normally.  We had no need for the infant car seat adapter.  Well…I decided we had to have one for easier strolling with little H.  The BOB is so much smoother than those typical big stroller like the Graco one we have.  They are good for mall cruising, but we don’t do a lot of that.

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Not my pic!  Just want to show how it looks!

P.S.  We paid $60 for that bar.  I’m OK with it though, because I’ve already used it several times.  I anticipate using it a lot more over the summer until the little girl is ready to ride in the bottom.  The car seat just snaps in rear facing using the hook on the underside of the seat and that bar.  Then, you’re off!

I hope you enjoyed reading about some things that are making our days a little smoother these days!  You can’t really be prepared for everything (i.e. the phone call that I received earlier that Holden was sick at preschool 😦 ) but preparation and the right stuff helps!.