Friday Love 10.19.18

Happy Friday! I can’t believe I missed the last week! I had every intention of getting on here to post but there is good reason I didn’t, I was exhausted. My older daughter had a late acting class Wednesday night then we had to be up early for her field trip to the Mission San Juan Bautista Thursday morning, which immediately after, she had rehearsal for her school play! It was a long couple of days. But I’m back with lots to share. I hope you enjoy today’s Friday Love!

Friday Love pink-watercolor-heart-art-by-linda-woods-linda-woods

Mission San Juan Bautista

I was lucky enough to be able to chaperone my daughter’s field trip to the Mission San Juan Bautista last Thursday. We started with an early morning charter bus ride and the kids thought this was the coolest thing ever. We arrived at the mission almost two hours later but the long ride was worth it. The town itself was absolutely charming and I had the best time hanging with Lyla and her friends, and a couple of my mom friends. Neither Lyla or I had ever been to this mission and it was so fun to explore a town and place new to us. It was a great day with my big girl!

Art & Craft of Acting

For her birthday this year, my hubby and I gifted Lyla acting classes at our local theatre instead of a big gift. She has been wanting to take acting class for the longest time now but was not old enough to enroll (the age to start was nine). Well, since she turned nine this year we thought, why not? We love our local theatre and have taken a myriad of classes there since we moved to Tracy in 2014. I really cannot say enough wonderful things about the Grand or the classes/programs they offer. Lyla took the Art & Craft of Acting class for five weeks and her finale performance was on Wednesday. Now, these young kids didn’t learn a Disney play or anything like that. They tackled a murder mystery play, Blood on the Dining Room Floor, written by Gertrude Stein. This was tough stuff! The had to memorize some pretty long monologues but it was such a joy to watch them perform. The icing on the cake was that Lyla’s best friend also took the class. They had such a great time together.

Livermore Wine Trolley

Dates for my husband and I are very rare these days so I really cherish when we do get to have some one-on-one time. My in-laws gave us tickets to the Livermore Wine Trolley for Christmas last year and we finally got around to using them last weekend. We live about 20-30 minutes from Livermore and visit the wineries pretty often but we had never gone on the wine trolley. We booked ourselves on the 11:15 trolley this past Sunday and had a blast visiting three different wineries. I had never been to any of the three while my hubby had been to just one so it was nice to visit some new places.

Our day started early, dropping our kids off with their auntie then getting to downtown Livermore about 10:45. We were a bit early since we didn’t have to be there until 11am. Once we were settled in the trolley, we were off to our first winery, Wente Vineyards. Now, I have been to Wente’s smaller property many times but never to this one. It was breathtaking. I loved everything about the place and can’t wait to go back. From there we went to Tenuta Vineyards where our catered lunch was waiting. We enjoyed our lunch and tastings out on the beautiful patio. Our final stop was Tesla Vintners, which housed three separate wineries in the same outdoor location. We had a great day doing one of our favorite things, wine tasting!


Halloween Town

We took our girls to their first Halloween event this past weekend. We decided to check out the Halloween Town event that took place on Friday and Saturday at the old outlets in town. My kids love this time of year and love any excuse to dress up in their costumes. For me, it was really fun to see them in their costumes for the first time, and play with hair and makeup. They got some candy, some slime and got to ride the train. It was a great start to the big event!


Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – nine years old

My big girl hit her last year of single digits on Friday, August 10, 2018. How is this even possible? At times, I truly feel like she was born yesterday. It’s hard to put into words just how much I love her and just how proud I am of her. She is growing into such a poised, curious, passionate, talented and smart young lady. As much as I wish she was still my chubby little baby, being her friend and watching her grow is pretty darn amazing. Happy 9 Lyla Rae!!


Lyla Rae, Age 9

Nickname: Pies

How old are you? 9 years old

What is your favorite color? Mint green

What is your favorite animal? Unicorn

What is your favorite book? Sideways Stories from Wayside School

What is your favorite TV show? Mia and Me

What is your favorite movie? The Greatest Showman

What is your favorite song? Come Alive from The Greatest Showman

What is your favorite food? In-N-Out Cheeseburger

What is your favorite drink? Root beer

What is your favorite breakfast food? Pancakes

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Workout pants and top

What is your favorite game? Mario Cart

What is your favorite toy? LOL doll

Who is your best friend? Chloe & Stefanie

What is your favorite thing to do? Talk to Chloe on FaceTime

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swim in the pool

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear and Unicorn

Where is your favorite place to go? The Villages in Florida

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? New York

What do you want to be when you grow up? A pastry chef

What did you do on your birthday? We had a unicorn birthday bash with seven of her friends. It was a pool party and her first big sleepover. It was such a fun night!


Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – eight years old

How can it be that my last post was a birthday interview a year ago? I really need to get better about blogging more than once a year, lol. But here we are again, conducting Lyla’s annual birthday interview. At least I’m doing it sooner two months after her birthday.

Lyla turned eight on August 10, 2017. It was a busy day because both girls had back-to-school night so our family party was a little rushed. We had a pool party for Lyla and her friends the next day. It was emoji-themed and so much fun.

Happy 8!


Lyla Rae, Age 8

Nicknames Pies

How old are you? 8 years old

What is your favorite color? Mint green

What is your favorite animal? Unicorn

What is your favorite book? Rainbow Fairy chapter books

What is your favorite TV show? Cake Wars

What is your favorite movie? Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

What is your favorite song? Despacito by Daddy Yankee & Justin Beiber

What is your favorite food? Cheeseburgers

What is your favorite drink? Root beer

What is your favorite breakfast food? French toast sticks

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Dresses & Jojo bows

What is your favorite game? The Game of Life

What is your favorite toy? Nintendo 3DS

Who is your best friend? Stefanie Valle

What is your favorite thing to do? Play my DS and look at my iPad

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swim in the pool

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear

Where is your favorite place to go? Jupiter, FL (Grandma and Grandpa’s house)

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? China

What do you want to be when you grow up? Pastry chef

What did you do on your birthday? Opened small gifts, went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, gave out cookies to my class as a treat, had a small party at home with Mom, Dad and Sophie then had a emoji-themed pool party with friends the next day.


Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – seven years old

Year two of the birthday interview and I’m late again!! Lyla turned seven on August 10th and here we are on October 17th and I’m just now getting the time to sit down and do this. BUT I’m getting it done and that’s all that matters. I can’t wait to read these with her when she’s older, year seven here we go!


Lyla Rae, Age 7

Nicknames Yaya, Pies

How old are you? 7 years old

What is your favorite color? Turquoise

What is your favorite animal? Parrot

What is your favorite book? The Berenstain Bears and the week at Grandma’s

What is your favorite TV show? Elena of Avalor

What is your favorite movie? Nightmare Before Christmas

What is your favorite song? My Time from Elena of Avalor

What is your favorite food? Chicken Teriyaki

What is your favorite drink? Orange Fanta

What is your favorite breakfast food? Donut

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Dresses

What is your favorite game? Bean Boozled Challenge (Jelly Belly game)

What is your favorite toy? My Elena doll

Who is your best friend? Stefanie Valle

What is your favorite thing to do? Look at my iPad

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Jump rope

What is your favorite holiday? Halloween

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear

Where is your favorite place to go? Jupiter, FL (Grandma and Grandpa’s house)

What is your favorite restaurant? Red Robin

Where do you want to go on vacation? Disneyland

What do you want to be when you grow up? Teacher

What did you do on your birthday? I had a special donut breakfast, opened a small gift, got a surprise lunch at school (McDonald’s), and had my party with friends after school at the Mountain House splash pad. After that, I had cake and ice cream at home with just my family at home and opened more presents.


Halloween 2015

We had quite the Halloween this year. Lyla got to wear her costume five days in a row! I know this was fun and exciting for her but quite a bit of work for mom – hello hair curling, hair color, glitter spray and full makeup five different times! But I’ll do anything for my baby. Our week started on Tuesday night when Lyla’s dance studio held a studio-wide costume contest. Lyla was so excited to wear her costume “officially” for the first time and she was determined to win the contest. She went as a Shopkin this year, the limited edition Cupcake Queen.


On Wednesday, we headed to the Bass Pro Shop. We live about 20 minutes away and I have to say, I’m always very impressed with their special holiday events. The store is always beautifully decorated for each holiday, they offer one free 4×6 picture and have free crafts for the kids, I mean, how can you beat that?

Before moving to Tracy, I had never even been to a Bass Pro Shop. We went for the first time during Christmas last year and again for Easter. The girls love the store, its huge and there’s so much to see. They have a big fish tank and waterfall, a fun country store, its really neat but I have learned a few tips if you plan to go for a holiday event. Arrive EARLY! At least an hour early. We skipped the picture with Santa on our first visit because the line was out the door and this is a BIG store. For Easter, we came about 30 minutes early and were maybe 20th in line. For Halloween this year, we got to the store an hour before and were the first in line for pictures, the first! We got some popcorn, fudge and a drink from the country store, trust me, a little snack makes all the difference when waiting in line with children. They had the cutest set-up for Halloween and offered one free picture with characters from the Peanuts gang. Such a fun outing!





On Thursday, Lyla’s Girl Scout troop had their Halloween party. She had a blast with her friends.


Friday was the big Halloween celebration at school. She walked in the Halloween parade and showed off her costume to the entire school.

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The parade ends in the large field behind her school. All of the students (K-8) form a very large square. The school brings in a DJ and the kids get to watch the 8th graders perform to Thriller. It’s a really fun time. Afterwards, we spent the day in her classroom for her class Halloween party. It was a fun, but long day.

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On Friday afternoon/night, we did an easy Halloween craft (pumpkin magnets), carved pumpkins, made Halloween Rice Krispie treats, ate Jack-o-Lantern pizza from Papa Murphy’s and watched Hocus Pocus. That movie is one of my all time favorite Halloween movies and was worried about Lyla being too young to watch it and getting scared but she ended up loving it. It was a busy, exhausting but very fulfilling day.




On Saturday, we had a very, yummy, festive Halloween morning breakfast. I used this amazing mix from William Sonoma and added orange food coloring and chocolate chips to make Jack-o-Lantern pancakes. A hit all around except that I forgot to pick-up syrup while at the grocery store and we only had enough for the girls pancakes…. wah, wah, wah. I put butter and cinnamon on mine and it was still good. Just had to work with what we had.


We spent the rest of the day just being lazy and lounging around the house. I wanted to get ready in time to take some pictures outside but I underestimated how long it would take all of us to get ready and by the time we were, the sun had gone down – momFAIL! The lighting definitely wasn’t as good inside the house but at least we got our pictures. Only one kid smiling but you can’t win em’ all. I went as a baker and my girls were my two little cupcakes, my sweetest creations 😉



We met up with some friends in our neighborhood and were ready to trick-or-treat! Because it rained last year, this was Sophie’s first experience trick-or-treating door-to-door. It didn’t take her long to figure out how to get the candy. We had such a fun time and Lyla filled her basket pretty quickly. It was a successful Halloween!

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Throwback Thursday – Halloween 2014

With Halloween quickly approaching (this Saturday! ekkk!), I thought it would be fun to look back at last year’s festivities. Halloween has become Lyla’s favorite holiday (that is until Christmas arrives) so I do my best and try to make it really special for her. Halloween fell on a Friday last year, so I surprised her with a Halloween themed breakfast, a balloon, card, and a fun, little message on the chalkboard.



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We had been watching the forecast like crazy because it had been raining on and off earlier in the week and rain was scheduled for that day but thankfully it held off and we were able to enjoy the festivities at Lyla’s school.

Here’s my girl dressed as Kiera from the Barbie movie, Princess and the Pop Star. The picture does not do her dress justice, it was absolutely beautiful! We ordered it from Etsy and fell in love. Not only did it look exactly like Kiera’s dress, the quality just blew me away. It was so well-made and she’s worn it many times since Halloween. I thought she looked awesome and so much like Kiera. She loved getting into character and singing and dancing along to the movie.


PicMonkey Collage

Lyla’s school does a Halloween parade and then everyone watches the eighth graders (her school is K-8) perform Thriller. I have to say, it was such a fun day. She had a class party afterwards, which I helped plan and organize, and it was just great. I’m so sad I didn’t take more pictures. It was a busy, hectic day and I barely had time to pull out my phone or camera. Normally, I’m snapping away like crazy, especially since it was Sophie’s first Halloween but between the parade and the party, I just wasn’t able to.

We ended up at the mall that evening because the rain came back with a vengeance. Here’s my little cat Sophie at the mall play area. Again, I’m so sad I don’t have more pictures of her. She wore Lyla’s old Pottery Barn Kids cat costume and looked just adorable.

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I love to do family costumes so Sophie was the Figaro to my Minnie (again so sad we didn’t take more pictures). The mall has an inflatable indoor play area and they were letting the first 50 kids jump and eat for free. We got lucky and happened to be at the right place at the right time. We met Lyla’s best friend and her family there and the kids had a great time. I think this made up for not being able to go Trick-or-Treating outside. Lyla was so tired by the time we got home, she didn’t even want to go to one house. In my book, that makes for a successful Halloween.


Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – six years old

I pinned this questionnaire years ago with the intent of interviewing Lyla each year on her birthday, starting at age three. Well, fast forward three years and I’ve yet to do it! I hate that I missed the first three years but what they say is true, its better late than never!

Lyla turned six on Monday, August 10, so I’m a little late again BUT it is better late than never. So without further adieu, here is Lyla’s six year old birthday interview.


Lyla Rae, Age 6

Nicknames Yaya, Pies

How old are you? 6 years old

What is your favorite color? Pretty green

What is your favorite animal? Cat

What is your favorite book? Inside Out

What is your favorite TV show? Phineas and Ferb

What is your favorite movie? Inside Out

What is your favorite song? Boom Clap

What is your favorite food? Cheeseburgers from McDonalds

What is your favorite drink? Orange soda

What is your favorite breakfast food? Pancakes

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snakcs

What is your favorite outfit? A long dress

What is your favorite game? Bingo Shopkin game

What is your favorite toy? Shopkins

Who is your best friend? Stefanie

What is your favorite thing to do? Go to a water park with big slides

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play with the water play table

What is your favorite holiday? Halloween

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar bear

Where is your favorite place to go? Florida

What is your favorite restaurant? Red Robin

Where do you want to go on vacation? Cabin

What do you want to be when you grow up? Teacher

What did you do on your birthday? Went to the mall, got a Build-A-Bear, had lunch at McDonalds, got a mani/pedi in the Hello Kitty chair, went to Round table with my family for dinner, and opened cake and presents at home


Sophie Gray: 11 month update.

11 month update

Weight/height: Sophie got her first cold a couple weeks after Halloween. I blame it on all the excitement 😉 But we did make a trip to the doctor and I was able to get an update on her weight/height. Her height is 2′ 4.5″ and her weight is 19 lb 4 oz – she is growing beautifully!

Hair: Sophie has very fine, very light (compared to Lyla) hair, which seems like its getting longer each day. I’m debating on whether or not to cut her bangs right now because they have gotten a bit long. Honestly though, I think it looks cute and will probably not cut her hair for awhile.

Diapers: Still in size 3 Huggies Little Movers. I actually tried Pampers because I had a really good coupon but it only confirmed that I really do like Huggies better. I had way more leaks and had to change her diaper more often with the Pampers. And this is so odd to me because it was the other way around with Lyla. The Pampers also seemed way thinner than the Huggies. I think I wanted to do a little test since I was a Pampers fanatic with Lyla but I have changed – go Huggies!

Clothing: Sophie is still in size 6-12 months for dresses and t’s but 12-18 months for pants, etc. It really also depends on what brand. The sizing is all over the map and I’ve found that I base her size on what brand I am buying. BabyGap and the brands from Nordstrom and Target run pretty true to size while anything Carters, Crazy 8 or Old Navy runs a bit on the small size.

Favorite things: She finally likes her crawling Minnie toy. My mom bought her this and I thought it was the cutest thing but it sort of freaked her out at first. She would just stare at it and then get all watery-eyed and start to cry. She loves Lyla’s baby dolls so much that I can’t wait to get her one for Christmas. She loves her LeapFrog learning table and her little walker. She is really starting to get more into her toys these days.

Likes: She is still majorly obsessed with Lyla. Most days, its the first word she says when she wakes up. I have to admit that I love this. It really makes my heart happy.

Dislikes: Getting her clothes and diaper changed!!! Ugh! It really has turned into such a struggle these days.

Favorite foods: Bananas, oatmeal cereal, greek yogurt, scrambled eggs, pasta with red sauce, grilled chicken, grilled fish, mashed potatoes, rice, the list goes on. I’ve really started to incorporate more of what we eat and she is doing great with it. She also does love Earth’s Best squeezy packs (that is what we like to call them). I’ve tried a couple other brands and she seems to really loves the Earth’s Best ones.

Milestones: Sophie has two teeth! And they are growing so you can seem them a bit when she smiles, its just the cutest. She has taken her first steps. She will stand up and take one or two steps then fall down and start to crawl. It’s never more than one or two steps but she is ready to walk.

Reflections: Ahhhh it’s starting to get close to Sophie’s first birthday. Around this time, I turn into a big ball of emotions. I’m not necessarily sad but I get really emotional. I still look at her and can’t believe she is here and she is ours and that we created this little beauty. She makes us all so happy and is a true angel.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We are beyond excited over here and ready to start one of our very favorite holidays. I love looking back at old pictures of Halloweens past. We love to dress-up and of course Lyla adores this holiday. This is her first year celebrating it as a Kindergartner and her school has some really fun activities planned for today. Here is a look back at Halloween…

Pre-baby – October 2008

I got pregnant with Lyla in November so this was our last hurrah as non-parents out on the town for Halloween or at a house party. We went as Princess and Mario and had so much fun.


1st Halloween – October 2008

Lyla was only three months old for her first Halloween and, of course, she had to go as a our little pumpkin!

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2nd Halloween – October 2010

Pottery Barn Kids had the cutest cat costume and I couldn’t resist! We are actually reusing the costume for Sophie this year. I can’t wait to take pictures of her tonight and compare them to Lyla. We had a blast visiting my work at the time for a party.

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3rd Halloween – October 2011

Lyla went through an obsession with the Monsters Inc. movie so when she saw this costume in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, she had to have it. She called herself, Wazowski, as in Mike Wazowski and wanted John to go as Sully and myself to go as Boo, and how could we say no to her? This year was especially fun, I loved that we coordinated as a family. And I have to give myself a little shout-out on the bangs. I did not have bangs at the time and I watched a YouTube video on how to make fake bangs and I was really impressed at how they came out.

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4th Halloween – October 2012

This year Lyla was obsessed with Jake and the Never Land Pirates on the Disney Channel so she went as Izzy. John and I didn’t really dress-up this year. I reused my ears from a couple years prior and went as a cat.


5th Halloween – October 2013

I was thrilled to pieces with Lyla’s Halloween costume choice last year. She saw this in the Chasing Fireflies catalog and after a few weeks of going back and forth, she decided on the Fab 50’s girl costume. John and I coordinated with her and I loved out it turned out. These costumes were super fun to wear and I think Lyla just looked fabulous, Fabulous 50’s! I was pregnant with Sophie at the time (due in December) so this costumer worked well with my pregnant belly.

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I can’t wait to post a weekend recap to share what we all went as this year. It’s also Sophie’s first Halloween so it makes this holiday extra special – Happy Halloween!

Sophie Gray: 10 month update.

We’ve hit the double digits. 10 months old. Wow. I know parents say this all the time but it really does go too fast. And I swear it goes faster the second time around. Here is the 10 month update for our sweet Sophie girl.


Weight/height: Like I said last month, Sophie doesn’t see her pediatrician again until she is 12 months old so (again) I’ll have to go with her 6 month weight/height because we don’t own a scale at home. At 6 months (her appointment was back in July), she was 17 lbs, 1.7 oz, which puts her in the 62nd percentile. Her height was 2’3″ which puts her in the 81st percentile. Honestly doing these updates has made me really curious about her weight and height right now. I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait until December to find out. Maybe her pediatrician will let me swing by to do a quick weight/height check, the curiousty is killing me!

Hair: Sophie still has crazy hair. It’s a lot lighter than Lyla’s, but very fine and thin, just like Lyla’s. Actually, I saw a picture of Sophie the other day and her bangs reminded me of how Lyla’s used to be when she was little.

Diapers: Still in size 3 Huggies Little Movers. It’s funny to me just how much I love Huggies now. Back when Lyla was a baby, I would buy nothing but Pampers. We tried other brands back then, we actually tried Huggies but I just didn’t like them four years ago, now? Now, they are awesome.

Clothing: Sophie wears size 6-12 months or if they don’t have that size, I’ve been buying 12 months. In some leggings and jeggings, I’ve been going bigger, like 12-18 months because some of those are just so tight! I’m still looking to purchase more fall/winter clothing for her and shoes, shoes! I don’t know why but lately I’m having a hard time getting both girls shoes. Lyla has just become super picky with her shoes and Sophie, well nothing seems to fit her except for her new Freshly Picked moccasins. I must say, I absolutely love these. They are so soft and look so cute with everything. I got her the platinum color but I’m thinking I may be buying another pair, they are that cute.

Favorite things: I felt we’ve been in a toy slump with Sophie lately so we ordered her a couple of new things that will be arriving soon. She still loves to play with her toy fruits and she really loves Lyla’s American Girl dolls. Lyla has two and Sophie loves to play with them. Another favorite thing is our EOS lip gloss. They fit perfectly in her hand and she loves the different colors.

Likes: She likes to say Dada all the time. She says it different ways, with different sounds, she whispers it, she yells it, she basically says it all the time. Its really cute though and I know my hubby loves it. She like to chew on my keys (ehhhh), my wallet, her pacifiers, anything she finds, she will put in her mouth so we are extra careful with what we leave out. She likes to pull open her cabinets in the kitchen and play with whatever is in there. I moved all the breakable stuff out to other drawers/cabinets and left her things in the drawers she was able to open/reach and she really enjoys that. She loves to play, “where’s Lyla,” – its a game where we try to find her older sister and she just loves it. She yells, “Lyla, Lyla,” and we go from room to room looking for her.

Dislikes: She still hates getting her clothes or diaper changed. Its so hard to get her dressed. She hates it no matter when I do it so I’ve learned to try and distract her in any way I can. I give her something to play with or chew on and it helps a bit but man, I truly dislike changing her diaper or clothes these days!

Favorite foods: I bought some YoBaby yogurt squeeze packs for her on a whim and whoa, she really, I mean really likes them. Like so much so that she started screaming when one pouch was gone and I had to give her another one just to calm her down. That is by far her favorite food right now. We are also starting to incorporate more of what we eat, ground turkey, pasta, etc. because it just seems like she wants something different than the purees she has been getting. I was so hesitant to give her a lot of foods because she didn’t have any teeth yet but as of this week, she finally broke a tooth! Just one, you can feel it coming through her gum.

Milestones: Sophie can clap now and its the cutest thing ever. She has also learned to wave and is adding more words to her vocabulary. She likes to say “uh oh” when she drops something from her stroller. She is standing all the time and many times on her own. I know she will be starting to take steps soon. And big news, like I said above, she finally has a tooth! The other night she woke up at 12 and 3 and was just upset. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong but the next morning, I felt a little tooth on her bottom gum.

Reflections: I always say this age is the best but then it just keeps getting better. Every age is the best right now. It’s just so amazing to watch her discovering everything around her, seeing her learn something new every day is a gift that I do not take for granted. I feel so grateful that I get to be home with her every day. It is something I wished for when Lyla was younger and I feel so happy that my wish came true but also so guilty that I wasn’t able to be with Lyla like this. That is motherhood for ya, a tidal wave of every emotion in the book but I would ride this wave forever if I could, I just love it.