The Highlights.

My handy husband built Arlo a Big Boy Bed! It came out great and Arlo is so excited to have a big bed of his own that Daddy built. :)


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A great way to start the day. Dunkin’s and Playground fun with these goobers.

Ice Cream at the Milk Room.



Strawberry Pickin’. Arlo says, “Strawberries are my favorite!” (previously would spit them out… picked fresh… they are his favorite, go figure!)


Summer Concerts!

Brian and I got to sneak off to one by ourselves… Kid free! Yippy! Date night! Thanks Mom! Avett Brothers and John Prine!! It rocked!

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Then we checked out a few of the FREE concerts in the park in Portsmouth this summer. That is an amazing opportunity! Beautiful scenery and great tunes on a blanket made for some pretty lovely evenings. We even met up with (aunt) Teresa too! In June we saw Richard Thompson.



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Arlo’s got moves

The Pool.



More Playground Fun.

Puddle jumping in our Church Clothes.



Sandcastle Competition

Glow Sticks.

A visit from Papa & Nana

And we will end it with some more Arlo dance moves…



How we have hungered for you this year. Finally you are here giving us sunny warm days in which to rejuvenate ourselves.

We fled to the mountains on an spontaneous drive after church one Sunday. For some lunch at our favorite Flatbread and a scenic drive. It was a great little retreat. The Kanc was majestic as always.

Arlo has been practicing a lot on the trampoline. And demonstrates very strong legs, good balance and high flying abilities! :) Quite the stunt man. The trampoline is even a good place to catch dragon flies apparently! This guy landed right on me! :D

We moved his basketball hoop outside that he got from Grammy for his birthday and he has been loving shooting hoops! A natural I think!

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Loves to use chopsticks


And playing with Ca (colin)

Helping in with garden:

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Mother’s Day:


We almost took this guy home with us after a fun visit to a local pet shop… aww… maybe someday.

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Grandma came to visit. Storytime before bed. Reading a book that used to be Brian’s when he was little too!

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We also had a nice bike ride trip & lunch with Grammy on The Eastern Trail in Maine.

And of course we have begun frequenting the playground again. So happy to get out in the sunshine.

Ahh… Pool’s Open for Summer! Little chilly still though. :)



Arlo’s vocabulary is ever growing and he can be a little parrot, repeating all things said by us and that he gets from the books we read with him etc. Some words are still not quite there but the way he says things just makes it so much cuter. Some of those cute things are:


Pockoks (Pockets. He is obsessed with them. :)

Go Away. Grumpy. (from a library book)

Occoly (Chocolate)  Callella (Vanilla)

No, No Diggy (Telling “Kitty” how it is)

Welcome (in place of Thank you)

Go Boing (trampoline)


Winter Wrap-Up & Hello Spring!

This was one tough long, cold snowy winter. And now that it is past us officially we can look back and see that there were also lots of fun things about it too. Hello Spring! We are glad you are here.

Arlo loved digging in the snow with his “ShoSho” (shovel). And cruising in and pushing his sled on the trail.

We enjoyed trips over to Odiorne State Park in Rye. Brian and I went on a solo snow shoe day while Grammy hung out with Arlo and then another time Arlo and Mommy went for some playground and rock throwing fun. :) Arlo loved going down the slide over and over and over.

As early spring brought some rainy weather, Arlo loved that it brought puddles for jumping in. :) He loves his new “rainy” boots! And I got him his own little “brella” after seeing how he got so excited about using mine. :)

For Easter Arlo and I went up to visit Grammy. :)

We have been enjoying the sunny warm weather outside lately. Swinging…

Cleaning up the yard & exploring…

and playing on the new addition to outside fun in our yard – The Trampoline. (or Boing Boing) as Arlo says. :) Thanks again Uncle Tim, the kids all love it!




Terrific Two

Life is going at hyper-speed, I’m constantly trying to find ways to slow it down. To notice the little things and fully appreciate them, to be present in the moments as much as I can without constant distraction. I have my good days and bad with it but either way, time just keeps flying right on by.

I sit here tonight in the quiet after the big snow storm we had today, thinking about that anxious, nervous & excited night two years ago when we knew that you were on your way into the world and a smile spreads across my face because I am surely glad that we did not have this storm on that night!

Arlo, your arrival, changed everything. I became a Mom with all of the many meanings that, that title contains. Motherhood has opened my eyes to so many things, the good/bad/scary/sad & beautiful things in the world and in myself. Motherhood has made me further appreciate so many things, including things like my own parents great efforts, sacrifice and love for me… and of course the quiet peace of a little thing called nap-time. :)

Our house is way messier, but our hearts & lives are so much more full with you here. I am so so happy and lucky to be your Momma.

You are the coolest two-year old I know. I might be biased, but it’s true. This past year has been so, so fun. You have developed a TON and it has been a pleasure to watch you and guide you.

You are so excited to turn Two. You try so hard to get your two fingers up to show how old you are, just can’t seem to tuck that thumb in, most of the time it ends up as an L with the pointer and thumb and we call it good. :) You’re most excited about a birthday hat, you say “Hat” every time I tell you your birthday is coming. So, I had to make sure that you had a special hat for your big day.

You can do somersaults like a pro! You like to dance and sing, and do pretend cooking and sharing food with everyone. You even help out with the real cooking too! You helped us roll up enchiladas the other night and did great!  You like to play with the baby doll and change her diaper and feed her and give her a bottle. You love cars, trains, planes and things that go. You love your bath (bri) and have so much fun in the water. You like to color & draw. You like to climb and play and jump and slide. You love your big brother and sister and they have so much fun with you.

You can put on your own coat using the “Flipidy-Flop” method that Miss Amanda taught you. You can even manage to get your own shoes/boots on sometimes. And then there are the times you put on Momma’s heels and tromp around the kitchen, but I will try not to embarrass you too much. (the video may get shown to your girlfriend someday though, hehe)

Your vocabulary increases daily. Though sometimes I am the only one who understands your language. Some of your words sound similar to not so nice words and I have to do some explaining when others hear them. You have been learning emotions. You first started saying “HAPPY!” “Me, HAPPY” “Mommy, HAPPY” etc. it is so so cute. Now you are starting to say “Cry” in a sad tone, beginning to recognize and understand those feelings a bit more too. You are happy to share that your name is “Arlo” whenever asked now.

You are doing really well with your big-boy bed. It takes a little extra time to get you down some nights but I don’t mind too much usually. You have a super sweet routine now. Whenever I say it’s time for bed, you reach around and rub your hand on your low back and say “back”. Because you always want me to sit/lay with you and rub your back. I have been shortening these little goodnight sessions because they mostly just end up with you stalling and fooling around, asking for a drink etc. haha. Oh boy but you are cute. Now you even enjoy rubbing my back too. Gah.. you’re killin’ me kid.

Daddy and I love making you laugh, we make faces at each other and silly noises and you just eat it up. I love being goofballs no matter where we are or what is going on. I bet someday you will eventually get embarrassed by us but for now we will soak it up.

You are sweet and silly, smart and energetic, tall and handsome, a big helper and a typically happy guy. We are so proud of you buddy and look forward to another adventurous year ahead. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARLO! I hope you enjoyed your yummy special birthday “DoNuffins” this morning.








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Our Disney Experience

An unexpected, unplanned trip to Disney dropped into our laps when Isabelle’s Cheerleading Squad made their way to Nationals for their super cute choreographed dance routine! The girls worked hard and actually had a good shot of doing well at Nationals too! With a little luck and help from Grandma Ann and a few fantastic kiddos the trip was pretty much awesome!

Everything about it was a little overwhelming and crazy and well… unplanned. Brian had to be in Texas for work on Monday, so he flew out Sunday and would meet us in Florida on Tuesday afternoon just after the kids and I landed from Manchester, all followed by Grandma arriving from Arizona shortly thereafter.


Arlo had been building excitement about the trip (mostly the “plaaaaane” ride) all weekend. I crept into his room early Tuesday morning and woke him up and the first thing he says..”plaaaaaane” haha. I myself had only 2 hours of sleep, as I was up late working and packing everything the night before! Oh it would be a long day already I could tell. We picked up the big kiddos and got to the airport. It was a bit icy on the roads and a yucky day. Colin got stopped at security because he was packin’ scissors in his backpack…. uh-oh… luckily they were just below the size limit and we were on our way. Little did we know it would be a while before we were actually in the air. Due to some mechanical issues and then having to de-ice the wings, we sat forever in the plane before our adventure could even begin. Quickly running out of entertainment for our not-so-baby-anymore lap child who was squirmy and being bounced back and forth between the three of us snug in a row.

Finally we were on our way! I was already nervous traveling with just me and all of the kids, (Colin & Izzy ended up being a huge help of course) and now we were behind schedule, there was a decent size layover planned but we now have used that up sitting on a runway. We quickly made our way to what we thought was our gate in Baltimore and grabbed a quick bite to eat, just as we were sitting and eating, Colin says, “it says 3pm to Orlando on the sign is that right?” Me: “No, that is not right” I check. Not our flight number. FUDGE. No one at the desk, I go around to the other side to the gate next to us where there are attendants at the desk and see that our flight gate changed to this one and is now boarding… YIKES and PHEW! Thank you Colin for speaking up!

We made it to Florida in one piece. Hey, this picture spot looks familiar, Arlo and I were just here at the Orlando Airport last year visiting Great Grammy! Obviously, needed another updated pic of all the kids.

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We met up with Bri and Grandma at the airport and then the kids and I boarded the Disney Magical Express bus to our hotel. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Which is where the team was required to stay. Grandma stayed outside the Disney parks and was renting a car with Brian and met us over there.

The kids sporting their personalized Park Hopper bracelets on the bus

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The resort looked really nice and overall I suppose it was…

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We arrived tired and hungry and the kids and I had to schlep with our luggage and all the way down through this long building to a certain conference hall to “Check-In” in a special area for the Cheerleading group, rather than right at the front of the hotel. Then had to walk all the way back and had received a map showing we had to also walk quite far to our room as well. This place was huge. Both me and Arlo who was much more vocal than I, were displeased with this arrival/check-in process. I call Brian with Arlo screaming in the background, “Where are you?” Thankfully they were one minute away and we met up with them back at the front by the time we got there.

The kids all went with grandma and the luggage in the car over to the room as we found out there was some parking back there, and Bri and I took a nice walk to the room alone to catch up after days apart and a crazy travel day.

We had dinner at the resort lobby in a restaurant that was overpriced and not very yummy, but it filled the need at the time. We bid goodnight to Grandma and went back to the room. Another great first impression came when we got back to the room and the group staying in the room next to us was most likely drunk and fighting/having very loud drama in and out of their room as we tried to get Arlo to sleep. I was NOT HAPPY, we called the front desk,  I think someone in their room may have even called the police, either way things died down and we didn’t have to change rooms, like I was getting really tempted to try to do.

As it was, 5 people in our one room was a lot! It got messy and cramped and hard with sleeping times being very different, but we figured out to put Arlo’s crib behind the sliding doors to the vanity area and put the fan in the bathroom on for white noise so that we all didn’t have to go to sleep by 8pm every night, although we ended up not being long after that most nights as we were usually wiped by the day’s end.


Izzy had practice with her team in the morning and then after that we all headed over to the Animal Kingdom park for the day!

20141210_111254Every park had their own specially decorated huge Christmas Tree, Arlo loved it!

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We saw lots of Animals (of course), Gorillas, Goats, Zebra, Elephant, Hippo, Giraffe, Tarantulas, Lions, Birds, Monkeys, Rhinos, Alligators, so many things!

Attractions we checked out were:

Conservation Station

The Affection Section

The Gorillas

The Safari

River Rapids

Expedition Everest

TreiceraTop Spin

I made everyone stand in line so I could meet Pocahontas!… (worth it!) :)  It was a really fun day and great start to our Disney parks adventures.

Some videos from Animal Kingdom:



Dinoland Ride:

Dinoland Dance Party:

Drums: (arlo knows when he is on camera/he is also tired and zoning out for the first part, ha!)

Goat PettingZoo:

Isabelle needed to be in bed by 8pm Wednesday night by strict order of her coaches since Thursday Morning was their big competition day.

Unfortunately, Wednesday night the whole PopWarner organization rented out Hollywood Studios park for just the Cheering and Football people for a big party event and private access to the park from 8-midnight on Wednesday night. So we missed out on that, but we were there for a reason and that was to kick some butt at Nationals the next day! and so we did…


We all woke early to prepare Isabelle for her big day. I of course was on hair duty. This being my second time getting to do the fancy “Victory Curl” style on her for her little “Rosie the Riveter” theme I was feeling a little more confident than the first time, but wanted to make sure it didn’t fall out at all so we stuck about a thousand bobby pins in and hair sprayed the heck out of her! :) And if that wasn’t enough, I decided that I too would wear my hair done up like the team to show team support in the stands!

Izzy was off with her team to head over to the ESPN sports complex and we would catch the later bus over once we met up with Grandma. The sports center was cool to see and was all decked out for the competition. We were so excited! We watched as the other teams danced, even Arlo got his groove on to some songs! The costumes and performances were great, some much better than others of course. There were 13 teams total in Isabelle’s age group and dance category.

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Video of the beginning of their routine:

Isabelle’s team had a visit after their routine from the Vice President of PopWarner, who told them that they looked great and did great and invited them to be runway models for their little fashion show during the intermission break to model the new PopWarner Cheering clothes and bags etc. It was really cute when the girls came out one by one with their names called and they really strutted their stuff!

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At lunch break we got to see the gals finally! Arlo was so excited and proud of his big sis I think! He only wanted to hang out with her and her friends, wanted nothing to do with me or dad at lunch. :) So cute to see.

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The awards ceremony was in the afternoon. Teams got to have only two girls and their coaches to come out to potentially receive the trophy’s and awards. Isabelle was one of the lucky girls from her team and we were so proud to see her out there with her coaches. My heart was so full when I heard them call Bedford Junior Bulldogs for 5th place! I know they worked really hard and we found out later that for a first time team at nationals to get a trophy is pretty unheard of. We waited for a long while afterward for their team to come out from getting their photos taken. (I hope to have those professional photos soon, one of the other parents bought the disc of them and is going to share). While we waited, Arlo made friends with some of the other girls’ siblings that were there waiting too. Peek-a-boo around the palm tree. So cute.

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Then finally we got to see our happy gals and the big shiny new trophy that they earned.

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To celebrate that night the team had a special dinner at Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney. Colin and Arlo stayed back with Grandma and Me and Bri took Izzy out for the celebratory team dinner. It was a nice night out.


We checked out the Magic Kingdom. It was another fun- filled and tiring day, and down-right chilly too.

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We went on rides like:


Mad Tea Party

Space Mountain

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 

Haunted Mansion 


It’s a Small World

Pirates of the Carribean

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I had almost expected Arlo to be a little suspicious of the characters at Disney, however this kid LOVED them. Everytime he saw a dressed up character big smiles big waves, big “Hiiiii’s”! One of the cutest parts of the whole trip was when Arlo got to meet Whinnie the Pooh and Tigger. Bri and I took him on the little ride and like all other rides at Disney it feeds you through a ride specific gift shop at the end. Arlo grabbed a Tigger stuffy off the shelf and would not let go, so I guess that was meant to be his souvenir of the trip. We got him the Tigger and then went out and waited in line to meet Pooh and Tigger. He was so excited. And did really good being patient.

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Finally it was his turn. The video is a MUST watch to understand the complete cuteness. Arlo, would not let go of his hug with Pooh. It was the best hug ever! Then, Tigger had seen that I was holding the little stuffed Tigger and took it to give to Arlo himself. Arlo grabbed it from him as if to say “hey, that’s mine!”.

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We caught the little parade of characters as we were on our way out. :)


We went to Hollywood Studios in the morning where we found some more fun things like:

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme stunt show

Star Tours

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Rock N’ Roller Coaster

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

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The stunt show was great, entertaining and educational as to how stunt scenes are really shot and the cool stunt cars that they use, like the one that has been re-arranged inside to be able to drive it and make it look like it’s going backwards really well! :) And of course my little car lover LOVED it! :)

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We also had a great time at the Honey, I shrunk the kids movie set playground. I remember really liking that movie as a kid and it was really cool to pretend to be a part of it and have some fun being kids ourselves! :)

We had some lunch and some ice cream treats while we waited for our “fast pass” time for the Aerosmith Rock N’ Rollercoaster. That was a really fun ride and the first time the kids went “upside down” on a roller coaster! :)

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And when we came out from it we saw that Grandma had managed to get the little guy a cat nap. :)

We decided to squeeze in one more park so, we caught the ferry boat over to Epcot for the afternoon/evening and would have our last dinner there. We didn’t spend a long time there and didn’t get to see too many things but from what we did we realized it seemed pretty cool and we wished we had more time.

The kids and grandma checked out Mission Space.2014-12-13 17.28.07

Bri, Arlo and I checked out Living with the Land, and saw the greenhouses that provide food for a lot of the parks.

We all checked out the iconic “ball” as Arlo called it which housed the ride Spaceship Earth.

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We had a nice sit-down dinner at a chinese restaurant in the park before heading back to the hotel.


Of course on Sunday the weather warmed back up. I relished in the warm sunshine as we waited for the bus to take us to the airport and back to the cold north.

As Arlo says, we were “Good to Go” (his first string of words together).

Giggles with Daddy on the plane ride home

It was a really fun family trip, there were lots of giggles and play and good times had by all. And looking back on it only makes it seem even more special to have had the chance at our first Disney Experience together.


It’s (finally) beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Even though there might not be any white on the ground, it is starting to feel like Christmas for the McGintys. We just got around to going to the farm to get our Christmas tree this past weekend with the help of Colin and Arlo. This year’s annual tree-cutting which typically occurs for us just after Thanksgiving was thrown off due to our loss of power for a handful of days through that lovely Turkey holiday and then jetting off to Disney in December (follow up post to come) which made time literally fly and Christmas just sneaked up on us.

Arlo was excited about the tree and keeps saying “Tree”. He helped us decorate and had a grand old time.

The house finally feels festive though and I am so excited to have everyone over on Saturday. Here are some pics of our ventures in finding the perfect tree this year. :)

And here is the decorated version!

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Decorating the tree makes it really feel like Christmas to me, I realized this year. I just love it! It’s probably one of my most favorite parts of the holiday. I love re-discovering old ornaments and adding in new ones to the collection. Here are some of my faves that don our tree.

Given to Bri and Me by his mom our first Xmas together.

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A sweet gift from our friend’s Michelle and Tim

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Last Year’s Ornament for Arlo. First time meeting St. Nick.

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The Indian that Brian made as a kid so loooong ago… haha ;) 2014-12-23 16.26.24

And new to the collection this year, straight from Disney: MICKEY!2014-12-23 16.25.55

Arlo has also been really enjoying finding our house elf whose named “EEHE” because that’s what first came out of Arlo’s mouth when he saw him. He loves searching for him first thing when he wakes up. It’s lots of fun.

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Ho! Ho! Ho! Hope you all have a great Holiday!

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Fall Favorites

Fall has been quite busy. Brian’s been traveling for work a ton, I feel like it has been every week sometimes. :( I even had to travel a little more too, some day trips to Portland for work and I went away from my guys for 3 days and two nights, for the Grow conference that my team put on, that was tough, but pretty fun too. These are some of my favorite moments from fall…

Rainy Day & Foliage Fun


Driving Daddy’s truck

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Playing at parks



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The big kiddos have kept most of our weekends busy with traveling around for sports. Colin played on a travel soccer team and seemed to have fun doing that and Isabelle did cheerleading. We all went to her state competition to see her perform in her team’s dance routine where they dressed up like Rosie the Riveter, they did really well and moved on to the regional competition which Brian and Izzy went to overnight in Mass and they ended up doing well enough there too that we are all heading to the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney in Florida next week for Nationals! We are excited and really proud of our little gal!

Izzy Cheer

Dance Routine – State Competition – Izzy is Front Left

Waiting for Judge Results – Dance Party

Gameday Cheering


Lunch between cheering and soccer


Colin Soccer

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Arlo was off making friends at Colin’s tournament weekend in York, with Doggies and Kiddos alike. :)

We had a great grape harvest this year and picked them all as a family and while Arlo ate most of them right of the vines, :) we made a good amount of yummy grape freezer jelly.

For Colin’s 12th Birthday, YIKES 12! I can hardly believe how big both of the kids are getting. We got him something he has wanted a very long time and has learned a lot about over the years. A snake! EEEK! At first both Brian and I were freaked out by the idea and wanted “snakey” as I called him to go home with Colin as soon as possible but then we had to keep him for about a month and he… well… grew on us haha he did finally make it home recently and has been named by Colin as “Sunny”.

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Some pictures from my team’s Grow Conference we put on at the Portland Company.

And of course there was Halloween. Arlo had fun he dressed up on Thursday at daycare with his friends and they did little Halloween activities. Then Friday we all dressed up and went over to the Fire Station in town that was having a little thing and that Miss Amanda was going to be at and then stopped at a couple of our neighbor’s houses on the way back home. Arlo tasted chocolate candies for the first time and really enjoyed himself! :)

It all started early with a package of Candy delivered for all the kiddos from Papa and Nana!

Tim and Kerin came for a lovely weekend visit and we spent some time catching up and playing. My Mom came down Saturday and stayed the night and then we met up with my Dad and Jodie for brunch on Sunday in Portsmouth. It’s always great getting to see those two! :)

Baking Cookies with Mom. :) Such a good helper, my little master chef junior. (wearing the apron I got for Izzy when she was younger)

Cute Arlo-isms

Now that Arlo is talking a lot more and learning and using new words all the time, he has some cute things that he says and his own little language sometimes that as a Mom you just kind of figure out and go with it since it’s mostly the excitement about being able to communicate at this point, we will work on the actual terms for things as we go along, but I try to also just relish in the cuteness that is his teeny toddler vocabulary.

“Brummy” means car/truck now… meant to be like the sound they make… vvrrrrooom

“Bubble” is used for actual bubbles, balloons and grapes!

“No” is new and has all of a sudden become the most favorite word.

“Dum” usually means yes, I think it stems from us always asking if he wants some and he would then try to say “some” sounding like “dum” or “da” which is Russian for Yes so, maybe we are bilingual! :)

“Baaa” He calls his lamb stuffies this, he has several. When taking him out of the crib he always needs to get be sure to bring any of his “baaas” with him along with his “blankie” Which sounds very similar to “kitty”. He usually has his arms full of blankets and stuffies getting out of bed.

He is so good at saying “Thank-You” (tank-koo) for everything. And has just started to add “Please” to the vocabulary, though he has known and used the sign for it for a while, he now ads the word too sometimes.

He can also say “Lion”, I heard “Frog” the other day and a handful of other words. He just keeps developing so fast, soon we will have full on sentences.

Of course he says “mommy” “daddy” constantly and he has already learned how to try to be cute to get himself out of trouble.. every time I say “No” or “stop” to him for something he looks at me all cute, and waves his little hand and says “Hiiiii”. Until I say Hi back… ggrrrr haha why does he have to be so darn cute.

And this is the only way he will go down the stairs now and he loves when his siblings are here so he has even more reasons to do so in chasing them around…

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Firetruck Fun!

I want to thank Miss Amanda, and the Epping Fire Department for bringing the truck to daycare for a bit of fun for all the kiddos. There was so much joy, wonder, screaming and noise. The kids even got to honk the horn! The neighbors must have loved us! haha.

Arlo just loved the big red fire engine! Despite the fact he was having a cranky kinda day. :)

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