4 Date Ideas for the Back to School Season

The school district we live in has their first day back to school today! How is summer already over? Our kiddos don't start preschool for a few more weeks, so we get to enjoy summer just a little bit longer. And our back-to-school routine won't have quite the impact on our family and our routine as those of you who have older kids. I've seen many parents express on social media that it's a bittersweet feeling sending their kiddos back to school. Most moms are excited to get back to their regular routine, but many parents are going to miss the late nights, summer fun, and unlimited time together. As school starts and you get back into your routines, I want to challenge you to get back into your date night routine as well! Here are a few ideas of dates to plan over the next week or two just for the occasion

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15 Gifts Your Wife Wants for Mother's Day

This year, to take a little bit of the pressure off my husband for mother’s day, I decided to put together a list of things that I would enjoy being given for Mother's Day. Husbands, if you're struggling with ideas for what to give your wife, show her this post and ask what her thoughts are. Wives, if your husband is like mine and thinks too big, stressing himself out, share this list with him and maybe even give him an order of preference. The items below are in no particular order for myself, but I'd enjoy receiving any of them, so my husband should be safe!

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Six Ways to Prepare for a New Baby Together

If and when we have a third, I've joked with Joe that I'm doing everything that we need to do during the first month of pregnancy so I have the upper hand no matter when the baby decides to come. But the more I've thought about it, the more I've realized what is actually important to do before our family grows and what can be done later. Decorating the babies nursery would be great, but Emmy turns two this weekend and her room still has nothing on the walls, but she doesn't mind.

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The Importance of Praising Your Spouse in Front of the Kids

The other day I walked into the kitchen where Bensen was sitting at the table with Joe. A few minutes later, Bensen said, "Dad is a big deal!" Then he and Joe gave each other knuckles. I just laughed because Joe being "a big deal" is a running joke in our household and really with anyone who knows Joe. Later I found myself wishing that instead of laughing, I had agreed with Bensen and in that moment said, "Yes, dad is a pretty big deal." Because Joe is a big deal in my eyes, and the most amazing man I've met. I married him after all, didn't I? He had to be something special to become my closest confidant and my partner in life.

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Advice for Families in the NICU - from People Who Have Been There

September is NICU Awareness Month, a month designed to inspire hope and to honor families who are currently in this situation as well as the health care professionals caring for their little ones. I wanted to do something to give back this year, because our time in the NICU was trial but it was such a huge blessing at the same time. I wanted a way to provide them with support and hopefully make that time just a little bit easier. I asked other parents who have experienced a NICU stay, as well as nurses who work there, to share their story and offer a few pieces of advice.

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Why I Miss Our Time in the NICU

It has been seven months since we left the NICU but I still think about it often. Is it weird to say that I miss that place? How could someone miss having half of your heart at home with the toddler and the other half in the hospital with your tiny little one? Those three weeks were definitely some of the hardest in our lives but also some of the best. I cried more tears during those weeks than I have at any other time in my life, and while some of them were tears of anger, frustration or sadness, quite a few of them were tears of joy.

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All of Our Most Tender Moments

With a new baby and a toddler who is just starting to recognize his own strength, Joe and I can often be heard using the word gentle and its synonyms. Whenever Bensen gets near his sister or gets too rough when he's playing with Howie, we remind him to be gentle and soft. Our lives this past year have been pretty full of crazy, and I've had to take the time to remember to be gentle with myself as well. And throughout all of the chaos, we've worked really hard to enjoy the tender and peaceful moments that come our way.

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Preparing Our Toddler for the New Baby

I was nervous leading up to Emmy's birth because I wasn't sure how he would react to having a sister and not being the center of attention in our home anymore. Change is always going to come with challenges, especially when it disrupts a child's routine and sense of normal. What we did worked for our situation in particular and I hope that at least one or two of these ideas will help your family as well. Luckily, he seems to really love her a lot, she's the first thing he wants to check on when he wakes up and he's always asking to see her. 

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Fathers are Capable and Important Too!

A couple of months ago, I saw a graphic going around Facebook, encouraging people to stop referring to fathers as babysitters when they are left alone with their children. Dads can sometimes get a bad rap for chaos and fun when mom is gone, but if the are given the chance and confidence in their abilities, they are just as capable of raising kids as moms are! Over the past year, Joe has shown me just how true that is as he stepped up and took over extra parenting duties while I was taking night classes, putting hours in for my internship and working on homework assignments. 

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Qualities I Hope Our Son Gets from His Dad

Before Bensen was born, whenever anyone asked Joe how he was feeling or if he was excited, he would tell them, "I'm absolutely terrified!" He has taken to being a dad like a fish to water. The first time he held Bensen, it seemed so natural and he didn't look at all like someone who was worried about breaking their baby. Over the last two months, I have watched Joe embrace being a daddy and it has been so fun to watch. Watching him interact with our baby boy is one of my favorite things to do and I'm constantly giggling over the one sided conversations that he has while Bensen stares at him intently with his big blue eyes. They look so much alike and Bensen sneezes, stretches and sleeps just like his dad. I am excited to see what personality traits Bensen inherits from Joe as well!

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How I Know Joe Will Make a Good Father

I know that when we have kids of our own, they will learn a lot from Joe. He makes whatever he's teaching seem so interesting and he is able to bring it down to the kids' level so that they are able to grasp even the more difficult concepts. From early on in our relationship, Joe has told me how he plans to teach our kids to be financially responsible, hard workers, and different life lessons and every single idea he has is great and I can't wait to see him implement them.

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