Monday, August 21, 2017

Ava's 1st Day of School...ever

These last 24 hours have been pretty special around here. 

Ava has been hearing about school over the last couple of years through her friends and family but today she got to experience it herself! It was time for her to start Pre Kindergarten. I keep saying that I can't believe that 4 years has flown by. I really can't.  
Yes, the days are long as a stay at home mom. They really are! 
There are days where I feel like I am going a bit crazy but, overall, I wouldn't trade these years for anything. That saying is so true: the days are long but the years are short. 

Back to last night though...
It was the sweetest. A memory that I will keep with me forever and just in case I am not around one day to recap it: I am sharing it here so that the girls can read about it later on.  After all, this is why I have this blog: for them. 

Ava, you make me so proud. More than anything, me and Daddy want to raise you to be kind. Kind above all else. You are already showing us that in your words and actions and we couldn't be happier about it. 
The night before your big day, I read a story to you and Elle about a puppy going to school. 
After that, we were talking about how special the next day would be and you asked about Elle. You were concerned and wanted to know where she was going to be. When I told you that she was going to stay home with Mommy, you quickly reassured her that you would come back home to her right after school and that she was your best sister ever. You told her you loved her and asked her for a hug and a kiss. 
Mommy couldn't help but cry. In that moment, I saw you being brave and focusing on Elle to make sure that she would be ok. You made me really proud. You are kind and have the sweetest little soul.  I hope more than anything, you stay that way forever. 

The next morning, you couldn't wait to get to school! These pictures were a bit rushed because you just wanted to get into the car and go. As much as I wanted to savor these moments, I was thankful that you weren't scared about going to school. 

Of course Mommy had to include Elle on the 1st day of school picture fun... 

Sweet goodbyes to Elle. 

We are so lucky that we got to have your Nana there with us for your big day. 
She took these sweet pictures of us and videotaped you walking into your classroom for Daddy.
 I am so happy that she did because these are the moments that we will want to remember forever.

You walked ahead of us, went right in, and met your new teacher with such excitement. I did hear your little voice shake a little when you said goodbye to me and that you would see me soon. You smiled through it and stayed strong though. No tears from you, big girl! 
You are always the one to try and keep a brave face for mama which makes it even harder for me when I hear your little voice tremble. 

When Elle and I picked you up from school, you gave me a giant hug and told me that you missed me. We missed you too, Ava. Elle was standing by the front door right before we left to pick you up and she asked, "Mommy, Where Ava? I want go see Ava." 

We love you sweet girl. Me and Daddy are so proud of you. We know that you are going to do amazing in school. You are kind, always eager to learn, and polite. 
We hope you stay that way forever. 

I love you, 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Loving Lately: Pilates

Hi there! It's me, Christina, trying to get better at consistently blogging again... ha 

So, the last post was all about my love for our swim instructor who taught Ava & Elle how to swim in 5 days flat. I received so many calls and messages about it and am thrilled that so many little ones will be taught by Coach Jackie Nelson Doyle! I have already seen some videos and pictures of your little ones being taught by her and am over here on the other side of my computer doing the happy dance for them! 

Now that we have checked Elle's swimming off the to-do list, I am trying to make some more time for myself. Being a stay at home mom has some obvious perks but it is also very exhausting. Mentally and physically. My bathroom breaks consist of someone usually beating the other side of the door to open it up, coffee is rarely hot, and the countdown until daddy gets home is always on. Oh, and when it does get quiet around here - that usually means that there is a REALLY big mess that I now need to clean up. The latest was sunblock all over the coffee table when I was trying to fold the laundry on my bed.  Needless to say, a stay at home mom needs something for herself once in a while without feeling guilty about it. Which brings me to my new "loving lately" topic:

Personal Pilates sessions! 

That's me!

I was so excited when I got the call that Tanya Clark was starting her own Pilates studio in her very own home. Tanya and I go waaaaay back since elementary school. She and I later crossed paths again once  her husband started working for mine years ago. What a small world it is! It was so nice to catch up with her over the years especially because she is so like-minded. She has a two year old son, is a health coach, pilates instructor, and a champ in the kitchen when it comes to making healthy foods taste like decadent desserts. She is truly talented. 

So as you can imagine, I signed right up to have a one on one Pilates session with her when she told me. I am so happy that I did! I have been enjoying Pilates work outs in my own home for some time now but have only done so on my mat. I have never tried Pilates on the actual Pilates apparatus (tower). 
I was blown away when she was instructing me during my lesson. My muscles were all contracted and all working at one time. I was using EVERYTHING I had down to making sure that my feet were flexed the right way. It is mind and body work to achieve that Pilates strength! 
Pilates is one of those magical work outs where you can leave still looking good enough to run errands afterwards... It isn't like other work outs where you have your face melting off and need a shower within minutes of finishing. 
It is low impact but very efficient, great with injury rehabilitation and beginners, less need for good flexibility like yoga, and overall strengthening for the core muscles. 

I was relieved on how easy this was on the joints because this was the original reason I was so open to it. I had been doing HIIT workouts which was causing my left knee to develop a Baker's cyst. It is basically where a painful lump appears underneath my knee area which is full of fluid. This just started not to long ago and has happened about 3 times and my guess is that it happened with the jumping within the HIIT work outs. I knew I had to find some other work outs that would cater to my becoming an old lady ;)  So needless to say, Pilates here I come! The low impact works great for my body and still gives an amazing work out to get those abs! If you are interested in having a personal Pilates session with Tanya, you can contact/ follow her over at her Facebook page, Instagram, or website. She also shares recipes and all things healthy living as well. I'll add her links below.  If you are new to Pilates, please see her first. She has a TON of experience and that one on one attention is an awesome added perk! 

Her brand new little studio!

That's Tanya! 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Swimming Lessons - Thank you, Coach Jackie Nelson Doyle

Dear Coach Jackie, 

This is long overdue. Originally, I was going to mail you a thank you card but I also wanted to share it here so that one day when Ava and Elle ask who taught them how to swim, they can read all about it here. 

I am not even sure where to begin this post.
I remember it like it was yesterday. A swim instructor had come to our Mommy&Me class when Ava was a year old and was talking about her ISR swimming program. I knew that the ISR program wasn't going to be for us (even though I hope it works out well for those who choose to).
 I wanted Ava to have the life saving skills but I wanted something different and I didn't know what that was just yet. I went with my mother in law's recommendation and looked you up. You  taught her sons, my two little brothers in law (not so little now that they are 14 & 16!)  how to swim. Now, the oldest is an amazing swimmer for Cardinal Gibbons. You'd be so proud. 

I started talking to other moms and finding out that you were all the great things that my mother in law had said and more. You had been teaching for over 30 years, taught hundreds (if not thousands) of children how to swim, had a father that was a former Olympic swim coach himself, etc. It is basically in your DNA to swim and teach others how to swim!  ;) 
I also knew that I wanted private lessons because  Ava would be even more afraid if she heard other children crying and that would only make it worse for her. When I found out that you still did these private lessons, I couldn't call you fast enough. 

I am not going to lie: I was a wreck that first few days. As a new mom, it was really hard to watch Ava cry like that. She was with a new person and learning new skills when she was only used to being with me all day, every day. I may or may not have been crying on the side of the bushes as I hid to watch the lessons unfold. I knew that Ava was going to cry with whoever taught her so if she was going to be scared, we needed the best of the best to teach her these life saving skills. 

We stayed because I watched you remain calm with Ava.  I watched you reassure her and keep her safe at all times. You encouraged her and cheered her on.  As hard as it was hearing Ava cry, I couldn't help but notice that you have truly mastered your craft. You are about repetition, encouragement, safety, and skill. Watching Ava improve minute by minute was truly impressive. After 5 days, Ava knew how to swim! Of course, this came with following your instruction that we practice again with her for 30min each evening  throughout those 5 days of lessons and thereafter. We followed your instructions and kept at it. Practicing was key and her confidence and skill soared because of it. She was no longer crying but singing your praises. "I love Coach Jackie! I swimming!"  she would say and would look forward to her hard earned stickers at the end of her lesson. 

Once Elle came along, there was no doubt that we would be calling you back. Elle did amazing with you as well and now we have two confident swimmers. I say confident and not just two swimmers because there is a difference. A big difference. Kids can have lessons anywhere, but if they don't want to continue swimming after those lessons, then it leaves a parent guessing if they can really handle a life threatening situation.
Kids cry and it stinks for a parent to hear it. I can't imagine how to you do what you do... You stay loving and encouraging through each lesson and, in the end, you have set a child up for success in the water. 
Thank you for what you do. Fort Lauderdale's next generation of amazing swimmers thank you as well. 
Whether Ava and Elle wish to continue swimming only for fun or competitively one day like like uncle Tommy, our girls will have you to thank for their love of the water. Mark and I appreciate you  making it as easy as possible on us.  I can be a big wimp sometimes but having a true expert with our girls helped reassure me that they would thrive in the end. And they did. 

I could go on and on about you for days.
 I hope that all of my friends go to you once they have children. Thank you again for being such a sweet instructor even when the little ones are afraid and doubting themselves (and for being reassuring and sweet to the emotional moms like myself! haha) 

You have truly made a big impact on the McGuire family. My husband may not have been there to witness you teaching our girls like I was but he thinks the world of you as well. The proof is in the pudding and our kids are confident swimmers now. They love the water and that alone is priceless. 
Ava and Elle still ask about you and are excited to see you again when it is time to learn different strokes and become more advanced. 

We love you, Coach Jackie. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 
The McGuire family 







Hugs for Coach Jackie
Ava and I watching Elle's lessons from the window
Learning to "kick kick kick"
Go Elle Go! 
Coach Jackie Nelson Doyle's Swimmers 

Some common questions that I have gotten so far are:

Does Coach Jackie teach babies?  Yes, she does. The sooner the better! She teaches all ages - adults as well. 

How long are lessons?  Lessons are 30 min a day for 5 days. Coach Jackie also strongly recommends that you practice with your child later on each of those days for another 30 min.  (I recommend planning your lessons on a week that you can devote to those daily practices because they are truly important and necessary for success. 

What is Coach Jackie's contact info?

Call or text: (954) 242 - 8918

What if I don't have a pool for lessons? Coach Jackie actually prefers teaching from her own pool in Fort Lauderdale. Ava did her lessons in Coach Jackie's pool when she was 1 year old and it worked out just as great. She can also go to your own home if you have a pool for an additional fee. 

What is the cost for private swim lessons with Coach Jackie? Her specialty is teaching your little one to swim in 5 days. For 5 days at her home it is $250. (I believe you mail in $100 to save your spot as a deposit and you pay the remainder once your week begins.) For the 5 day lessons at your own home it is $100 extra. So $100 upfront and $250 once your week begins totaling $350. Worth every penny and more! 

Where is Coach Jackie's primary pool if we drive to her? 
3120 NW 67th Court Fort Lauderdale 

I hope this helps for those who have asked about Coach Jackie Nelson Doyle's info!  As you can tell, we think the world of her. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Beach Days

Yesterday, my mom and I took the girls over to a nearby beach. We live about two and a half miles miles away from this exact spot. I only know this because Mark and I have walked it before.  I will say that when you have kids, these tiny side street beach spots are the best. Our parking spot was a few steps from the sand and far enough away from Commercial pier's crowds. 
Besides the part where I am packing everything under the sun that is involved in taking two small children to the beach, I actually enjoy these days a lot. My goal this summer is actually to minimize the packing process.  I'll tell you how that goes when I figure it out. Ha!
Luckily, my mom was with us and helped me carry our chairs, umbrella, beach bag, lunch box, towels, toys, etc.  

Oh the days of only grabbing my car keys, a towel, and running out of the door in my bathing suit to meet my friends on 16th... How things have changed! 


They may require packing and a little planning ahead, but these days are truly the best. Getting to watch my girls laugh when they get knocked around by the waves, put all of their effort into building the best sand castle, collect seashells for safe keeping, and make new friends for the day is all worth it. 

I hope they grow up to love the feeling of salt on their skin and the sound of the ocean as much as their mama does. The best memories I have are on the beach.
I don't know where life will take us as the years go on but I do hope we always live by the sea. 



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Whereabouts: Young At Art Museum

Well, here I am again. Trying to get back on track with my blog.
I can't believe it's officially Summer! This year is flying by. With that said, I'm trying to soak up this time before Ava starts school this Fall. She will be starting VPK4 in August. After that, the three of us won't have our mornings all together. Elle and I will be on our own until we pick Ava up from school at noon. I don't even want to think about how Elle is going to react when she sees Ava going somewhere without her. 😢

Now that Summer is here, I am trying to find a lot more indoor activities to stay cool. Today, we headed over to Young at Art Museum and the girls had blast. I packed a lunch for the girls so that we could eat there and be ready for naps right when we got home. 
Here are some pictures from today:


The girls are down for a nap and I'm going to use to this time to figure out what I'm making for dinner. 
Happy Wednesday and Happy 1st Day of Summer ! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Marando Ranch

Happy Tuesday, everyone! 

We took a quick trip over to the new Marando Farms location called Marando Ranch.  They opened up a Ranch in Davie which is an awesome addition to the smaller location in Fort Lauderdale.

 They have a petting zoo, horseback rides, organic and local produce, a smoothie bar, and even healthy pet food. 
Here are some pictures from today's visit.

I've had the pleasure of meeting their owner, Chelsea Marando, a few years ago and she is the sweetest. Thank you for a fun morning, Marando Ranch! The McGuire girls had a blast. 


Marando Farms Facebook page here to keep up with events and news