Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas 2014: McGuire Family Photos

A big thank you to Erica for taking our family pictures again. We love her relaxed yet professional approach when taking family photos. You can find and "Like" her on Facebook under:  

This year's Annual McGuire Christmas Card included our family photos and I couldn't be happier with how it came out. 

Here they are! 

I took this last one...

Hope everyone is having a very happy holiday season so far. We are in the middle of the move into the new house! 

Today: First Day in! House gets cleaned
Wednesday: Bedroom floors get installed
Thursday: Crown moulding gets installed
Friday: Interior gets painted
Saturday: Cleaning again
Sunday: Unpacking & Organizing 

Busy week!  

(We just forwarded our mail so I can't wait to see the holiday cards that are waiting for us over there! Thank you to the families that have already sent us their holiday cards! I love and keep each and every single one of them. I am putting them into a huge album to see how the families grow and change every year. Thank you, Patty, for telling me to do that 4 years ago... I have and so happy I did! 
I'll post the 2014 McGuire Christmas card later.)   

Happy Tuesday, everyone! 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Our Last Sunday

Mark and I seem to be getting a bit emotional about moving out of our first home as a family
(okay, it is mostly just me but he keeps mentioning it so I think he is too...) 

Tonight is our last Sunday evening in our condo before we get the keys to our new home on Tuesday. Sundays are pretty uneventful around here but we like it that way. Mark and I spend a lot of time on our back porch preparing for the upcoming week, talking about goals/plans, and catching up on each other. We moved into this condo when I was about 7 months pregnant with Ava. We had a little time before she arrived and tried our best to make this a home before she arrived. 
Now, at about 6 pregnant with Elle, we are packing up again to move into our more permanent home. Even though we only rented this condo, it still felt very much like our own. We brought our first born here to live and learned how to become parents here. 
(I am starting to cry typing this right now... darn pregnancy hormones!!!) 

I rocked Ava to sleep more times than I can count in her room. 

I cried tears of exhaustion in our room after those first couple of weeks after giving birth to Ava.

I cheered Ava on as I witnessed her first crawl in her room and her first steps in our master bedroom. 

I learned how to prepare healthy meals for my family in this kitchen. 

I started my schooling to become a health coach here. Studying and learning about my passion has been so rewarding. 

 I have watched Mark stay up working late at night on the back porch table or in our bed...quickly advancing at work from Manager to Market Director to Vice President. 

This was home for the last two years. Although not a long time, it feels like we have accomplished so much in this home.

I am grateful for the time we spent here. It was safe, peaceful, and comfortable. 

Tonight, Ava asked us to go outside and see the moon with her. As she did, Mark was reminding me that this is one of last nights here and went and grabbed the camera. 
(I guess he is getting sentimental too.) 

He took these two candid photos of us just as we were heading back inside tonight. 

I can't believe that I am chasing this toddler back inside when it feels like we were just bringing her to this home for the very first time...on a Sunday.

As we close up this chapter of our lives here, we will soon be opening up a new one in our new home. We will welcome Ava's little sister, Elle Westcott, in March and make new memories there  with new neighbors, friends, and family. 

I'm off to go put Ava to bed (in her crib) which will soon change as well. Ava will be getting a new bedroom set with double twin beds very soon as Elle will be getting her crib in the new nursery. 

Happy Sunday. 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Catching Up!

Oh man! Blogging had been put on the back burner lately. Sorry! Especially to our out of state family members that look forward to catching up with us.

The last posts I wrote were about purchasing our new house and before that time gap...Ava's 2nd Halloween! She was a little clown and won a prize in the "Original Costume" category! I was so proud haha and had so much fun! 

The following day, we celebrated Ava's 2nd birthday! We celebrated on Nov 1st (my mom's birthday) rather than Ava's actual birthday (Nov 2nd) due to the space we rented out. We rented out the gymnastics facility in Ft. Lauderdale that Ava plays at once in a while. They have wide open areas where the toddlers get an "open play time" all to themselves two times a week. I am so happy we decided on this location. Ava had a ball and did not want to stop running around. She cried during cake cutting time (classic!) since she was exhausted by that point but wanted to keep playing. Needless to say, she didn't care about eating cake and went off to play again. (Doesn't bother me one bit! Haha)
The November birthday Girls!
Me: Nov 5
Ava: Nov 2
My Mom: Nov 1

This was was extra special since we were sharing it with my mom on her 48th birthday. A few weeks prior, I had gotten in touch with mom mom's childhood (lifelong) bestfriend and asked if she would be able to drive over from Fort Myers, FL to surprise my mom. Without hesitation, she took work off and we started planning the surprise. Mark and I gifted my mom with a night at the Diplomat Resort&Spa in Hollywood, FL so that her and her bestfriend could spend the night there and catch up after they left Ava's party. 
I had so much fun seeing my mom so surprised and excited to see her friend.

That night: I seriously started crying (pregnancy hormones!) when I was reading Ava her bedtime story. Mark laughed and took pictures.
It was her last night as a one year old. Where had the last 2 years gone!?
 Kissing daddy goodnight and learning how to say "I am 2!"

 Next morning: Ava's Birthday Morning! 
  Hello Kitty Breakfast for the birthday girl! 
 Birthday crown and all 

Fast forward to today....

I ordered this adorable set from a mom in a local mom group that I am in on Facebook. These moms are like-minded in relation to healthy eating and natural parenting practices. It is such an amazing group of moms always reaching out to support and help each other. One of the  moms volunteered to make these sets and put the proceeds toward the moms in the group that are struggling this. Holiday season. I quickly put our order in and was happlily surprised when she said she would personalize them!


I am so in love with this set that will help families this holiday season while giving our family a new tradition. I am already picturing Ava and her little sister having story time by the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve followed by putting out Santa's milk and cookies. Oh, the cute pictures every year that will be taken to capture these adorable moments! :) 
Thank you to the mama who is making these. I am so grateful to be in this amazing group of mothers who always support and help each other whenever possible. 

Later today, Ava and I are going to out to lunch with our friends Jereann and her daughter, Sophia, for lunch. Jereann is expecting a son in a couple of months and Ava's little sister will be here in about 4 more months. With Sophia and Ava being big sisters and the same age, it will work out great when it comes to play dates and learning how to juggle our two kiddos together. They also purchased a home a few streets down from ours and will be moving in soon around the same time we are! It will be awesome to have them close by as well as six other families I counted that will be close by as well now. Looks like we picked a great neighborhood to move into! 

Hope everyone is having a great short work week to get ready for Thanksgiving.

P.S. My goal is to get a Wellness Wednesday post out tomorrow to cover some healthy new habit ideas. :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

We Bought A House!

Well, the wait is over! Mark and I finally did it and purchased our first home together! 
I couldn't feel more grateful to my husband for doing this all on his own for us. This house, as well as many other things, was achieved by 100% of Mark's hard work. 

He and I had been living together after I graduated college in the Spring of 2009. We chose an apartment together in Chicago where he took an offer to be transferred with a promotion in line. There, we made memories in our first little "home" together.  It was a small 1/1 apartment in very old, 3 story brookstone in the adorable neighborhood of Chicago called Lakeview. To this day, we look back on it and smile. It had two big brick walls and a fireplace that we both miss. With the original hardwood floors, that  little apartment was absolutely adorable. (The part that I don't miss was that the washers and dryers were down in the basement. Walking down the outside staircase to get to the bottom on those cold winter days in my PJs and Ugg boots was not something I recommend doing. With icicles and slippery steps, I'm shocked I never fell.) 
Anyways, that was "our" first home together ever. I look back on it and wouldn't trade that year on Briar Street for the world. Although it is no secret that we prefer living in south Florida, we appreciate what that move did for our relationship and personal growth. 

After Chicago, we got transferred back and we rented our 2/2 for a couple of years in Pompano Beach. It was great as we lived in the same neighborhood as my mom and I was able to see her every day.  This was an important factor to us when choosing where to live once Ava came because I would be at home alone with a new baby and knew that I would want my mom (and his) close by. So when it came time to start looking for a house, we had our eyes set one ONE neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale. We looked at a couple outside of it but ultimately knew that our favorite (with a great school district) was Coral Ridge Isles in Fort Lauderdale. 
(I seriously prayed every single night since January 2014 hoping that the perfect house would become available when we needed to buy later that Fall).
Well, my prayers were answered! 
One morning, we were set to look at a house on that main neighborhood street and were pretty impressed with it afterwards. As we finished up that showing, our friend and realtor had set up a showing two doors down on a home that was now the same exact price as the one we just saw. Ava and I walked down and said hi to the neighbors in between the two for sale homes as Mark and our realtor, Kristine, moved the cars down. Once we walked inside Mark said, "This one is definitely better." 
The owner of the house was actually there for this showing and Mark really enjoyed that. He was able to give us a very detailed tour and reminded Mark of a great friend of his, Aryeh, who years ago was the man who hired Mark at his present job.  
We toured and fell in love. We put in an offer in the following night and had a deal on Monday afternoon! It all happened quickly but felt very serendipitous as Mark kept saying. There were just things that almost felt like "signs" or things that made Mark and I feel that this was our home. 

Mark and I are all about signs when it relates to our relationship. Since Mark and I met when we were just 9 and 11 years old, you can imagine that we have a good amount of things that have come to mean a lot to us- whether they are verses in songs, dates, places, etc.

One specifically, is a bible verse.  A very long time ago (I am not even quite sure when it was but Mark's steel trap memory probably does), Mark was curious and wanted to look up a very special date to us. It is the date that we consider the beginning of "us" and has a lot of meaning to us for several reasons. So Mark opened the Bible and looked up in the Book of Mark (of course) Chapter 10 verse 27 for October 27th. 

That verse has stayed with us since the day we read it. I'm pretty sure it's the only verse I know from the Bible verbatim. 

Mark 10:27 reads, "Jesus looking on them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible."

After reading this, it sort of became our little reminder to always have faith and to trust the process. Mark and I had some not so perfect times during our relationship especially during the crazy college years, but always knew and reminded each other that we would be together in the end- no matter what.
We always felt that we were soulmates. (Sorry to sound corny but we are super mushy and corny people!) 

Fast forward to present time:
After we first saw the house, Mark told me when we got back to our condo that he saw something that he really liked. I thought he was going to tell me about the water softener system throughout the house since he has sensitive skin haha He told me that he saw a single, little stone in the backyard that read our favorite Bible verse. He had already felt good about the house, the price, location, everything... But when he noticed that small stone, it made him smile. 

I took this picture at our final walk-through right before closing an hour later

As you can imagine, I wanted to cry and hug him at the same time when I heard that. Haha 
Our offer was put in and the home was ours 30 days later. 

Thank you to our friend and realtor, Kristine Marseco, for guiding us to our new home. Another big thank you to a long time family friend and attorney, Mike Styles, who has known me since I was five years old and looked over all of our documents to make sure that we were properly set up. And last but not least, Christine (Wardell) Mancil's husband, Jared Mancil, for helping us set up our homeowner's insurance. Christine and I met in high school. All 3 of our main contacts were personal friends and made this process and very easy for us. Thank you! 

The McGuire family is ready to start making new memories in our first house! 


"Jesus looking on them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible."
Mark 10:27