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

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Ava's 2nd Halloween

Just thought I'd give a little recap of our Halloween this year before I upload all of Ava's 2nd birthday party photos! 

Halloween was very fun this year. We started the day off at Learning Express Toy store (our favorite!) for Halloween activities. (crafts, costume march, stories, face painting, and playing with their train set of course.) 

We decided to go with a modified costume for the hot afternoon. I was going to save the tights and long sleeve for that evening. 

Later that day, Ava was entered in her first Halloween costume contest! She was contestant #71 and won in the "Original Costume" category! Just what mama was aiming for! 

My mom put together my Pre-K costume with clown pieces and a Minnie Mouse dress. She was creative with it and I ended up winning 1st place that year. I even remember my giant Hershey's bar that I won. I thought it would be fun to recreate that with Ava and have fun making our own version of a little clown. I had a great time putting this together and laughed a lot in the process. 
Ava with her Nana (Mark's mom) and her Nonna (my mom) before the contest started 

This picture doesn't do the costume contest justice. It filled up last minute and I would say there ended up being about 120+ contestants plus their families. 

Getting excited to take our position on stage!

Woohoo! The cutest clown in the world! 

Accepting Ava's Award: A gift card to Target aka A gift card to mom heaven

With Uncle Tommy

We even ran into Elmo... and he gave hugs too! He was the sweetest. 

Ava was in love. "Eh-mo!"

Pit stop at Carter's on the way home

We ended up not going to a couple of events that we were originally going to go to but the day flew by! 
I did manage to have my friend and her son, Christian, over to take a little "pumpkin butt" photo shoot. Yes, I painted his naked little baby butt into a pumpkin and got some adorable photos of him. 

There you have it... Ava's 2nd Halloween was a great time and I am already looking forward to next Halloween. 

Hope you all had a great Halloween!