Friday, September 27, 2013

Health & Fitness Friday: My Journey to a Gluten-Free Diet

Happy Friday Peeps! It's good to be back and I have something really important to talk about today.

In order to tell my little story, I need to work backwards on our Health & Fitness Friday list and start with


For as long as I can remember, I've always had stomach issues. In college, I was at our health clinic every 6 months complaining of chronic stomach aches and pains. I was treated for everything from acid reflux, to "potential ulcers" to IBS. A lot of times, the meds they prescribed would help and I would think "Yes! We've figured it out."

But then they would come back again.

Things haven't changed much in my adult life either. Same aches and pains, same diagnosis, and I never really pushed the issue. But a few weeks ago, after a long weekend of wedding celebrations and fancy dinners, I had a stomach ache that was so bad...I could barely stand straight. It hurt all over so it was hard to explain to my doctor where the pain was coming from. My gallbladder, appendix and kidneys were ruled out, and after two ultrasounds we knew all my "lady parts" were working just fine too. I left with nothing more than a prescription for Motrin.

The stomach ache lasted for a few more days, although not as severe as it was the first day. I was texting with my girls Heather and Sarah and BOTH of them asked if I had ever been tested for Celiac Disease. I can honestly say that I don't know much about Celiac, but what I've always been told is that people who suffer from it get violently ill whenever they eat even the smallest amount of gluten. I eat gluten like it's my damn JOB and I can't say that I get a stomach ache every time I eat it. I do display some of the classic symptoms, but not to the extent that I would ever assume I had it. But I was out of options and I started to THINK...what if I did have it? Could that explain all of my stomach issues over the last 20 years? It was time to stop thinking about it and just do what I needed to 


The next day I made a follow-up appointment with my doctor. After giving him more of my history, he thought it was a smart idea to run some blood work, including a Celiac Panel to see if that would get us more answers.

A week later I got my results and my Celiac Panel came back POSITIVE.

I was honestly in shock when he told me. As much as I hoped for an answer, I wasn't prepared to actually get one. He explained that the positive result could mean one of two things:

1) I have Celiac Disease or

There is also the .2% chance that my blood work was a lab error :-) Because that is not likely, I am seeing a Gastro specialist to discuss the next step, which will most likely be a biopsy of my small intestine to determine if I do, in fact, have Celiac. 

But no matter the results, it looks like a Gluten-free diet is in my very near future. This is going to be a HUGE lifestyle change for me, but I am facing it head on. Heather loaned me a great book to get started...

The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide

My mom also sent me this fantastic article that answered a lot of my questions.

Even though I have to keep gluten in my diet until all testing is done, it's time I really start figuring out what I am going to


To be honest...I am a bit overwhelmed thinking about all the things I will need to change in my diet. No more real breads, cakes, cookies, many of the things I love. All I have to say is that it is a damn good thing that coffee and wine are gluten-free because seriously...I would have to be committed.

But all joking {and worry} aside...I am feeling very positive about this change. All my ups and downs with gaining weight and feeling bloated all the time may disappear when I start this new diet and that alone makes me excited to get started. It will be an adjustment, but I am SO LUCKY to have all the resources that are available now, including all the g-free food in grocery stores and restaurants. And of course, let's not forget my two g-free buddies that will be my on-call nutritionists in the beginning :-)  

For those of you that are currently on a gluten-free diet or have been considering one for health reasons, I just found out tonight that if you have a subscription to Emeals, they have a Gluten-Free plan!!!!! I am so excited to start stock -piling recipes that will be good enough for Eric and the kids to eat too. 

And because I am a cookbook whore, there are a few new ones I am hoping to add to my shelf. Each of these have wonderful reviews:

Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great: More Than 150 Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, and Dairy-Free Recipes for D

Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes

And of course for the holidays, I will NEED THIS!

Gluten-Free Holiday Baking

I am sorry I strayed off course a bit for this week's Health & Fitness Friday, but this was big health news in my world and I just wanted to share it with all of you in the hopes of getting some tips and advice as I start this new journey.

And seriously guys...once I get all this under control, I have 150 miles left to run to get to 1,000 on Nike+ and if I am going to do that before 2013 is over, I need to get my ass in gear!!!!

Let's do this peeps!!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Crafty October & Halloween Fun

Can you believe the first day of October is NEXT WEEK? Addie was the first one that reminded me today when she said that Halloween was only 36 more sleeps away {the girl loves a good countdown}. My second reminder was when I opened 100 Days to Christmas and noticed that today's challenge is "Crafty October."

Lately I have been pinning so many fun crafts to do with the kids this fall and thought this was the perfect time to share some of them, especially since Michael's and Hobby Lobby have a lot of great sales going on for supplies. 

I Heart Nap Time has this FABULOUS list of crafts and treats....
55+ AMAZING Halloween crafts at -so many great ideas! #DIY #crafts

Simple As That Blog also has some super cute and super EASY paper plate projects for crafters with low tolerance {pin this under BLAKE}.

And for some fun adult crafts {that you can make with friends over a glass of spiked cider}, visit Swell Designer.
65+ Halloween Projects and Ideas from The Swell Life

While you are at the craft store, you might as well stock up on some essentials for all those Halloween parties coming up. Between school, friend parties and our weekend trip to Yogi Bear for Halloween weekend...I need to come up with some cute treats to bring.

Last year, the kids were all about ghost and pumpkin Peeps, especially while we were camping (so they could make s'mores out of them). All we did was fill little treat bags with a few Peeps, Halloween Hershey kisses and graham crackers, and then I tied them up with some black twine and a little tag:

They were a big hit and the best part was that they were so easy {and inexpensive} to make. If you would like to make something similar this year, be sure to download our free "Happy Halloween From Your Peeps" tag from our shop blog. They are sized for a 2" scrapbook punch and I have left room for you to write your kids name on it.

If you aren't down with marshmallows and candy, I also LOVED this Halloween snack mix I found on Pinterest last year. I am sorry the pic is blurry...but I can't seem to find the original source.

Scarecrow Crunch

This would be cute tied up in little treat bags as well.

Since we are on the subject of Halloween today, I thought it would be fun to share the kid's Halloween costumes!! I swear I sometimes get more excited than they do about their costumes :-)

This year, my little princess is going to be Sophia the First. We splurged a bit and got her the dress from the Disney Store, since all of her other princess dresses have held up so well over the years.

Sofia the First Costume for Girls

If your kids watch the show on Disney Junior, then you know how absolutely necessary this light-up amulet is to go with it :-)

Sofia the First Costume Collection for Girls

Thankfully, my little dude picked a costume that wasn't near as pricey as his sister's. For weeks Blake has been changing his mind about what he wants to be. First it was Hulk, then Captain America, then a Dinosaur, then a Ghost...the poor kid couldn't make up his mind. But while watching Rescue Bots today, he asked if he could be Bumblebee. Of course...the ONE character I probably wouldn't be able to find a costume for. 

But Wal-Mart came through for me!!!! $16.97 and it's exactly what he wanted.

I know...isn't it the most RANDOM costume ever? If you haven't watched the show but have a little guy Blake's age, you should really check it out. It is basically Transformers for toddlers, but he loves it and owns all of the guys! It's great Christmas idea :-)

So what are your kid's dressing up as for Halloween this year? This holiday just gets more fun every year :-)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Our Weekend in a Nutshell: Girls Night, Family Fun & a Dexter Farewell

If you ever want to know how to convince one of your blogger buddies to drive across the state to host a party for a bunch of your girlfriends, just tell her that you have a big batch of Honeycrisp Apple Sangria in your fridge.

Okay, okay...that wasn't ALL I had to do to get my girl Kodi up here for a visit, but it was definitely a start :-) I really wish the trip didn't have to be all business for her, because we could have talked the night away. We had such a fun night and I REALLY hope that I can convince her to come up for another visit really soon :-)

I was so happy that my Girl's Night was a success, but hot damn...we all know how to trash a house. Ha! Eric even got up on Sunday and said, "Holy Crap! It's like you're in college again." Whoopsie daisies :-) I blame it on the sangria.

But despite the fact that my house was a little messy and my brain a little fuzzy, Dana and I still managed to drag the kids to church this morning. None of us were feeling it. We were all a little sleepy (and cranky) and we almost convinced each other to skip today. But we didn't...and I am SO GLAD!

Today, the church invited a special Pastor to speak at service about his wonderful ministry and all the amazing things they are doing all over the world. The words he spoke, the music he played and the pictures and videos he shared brought Dana and I to tears multiple times. Just picture two hot messes in yesterday's makeup bawling like little babies in their free church coffee. That was us today. We were holding hands, writing donation checks, swearing to each other that we would never take all that we have for granted. We were moved.

And then we got to the car with the kids and know how that goes. 

After some house cleaning and a much needed shower...we all headed over to Aunt Di & Uncle Adam's for some Family Fun on the Farm. It's been a while since we've been to Adam and Di's for some playtime, and this was the perfect fall day to do it. We rode tractors, 4-wheelers and golf carts, and ate smoked chicken, corn casserole and Papa's FAMOUS carmel apples. want a close-up of the apples?

No one makes apples like my Dad. It's taken him 10 years to master that carmel recipe but he's got it down. They were simply delicious.

We had the nicest afternoon and when my Grandma leaned over said, "I'm so lucky"...I couldn't agree with her more.

But enough with the sappy...we had SERIOUS business to get home to tonight. The Series Finale of Dexter was on!!

Now, before I get into my rant, let me warn all of you that there are spoilers in this post

I understand that Dexter is a serial killer. I understand that at some point, he was probably going to have to pay for his crimes. We've all known that for 8 years. At some point...Dexter would get caught. Or be killed. Whatever. 

BUT...the series has been setting us up for something much different. The Dexter we've seen this season is in love. Real love. And he's done things any of us would do to protect the people we love. He has made sacrifices and put aside his own needs to keep his family safe. The season has set us up to believe three important things about Dexter:

1. He is capable of love.

2. He can live without Deb.

And most importantly...

3. He doesn't need  to kill anymore.

For the last 5 years that I have been watching this show, I've always known these 3 things about Dexter. I knew that in the end, he would see more in himself and so would everyone else. So when they started setting up the final season I thought THANK GOD!! They are going to end this with Dexter FINALLY happy!

And maybe I was an idiot to believe that a show as dark as Dexter would end happily. Maybe I was the fool in this. Or maybe I was like every other fan that is completely outraged tonight!!

Here comes the not read on if you haven't watched the final episode.

The thing is...I was almost okay when Dex drove drove himself into the hurricane. I knew it was coming from the minute he put Hannah and Harrison on that bus. He was saying goodbye to them. But I still had hope. Or at least I did until his crazy ass pulled the plug on Deb and walked her out of the hospital in a damn sheet and then carried her ACROSS the busy parking lot down to his boat. Come ON!!!

It was just a terrible send off. Throwing Deb's body off the boat, calling Hannah and Harrison with that half-ass goodbye phone call and then his dramatic launch into the hurricane. GAH!! But I thought if he was going to kill himself to "save" his least it made sense with the show. It was yet another sacrifice he was making for them, even though I was still pissed about it.

But THEN!!!! Then we see Hannah finding out the sad news, walking away with a child that she barely knows and I just want to scream WHY?! But then the scene changes and it isn't over. I get that glimmer of hope. Hope that he faked his death to start over again and soon we will see him in Rio with his new little family.

But we don't see that. We see a dirty, bearded lumberjack that looks a little like the Dexter we knew. 

And then it ends.

I mean...what do I do with that? Why? Why? WHY FOR GOD'S SAKE?

It was just a really big let down for me. I've gotten a kick out of some of the reactions to the finale on Twitter though. If you need a good laugh...I suggest you search #Dexter.

Well enough of all's time to focus on some GOOD TV now and this week we will finally be back on track! I can't wait for Modern Family and Grey's. Eric and I also want to get up to speed on Homeland. Any other good shoes we should start watching this season??

Alright friends...that's all I have for this HUGE installment of Weekend in a Nutshell :-)

Until tomorrow!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Health & Fitness Friday Will Return Next Week

I never intended to take the ENTIRE week away from my blog. In fact, I had at least 3 really fun posts that I wanted to do this week about Halloween, my thoughts on Dexter and Fall TV and {big shocker} share more free printables I have been working on :-)

But this has been one of those weeks where I've been faced with the same decision each night:

Stay up to blog, or get some sleep.

This was one of those weeks where I had multiple evening commitments (like meetings and workshops) and also was slammed with "nighttime" work. Papers to grade, lesson plans to create, shop orders to fill, new planner pages and calendar stickers to make, etc. and by the time those things were done each night, I was looking at my clock flashing 12:00 or 1:00 and I was left the decision to either put in another hour, or head to bed.

I chose sleep.

Last night was no exception. I got home from my workshop around 9:00pm and by the time I went in to kiss the kids, visited with Eric for a bit, changed into jammies and sat down on the was pushing 10. And I had a mountain of work. I so badly wanted to post for H&FF today, especially because I have BIG health news to discuss {and need advice} but I just didn't have the energy to get er done last night. 

I hope you all understand!!!

But please know that I have big plans for this weekend, including writing those fun posts to schedule for next week. So please come back, my friends. I swear I haven't disappeared for good. I just needed to recharge these old batteries :-)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Health & Fitness Friday: Healthy Snacks for Football Sundays and My New Fall Routine

It's my favorite day of the week!

Fall is ALMOST here guys!! Can't you feel it in the air today? I CAN'T WAIT for Eric to get home from work so I can go outside for my first run in almost 3 weeks. I just downloaded some new tunes on my playlist too so I am R.E.A.D.Y.!!


Raise your hand if you could skip a sit down meal every day and just SNACK!! I am such a grazer, which is probably another reason I love football season. Sundays are all about snacking around here and I realize that when I don't plan those snacks out...things get BAD! bad. 

So last year, I pinned several great {healthy} football worthy snacks that I found on one of my FAVORITE food blogs, SkinnyTaste.

I've made several of her snack recipes, but the Skinny Loaded Nachos are my favorite by far. She uses ground turkey, but I still can't go there. I need beef or chicken. And the chicken is actually SUPER easy to do if you put it in your crockpot with nothing more than the seasoning and a jar of salsa or can of Rotel. Trust nachos never look this pretty...

But I promise they tasted just as good.

Do any of you have other great healthy snack recipes for football Sunday? I'd love for you to share so I can add them to the list. And here are 20 more to add to yours, compliments of the Skinny Taste Superbowl Round-up.


I am SO FREAKING EXCITED about my new Fall workout schedule. I've been missing my yoga class so much lately and I was so sad to find out that my favorite teacher was not offering convenient times for me this school year. I figured I would just wait until the winter to see if something else opened up, but then my friend Barb reminded me of a studio we went to once that is also very close to my house. And the best part..they had a Groupon this week for Yoga!!!!!  WOOHOO! I am going to try and make my first class next week and I can't wait.

I am also excited to have the opportunity to run two mornings a week while the kiddies are at school. My stress and anxiety got the best of me the last two weeks but now that both kids are adjusting well to school and I can put some of that worry aside, I want to start making the best of my two mornings a week. I don't want them to be all about running errands and cleaning my house, since those are things I can still do with the kiddos. What I really want to do is make those two mornings about ME! Or at least one of them. I want to go to a yoga class, go for a run, get a pedicure, sit in Barnes and Noble and read a book...whatever. I know I won't always make that time for myself because let's be the house alone can be fun too :-) But the point is that all I do is talk about how I don't have any time to myself so now that I DO...I want to take advantage of it :-)


This week I downloaded a new book that I have been hearing a lot about, called Mom Energy.

Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged

In a nutshell, this book was written to help moms who want to do it all, but end up sacrificing their health to make it all happen. DING DING DING!! It's what I have been saying on this link-up for months. In order for me to get everything I want done each day, I end up sacrificing my sleep, my exercise and even my eating habits. It all goes out the window when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed. This book is supposed to teach us to "reorganize, rehab & recharge" and I think that is exactly what I need :-) I will definitely report back when I am finished.

Well guys...that's all I have for today!! I hope you have a FABULOUS weekend!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Davis' Lately

Instead of starting this post with ANOTHER empty promise about how I am going to get back into my old blogging routine...I'm just going to tell the truth.

I'm re-prioritizing my life.

As much as I love this littly bloggy blog of mine, it is not the priority it once was. Once upon a time, there used to be this MAGICAL thing called "Nap Time". 2-3 hours of peace and quiet each day where I could sit at my computer and type away. I couldn't clean or vacuum, because that would wake the sleeping babies, and I couldn't nap with them, because I have ADHD, so sitting down with a cup of coffee and my laptop to post about our daily shenanigans was the perfect activity. And I am so so happy that I have each and every one of those memories documented. That is also why I would never take blogging completely off my list of priorities. It is special to me and when I can find time to sit down and write...I love doing it.

But it's no secret that I've totally sucked at it lately. Part of me feels bad about it, and the other part of me knows it is for good reason. All of my time away from the blog is spent doing things I love, like being with my family, spending time with friends, growing our business, becoming a better teacher and managing our household. Things are just straight up BUSY right now and until I can learn our new routine and get a little better at managing our time...I am afraid this little blog of mine will have to take the backseat.

At least for now :-)

But since I do finally have a little time to write today, I thought I would do a little recap of what's been going on with the Davis'!!

For starters...we are ALL back in school. 
It's been an adjustment for all of us having to wake up every morning and be ready to start our day by 7:45. Being a stay-at-home-mom, the kids and I have always had the luxury of staying in our jams as long as we want and taking our mornings nice and slow with lots of pancake-eating and cartoon-watching. But now we have to be up, dressed, teeth brushed and ready to walk out the door before Charlie & Lola is even over.

Our evenings have changed a lot too. We have nightly homework, dance practice, library class and of course, I have my own night of school and all the planning/grading that goes along with it.

AND THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING!! I know in a few years I will be looking back on our schedule now and think wow...that was nothing!! So I need to try to enjoy this stage as much as I can because even though it is busy, I still get lots of time with my babies and I know I will miss that so much in a few years.

But speaking of time with the kiddies...we haven't skipped a beat on the weekends. We are still trying to cram in some camping...

And beach days...

And fishing...

Eric and I have also been able to squeeze in some fun. 

We were able to head to the city this weekend to see my friend Amy tie the knot.

She was STUNNING!!!!!!!!!

The best part of her wedding was getting to see some of my old college besties.

Mandy and I haven't seen each other in at least a year, so it was great getting to catch up with her...

And Mr. Sloane..

And Parker and Bentley...who totally partied till they dropped.

Eric was also happy to spend some time catching up with his buddy Jeff.

And SPEAKING of Jeff, incase you didn't already know from following House of Rose, Jeff just launched his first book, Soldier of Finance!!!!


Eric and I just couldn't go to the wedding without a copy for Jeff to sign, so we hit up the State Street Barnes & Noble and wouldn't you know...his book was right there, next to Dave Ramsey's. 

We are so proud of you Jeff!!

After the wedding, and FAR too many champagnes in a can, we had to turn right around and head back to the city for our second night of fun.

For our anniversary, Eric surprised me with tickets to see Michael Buble!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have wanted to see him in concert for years but never had the opportunity. We got Dana and Kevin in on the fun too so it was a perfect double date night.

We got to have a yummy dinner and few cocktails...

And then it was off to see our man. Swoon....

The concert was beyond amazing. His voice, his music, his humor...I loved every second.

And then at the end of his finale, he turned the lights on in the United Center so that he could see the crowd, turned off his mic and sang the rest of the song loud enough for the entire arena to hear him. The crowd was silent until he hit that last note and then the place exploded.

 He was spectacular and worth every single penny. I can't wait to see him again someday.

After our whirlwind weekend in the city and after the kids spent two whole days being spoiled by Nana and Papa...Monday was kinda rough around here.
Most Mondays.
But today is HUMP DAY which means the weekend will be here before we know it! I hope you are all having a great day! Now it's time for us to get Addie from school and jump in Nana and Papa's pool for the last time this season. I hope.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Health & Fitness Friday: Mac & Cheese, Mustache 5Ks & Some Chicken Soup for the Soul

It's FRIDAY!!!!! I appreciate weekends so much more during the school year, don't you?

I am so excited to kick off the first week of Health & Fitness Friday with our NEW game plan, which, for those of you who missed last week's post, looks something like this:

So let's get started, shall we?


My most favorite thing to do, besides drink coffee :-) And now that September is here, it's time for warm comfort foods that simmer on the stove or in the crockpot all day. Eric and I are big comfort-food-lovers so one of my goals for meal planning this month was to try some new comfort food recipes that are on the lighter side. Because mac & cheese is the one meal I can ALWAYS count on the whole family to eat, I knew this was the perfect place to start. 

My favorite healthy(er) mac & cheese recipe of all time comes from Real Simple.

Macaroni and Cheese With Cauliflower

I've made this countless times and it always turns out perfect, although Eric tells me that it tastes "too healthy" when I use the whole wheat pasta and bread crumbs. Ha! But I know I can sell him on this new mac recipe because it has BACON in it!!!

Bacon, Ranch, and Chicken Mac and Cheese Comfort Food Recipe

Looks delicious, doesn't it? I am really excited to try it and since it has TWO types of meat in it, Eric can't complain that it is just a side. And really...nothing with bacon in it can taste THAT healthy :-)


I don't know if it was the pressure of starting half marathon training when I wasn't feeling it, the chaos of back-to-school, the grief I felt for two dear friends who lost loved ones last month or the simple need for a break...but I haven't done anything more than yoga in over 2 weeks. Not a single run, not a single Jillian Michael's workout, nothing. Just yoga at home when the mood strikes me. I feel like I need a total re-do on my Operation L.G.N. 30 Day Challenge. Ha! But even though I fell apart at the end, the rest of the group did SO GREAT!!!! Congrats to all of my peeps that got out there every day and worked hard. You are all an inspiration to me :-)

But enough with the excuses! I can totally tell a difference in my mood the last few weeks and even though I have been getting more sleep than usual {which is a plus} I feel more drained somehow. running shoes miss me and I miss them. I think we just needed to break up for a couple weeks so that I could realize just how much I need them in my life :-) 

So it's time to get back out there and now that the weather is FINALLY cooling off, I can enjoy everything this season has to offer. There are so many AWESOME 5Ks taking place this fall in Chicago and I am so excited to get back out there with my running buddies.

My BF Tara just sent me a link to the Ditka Dash 5K in November and I couldn't possibly be more on board. Beer and mustaches? SOLD!!! 


There is so much that can be put into this category, but this week I want to talk about something I struggle with every single day of my life.


Sometimes my worry is small. Will my alarm go off in the morning? Are my Thanksgiving Turkey cookies cute enough for the school party? Should I switch to organic eggs?

Sometimes my worry is a little bigger. Will Blake do well on his first day of preschool? Should I get that new mole on my leg checked out? Am I spending enough time reading to my kids each night?

And sometimes, my worry consumes me. I fell so incredibly vulnerable all the time because I want nothing more than to be the best mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, teacher, etc. I can be.

A while back, a friend of mine gave me this wonderful book.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

I had only skimmed a few chapters over the summer but just the other night, I sat down and started it again and OH MY's like the author is speaking right to me. I had tears in my eyes in so many parts of this book but Chapter 7 really did me in. It's titled, Wholehearted Parenting: Daring to Be the Adults We Want Our Children to Be. Friends...if you can read just one chapter from this book...let it be this one. Here is one small part I highlighted because I want to remind myself of it every chance I get:

"Raising children who are hopeful and who have the courage to be vulnerable means stepping back and letting them experience disappointment, deal with conflict, learn how to assert themselves, and have the opportunity to fail. If we're always following our children into the arena, hushing the critics, and assuring their victory, they'll never learn that they have the ability to dare greatly on their own."

This book was everything I needed to read right now and I thought this link-up was the perfect place to share it. It definitely nourished my mind :-)

But if you are looking for something a little lighter to MUST click over to Bitchin Sisters and read their latest post about Pinterest Moms. HILARIOUS!

Alright peeps..that's it for this week's installment of the NEW Health & Fitness Friday. Can't wait to read all of your posts!! Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Blake's First Day of Preschool

When I say that I have spent the last year worried sick about Blake's first day of's no exaggeration. This probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me, considering I've talked about it countless times, but for those of you that don't know my little guy...let's just say he takes the phrase "Stage 5 Clinger" to a whole new level. He loves his mama and isn't afraid to let people know when he doesn't want their company. His favorite phrases are:

"Please go away."

"Not YOU!!! I want mama!"

and my all time favorite...

"Don't say things to me."

Blake can be the sweetest, funniest, most lovable little guy on the planet, but when he is shy/embarrassed/scared/tired he only wants his mama and there is NO SUBSTITUTE. For a year I have tried to break this little guy out of his shell and after many failed attempts, I finally got Blake into a class he loved. He has been taking an independent storytime class at the library with his sister and some of his cousins and he has just blown me away. He listens to the stories, he puts his mat away, he does his craft and spends the entire 45 minutes without me. This was such a HUGE milestone for us this summer and I think it is the one thing that gave us both the confidence we needed.

But I was still worried. I mean, 45 minutes with his sister and friends is one thing, but 2.5 hours with new teachers, new kids AND a new school? That was a big deal. So naturally, I haven't slept for the last week thinking about his first day of preschool. I figured he would cry, but would I have to pry his hands off my car door? Would I have to hear his cries all the way in the parking lot? Would his teachers be calling me to come back and get him? I was a wreck.

But then the big day came yesterday and when this little dude woke up with a big smile on his face...I couldn't help but smile too :-)

Photo: This big boy just walked into preschool like a boss! No tears, no worries, just walked right in and only turned back to tell me I owe him a new dinosaur when he has a good day today. That's our boy!!!!! Now I can go cry in Starbucks :)

He was so proud to hold his little sign and he even made me take a video of him explaining that he wants to be a "Race car driver" when he grows up.

I wanted 20 more pictures of him, just like I had with Addie on her first day, but after this one picture and the video, he said he was "All done!" And I didn't want to push it :-)

On the way to drop Addie off at school, Blake was talking about his new book bag and which hook was his in the hallway. When Addie hopped out she yelled, "Have fun at school Blakey Boy!" and he said "I will!!"

And that was that. We were on our way.

At Meet the Teacher last week, they told us that we had the option to either walk the kids in on their first day, or get in the drop off line right from the start so that the kids could get adjusted. Because Blake remembers the process of Addie's teachers coming out to get her, I felt like this was the best plan for us. I was afraid that if I walked him in, he wouldn't want me to leave and that would just be so much harder. So I got in the drop off line with a bunch of other parents and waited for our turn.

I wanted to puke the WHOLE TIME and just kept looking at Blake to see if he was still smiling. And he was.

When his teacher came to the car to get him, he didn't even hesitate. He reached for her, smiled for one last picture, and then turned and went into the building. He only looked back once to remind me that I owed him a new dinosaur when he has a good day :-)

The next 2.5 hours went by in flash. I just walked aimlessly around Target with Pumpkin Spice Latte and got tears in my eyes every time I walked by the baby section. Or the toy section. Or any section that made me think of my little dude. I just wanted him to have the best day ever.

I was 20 minutes early in the pick-up line because I couldn't take it anymore. I wanted to be the first car so that I wouldn't have to wait one second longer to see him. At 11:15 on the dot, I saw all the kiddies come to the front doors and line up. I could see my buddy with his little rooster hat on and I couldn't believe that he was actually WEARING IT!!! And he was smiling!! And waiting patiently in line. And when they called his name to come to my car, he raised his hand and walked to his teacher. 

This sight right here made me cry again.

Photo: I could not be more proud of  this little dude today :)

Words cannot express how proud I was at this moment and how RELIEVED I was that he did so well. Not a single tear and the teacher told me that he had "a great first day."

Praise the LORD!!!!

I realize that not every day will be this easy and there's a good chance that at some point, he will tell his teacher not to "say things to him". But instead of worrying about the future, I am going to try really hard to just celebrate this moment and be excited for my big boy...who is now TWO dinosaurs richer :)

Happy First School Year "Blakey Boy Steven Davis"!! We love you!!!