Category:

Girl Mom

American Girl, American Girl Dolls, Molly, Emily, The Best Friend Collection

I am doing my first ever Holiday Gift Guide and I couldn’t be more excited about the pieces that I am including this year on my list. These are some of my family’s favorite and most coveted items. I think your family will find them to be pretty amazing, as well.

Why not start with one of my girls’ favorite gifts of all time, American Girl Dolls!

Christmas is right around the corner and you know what that means? Time to find that just perfect gift for your child. Every year, I spend months racking my brain trying to find just the perfect gift for my girls. Last year, we broke down and bought the girls their first American Girl Dolls. They loved them.

We started by buying them the My American Girl Dolls because you can personalize them to look just like your child and we felt that they would have an instant connection with a doll that looked like them and they did.

Since last Christmas, they have been to the Chicago American Girl store and let’s just say, they found more than anyone would know what to do with.  They each received a Historical doll for their birthday’s. The store is a little girls dream come true. Every American Girl doll available is there with costumes and accessories for any occasion, sport or interest and matching outfits for your daughter.  So, we’ve decided that this Christmas is to get the girls a couple more American Girl historical dolls. They are both reading now so these dolls are perfect.

We’ve decided to go with the Molly and Emily Best friend collection. Molly McIntire is being retired this year so we thought we should get her before she is gone. Molly’s story takes place in 1944, during World War II. Many families were worried about loved ones who were overseas; Molly was waiting for her own father to return from his duties as a doctor in the army. With the help of Emily, her English friend, Molly learns to hold on to hope and pull together for the common good. Molly and Emily open up a whole world of play with authentic styles from 1944. I think it will be a great opportunity to teach my girls about history and World War II.

American Girl, American Girl Dolls, Molly, Emily, The Best Friend Collection

Some of the authentic 1944 features of the Emily and Molly Best Friend Collection are Molly’s outfit; a navy blue argyle sweater over a dickey and her matching navy blue skirt, red hair bows, white anklets and black Mary-Janes shoes. She has beautiful long brown braids and wears glasses.

Emily is dressed in a printed dress with cherry blossoms on it and tied with a red dotted sash. She is wearing knickers, cherry-red ankle socks and shiny T-strap shoes. Her hair is long, gingery-red hair held with a cherry-blossom headband.

In the Best Friends Collection, you get even a few more extra authentic 1944 pieces like Molly’s navy blue beret and monogrammed hankie she tucks into her shoulder bag. Molly also has a replica 1943 “steel” penny, used during the war when copper was in short supply. Molly also comes with a special heart locket to hold a picture of her Dad while he’s away at war. Emily comes with a cardigan sweater from her Aunt Primrose. She also comes with her grandfather’s World War I dog tags, which remind Emily to be a brave soldier for England. She comes with an English three-pence coin and her scrapbook showing pictures of her family and the English princesses, where she also stores her British ration book with a special message from her Mom. Both girls’ books Meet Molly and Brave Emily come with the collection and offer lessons about choices and friendship that are great lessons for girls today.

I can’t wait for Christmas morning to see my little girls’ faces, especially since Molly is getting retired this year. So, if you want to get her for your little American Girl, I suggest you do it STAT because it’s the last holiday to bring American Girl Molly home for the holidays! Molly is only available until December 31st or while supplies last.

What is at the top of your Holiday gift list?

American Girl, American Girl Dolls, Molly, Emily, The Best Friend Collection

Disclaimer: I was provided Molly and Emily for review purposes by American Girl Doll but all opinions are my own.

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American Girl, Bitty Baby, Holiday Must Have, American Girl Doll

This summer while I was at BlogHer, I had the pleasure of attending an event at the American Girl store in downtown Chicago and I saw the Bitty Baby doll. This Bitty Baby can be ordered to look just like your little girl when she was a bitty baby. Talk about a personalized baby doll.

I’d never been to American Girl at night and without a few hundred screaming little girls so it was completely different than any other time, I’d been there.  As I sipped on champagne and shopped in quiet, I saw the American Girl Dolls and Bitty baby in a way I had never seen them before. It was magical to see them all on display and have the chance to appreciate their beauty and purpose; their stories.

The event concluded with a wonderful tea upstairs complete with loads of sweets and champagne, this was mommy heaven. Now, I get why the kids all go crazy the minute they enter the door. Then for the big finale, American Girl announced an expanded and enhanced Bitty Baby line to Create One-of-a-Kind Companions for the Littlest American Girls. Better still, they were gifting each attendee her very own Bitty Baby to order to look however she liked. I obviously ordered mine to look exactly like my girls did when they were born.

American Girl, Bitty Baby, Holiday Must Have, American Girl Doll

In case you are not familiar with Bitty Babies, they are designed for girls ages 3 and up. They look like a baby instead of the usual little girl American Girl Dolls. They are a sweet 15-inch soft-bodied doll available in 11 different combinations of skin tone, eye-, and hair-color, allowing your littlest girl to choose her very own baby doll that’s just like her. Each Bitty Baby doll comes dressed in her signature sleeper, along with a special “wishing star” keepsake toy and a beautifully illustrated Bitty Baby and Me hardcover picture book. The enhanced Bitty Baby also has several new outfits in various designs available for purchase.

Our Bitty Baby arrived about a week after I returned home. I didn’t tell the girls she was coming so when she arrived, they were shocked and pleasantly surprised.

My girls adore their Bitty Baby. I’ve caught my 6-year-old on more than one occasion singing to her baby. The new Bitty Babies also include a picture-book collection so you and your little girl can snuggle up close and read along as the little girl in the book and her Bitty Baby explore their world. What’s better than an excuse to snuggle in with your own precious Bitty Baby while learning lessons about generosity, confidence, curiosity and kindness? There is also a special section called “for parents” which focuses on social and emotional development of preschoolers and has tips to help your little girl become more confident, patient and independent.

American Girl, Bitty Baby, Holiday Must Have, American Girl Doll

The new line also offers story-themed play sets to encourage imaginative play and of course, matching outfits for your little girl and her Bitty Baby. Trust me, there is nothing more adorable than a little girl an her doll dressed alike. They also now offer a new line of premium plush animals and quality furniture, including a wooden crib and changing table.

This is the perfect gift for the little American Girl Doll fan in your life. This is sure to be at the top of every little girl’s Christmas list this year.

Who is your favorite American Girl Doll?

 

Disclaimer: I was gifted a Bitty Baby at the American Girl event that I attended but all opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

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french beauty pageants, ban, toddlers and tiaras, misogyny, sexism, sexualization of children

French Government bans beauty pageants. Looks like I might be moving to France! Don’t fret. I’m raising girls and trying to raise them to value themselves on more than just what they look like and the size of their asses so a move may be inevitable. The French Senate voted early Wednesday to ban beauty pageants for children under 16 years old and to impose up to two years in prison and steep fines of up to $30,000 euros for adults who try to enter children into such a contest or run illegal/underground pageants. You all know how I despise toddlers in tiaras. Well, I hate the misogyny it represents.

One pageant owner, Le Parmentier, has already said that if the law is passed, he might move his pageant to Belgium but close to the French border, to accommodate French contestants who want to compete without having to worry about legal consequences. Come on. We’ve all seen those crazy pageant moms on Toddlers and Tiara’s, there’s not much they won’t do to pit their child against someone else’s. It’s like dogfights with pretty little girls made up like clowns.

french beauty pageants, ban, toddlers and tiaras, misogyny, sexism, sexualization of children

I’ve never been a fan of beauty pageants, especially for children. I understand competing as a teen for scholarships but there has to be more to it than just the way you look. Give me a nerd bowl any day. What are we trying to teach our little girls? There is nothing anyone can say to convince me that there is any reason ever to dress 4-year-olds up in spray tans, partial dental pieces, and more make-up than Tammy Faye Baker. They pluck their eyebrows and use breast inserts and then parade them around in $2500+ dresses and make them perform like dancing monkeys high on Mountain Dew and Pixie Stix all while their overweight moms yell at them because they themselves suck at life!

Honestly, if you give me the “it teaches them self-confidence” speech, I might have to smack you. How are you helping self-esteem by teaching them that they have to look a certain way, be held to a certain standard of beauty to even count? What I want to know is when is the U.S. going to follow suit? Way to keep women down.

french beauty pageants, ban, toddlers and tiaras, misogyny, sexism, sexualization of children

 The amendment is part of a broader bill on women’s rights, which will now proceed to the National Assembly, French Parliament’s lower house, for debate and another vote.

The senators who voted in favour of the measure argue that it will protect children from being prematurely “sexualised” through the use of heavy make-up and often-provocative attire.

The amendment was prompted by a a parliamentary report entitled “Against Hyper-Sexualisation: A New Fight For Equality”, which, in addition to calling for an end to the pageants, encouraged a ban on adult-style clothing for children, including padded bras and high-heeled shoes.

“Let us not make our girls believe from a very young age that their worth is based only on their appearance,” the author of the report, former sports minister and current senator Chantal Jouanno, said in an interview with free French daily “20 Minutes” last year.

Controversy surrounding the issue peaked in December 2010, when French Vogue published a photo spread featuring images of a 10-year-old French girl, Thylane Loubry Blondeau, decked out in a tight dress, jewellery, high heels and make-up. Not surprising the photos sparked international outrage. Not unlike the Jours après lune lingerie campaign for little girls. WTF?

The magazine argued that the photos were meant to capture a classic fantasy of young girls – to dress up like their mother. That only holds water if their mothers were seductresses or worked in the sex industry. Which reminds me, yesterday I caught an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras (purely for research) in which the parents financed their pageant addiction with the money they earned from their stripper-to-your-home business. Well, it was Vegas so I guess it is to be expected. Of course, I thought it was in very poor taste to have the strippers, half-naked, cheering from the audience. I guess the bright side is at least they weren’t completely naked.

french beauty pageants, ban, toddlers and tiaras, misogyny, sexism, sexualization of children

If the bill is signed into law, as expected, pageants like the annual “Mini-Miss” contest in Paris will no longer take place. Now, if we can just get the same thing to happen here in the United States. Maybe we should make a law about parents not being allowed to live vicariously through their children? That should solve it all.

Needless to say the pageant Queens of the world and their crazy mothers won’t go down without a fight, expect lots of Tammy Faye Baker make-up, tulle and 14-foot trophies and hair to match coming at you in protest. Me, I hope beauty pageants go the way of the dinosaur. Extinct.

Moms, stop sexualizing your little girls and making it easy for the pedophiles. No toddler needs to be on stage wearing a skimpy two-piece bikini, pouting her lips and shaking her little ass. Stop encouraging her. Stop teaching her that to be of value she has to be beautiful and little kid beautiful is not good enough, she has to look like a grown woman. We wonder why teens are getting pregnant and having sex at younger ages, maybe it’s because they are being taught to be sexy when they are 2 by their own parents. Little girls are being taken, raped and murdered at an alarming rate, don’t give pedophiles an invitation to oogle your little girl. Protect your daughters.

french beauty pageants, ban, toddlers and tiaras, misogyny, sexism, sexualization of children

If we don’t stop this toddlers and tiaras madness, this is the next stop.

french beauty pageants, ban, toddlers and tiaras, misogyny, sexism, sexualization of children, Miley Cyrus, Wrecking Ball

What do you think of little girls in beauty pageants? Is it harmless fun or early sexualization of our little girls?

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Why Every Adult Woman Should have a Best Friend, best friend, friends, girlfriends, niki, best friends, mom life

There are some things that just cannot be argued, like the beauty of a sunset, the love for your child and the importance of a best friend, even when you are all grown up. There some things in life that are absolute and though we may think that we become self-sufficient as adults because we are taking care of children, at our core, we still need those besties we had when we were children; that one person that you could be completely yourself with, tell all your secrets too and she’d love you and support you still, no matter what, even if you are dead wrong and full-on crazy. When we grow up and get married, our husbands fill that role to an extent but there is just something about a girlfriend that cannot be replaced.

This is why every adult woman should have a best friend.

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thigh gap, body image

This is where it starts: the coveted thigh gap. What the fuck is the thigh gap and how can I get one is what many teens are asking after seeing a recent segment on ABC that suggests that the thigh gap is the it status symbol this season for teen girls. I am here to tell you that the thigh gap is nothing new. Girls have been in pursuit of the thigh gap since the beginning of time. How do I know? Well, I was one of the chosen who had a thigh gap in my early 20’s. It was hard earned and I was proud of it.

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Today, puberty is hitting at age 7. 8 years olds are wearing cleavage producing bikinis. Padded bras are being made to fit 4 year olds. They are making  heels to fit infants. What’s next, pole dancing lessons in utero? Any mommy worth her salt has to search high and low to find clothes that DON’T make her little girl look like a sex worker.It’s hard having little girls. Kids are growing bigger and taller, faster. Many are being born to older parents and the kids themselves are maturing faster than when we were young. I mean I remember still playing with barbies at 12 and NOT having any boobs.Now, girls are having sex by age 12. It’s freaking scary to think of how fast society tries to make our children become adults.

What’s the rush? Why are we pushing them towards adulthood? It’s like training your ass off to compete in an iron man only to find out that the prize is to perpetually compete in iron men. I try to insure that my little girls get to be little girls. I don’t dress them like miniature adults because they are not adults. I don’t let them watch adult movies or listen to inappropriate music. My rule is if I have to explain something that they shouldn’t know, then they are too young to be exposed to it.

I have friends who have had little girls ( ages 4-6) and I hear them say things like, “Yes, my daughter so and so  has a boyfriend in her kindergarten class”. They giggle and they smirk and I stand there thinking to myself…ARE.YOU.FUCKING. MENTAL?? Seriously, do they realize how utterly ridiculous they even sound saying these words?I mean to they even realize what they are contributing to? It’s like they are non-verbally telling their little girls, Thank God a boy likes you.You are worth something. WTF is this? 1950’s…CHINA?

I try hard to not make my girls feel like their worth is wrapped up in their sexuality..because it is not.Plus, I’ve come from a mom who has spent our entire life telling my sisters and I , “I just wish you had a husband and some children so I wouldn’t have to worry about you anymore.”( This statement alone could earn a person a throat punch…..if she weren’t my Mother) I mean what does that even mean? Is there some sort of exchange going on?Are we incapable of actually taking care of ourselves ( in her mind)? Are we worthless if not validated by marriage and children?

So,this afternoon when we had a play date at the zoo with my 6 year olds best friend..a little boy, for the first time ever, I felt a little uncomfortable.I’ve never felt uncomfortable with their behavior before. This little boy really is her best friend. They run to each other every morning and hug one another and hold hands in line…just like she does with any of her little girl friends. It’s never bothered me before because, I know the kid.I know his family. There is nothing sexual or devious about it. It’s just two little kids being affectionate.But today, as we walked behind the two of them and they were walking side by side with the occasional hand holding punctuated by about 27 random hugs, it felt excessive. Then when his mom told him to stop “manhandling her so much” ( on about the 26th hug) this was his reply “Mom,She’s my friend. She likes it. I like it. Leave us alone!” I was thrust into the future about 10 years and WTF?

My question is what is too much? Where do you draw the line between differentiating between being affectionate and being sexualized? What’s appropriate? What’s not? Is it reasonable to expect our children to behave as children when society is trying to make them adults at every turn? What are your thoughts?

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This week is “Spring Break” for us. Why in quotes you ask? Well, it just didn’t feel right without them seeing a it has been in the 40’s and I have been running even more than usual.Spring Break for the girls means a complete and total upset in my routine. Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than hanging out with my girls and bonus, the Big Guy even has a few days off this week. Double Score.

There’s been staying up late, waking up late (7:30 vs. 6 am), sugary foods, shopping with Grandma,movies, visiting the sites and a general breakdown of all boundaries.The piece de resistance? The Big Guy decided that he wanted to break the new Cooper in and take a long drive to anywhere….Savannah.Of course, he made this family vacation plan a week before it was actually supposed to happen. Everybody had the same idea…to head for warmer weather, but they had the good sense to make their reservations and plans weeks in advance.Not us. We like to buck the system. System, we don’t need no stinking system.I was all excited to walk around Forsyth park and eat at Paula Deans restaurant, not to mention take in some vitamin D. But none of that’s happening now because our only option was the airport hotel. And we collectively decided after driving 14 hours in a COOPER and knowing we’d have to turn around in 2 days to drive 14 more hours to stay in an airport hotel , somehow it all just lost its pizazz.

Needless to say, we’re going to another destination, which I’ll post about when we get back but it’s gotten me thinking about all the places I wish I was going.Damn you day dreaming! I like to imagine that I am being whisked off to Paris, where I could be surrounded by culture, art and lovely French accents.Or perhaps a family trip to Aruba,where the water is bluer than my daughter’s eyes and there is a plethora of vitamin D for my entire family. San Francisco where the steep streets are lined with pastel houses and trolley cars. New Orleans, where my hair frizzes up into an afro but I’m so drunk on Cafe Du Monde beignets and hurricanes that I don’t even care. Or perhaps, lounging on the beach in Cape Cod while the smell of fresh lobster wafts through the air co-mingling with the smell of sea salt. I can imagine a lazy day walking in the sand and surf in Key West, while Jimmy Buffet songs feel in the gaps within my mind. The smell of coconut scented tanning lotion and the warm sun shining on my face, make me happy. So many wonderful places to travel to with my family, so little time.

For now, I’ll be using my imagination and dreaming of warmer weather.Tomorrow, we’ll be on our way to somewhere to spend family time having fun with our girls. After all is said and done, warm weather is nice but time together, no matter where you are at, is what it’s all about. Of course, it can only be made better by a little extra vitamin D.

So, if you see a little gun metal grey Cooper whizzing through your town full of giants..that would be us. Honk! Where is your dream family vacation?

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Remember the good old days when you were trying to change your baby who was, in fact a cruiser or even walking but not quite potty trained, and it was like an episode of the WWF?( or more like WTF, if you were me) Every single time you’d try to diaper them,they would flip over ,quick as lightening, and try to escape, usually before you had gotten the chance to fasten the damn diaper. It was like some crazy game they liked to play and they ALWAYS won. You were left with a naked baby running crawling free and an overwhelming feeling of frustration. Oh, the frustration.Finally, you’d wrangle them back to the ground and in split second put the diaper on.It was like a rodeo event.Then they would gleefully, smirking crawl of into the sunset.You may have thought you won the battle, but really, who was crawling away smiling and who was annoyed? Think about it.

OR the days of trying to fix your hair as you ran away and I had to run right along with you to get those dang ponytails and barette into your hair!Anyways, that battle was cake compared to the battle I am facing with my now 5 year old..every single morning before school, every single time she changes out of her uniform, every single time she gets ready for bed!EVERY.SINGLE.TIME! We argue about what she is going to wear.Have I mentioned she goes to private school and wears a uniform? You would assume that would eliminate some of my headache, right? You would be wrong.Completely wrong!

No way, she still finds a way to argue. Different skirt.Wrong shoes.Knee socks,Short socks. Blue socks. White socks.Corduroy skirt.Pleated skirt.Long sleeve shirt. Navy shirt. White shirt. Baby blue polo.Button up.Navy sweater. Navy sweater with hoodie.Gym shoes. Brown shoes. Mary Janes.Fancier headband. Hair down.Braids. No ponytail.Ponytail.Not high enough! It is like this every single morning and it is driving me insane.Completely out of my mind! It’s way worse than that cute little adorable flipping WWF move she did when she was 10 months old.Oh, how I miss the days when that was the most sass she gave me.

I’m beginning to wonder if hormones don’t kick in around the age of 4. I know that we all assumed it was at puberty but I’m pretty sure my girl is having mood swings now.Damn,I even go the organic route to avoid all the extra hormones specifically to avoid the early onset of hormone influx.Jokes on me!Guess all that $9 milk was a waste of money.Of course, I will continue to buy it for the risk that it could be worse if she were drinking the hormone laden milk.I ‘ll just wait for the days when I look back on these days and long for them.For now, how I miss my little naked WWF wrestler.Wasn’t that just yesterday?

Oh, how I could go for some flip flopping baby running naked and free!Don’t blink these moments are fleeing and I am going to stop and soak them all in.Even the clothing crisis of 2010, for all its worth! Happy Mothering!

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Today, Bella came out of ballet very upset that one of the little girls in the class was ignoring her.Apparently, there was an incident a couple weeks ago when Bella ( being that she is 5) told the little girl, “You are my best friend” to which the little girl responded, ” NO, I’m not your best friend. So and so is my best friend!”  And another incident previous to that one where Bella brought her friend on bring a friend day and wanted to sit by her, this other little girl sat between them and basically was  friendly to Bella’s friend but excluded Bella. Bella was very upset that day, as well. Friendship has been a big theme lately at our household. I think it has a lot to do with being new to this entire kindergarten situation. It’s like everything revolves around who your friends are…wow, sounds a lot like high school.

Anyways, I’ve always been a big advocate of the “to have a good friend, you’ve got to be a good friend” mantra.Hell, you’ve all heard me preach it…time and time again. To an extent, I do believe that. Well, I certainly believe it…if they are in fact your friend. Now, it has recently come to light that there seems to be, what I can only classify as “mean girls” in the elementary girl set. I can’t even believe I am saying this because it sounds so freaking ridiculous. But believe me you, I’m finding this all out the hard way. Not so much the boys, but it seems girls learn very early on about this competition amongst one another. I for one am an advocate of sisterhood and that has been what I have been trying to instill with all this To have a good friend, you’ve got to be a good friend  business.

But what do you do,when your child is heeding your advice and giving and giving some more when the other child is just taking and even worse..rejecting. I want my daughters to give people chances and not judge them by first impressions, but its hard to teach this when my girls are the only ones adhering to these rules. There’s only so many times I can watch my child, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, approach another child only to have the other child ignore or reject my child. I’m not going to lie. It pisses me off. I try to teach my girls to be nice, respectful and giving in their relationships and I am watching it being met with unresponsiveness or insincere responses. I don’t necessarily think that these parents aren’t teaching their kids how to behave appropriately. I just think that I am around a lot more and so by being there, my girls follow the rules and it also gives me the opportunity to see the other children sometimes ( some more than others) behaving badly.

Today, I had enough. I had enough of Bella getting upset. I had enough of her feeling rejected. I had enough of this other little girl ignoring her hellos and goodbyes. I had enough of this little girls smart ass comments. She actually told my daughter, “I’m better than you because I am older and can dance better!” WTF? She is older. But my daughter is younger…and was placed at the same level. You do the math. This little girl used to be her friend. We moved away. Moved back. And the kid has metamorphosed into a full on raging mean girl. I know, how awful do I sound referring to a 6 year old as a raging anything? I’m sure there is a special place in hell for me…but I’m also pretty sure that kid is going to be there right with me.

So, I took my little girl’s sweet little tear stained face into my hands and I told her “Forget about her! You don’t need friends like that.” To which Bella responded, “Yeah, because she is mean and stupid and she won’t let the other girls play with me.” Me: ” Bella we don’t call people stupid (even if they are). When you see her if she says hi, say hi back, If she doesn’t, just act like you don’t care!” Am I wrong? I can’t keep telling my little girl to turn the other cheek when every which way she turns, this little girl is metaphorically slapping her in the face…and harder each time. I don’t know what is motivating this behavior.I don’t honestly care. I just refuse to teach my kid to be a doormat to others. Maybe I should teach my girls the 3 strikes you’re out rule? That gives people an ample amount of time to redeem themselves, right? Of course, even under those circumstances this mouthy little girl would still be left in the OUT pile.Happy Mothering! Does this ever get any easier?

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Bella & Gabs @ first day of Kindergarten pick up! Awwww!

It seems for the wee ones, absence does make the heart grow fonder. My girls are 2 years apart and they are best friends and enemies in any given 24 hour period. They seriously will be hugging and kissing on one another in one moment and in the next telling me how they wish they didn’t have the other. That was until Kindergarten. Oh blessed Kindergarten, that which has caused my girls to absolutely adore and fawn over one another. Every morning it is big strong hugs and kisses and when we pick our Bella up at half day, Gabs runs to her, Bella grabs her little sister, and picks her up in the most adorable pint sized embrace I’ve ever witnessed.I live for this moment. It makes me a little teary eyed. It may be one of the best things to happen to their relationship. They may come out as best friends and put this ” I wish I never had a sister” nonsense aside for good. A Mommy can hope.

OMG, Seriously, does it get any more precious than this? To ME, it does not!

If you are a Mommy Blogger and proud to be so please feel free to snag the new Proud Mommy Blogger Badge for your own blog! The HTML for it is on my right hand side bar! Happy Mothering!

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