A Letter To My Husband On Father’s Day

A Letter To My Husband On Father’s Day

A Letter To My Husband On Father's Day | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadily.com

sunday, june 17th, 2018

babe,

happy father’s day!  your third one!  i know i tell you often, but i will tell you again.  you are the real deal.  and the more days i get to wake up next to you, the more i am sure of this.  you are the real deal.  you were meant to be a husband and a daddy and you take on both rolls perfectly.  you are the foundation for our family and i couldn’t put into words how much you mean to us.

a lot of couples look back on their life together and say, “did you ever think we would be where we are today, looking back on it all?”  but we aren’t like that.  we knew that today would look like this.  we planned for it.  we worked our butts off for it.  we daily made and make the choice to have our life together look the way that it does.  so yes, we knew what today would look like because we dreamed it and then made it happen.  we talk.  we plan.  we dream.  we do.  and in all of this, we do it completely together.  one hundred percent.

we were talking just the other day about how we have spent more than half of our life together and it’s truly amazing to think that we were just two kids when we met.  i will never forget when i first met you and how i had to pinch myself for the entire first year we dated because i couldn’t believe i was lucky enough to have found you.  i was only 15.  such a young girl, but i knew.  and so did you.  and that was the beginning of it all.  and truth be told, i still have to pinch myself.

we’ve been through just about our whole lives together, celebrating just about every major milestone one could celebrate.  when you went off to college a year before me is when i truly knew i never wanted to live this life without you.  i remember you coming home one weekend to visit and after the weekend was over, you called me on your way out of town.  you had only said goodbye to me in my parent’s driveway about 3 minutes before the phone call and i don’t know that you had even made it until the end of the street.  “i already miss you,” you said.  and i will never in my life forget that phone call.  it was such a simple call, only lasting moments.  but it was a testament to our future.  and i was feeling the same way.  there wasn’t a moment of that year apart that i didn’t miss you like crazy and i knew that having you in my life was what i wanted more than anything.

we’ve experienced so much together.  you gasped like crazy while teaching me to drive a stick shift car and still prefer being the one who drives us anywhere.  🙂   we spent late nights writing papers together, side by side, in college.  you always kept chocolate in your fraternity room for me, because you knew it would make studying that much sweeter.  we spent the best night ever surrounded by family in friends in may, exchanging rings and becoming husband and wife.  and for you to always tell me that our wedding was so perfect says so much about the guy you are.  most guys don’t care too much, but you couldn’t get enough of that day.  then later, we spent a week in cabo for our honeymoon, enjoying happy hour and talking about baby names.  we both agreed babies wouldn’t happen for awhile, because we just wanted to be “us” for awhile.

we bought our first home and damn were we proud of ourselves.  we worked so hard for that first home and we made it everything that it was.  it was the perfect place to come home to one another and we spent our first married years sharing a lot of laughter within those walls.  we’ve traveled and lived life fully, always putting one another first.  we have not only made our dreams come true, but we’ve held hands doing it.  i think that one of my favorite things about us is that we talk daily about everything.  we are always sharing our dreams about “what’s next” for us as a couple and as a family, and we make sure that we both achieve those dreams.  whether they are big dreams or small, we make them happen for one another.

when you turned over that pregnancy test in august 2015, we realized another dream was coming true.  we were going to be parents.  and you hugged me and said, “i told you everything was going to be okay!” as my hands trembled and my worry about whether i was pregnant or not went away.  and when you held our first little girl for the first time, it was the first baby you had ever held in your life.  you felt like such a rookie, but to our daughter and i…you were perfect.  and when our second baby girl was born, i loved you even more because the look in your eyes told me you felt like the luckiest guy in the world.

by this time, we have lost count of how many diapers we’ve changed.  we’ve had sleepless nights.  we’ve navigated this journey of parenthood together.  some days, we don’t know what we are doing and completely wing it.  but most days, we are so dang proud of what a perfect team we make.  and although mind reading seems impossible, it seems like you can read mine consistently.

i know we waited to have children so we could spend time being us, but we are still us today.  we are still us.  you might have a toddler hanging off your hip and i might have a newborn pulling on my hair, but when we look across the room we still see the same person.  and i thank you for that.  for always putting our daughters and i first, always.  i love you for always wanting to be us.

i love that it takes us over 2 hours to watch a 30 minute show on tv because we have to hit pause a million times because we want to talk.  i love that we talk about everything, from fears to dreams to what we want next in life.  i love that you kiss me every single morning before you leave for work.  every single morning.  i love that you call me from work, just to check in.  i love that we have always gone to bed at the same time.  even during both pregnancies, when i wanted to go to bed at 7:30pm…you were walking up the stairs behind me.  and sometimes you would watch a movie in bed, while the pregnancy exhaustion had me in a deep sleep, but i love that you just wanted to be next to me.

i love that our daughters see how much we love one another.  i can’t tell you how much i love that.  i love that your coming home from work is genuinely celebrated each day, as we sit on the front step and wave frantically at you as you pull up to our home.  i love that you listen.  and not only do you listen, but you take action.

i love that you let me cry.  and i know that it breaks you to see me cry sometimes, but i love that you thank me for talking to you about whatever worries me.  sometimes i just need to be heard and other times i need your help dealing with what is stressing me, but i love that you allow me that moment and then make everything better.  i love that you are the first person i want to tell everything to.  i am always talking a mile a minute when you get home from work because i missed adult interaction so much during my day and i love that, even though you are surely tired, that you listen to everything i have to say.

i love that you are proud of me.  if even for the little things, like taking care of the kids each day.  i love that you recognize that motherhood can be hard sometimes and that you tell me i am doing a great job.  i love that you encourage me to be myself, when sometimes i don’t know who that is.  i love that you tell me that i can do anything i want and be anything i want.  and i love that even though you know i am tired and that the late night feedings with the baby are something only i can do because she won’t take a bottle, that you ask me repeatedly how you can help.  sometimes you tell me you will wake up in the middle of the night, just to keep me company.  and during those newborn days, even though you could have been sleeping, i love that you stayed awake with me.

i love that you ask my opinion on everything and you genuinely want to know.  i love that you value me and you think my opinion is important.  i love that we have had maybe 3 fights and we can’t really remember what a single one was about.

i love the way that you love me.  i love the way that you love our girls.

you are the real deal.  you are the best husband and father.

i hope that i am just as much your everything as you are mine because you are my person.  and even though there are days when you come home and i am a wreck from being spit up on or my patience has been tested a million times, i love that you are so selfless and instantly go into daddy mode so that i can have a moment to myself.

thank you for everything you do and everything that you are.  thank you for yesterday, today and tomorrow.

happy father’s day.  this day is for you.

i love you,

bethany

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Our Summer Learning | Summer Learning For A 2 Year Old

for those of you who don’t know, i have a degree in elementary education and spent a year in the kindergarten classroom.  when i was pregnant with my first baby, i brought down a lot of my classroom things that were perfectly organized in storage and dreamed of all that i would teach our little one.  now that my oldest is two and ready for a little more formal instruction, i am really excited to tap into my teacher side and set up classroom at home.  to be clear, she will definitely attend a formal preschool and go to public school, but i am going to give her a little jump start at home this summer and throughout the next year or two to get her ready.  and as boxes show up daily on our doorstep to set up classroom at home, my husband is not only just as excited for us as i am, but he also knows that i am having a lot of fun using all of my past teacher resources as i plan out what summer learning for a 2 year old will look like for us.

many of you asked me to share more about how i will be teaching my little girl this summer and if you are looking to do some formal learning with your toddler this summer, here is what we will be doing and some tips for you for getting started.  i am thrilled to write this post; teaching my little one is really fun for me and i am really excited for this summer.  we just started our curriculum on monday and we are both enjoying this time together.  but this smarty pants has already achieved half of our summer objectives in one week, so i might need to up my game!

this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog so i can continue inspiring you with our everyday.

truth be told, i wasn’t going to start a curriculum until fall but my 2 year old is really ready now.  and i am really ready too.  with our 5 month old now baby girl sleeping through the night (well, with one night feeding) and taking great naps during the day, my 2 year old and i have been enjoying mama and me time in the mornings together.  i love that we have an allotted amount of time together, one on one, and i want to dedicate that to a new learning routine that we can do together.

Our Summer Learning | Summer Learning For A 2 Year Old

Our Summer Learning | Summer Learning For A 2 Year Old | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

Have A Routine

children thrive on routines.  our little girl’s entire day is the same routine and it is remarkable what a good routine will do for behavior.  she knows exactly what we are doing next all day long, down to when it is time to wash her hands and brush her teeth,  and she really appreciates an organized routine because she knows what to expect and there are no surprises, and that is comfortable for children…especially for two year olds.  when it comes to learning, the first thing i will do is create a routine.  i am designating my littlests’ morning nap as time for my 2 year old and i to come together for formal learning.  (of course, we are learning throughout the day, but this dedicated time will be for more focused learning).  this can be as little as 20 minutes or as long as an hour, depending on the activity.  remember, toddlers are still really little and cannot take long stretches of instruction so keeping it short and sweet will keep them engaged and having fun.  i have also dedicated a little shelf and wall to be our little classroom area so everything can always be ready to go and we can spend more time learning and less time setting up/taking down.

Our Classroom Source List

linen bulletin board

colored pencil holder

stars and moon light

wooden book boxes

ABC flashcards

rope baskets (similar ones here)

Our Summer Learning | Summer Learning For A 2 Year Old | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

Have Learning Objectives

as you are getting ready to start your summer learning, think about what you would like to achieve with your little one by the end of summer.  if you are unsure, you can always ask your child’s pediatrician about what their expectations are for your child’s age.  (i have been using the “sprout” baby app on my phone since she was born, and it gives me an idea of what learning milestones should be met at certain ages).  for us, we are currently working on mastering 3 year old learning objectives so our learning goals may be different than yours.  make sure you base your goals on your child’s personal needs and learning style.  i know that i need to set a little bit higher goals for our toddler because she tends to master things really quickly, so i want to set some harder goals for us to really work towards this summer and may need to add more goals throughout the summer as she achieves the original ones.  truth be told, as soon as i wrote these objectives she started mastering them so i had to set new ones.

this summer, our 2 year old will be learning how to:

  1. say her name, when asked
  2. count to 5
  3. become familiar with written alphabet (we love these flashcards!)
  4. recognize patterns
  5. identify shapes
  6. identify colors
  7. identify the weather each day
  8. sort objects by color and/or type

remember, your toddler may or may not have the same learning objectives as my little girl.  each child is different, so your child may need or want to learn different things.  for us, our little one is showing signs that she is ready is do these tasks.

Our Summer Learning | Summer Learning For A 2 Year Old | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

pictured : linen cork board, homemade calendar numbers

Morning Calendar

there are so many things your little one can learn, simply by having a morning calendar routine.  we are going to start off each morning with turning over the day’s number, identifying the pattern, counting and identifying the day’s weather.

you can purchase a pocket calendar for real cheap to get you started.  i personally decided to make my own, by purchasing a linen cork board and creating my own calendar numbers on my computer.  (the bright blue pocket chart was just a little too vibrant for our pastel playroom)  🙂  remember, if you are creating your own that (1) your calendar numbers should be recognizable so choose a simple font and (2) make a pattern with your numbers so that your child can begin recognizing and predicting patterns.  for june, our pattern will be lemons and popsicles.  i will change the numbers each month and create a new pattern.  for this first month, we will be doing an AB pattern and if she does well with it, we may progress to more complex patterns such as AAB or AABB in the following months.  if you choose to make your own numbers, have fun and base them off the seasons!  for july, we will be doing red and blue stars (another AB pattern).

materials i used to create my calendar: linen cork board, push pins, foam alphabet stickers

Think of Field Trips

we will probably do most of our field trips on the weekend so my husband can join in the fun, but we will also go to the library each week for their story time.  our library hosts a wonderful story time with a teacher who plays the guitar, reads a few books and then does a craft with the kids.  i love that this allows my toddler some social time with other children and it’s a great learning opportunity for her to learn to take instruction from another adult, besides her parents.  be sure to see if your local library offers something similar.

for our field trips, we will be incorporating the summer bucket list that we created for our family to accomplish this summer.

Our Summer Learning | Summer Learning For A 2 Year Old | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

Don’t Forget To Simply Play

above all, remember to keep it simple and let your little one be…little!  don’t forget to just play.  whether it is building castles with blocks, sorting legos by color, playing dress up or building a train track, there are so many learning opportunities through simple play.

for us, we will do our morning calendar/weather, read a story, and do that day’s curriculum activity.  then we will simply play.  the power of play is so so important!  some days we may only learn for 20 minutes and other days we may spend over an hour.  learning is learning!

i hope this post helped you get an idea for how i am approaching learning and curriculum for a 2 year old this summer.  remember, each child is different so make sure you design your learning plans around your own little one.  and it’s okay to make adjustments throughout the summer!  make sure you keep an eye out for what is working and what isn’t and change things up, if needed!

happy summer!

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Packing Children For Travel | How To Keep It All Organized On Vacation

with our first family vacation this month and more vacations scheduled for the year, i put some major time and thought into how i would keep everything and everyone organized while traveling.  packing children for travel is a big job…babies have a lot of accessories.  and to be honest, they need all of their accessories in order to keep themselves happy and content.  and we are all about keeping everyone harmonious while traveling, the best we can.  as we were packing for our first road trip with our two baby girls (2 years old and 4 months old), i initially found myself a little overwhelmed with the amount of things we needed to bring in order to be away from home for just a few days.

this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog so i can continue inspiring you with our everyday.

when it comes to packing children for travel, it is really hard to travel light.  and nor do you want to.  because it is the worst to get somewhere and find that you left something critical to your day/schedule at home.  yes, sure you can run to the store and buy whatever you forgot.  but when you are on travel, you want to make the most of your time sight seeing and not at the local target.  (let this be the only time i admit that i don’t want to be at a target).

for us, one of the easiest ways to keep vacation enjoyable is to stay as organized as possible when it comes to prepping and packing.  if you ask my husband, he will lovingly tell you that i run a tight ship at our house and everything has a proper place.  and even though he laughs at how happy organizational baskets make me, he does appreciate how hard i work to keep the house organized.  it just makes our days with two babies run smoothly, as we always know where everything is at any given time.  the same goes for travel.  i like to keep everything as organized as possible in packing cubes so we can quickly grab what we need, whether it is a sippy cup, diaper, or fresh pair of clothes.

Packing Children For Travel | How To Keep It All Organized On Vacation

Packing Children For Travel | How To Keep It All Organized On Vacation | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

like me, my husband is a amazing list keeper.  he keeps a list on his phone for “baby travel” that we made last year when we took our 9 month old to cabo for the first time.  when we initially made the list, we literally sat down and went through her entire day, writing down each and every thing she used and, therefore, we would need to bring.  it’s now a great reference list that we use, each and every time we begin packing for travel.

i purchased both girls a set of packing cubes for our trip to the outer banks and our future trips this year, as a way of keeping some harmony in the suitcases.  and let me tell you, packing cubes are a game changer when packing kids.  i love that they keep everything separated and organized so that we can find things quickly and easily when we are away.  i love that shoes can be packed seperately from clothes so that the dirty shoe soles don’t get on their clean clothes and that all the bows and hair accessories are all in one spot.  i love that each baby has a cube for diapers so we aren’t looking for the right size diaper when we need one or so we can quickly grab the cube of diapers at a rest stop for a quick change.

this was my first time packing for two babies for a trip, so it took some additional thought and planning as i did everything times two!  i also really like the girls to either match or coordinate in outfits each day, not only because it is really darling but because i love getting candid family photos while traveling and having everyone coordinate is a simple way to ensure a cute picture, no matter where you are!

i started by laying out all of the girls outfits, and placing the coordinating bow on top of each one.  laying everything out is just a very visual way for me to quickly see what i am packing.  then i added pajamas, a pair of tennis shoes and sandals, some sweaters in case it got chilly, and their brush set.  of course, then a cube for each girl for their diapers and ointment.

i then separated everything into individual cubes, putting all clothes together, bows and brushes together, shoes together, diapers together, and beach items together.  these packing cubes made packing children for travel so much easier!  and while we traveled, it made everything so easy. we never wasted time looking for anything, although i forgot the girls’ beach hats at home so that meant a shopping outing in the middle of vacation!

Packing Children For Travel | How To Keep It All Organized On Vacation | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

Packing Children For Travel Source List

pink striped packing cubes

wooden brush set

pink velvet bows

white knit sweaters

brown baby sandals

bunny pajamas

purple plaid dress

pink mary jane sneakers

 while you don’t want to bring everything but the kitchen sink when traveling, it is also important to bring enough items to keep your children on their normal routine while traveling.  in my opinion, if you are going to spend all the money on travel, you might as well ensure that your children are happy during vacation!

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Seersucker Monogrammed Backpacks For Toddler Activities

i am secretly a southern belle.  i call my girls by their first and middle names, and i am a complete sucker for seersucker and monogrammed items.  with both of our baby girls now in swim class, i found myself in need of some backpacks for the girls to keep their swim items organized.  swim morning is a little hectic once we arrive at swim with getting both of the girls changed and in the pool, so keeping their things organized helps me keep the morning as smooth as possible!  plus, our girls clothes look close to the same size sometimes so it is so nice to separate their diapers and outfits into their own separate bags so we aren’t wasting time looking at sizes to determine what belongs to whom.  all of this to say, when i stumbled upon these darling seersucker monogrammed backpacks for toddler activities…i was in love and immediately sold.

this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog so i can continue inspiring you with our everyday.

the sweet owner, leslie of ll monogramms made and sent the girls these darling toddler sized monogrammed backpacks in exchange for a blog post, and i am completely in awe of how darling these backpacks are.  plus, you all know that i love the girls to match so i am giddy with the fact that the girls have matching little pink backpacks for swim morning.  there is something about monograms that are so classic and timeless, and i love that they make any item a little more special.  plus, did i mention how much i am obssessed with monograms?

Seersucker Monogrammed Backpacks For Toddler Activities

Seersucker Monogrammed Backpacks For Toddler Activities | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

these backpacks are toddler sized, which i love!  they are big enough to fit our swim items into (swim items include in each backpack: gather changing mat, swim diaper, dry diaper, diaper cover, swim suit, small baby bath towel, goggles, brush) but small enough for the girls to carry themselves.  and if we decide to stop swim one day, i love that they are the perfect size for the girls to use to pack things into for a car ride.  when it comes to backpacks, you don’t want to go too big for your toddler because you don’t want them overfilling it with the whole house before every outing and you want to make sure they can carry it themselves so you aren’t left with yet another thing to carry for them.

if you are looking for monogrammed backpacks for toddler activities or preschool, these are it!  not only are they darling, but they are the perfect size and a must have item that your little one will get a lot of use out of.

 

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Our Getaway To The Outer Banks

with our ten year anniversary on the horizon this year, we cuddled on the couch and planned a trip.  our initial plan to go to london for our 10 year was quickly put back onto our growing travel wishlist for when the girls are a little older and we got excited about a trip to the outer banks.  having a two year old and a 4 month old meant that we were ready for a little rest and relaxation…as much as possible with two small ones.  what better than packing up the car and heading to the beach!?  the outer banks has been on our wish list for awhile now and we initially considered it for our babymoon getaway in 2015 before our first was born, but we went to new york city instead because we instantly knew that the beach would be a wonderful trip to take as a whole family.  i am so glad we waited for kids to take this trip because our getaway to the outer banks was a perfect family vacation.

my husband had the great idea to rent us a minivan for our trip, since traveling with two babies means bringing a lot of things!  he also had an ulterior motive of making me fall in love with a minivan during this trip…which actually worked, darn it!  i will admit that the van is crazy functional for a growing family, so he is winning this argument.  i gotta let him win one every once in awhile, as long as it comes with sunroof and deluxe media package.  🙂  and i tested that it could spin some donuts in the target parking lot, so it has a wonderful turning radius!

being only 4 hours away from home, the outer banks was a perfect first vacation for our 4 month old.  we’ve done a 8 hour road trip, several plane rides, and traveled out of the country  with our two year old before too, so we already knew she traveled well.  but above all, being an avid nicholas sparks reader (i even met him in person a few years ago!) i knew visiting this area was a bucket list item for me.

need help photographing your everyday moments with your family?  be sure to check out my ebook the everyday photograph!

Our Getaway To The Outer Banks

Our Getaway To The Outer Banks | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

having two really little ones, we kept a general idea of things we wanted to do but we didn’t make firm plans.  instead, we made the plan to go with the flow and do as much or as little as we wanted each day.  we stayed in a beautiful 4 seasons condo in kitty hawk, north carolina and spent most of our time around there and the town of duck.  one of our favorite outings was to visit body’s island light house.  it was a rather short trip, as our girls weren’t tall enough to be allowed to go up to the top of the light house, but we had fun talking to the park ranger and walking the boardwalk.

whenever you travel you are bound to forget to pack something.  and for us, it was the girls’ beach hats.  (i am still kicking myself in the pants for forgetting them because i had found the perfect matching pair of eyelit hats for the girls!)  and goodness was it warm during our stay!  usually the temperatures were in the 90’s, which was rather warm for my liking with two young babies.  nevertheless, we couldn’t go all that way to the ocean and not see it.  so we started our hunt for baby hats, traveling around to many local beach shops to try and find cute, and preferably matching, hats for the girls that didn’t make us cringe!  we finally found some cute hats for the girls and plopped them on top of their cute heads and, with our beach buckets in hand, we walked to the beach.

the beach was an even shorter trip than the lighthouse.  totaling maybe 5 minutes.

our little toddler wasn’t a fan of the sand.  (which really i should have remembered from our beach trip in cabo san lucas, mexico but didn’t).

but we were there long enough to watch the waves and listen to the sound of the ocean before trudging back up the sand dunes to the glorified minivan.  but hey, all of us technically got sand on our toes so we called it a win and went to dinner!  sooooooo glad we stressed so much about the missing beach hats.  🙂

our resort had a wonderful indoor waterpark with water slides and lazy river, so our swim school loving toddler was in heaven there!  and her daddy had way too much fun on the water slide.  🙂

Our Getaway To The Outer Banks | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

before heading home, we spent an afternoon at the aquarium…which turned out to be a hit for our toddler!  she loved saying “turtle!”, “fish!”, “shark!” and loved peering into all of the tanks to see what was swimming inside.  before leaving, she loved touching each and every stuffed animal in the gift shop and we miraculously made it out of that gift shop without a hefty bill!

all and all, our getaway to the outer banks was a huge win for our family.  i left my camera at home (cell phone only) and was able to relax.  our girls were impeccably behaved in every restaurant we visited and our toddler completely wowed everyone with her “hello’s and bye bye’s” when someone would walk by our table.  this vacation truly reminded us how important taking time for our family is.  we love providing experiences for our girls and are already planning another vacation.

but we were ready to come home too.  i think this last photo says it all.  vacation is wonderful, but we were pooped.  when it comes to traveling, it is so worth it.  yes, it is hard to pack up everything and head somewhere new.  yes, it is hard to take your daily routine with little ones and shake it up a bit.  but the memories that it creates for our family definitely outweighs all the stress brought upon by travel prep.  and we are bound and determined to create a childhood full of experiences and memories for these two little babies.  because someday we will all look back on these times together and hear them say, “remember when we went to…”  and then we will relive all those moments again.

we love you, outer banks!  until next time…

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