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  • Welcome to Counting My Kisses!

    Counting My Kisses is all about finding that silver lining, even on our most frustrating days. It’s about cherishing my little girls and enjoying being married to my best friend. It’s about taking a minute to stop & remember what’s really important in life—and to discover that each & every experience gives us something to be thankful for.

    I’m a daughter, sister, friend, writer, and most importantly these days, a wife & mother. My life is full of fun chaotic moments, and this blog helps me to capture the laughter and love that fills our house every day.

    Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

The Not Perfect Christmas

Hello, friends!

 

Happy December! And Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

Is it just me or did it seem like I blinked twice and the holidays arrived? I know the Hubs + I are in good company with the many, many parents across the world who are so excited to share the magic of this amazing season with their families…and also looking forward to taking a nice, long nap once all of this wonderful hustle + bustle wraps up.

 

This year has truly been a lovely one for our little family. It hasn’t been without challenges or heartache or loss. But it has been full of wonder and fun; adventures and love. It has been filled to the brim with giggles and snuggles and hugs. 2014 was full of many big fantastic moments and some of the very best small quiet ones.

 

I didn’t want to write a Christmas post this year because I knew I couldn’t make it perfect. There are presents that still need to be wrapped, a house that {desperately} needs to be cleaned + roughly 78 loads of laundry that need to be washed, folded and put away before Christmas arrives. I wanted this post to be magical and beautiful and to wrap up a fantastic year for our family with touching words that I could look back on + instantly be taken back to this spot~ this crazy, fun, sticky, messy wonderful spot~ in our lives.

 

And yet…the perfect Christmas post isn’t happening. And the perfect Christmas I’ve been focused on the past month isn’t happening either~ at least not in the way I originally planned. It took having our entire family go down from the stomach flu yesterday to realize that I need to let go and let God. And in that spirit~ I decided to sit down and just write.

I’m working to let go of the perfect Christmas image I’ve been trying so hard to achieve and instead embrace what’s right in front of me: an amazing little family who doesn’t care if my floor has been vacuumed or if my dining room table has an inch of dust on it. The blessing of getting to spend each day with the love of my life + our three sweet, loving, incredible daughters. Parents and in-laws who continue to support us with love + words of encouragement. Sisters + brothers who we can laugh with and commiserate with and just be with. And friends~ loving friends that are extensions of our family and permanent pieces in our hearts.

When you look at it that way~ who needs any gifts? Not this girl. My life is overflowing with them.

 

Our girls are 5, 3 and 1~ awesome ages to sit back and enjoy. Why am I so worried about making Christmas so magical for them? They create the magic. Their love and enthusiasm and sweetness. Their conversations about God and Baby Jesus and Santa make my heart soar.

So this year~ I’m trying to listen. I’m trying to be still and I’m trying to be in the moment. It’s not unfolding the way I had planned~ the jury is still out if anyone in our family will be back on solid food by Christmas Eve dinner~ but that’s okay. I’m embracing it this year.

not perfect christmas 1

Not perfect is beautiful. It’s real and it’s our life and I’m so very thankful.

Counting My Kisses: Happy holidays, friends. I wish you + your families the very best, this year and always!

Siggie-21

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Aunt Patty

Beautiful post, Amy and oh so true. Love you very much, your words touch my heart each and every time!

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Amy

Hope you had a merry Christmas! xo

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Fall happenings! {part 1}

Oh fall.

Your crisp leaves, gorgeous colors + abundance of fun events make me love you that much more each year.

 

We’ve had a crazy busy fall around here, chock-o-block full of festivities + fun! I’ve always loved this season but I must say~ it’s extra-special sharing it with our three little loves.

 

We’ve hit up a family hayrides {props to the Hubs on the selfie, right?!}…

fall 1

and had a blast taking a hike through the forest.

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Sidenote: our big girls are looking more grown-up every single day~ any ideas on how to freeze time?!

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Our hiking adventure led us {accidentally} to the lake, which was chilly + beautiful + so fun to watch.

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Sweet Baby J napped through most of our hike. It was so quiet + serene, given the opportunity I would have napped right along with her.:)

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Seriously, fall~ how pretty are you?! Love!

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We’ve been fortunate to enjoy this fab season in multiple places this year~ including up at the lake, which is a first for us. Needless to say~ the girls have loved it too!

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Our sweet baby girl is now standing solo at any given opportunity. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever {video is on my Instagram page if you want to check out her adorableness!}.

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Naturally, we had to squeeze a trip to the pumpkin patch into our fall happenings.

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I’m sure we’re in the final years of the girls allowing me to dress them all in the same shirts + headbands~ but seriously, how cute?! {thank goodness Auntie Lala is crafty~ ghost headbands are WAY out of my craft comfort zone lol}.

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Oh my heart. Little Miss Pumpkin times three~ could we be any more blessed?!

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What’s your favorite part of this beautiful season, friends? Hope you are enjoying it as much as we are!

Counting My Kisses: Although I’m *definitely* a warm-weather girl, fall has a special place in my heart. The Hubs + I just celebrated our 8th anniversary on October 28th~ so of course fall brings so many happy memories to us! Stay tuned~ part 2 of our fall happenings coming up later this week~ including Halloween pics + a very special birthday surprise for my dad! Have a GREAT day, friends!

Siggie-21

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Laura

Oh how I miss you friend!! Love the blog and fall! It is just a happy time!

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The Great Stroller Debate {Urbini Avi Jogger review}

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Urbini. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and as a thank you for participating.

the great stroller debate
Now that our girls are ages 1, 3 + 5, we’ve found that our trusty double jogging stroller isn’t fitting our family needs anymore. We’ve been in the market for a durable, functional single stroller~ but haven’t found anything that fit the bill yet.

 

Enter Urbini.

 

When I was asked to review the Urbini Avi Jogger Stroller, this little voice in my head thought jackpot! I had high hopes it was the stroller to fit our family wish list~ functional, easy to maneuver + heavy duty. Added bonus: the Avi arrived just days before we left for our vacation. AND it was red, our family color of choice!

Little O + I put together the stroller in about 15 minutes. Now, if you don’t know me very well~ this is SAYING SOMETHING. I rarely venture into the world of product assembly but my five-year-old and I had it together in record time. #win

A few days later, we left for vacay + put the Urbini Avi to the test. Not only did it hold its own in the airport,  maneuvering around people with either one of our children or approximately 794394893 pounds of luggage loading it down, but it also folded up quickly + easily~ a must when you are this close to almost missing your flight {cough cough…not like that almost happened or anything…cough cough}.

 

A few of my favorite things about this stroller: 

urbini avi 5

~ the handle changes positions. Super helpful when a shorty like myself marries someone a foot taller. We are both comfortable pushing the stroller, the adjustable handle is clutch!

~ smooth ride + easy to maneuver. Friends, we took this stroller on a cruise ship. It fit in our {itty bitty teeny tiny} room folded up. We had read cautionary tales about bringing strollers on the narrow hallways of the ships but we had zero maneuverability issues while on board or on land. And it’s also great for eating your very first chocolate ice cream bar, since the fabric is a cinch to wipe off! 

urbini avi 1

~ speaking of folding up the stroller. super easy. Pull the strap + voila! The Avi folds in half for storage in a snap.

~ 5 point harness. in case your child is a Houdini + can get out of all standard lap belts {ahem BABY J!}. Girlfriend wasn’t budging once we had her buckled in, which was a huge relief. 

urbini avi 2

~ swivel lock front wheel. we kept the front wheel unlocked for our casual vacation strolling, but it’s a quick flip to lock it when you’re ready to run! 

urbini avi 7

~ recline/canopy/peek-a-boo window. all essential for a napping little one. When we wanted Baby J to take a snooze, we’d recline her, put the sun canopy down and stroll her around for a few minutes. Once she was zonked out we’d periodically check on her via that peek-a-boo window to make sure she was still snoozing. 

urbini avi 6

~ inflatable rubber tires. the Hubs said the tires were a cinch to pump up with a little extra air. Woo! The tires also handled the sandy beach terrain like a boss~ I could push the stroller one-handed through the sand, which cannot be said for our double jogging stroller.

~ single-touch brake system. so helpful for photo opps! you know how I love those vacay photos.:) 

urbini avi 4

~ easily accessible underneath basket. one of my biggest pet peeves about our double stroller is that I cannot get to the basket under the stroller without some major finessing. The Avi was a piece of cake to reach in to + pull out the requested zippy cup, sunscreen or stuffed animal that was hanging out in the basket.

~ weight limit up to 65 pounds. because you never know who is going to need to nap.;) 

urbini avi 3

And for mommas with itty bitty ones, the Urbini Avi Jogger Travel System is the way to go. Your little babe can be snuggled into the Urbini Petal infant seat {which holds weights from 4 lbs – 35 lbs} + the entire system snaps into the Avi Jogger, making it a seamless transition from car to stroller + back again.

Since we’ve been home from vacation, our Urbini Avi has become the go-to stroller of choice. It’s perfect for walks + runs, shopping trips and day-long adventures. Best of all, I can pop Baby J into it without any complaint. She loves being able to see her sisters + the world around her, and I love how the Avi Jogger meets all of our growing family’s needs.

Try it out~ the Urbini line is available at Walmart + Walmart.com. Lots more info, tips + pictures on Urbini’s Facebook + Twitter pages as well!

Counting My Kisses: I’m so appreciative that I was picked to review the Urbini Avi Jogger~ the Hubs + I agree that it was the perfect stroller for our vacation + our everyday life. Talk about awesome timing! Thanks to Mom Central for the opportunity + to Urbini for making a fab product that is a great fit into our lifestyle.:)

Siggie-21

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Colleen

Just wanted to see what kind of pump you used for the front tire. I can’t get either of our pumps to fit between the small front spokes.

[Reply]

October grace

It’s no secret: life is moving at breakneck speed these days for our family.

 

It’s fun + amazing + crazy + incredible, all at the same time.

I’ve been operating our party of five on a week-to-week basis since mid-August: first we got through Little O starting kindergarten, the next week we got through a marathon business trip to Europe for the Hubs, the following week Cali and so on. I get overwhelmed if I look at the big picture but if I take it a week at a time, it feels much more manageable. We’ve been rocking through it so far + having a ton of fun in the process.

 

However: this week-to-week operating system has it downfalls.

 

It hit me the other day that I’m not taking the time to sit back and absorb. Reflect. Drink in the beauty + the joy + this intricate dance of life that we’re living.

 

I’m here. I show up every day + I dive into our life + our children + our family and friends. And I’m absolutely loving it.

But I want to be even more present. I want to soak in these moments until they are etched into my brain so deeply that I’ll be transported back here when I’m 50, 76, 85. I’m worried I won’t be able come back to this *exact spot* in time~ because even now, as I’m living it, I know this is amazing stuff. I know I’ll want to come back in my memory + I need to remember these details so that I can.

 

I want to slow down time so that I can always feel Baby J’s soft head snuggling that perfect spot on the side of my neck. The way she pats my face and says Mamamamama and lights up + claps when I come get her from naptime.

I want to snuggle in bed with Little O + have her fill me in on all the details of kindergarten that seem to be freshest in her mind right as she’s ready to fall asleep. Hear her thoughts on scuba diving + becoming a marine biologist + the intricacies of learning how to do a flip on the hanging bar at recess.

I want to enjoy H-Berry’s super happy-go-lucky phase that she’s in + absorb all of her loveliness as she insists on helping me every day in dozens of different H-Berry ways. The way she talks {“me want to come with you!”} + adorably insists on wearing only “beautiful dresses.” Her heels + her tiara are never far away.

I want to relax on the couch next to the Hubs and watch our shows and remember that this is the life I’ve always prayed for with the guy who has lived in my dreams forever before becoming a reality, my future, the love of my life when we met in college.

 

And here we are. In this beautifully busy life, juggling careers + house stuff + commitments with three bubbling sweethearts of daughters who challenge us + demand things of us that we didn’t even know we could do.

 

It’s everything.

And it’s wonderful.

 

So today, on this first day of October, I’m praying for grace. I know things aren’t going to slow down for us in the near future~ and that’s okay. But I’m hoping for the grace + the ability to take a step back. Soak in these moments + memories + tuck them into my brain for safe-keeping so I’ll have them for decades to come. 

october grace

What are you hoping for this month?

Counting My Kisses: Is it really October 1st already?! Here’s to a fresh new month full of beautiful fall colors, crisp air, cozy sweaters + taking the time to savor moments both big and small. Have a GREAT day friends!!!

 

Linking today’s post up with Shell’s Pour Your Heart Out. Because sometimes it feels good to pour your heart out.:)

Siggie-21

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I think grace is the perfect thing to hope for this month, it seems chaos is abundant right now! It’s always a nice reminder though to think about how important it is to really LIVE in the moment, and to not just hold our breath until it passes.

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I want to be able to take that step back, too. Everything goes SO FAST all the time, but I want to really enjoy the small moments.

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I’ve been feeling this way too, that things are going way too fast and I need to really focus and take in all the small moments.

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Mary

Love this post!! No matter how busy I am, I really try to take time to appreciate how good and blessed my life is. Especially at this point of my life :::: God is good!!

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Happenings {first day of fall edition}

Helloooo friends!

 

Oh goodness. Has it really been a MONTH since I last posted?!? Blogging FAIL, friends. Many apologies.

 

A whole lot of life is happening around here. Things are *insanely* busy right now but we’re hanging on + enjoying the ride!

Shall we take a whirlwind tour of our recent happenings? Hold on to your hats!

 

1. Little O started kindergarten. 
first day of fall 1

first day of fall 2
This transition has been a BIG one for our entire family. Full day kindergarten is a pretty big leap for any five-year-old, but O has handled it well. We’re all still learning + adjusting to this big change~ but we’re a month in and things are going as well as we could have hoped!

2. We welcomed sweet Cousin T to the world! 
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Seriously, isn’t she the cutest?! With her mommy’s hair + her daddy’s nose, Cousin T is completely adorable + so much fun to snuggle.

first day of fall 4
We love love LOVE you, Cousin T! And such a lucky baby to have such awesome parents!!!

3. The Hubs + I went to Cali.

Um can I just say that I love San Diego + it’s gorgeously fabulous weather?! 

first day of fall 5
We had an amazing trip + capped it off with seeing one of the Hubs’ very best friends get married. So fun to have a chance to dress up + dance with my favorite guy!
first day of fall 6

4. H-Berry started preschool.

Less than 8 hours after we arrived home from our late-night Cali flight, H-Berry started preschool!

first day of fall 7
first day of fall 8
She’s in the 3’s program this year, which is two mornings a week. Our sweet middle child has mixed feelings about it when we arrive at school but is always beaming by the end of the day at pickup. So far, so good!

5. Baby J turned O-N-E!

first day of fall 9
I know, I know. How can that be?! I’m still in full-fledged denial about this one. A party recap post in is the works but in short: her pinwheel-themed birthday bash was a hit! Lots of smiles, lots of chocolate cupcake smashed everywhere on her cute birthday face, and lots of happy claps + happy flaps. 
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first day of fall 11
Baby J has filled our hearts with joy every single day since she arrived into our family, and it was such fun to celebrate our sweet girl with family + friends! AND we were able to snap our first cousins pic with Cousin T in it~ woo! Only one out of six kiddos are looking at the camera~ but no one is crying so we will chalk it up to a WIN!
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6. Celebrated a family wedding in Minnesota.

The Hubs + I are total jet-setters these days! {or something. Lol}. We were in Minnesota this past weekend for my cousin’s wedding + we had a ball. Such fun getting to hang out with our big + little family {we missed you, Jen + Chris!}! 

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It’s been such a treat to have a few child-free getaway weekends too~ the Hubs + I have had a chance to start AND finish multiple conversations, not to mention let loose, have a drink or two + wake up sans an alarm {or baby monitor}. We love every single minute with our girls but sometimes it’s nice to have a few minutes as the original us~ it helps to remind us how this whole beautiful life together began!
first day of fall 13

A big thanks to both my mom for watching the beans while we were in Cali + the Hubs’ parents for holding down the fort while we were in Minnesota. It’s possible the kids wish we were still on our trips because we’ve heard reports that life with grandparents is “way more fun.” I bet it is, my little friends!

7. Welcoming fall + all of it’s beauty.

We had a super fun, incredibly jam-packed summer of awesomeness. It’s insane how fast it zoomed by~ does anyone else feel like they blinked twice + it went from May to September?? 

first day of fall 14

I’m working on getting us all onto our new fall schedule + hoping that the time I have carved out for writing + this space that I love so much will continue to grow as we settle into our routine. Thanks for your patience as I work on getting things back up + running over here~ it is much appreciated!

Happy first day of fall, friends!

Counting My Kisses: Looking back at this post, it’s amazing how many wonderful things have happened in the past month! We are blessed beyond measure + I’m excited to see what this fall has in store for our party of five. Here’s to cool nights, warm days, gorgeous fall colors + lots of autumn fun!

Siggie-21

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Amy

Sounds really busy and fun! Also, all three of them have grown so much! Mine have grown way too much as well! Why oh why must kids grow up so fast?! xo

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Amy

I know Amy!!! Sob!!! They grow up WAY too fast!!! Hope you are doing well, thanks so much for stopping by! :)

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