When Your Baby Girl Turns 11…Let Her Shine!

This little girl of mine, I’m gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it’s a big deal. I’m just trying to figure out where the time went. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

There’s no real reason for writing this post, I guess. Maybe it’s just for me. Maybe it’s for my Bug some day. I don’t know, but I’m drawn to write it. Bump SEO, bump pageviews, forget about who even reads it at all. This is about my youngest baby girl and I. You see, it’s a bumpy road with her and I. It always has been. I wanted her more than life itself when I conceived her, yet as the years go by, I’ve wondered what in the HECK I was thinking when I made the conscious decision to have another child when I did. All in all, I wouldn’t change a thing, in fact. Today, this baby girl turns 11 years old and I’m just happy (more times than not) to just let her shine and call her mine.

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

See, my baby girl hit the streets running, figuratively (OK it would have been literally if she could have run then, but let’s go with figuratively here) on September 14, 2006. She was the youngest of five children and the apple of all of our eyes (except baby girl number three, she was not entirely sold). She was THE princess from day one and I worshipped her. Literally. She was perfect in every way. Still is in her own right!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

Once this “baby” found her way into the world…watch out. She owned it; and us. Sassy, frustrating, the very bane of my existence at times, the biggest talker you’ve ever met, and just so much of a handful at times, I wonder how I make it from day to day. But I see her beauty (even on her bad days) on the outside, but more importantly from within. She might be a hot mess at times, but she’ll do big things some day…mark my words!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

Kylee can be difficult, dramatic, and sassy at times. So difficult. So dramatic. SO SASSY. Sometimes (oh who am I kidding, a lot of the time) she makes me want to pull my hair out. Heck, I think she pulls my hair out when I sleep!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

She’s silly and adventurous!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

And she’s (almost) always fun. Almost. But above all else…she’s 11 today and that’s all that matters to her. Did you know that officially, without question, she can go up to all of the chain restaurant buffets by herself…without me…to get her own food now? The signs all say so and she was quick to remind me this morning. I see a lot of buffets in our future (and a lot of Airborne in mine so I can handle the buffets since I still have to walk Bubby up there!).

All in all…Bug might drive me insane. I might spend a whole lot of time in the school office for her. She may be my biggest challenge in life…for real. The very bane of my existence? Perhaps. But that smile. The sheer joy and love she feels and exudes when she’s feeling her best? It’s amazingly infectious and I love it!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

You see, when Bug smiles…when she really, really smiles and means it…to say she lights up a room is a gross understatement. It’s a complete and total illumination. An amazing aura like nothing you’ve experienced. It’s nothing short of magical! My unicorn (the one with the black horn most days) turns 11 today. I love her. I’m proud of her. She drives me crazy, but I just can’t wait to watch her change the world!

If you see this nugget today, wish her a happy 11th birthday. She’s pretty impressive with her drive-her-mom-crazy, talks-too-much, lives-on-the-edge, she’ll-do-amazing-things self. She deserves a happy birthday! Although she drives me nuts, I’ve resigned to let her shine…this little Bug of mine.

Happy birthday, baby girl! I love you more than the sky is blue. This life? It’s tough, but you’ve got this. You’ll rule it in fact! All my love forever and always (yes, even when we fight), Mommy!

Patriotic Summer Beach House Decor

Holiday decorating is a family tradition that everyone can enjoy. Thanks to my partnership with Oriental Trading, I was able to transform my home into a special Patriotic Summer Beach House to celebrate the summer holidays!

Celebrate summer when you transform your home into a Patriotic Summer Beach House so you enjoy Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day the festive way!

If you follow along here, or on Facebook, you probably already know that I’m obsessed with decorating for the holidays. Inarguably, Christmas is my favorite (I am actually an elf in mommy clothing after all), but I don’t discriminate against the other holidays. Whether it be Halloween, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, or really any other holiday, I’m always down for making the house fun for the kids, and for me if we’re being honest!

Celebrate summer when you transform your home into a Patriotic Summer Beach House so you enjoy Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day the festive way!

Patriotic Summer Beach House Decor

Although Christmas is my favorite, summertime decorating is a total win all around; a lazy busy mom’s decorating dream come true so to speak. Why, you ask? Because what’s better than THREE patriotic holidays in a row? That’s right, one set of decorations, a one-time set up, and BAM…you’re done decorating for Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day…just like that!

Celebrate summer when you transform your home into a Patriotic Summer Beach House so you enjoy Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day the festive way!

Red, white, and blue everything…all summer long. From Patriotic Hanging Lanterns lined neatly (hello OCD) in your beach den with tiki bar, of course…

Celebrate summer when you transform your home into a Patriotic Summer Beach House so you enjoy Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day the festive way!

To Patriotic Windsock String Lights lighting the way on entryways throughout your home, you really can’t go wrong!

Celebrate summer when you transform your home into a Patriotic Summer Beach House so you enjoy Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day the festive way!

This year, I went with an American theme and I’m glad I did because this heavy-duty Cloth Americana Bunting and matching Cloth Vintage Pillar Buntings have really been standing up well to these crazy storms we’ve been having in Galveston so far this summer. Seriously….so much wind and rain, it’s insane!

Celebrate summer when you transform your home into a Patriotic Summer Beach House so you enjoy Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day the festive way!

Although I do primarily do all of my holiday decorating for my kids (and me), I really want anyone that stops by to feel welcome, so a patriotic welcome sign (or any other welcome sign) should always be on every home door…all the time. That’s my tip for the day; you’re welcome!

Celebrate summer when you transform your home into a Patriotic Summer Beach House so you enjoy Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day the festive way!

It’s not too late to decorate for your patriotic summer! The 4th of July is right around the corner and we still have Labor Day. Oriental Trading has everything you need at affordable prices with quick shipping. Your kids will thank you and you’ll enjoy knowing you don’t have to decorate again until Halloween. Show everyone how proud you are to be an American with your Patriotic Summer Beach House Decor. It doesn’t take a long time or a lot of money, and it’s SO. MUCH. FUN!

A Family Beach Day, A Day in Photos

A family beach day is so cleansing to the soul. Sometimes, words aren’t necessary when the photos tell their own story. This is one of those occasions, and I’ll enjoy this photo journal for years to come! Random thoughts from a mom after a day at the beach.

family beach day

Sometimes, just letting them enjoy each other’s space is enough.

family beach day

And most of the time, just letting them be them…well, it’s enjoyable for both of you. I dig his style!

family beach dat

Bubbles! What’s a beach day without bubbles? What’s any good day without bubbles, actually?

beach family day

A day without bubbles is like a day without a beach ninja. I mean, it’s not even really a day, is it?

family beach day

The only sad part of the day is when you look through the lens and realize they might be growing up too fast. It all goes by too fast. Until…

family beach day

You realize that one of them is looking back at you, from inside of a sand hole, enjoying life like only a small child can, and you realize that there are still many years of joy, and frustration, to come. Be still my heart!

b burying kylee edit

And then there’s this. THIS is the beginning of a memory in the making, with a man that you adore making memories with.

beach family

It ended way worse than this, of course, but I was too busy unburying my baby (face and all) to get a photo. Sometimes, like this time, it’s not OK to just sit back and be the spectator…because…buried alive?!?!

beach family

And just when you realize you’re absent from your own online album, all of your family photos, you see that you were there all along. In their reflection. Capturing every moment. While they looked adoringly at you, and you realize you’re doing exactly what you were meant to do all along. Take care of them, love them, enjoy the moment, and capture the memories in their reflection while they reflect on the love that you give them.

In the end, that’s all that matters. The memories, their love, capturing their beauty. When you realize you’re doing what you love…while you’re watching the ones you love the most…enjoy themselves? That’s when you know you’ve made it. That’s when you know your life, your world is complete. That’s the moment you realize you’re living the life you intended, the life you’ve always wanted to live. That’s when you know love.

I know all of these things, and I’m glad my camera reminds me daily. I’ve made it. I’m happy to be in their reflections. I’m just happy. Not everyone achieves that level of success in life. I’m content that I’ve found my success from within my own little world.

Are you?