Our Views on Santa

I have been asked numerous times what mine and Josh’s views on Santa are and I thought I would write a blog on it. Josh and I are FIRM believers that we should never lie to Avery. We want her to be honest with us therefore we need to be honest with her. And technically speaking telling our kids Santa is real is a lie. However, Santa is a fun part of Christmas time. In December Santa is in lots of movies, books, and at the mall. At first the thought of Santa coming down the chimney, eating our cookies and putting presents under the tree scared Avery more than it excited her. So we decided to tell her that Santa is more of a fun story around Christmas time and that there is a Santa at the mall but he doesn’t come inside our house. She liked this much better. So when we went to go get our photo taken with Santa the kids there were telling him what they wanted. Avery wanted to do this as well and she asked Santa for Phineas and Ferb toys. She told us that she wanted Phineas and Ferb toys from Santa so mama got her lap top out and started looking. These are HARD to find!! I looked and looked and ended up having to bid on them on Ebay and I get no credit haha. We weren’t planning on doing any presents from Santa but Avery wanted this one to be from Santa. She knows he isn’t real but she still likes the idea of telling Santa who she sees in all her Christmas movies what she wants and it coming true. We are still figuring out Santa in our house because her feelings might change in the years to come. But we don’t tell her “Santa is watching you better behave” or “Santa comes to our house on Christmas and fills the stockings and eats the cookies”. This won’t stop us from making cookies Christmas eve to eat though! Santa is a fun part of Christmas but he isn’t the reason for it. That’s really what we want Avery to understand. She knows that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and that’s why we celebrate it. (She still thinks Jesus is a baby because of all the nativity scenes though haha). Our traditions celebrate Jesus’ birth and celebrate the holiday season. We never want to put the focus on Santa so in our family Santa is more of a story that people talk about around Christmas time and he’s in lots of fun movies. And that’s our views on Santa! 7 more days until Christmas!

Winter Bucket List

It’s December!! The holidays are my favorite time of year for so many reasons. I am big into traditions and making Avery feel as special as possible. In October I made a fall bucket list and now it’s time for our family’s winter bucket list. Continue reading

Preparing for the holidays!

Preparing for the holidays is in full swing at our house! As I am writing this blog I’m laying next to a warm fire at my mother in law’s house. The crackles, smell and warmth is enough to put me to sleep! A real fire always makes me feel like we are in the holiday season! With thanksgiving next week and Christmas in 40 days I thought I would write about how our family prepares and enjoys the holidays to the fullest. Even though we only have 1 kiddo and all of our family except Josh’s mom & stepdad lives far away we still make the holidays as special as we can for Avery. We want her looking back and having the best childhood memories from this time of year.  Continue reading

Pumpkin Patch

We love going to the pumpkin patch as a family for so many reasons. Now that Avery is older it’s more fun because she gets just as excited. We went to Deep Well Farm in Lenoir City and loved it! Here are all the photos from our day.

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Avery was ready to go and play!

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Avery loved the big tractor and swings! I was singing country songs to Josh while he was on the tractor haha.

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The big slide was also a ton of fun. You can’t see how tall the slide goes up in these photos but it made my stomach tickle and Avery loved it! I love her smile in these pictures 🙂

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Avery made a donkey friend. I love watching how sweet she is to animals.

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Then daddy told her she had to run to get on the tractor ride to the pumpkin patch and Avery took off!

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She found a perfect little pumpkin for herself that she then painted blue when we got home because that has always been her favorite color. And we didn’t get a pic but Avery’s favorite part of the pumpkin patch was this play structure they made out of wood and tubes. (which mommy barely fit in but did it over and over because Avery loved it so much). All in all it was a good day. Avery had a blast and that always makes Josh and I happy!

Fall Bucket List

It’s finally October! We have been having an abnormally warm year in Tennessee. We are still having days in the high 70s but today it was cooler outside so I got to break in my new pair of heeled boots! Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons! The cool weather, the clothes, yummy treats, Christmas getting closer, and all the fun activities! Before each season starts I make a bucket list of all the things I want to do that season to make it special and fun for everyone. I decided I wanted to share my fall bucket list to give everyone some ideas and if I’ve left anything off please comment so I can add them to our fun!

  1. Decorate our house for fall
  2. Make a homemade pumpkin spice latte
  3. Go apple picking
  4. Stomp in the leaves
  5. Make a pot of fall aroma (1 orange peel, 1 sliced apple, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and water!)
  6. Make a fire outside
  7. Splash in puddles (or as Avery and Peppa Pig would say “muddy puddles!”)
  8. Make a homemade pie
  9. Take a foggy morning walk
  10. Make a new crockpot dish
  11. Make Carmel apples
  12. Go to the pumpkin patch
  13. Carve pumpkins
  14. Go on a hike
  15. Visit the farmers market
  16. Plant tulip bulbs
  17. Do fall crafts with Avery
  18. Visit Gatlinburg
  19. Plan thanksgiving dinner and activities
  20. Read outside with some blankets
  21. Have a popcorn and movie night
  22. Visit a farm
  23. Get fall candles
  24. Window shop
  25. Do a mini photoshoot
  26. Do fall activities the city puts together for kids
  27. Take a long bike ride in the Smoky Mountains
  28. Kiss my husband in the rain
  29. Make apple cider
  30. Watch post-season baseball and the World Series


And there you have it! Our family’s fall bucket list! We have so far done 8 things on this list and can’t wait to do more! Like I said in the beginning if anyone has any other fun ideas for us to do this Fall season please comment!! 🙂

Morning Routine

I thought I would write about our morning routine as a family that way you guys could get a better look into the Willis household. So here we go!

1. Wake up! I normally wake up at around 6:45 to get a few minutes to myself and read my bible before Avery gets up at 7 and then her and I head downstairs while we let Josh sleep. He normally works late so we let him sleep in a little bit. Continue reading

Living a Healthy Lifestyle


I have always been built smaller but that doesn’t mean I’ve always been in shape. I was a size 0 and around 110 pounds before Avery was born. Now I am a size 2 and 117 pounds and I feel better than ever! I didn’t really have any muscles before Avery was born but now my arms, stomach and legs are getting more defined. I feel strong and I love it! I also have struggled with my sides holding all my fat and I hate it! I thought I would have it forever but now that I’m really focusing on doing side workouts 3 days a week  they are going down finally! In the past few months I have really been working on making a few changes to my lifestyle, exercising and eating habits and it’s crazy how much better I feel!

Some changes I’ve made are getting up earlier and drinking a whole glass of cucumber lemon water, working out in the morning and not putting it off, working out longer and making sure I sweat each workout I do, and eating a lot better.

I probably will never give up eating what I love but I can improve little things about my eating habits. Like instead of the normal sandwich I now do lettuce wraps with turkey breast, cheese and cucumbers. I also do flavored water like lemon and lime, just lemon, just cucumber and lemon and cucumber. This helps me make sure I’m drink enough water. We also try to eat fresh and organic as much as possible. We always buy organic fruits and veggies when we are eating the skin. Especially strawberries! Please please please don’t eat non-organic strawberries! The chemicals on them are crazy! Also getting Avery and Josh to eat vegetables is not always easy but I continue to try New recipes until I find one they like and will eat (if anyone has any recipes that make veggies tasty to those who don’t normally like them please comment below!) I also try to limit my treats to 1 little treat a day. I can’t say I don’t eat after 8pm because when Josh gets home from work we like to watch tv and snack together but if I eat a lot of junk food at night I feel it in the morning so I try to eat better at night and lots of portion control! I try to eat small meals more often too. I eat breakfast at 8am, snack at 11am, lunch at 1pm, dinner at 6pm, and a snack at 9pm. I am always doing research about the best foods for our bodies and things to look out for. In the last couple months I have taken a big interest in healthy foods and ways to take care of mine and my family’s bodies.

My workouts have also changed a little bit. I workout Monday-Friday in the morning and take the weekends off. Monday’s I do abs, Tuesday’s I do butt and legs, Wednesday’s I do abs and arms, Thursday’s I do butt and legs and Friday’s I do abs. The workouts I do differ from week to week. Sometimes I use Pinterest workouts, the app called Sworkit, YouTube videos, Alexa Jean workout plan, and going on a walk while making up new exercises to do at each mailbox. And making sure I sweat each time I do a workout helps me know that it is actually doing something. And my body differs from day to day. Some days my stomach is flat and looks great and other days I could pass for 10 weeks pregnant because I can bloat so much! I also love when Avery joins in and copies whatever exercise I’m doing. And at night if I don’t feel sore I do another short workout! It is great to be in the best shape I’ve ever been in. Not having a set weight to be at helps me to focus on just taking care of my body inside and getting more and more muscle. (My right arm is way more toned than my left because I always carry Avery on that side. I need to work on my left arm more!)

A healthy lifestyle for my family and I makes me happy!! If anyone has any tips for living healthier I would love to hear them!

Growing Up

These past couple weeks I feel like Avery has grown up so much! She started potty training, chewing gum on a regular basis, swimming and floating great (with our assistance of course), knows letters A-J, can count to 12, and we just moved her bed into her own room!

I feel like I woke up the other morning and my baby was no longer a baby. She’s so grown up and knows exactly what she wants and how she feels.

We got her a little princess seat that goes on top of the toilet and she loves it. I don’t know what she loves more; getting a piece of gum after she goes potty on the big girl potty or wearing doc mcstuffins pull ups! When she chews gum it’s so cute because sometimes she forgets to swallow her spit because she is trying to make sure she doesn’t swallow her gum that her salvia just drips out of her mouth. She loves mint gum and juicy fruit! She carries those little tubs of juicy fruit everywhere!

Swimming lessons were a big deal to us because I want Avery to be safe but not be scared of the water. When it comes to swimming I love it but I’m not the first one to dive deep down or jump off something really high into the water. That is Josh for sure!! Josh told me to not baby Avery as much in the water and that she will be ok and he was right! As soon as I stopped babying her she wanted to go all the way under like her toys did and she trusted me enough to help her float on her back.

Another thing she has done lately that’s shown me what a big girl she is has been during our learning time. Each day we go to her art table and have learning time. She picks things up so fast it’s crazy! She loves being able to point out A-J and does so even when we are out and about. And she can count to 12 which comes in really handy when she is getting impatient for something. If I tell her to count to 12 and then I’ll be done doing whatever I’m doing she counts to 12 as fast as she can but if it’s to do something I’ve asked her to do that counting to 12 can drag on awhile! Girl is smart!

By far the biggest milestone and change these past weeks has been moving Avery’s bed into her room. Before Josh and I got married Avery slept with me in my bed every night. I loved that extra time with her especially because I didn’t have a husband to cuddle next to yet. And then when Josh and I got married Avery still slept with us and then one day decided she wanted to sleep in her own bed. I was very excited because as crazy as it sounds I was on the edge of the bed some nights in a king bed with only Josh and Avery in there with me! Her bed was only a few feet from ours and she occasionally slept with us but besides that she loved sleeping in her bed. It worked for us because she would still wake up some nights and I was able to be right there for her. And then after adding a cute flower wall lamp from IKEA in Avery’s room I thought I would bring her mattress in just for fun. That night she ended up sleeping on her mattress in her room for the first time and loved it! I was sleeping on the ground by her closet but I was happy she loved her room! We then brought her bed frame in there too and she loved it even more. We decided instead of slowly inch by inch moving Avery into her room I would just inch by inch move out of her room. I slept next to her for a few nights and then tried sleeping in Josh’s game room/our second guest room with both doors wide open and it worked. When she woke up I was right across the hall and I was able to sleep in a real bed. Once she doesn’t wake up at night anymore Josh and I will go back to sleeping in our bed and have the doors open with a baby monitor on her all night. This may sound ridiculous to some people but this is progress for me! I am happy with what we are doing and the way we are going about things.

I feel like pretty much all big changes that have happened to Avery she has told or shown us she was ready. She wanted to be a big girl and go potty like the big girls. She told us she was ok with going under water at swimming lessons. And after we put a new flower wall lamp in her room she loved the idea of moving her bed in there. I love that these big changes and milestones happen when SHE is ready. Josh and I are aware of Avery’s feelings and we want her to feel comfortable with things. We are very much hands on parents and out parenting works really well for us. Our daughter is growing up so fast and we are soaking up every moment of her childhood!