Happy Independence Day!

Wow. It seems so surreal to look at back on this photo and think about how we were feeling on July 4th of last year. July 4 means so much to our family. It goes without saying that we are so incredibly grateful to live in this country. It’s America’s birthday today and we will be celebrating that today and every day on July 4th for as long as we live! Being a parent has made me more proud and more grateful to be an American than I’ve ever been in my entire life. The fact that we’re able to raise our daughter here, where she is safe and fed and sheltered, is such a blessing. Don’t get me wrong, I realize there are sadly many hungry and homeless children in our country and that is absolutely heartbreaking. But you have to admit that we are pretty lucky to live here compared to some of the other third world countries in this world. Every time I’m able to give my daughter a meal, I feel grateful to live in this country. And I feel inspired to donate and do what I can to ensure that other children are also fed.


All that said, the 4th of July mean so much more to my family. On July 4, 2015, Kevin and I first decided to have a baby! We were hanging out in the pool in the backyard of the new house we just bought together and we tried to invite friends to come over to celebrate the holiday with us. But all of our friends either had other plans or were staying in themselves. That’s when we kind of realized, “Huh, we are having trouble getting friends to come over to ‘party’. Maybe we’re not kids anymore and it it’s time to start thinking about having a family of our own.” So that’s exactly what we did! On Independence Day in 2015 we decided that we wanted to give up some of our independence. Ha! Because let’s face it, once you have a child and someone is dependent on you, your life really isn’t your own anymore.

Which brings me to the above photo, one year after we decided to have a baby, we were just days away from meeting our daughter. Molly was born July 6, 2016. So on Independence Day last year we were just two days away from meeting her. I actually went into labor the very next day on July 5th.

And now one year later we just celebrated her first birthday over the weekend and she will officially turn one on Thursday! So as you can see, July 4th has been so very important to our family. Btw, I will be blogging about Molly’s first birthday in the next couple days, so get ready for lots of adorable pics like the one below!!!


So on this day, I not only think about how grateful I am for my little family and my sweet baby girl who is now a toddler! But I’m also so very grateful to raise my daughter in this beautiful country that I love so much! Wishing everyone a safe, fun, and love-filled Fourth of July!



45 Thoughts

45 thoughts on “Happy Independence Day!

  1. Precious! Love keeping up with you guys! So humble and kind! Happy birthday Molly!

    Paducah, KY

      1. Hello Ali my name is Sean. I want to say you have made an outstanding blog because you have given me ideas and show encouragement to everyone. I have a question. About the 4th of July family and food photos, is there a high resolution of those photos like around 6000×4000 for example because every time I trying to click on each photo, it doesn’t look that good. I usually prefer high definition photos because it looks more pristine rather than pixelelized.

  2. You were so adorable pregnant! Loved this article and thanks again for the sneak of the ONE letters. Molly looked precious πŸ™‚

  3. Love this! My eyes got so teary! Happy 4th to you and your gorgeous family! Also, Happy 1st Birthday to Miss Molly Manno! Enjoy every moment! ❀️

  4. She’s so pretty! I absolutely love the flower letters she’s standing in front of. Please post where they’re available to purchase from.

  5. Happy 4th of July to the prettiest unicorn birthday girl, Molly.
    Also to her parents, Ali & Kevin.
    Extra treats for Owen!

    1. We just found out that Owen has gained 6 lbs in the last year! That’s A LOT of his body weight! Went from 29 lbs a year ago (before baby) to 35 lbs now! So he is on a bit of a diet πŸ˜‰

  6. Happy early birthday Molly! I have loved watching her grow this past year! My daughter was born June 28th so they are super close in age! I saw on instagram her pink horse if you don’t mind me asking where you got it from?
    Happy fourth!

  7. Happy 4th of July! We were doing the exact same thing as you last year, waiting on our baby girl to arrive! And she was also born on July 6, 2016 πŸ™‚ What an amazing year it has been! I have loved following along with your family journey since we are in the same season of life. You’re blog posts have been very helpful to me during the wonderful and challenging times. Thanks, Ali ❀️

  8. This is so sweet!! Molly is adorable. I’m so happy for your little familyβ€οΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

  9. I love love keeping up with your family and little Molly! I was pregnant last 4th too and now my baby girl is 9 months old! Happy birthday Molly and happy 4th of July!

  10. Ali,

    Happy Birthday to Miss Molly! And Happy 4th! Our third child, Kristopher turned 7 on the 1st officially, which always make this holiday week extra special too!

    Lots of Love,

    Kim D.

  11. I love this, Ali! Having my girls was the best decision my husband and I have ever made! We celebrated my daughter Eva’s first birthday on May 19th, and my big girl, Lily, turns 4 on the 9th. Babies are such a blessing. Sending baby dust as you start trying for #2! xoxo from Wisconsin!

  12. I don’t think I’ve ever read Molly’s birth story!! That would be an awesome blog post to celebrate her first birthday! I love reading birth stories!

  13. My Son shares a birthday with Molly and will also be turning 1. I have so enjoyed reading your blog. Its helped me get through some of the tough first time mom stuff just knowing somone else is literally in the exact same spot as I am. Your so relatable which is why I love following you and reading about your life. I have also gotten a lot of good advice reading comments left from other moms. So thank you mamas and thank you Ali! Happy Birthday Molly!!

  14. Dear Molly,

    If I had a wife whose beauty and sweetness equal those of your mom, I would plan a star on every independence day until I have as many stars as in the US flag.

    Happy Birthday Molly πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

  15. This is my first comment to one of your blogs. I don’t have a child or husband yet, but when I do, that unicorn crown will be a staple. Thanks for sharing!

  16. You should really do an edit of your posts before publishing. It’s almost painful to read. 😳

    1. I do my best to post everyday and I try to edit the best I can. I’m sorry if it bothers you! I’m doing my best!

      1. Don’t worry about them! Keep on’ keeping on, Ali! You are just human. πŸ™‚ Love you and your blog!

  17. Cutest family EVER! Read your blogs and follow you on Instagram faithfully….always interested in what you’ll post next πŸ™‚ …..such an adorable little girl….excited for #2

  18. So beautiful! I remember reading your blog last year during this time and now reading it a year later so much has changed. You are an amazing mom to Molly! Have a great week and birthday for Molly tomorrow!

  19. Sweet post, Ali! My birthday is today, July 5th. As a child, I always hated that my family wanted to celebrate my birthday on the 4th when we often invited relatives to a picnic on our ranch. I wanted my own day! I always was sad that my birthday was not during the school year because so many children got to celebrate their birthday at school when their parents brought treats for everyone! Also, too often kids I wanted to come to my b-day parties were on vacation on my birthday and unable to come. As a teacher, I liked to celebrate the summer birthday kids with a mini party before the end of the year with the help of the room parents. I’m a super upbeat, positive, glass 1/2 full person, but I just wanted to share this feeling I had as a child so you and Kevin could be heads-up for Molly as she grows up! Happy Birthday to her tomorrow!πŸŽˆπŸŽˆπŸŽ‚πŸŽˆπŸŽˆ

  20. Ali, I love following your sweet family! You are an amazing Mommy! I enjoy reading your blog. I am a Mom of 2 teenage boys and appreciate all the hard work that goes into raising our children. Happy 1st Birthday to Molly! Her 1st Birthday photo is beautiful! Can’t wait to see your family grow! Maybe some day I can meet you guys on your visits to Chicago😊

  21. Happy 1st birthday, Molly! It’s been fun following along on your journey, Ali, since I’m right there with you – my baby boy will be 1 on Sunday! Can’t wait to see the rest of the party pictures!

  22. Ali, I didn’t even recognize you when I stumbled upon your blog! Love it and your sarcadtic way of putting things…love your realistic look on life and momisms. Keep at it girlie!

    ~Kris aka mom of a 12 & 16 yr old, teacher & mom of 28-5th graders for 9 months and of course crazed wife too, operating on laughter and sarcasm. LOL

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