September 12, 2017 03:20 PM


Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren had a busy day in the Big Apple on Monday.

The spouses walked the streets of New York City with their daughters — newborn Ada James, 4 weeks, and Willa Gray, 22 months — before stopping to visit with members of the FDNY on the 16-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The 27-year-old country star shared the sweet stop-by on his Instagram story, with Willa trying on her own plastic firefighter hat and sitting with mom Lauren in the front seat of a firetruck.

Video also showed Willa watching a fireman slide down a pole, taking in the firetruck lights and standing at the base of a 100-ft.-tall ladder.

“So grateful and honored to get to know some of the FDNY today,” Lauren wrote on Instagram of the family’s visit to Ladder Co. 25, a firehouse located on 77th Street in Manhattan.

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Thomas Rhett/Instagram
Thomas Rhett/Instagram
Thomas Rhett/Instagram

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The fact that their visit landed on Sept. 11 of all days was not lost on Lauren — who recalled where she was when terrorists flew two hijacked planes into the World Trade Center “Twin Towers,” killing 2,852 civilians and injuring over 6,000 more (including seven brave firefighters from Ladder 25).

“I still remember sitting in my chair in middle school that morning watching on TV our country being attacked, seeing the World Trade Center buildings fall and watching so many lives being lost,” Lauren wrote.

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“Meeting some of the men and women who serve our country, some of them who even served our country on that day 16 years ago, and seeing the photos of those who lost their lives from Ladder 25 on 9/11 was so surreal,” Lauren continued.

Added the mom of two, “God bless the first responders of New York City and our country,” thanking Ladder 25 for “having us and showing our girl around.”

Willa was apparently happy as can be to take in all the firehouse had to offer. “She loved it,” Lauren said.

The tiny tot was also enjoying her time Tuesday morning, watching her dad perform his new single on the Today show in video shared on Lauren’s Instagram story.

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Thomas Rhett is in the middle of a massive promotional tour for his new album Life Changes, which dropped Sept. 8, rocking his record release while still helping out with diaper duty and bedtime routines.

“The moment we look at our calendars, it really does stress us out,” he previously told PEOPLE about balancing family time with his grueling promo schedule. “But if Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean can do it, we can do it!”

“It’s not like there ever is a perfect time to have kids, or a perfect time to put out a record,” the musician continued. “We just happen to be doing both at the exact same time! We keep going back to ‘Take it one day at a time.’ “

Lauren Atkins/Instagram
Lauren Atkins/Instagram

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Since adopting Willa from Uganda in May and becoming parents to two daughters within three months, the couple have had their share of “How am I going to do this?” moments.

But they’re already a little wiser to how resilient children are since bringing home Willa – who has already hit the concert stage, seen Times Square and stolen the spotlight from Dad on the morning shows.

Embracing that notion made taking Willa on the road a lot easier, Thomas Rhett says. “At first I was like, if we bring a baby on the bus, how is she going to sleep? There are bumps on the road. What is she going to eat out there? What if there’s only Subway? But Willa just goes with the flow. There isn’t much about our lifestyle we changed.”

Julie Paisley Photography

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Thomas Rhett’s latest album is influenced by his two girls. On the title track (co-written with his dad Rhett Akins, along with Ashley Gorley and Jesse Frasure), the singer chronicles the family’s unusual journey to becoming a foursome.

According to Thomas Rhett, his family will be a deep well of inspiration for his music. “The girls will be in my songs 100 percent,” he told PEOPLE. “If you look at my phone, every single song title is either about my children or has been inspired by something they have done or said.”

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