Let the noise of love be loud at our tables today.

This week has been very loud. I can’t seem to get away from the noise around the world.

The Ferguson tragedies are ringing loud throughout social media and loud in every part of my heart.

Here I am, white as milk, sobbing for this black community wondering what I can do to make a difference to my community and theirs, together.

The poor mother of Michael Brown is not only having to mourn the loss of her precious son but also has the weight of the aftermath on her shoulders. Do you honestly think she is happy with the riots, looting, and the arson? I can guarantee she wants nothing more than to rewind time to take it all away. I can imagine her lying awake in her bed wondering where it all went wrong. What could she do differently to make sure her son stayed out of trouble and ultimately was still alive?

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Regardless of what people are pronouncing so loudly on facebook, I know WHITE families who have been through the same thing. Maybe not being killed by a cop, but the “what went wrong and made them stray” burden they will forever carry.

I have a cousin that grew up just like me who at some point started a life mixed up in drugs and crime. I know his mom asks herself every day what could she have done differently. Or my friend T who has been in and out of rehab and jail.

These two people I love with all my heart and they will struggle every day for the rest of their lives with addiction. It all started with one bad decision. One bad friendship disguised as the only person who understood or loved them- even more than their own families.

All three of these mothers mourn the loss of their sons- either to death or drugs or jail or whatever.

I have asked myself constantly what can I do to make a difference now in the middle of all this noise. What can I do to make sure my girls grow up to love others equally?

We have to teach them through our own actions. We have to set the example. We have to teach them how to respond to racism and bad situations with grace, mercy, dignity and respect.

If these people who are rioting and committing crimes had been taught differently growing up they wouldn’t be doing these terrible things. They wouldn’t be responding in violent ways.

If some of my white friends had been taught differently they wouldn’t be blowing up my facebook feed with blatantly racist remarks. I have been completely heartbroken and appalled as I have seen these people who call themselves Christians say horrible things about “those black people”.

How about those white people? Because we are just as bad. Meth houses, Holly Bobo cases, Charles Manson? Those crazy white people. Those horrible white people committing crimes that are what nightmares are made of.

Sin goes both ways. It doesn’t see race or social status.

More importantly, Jesus Christ goes both ways. He died for every single one of us. He covers every sin committed by every man, no matter what their race is.

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Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved. Romans 10:13

His blood is colorblind. His grace is sufficient for every race, every tongue, every tribe.

How can we expect anyone to act the right way if Christians don’t set the example of Christ and also be colorblind as He is?

Nothing will every change if we don’t open our hearts to what Christ wants for us. He commands us to love God and love others.

ALL OTHERS. Every single race.

Because we are all worth it to Him.

So this Thanksgiving racism may be loud in our hearts and minds but God’s love is louder.

He muffles the noise and calls us to be louder in our love for others.

I am most thankful today that my parents raised me in a home that was loving and gave grace freely. I grew up in a home with no racist remarks. I grew up in a home where God’s love showed through my parents to people of every color equally.

I am forever thankful that I was taught empathy towards all colors and situations.

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It is my life’s mission to teach my children the same thing.

Lord, be with me and show me how to teach my children equality. Help me to never lose sight of those things. Help me to be an example of grace and mercy to all races, just as You showed us through the Cross.

Happy Thanksgiving. Let the noise of love be loud at your table today.

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We Choose Virtues (product review)

There are times in life when you wish you would’ve heard of a product or a way to do something A LONG TIME AGO. I recently had this experience.

I started following We Choose Virtues on Facebook a while ago, but never got around to purchasing the product. A few months ago I got the opportunity to get the product and review it.

Oh.My.Goodness.

In just a short amount of time I have seen some major changes in not only my children, but in ME.

So what IS We Choose Virtues?

We Choose Virtues is a way of instilling character in our kids in a simple and inspiring way.

I have had a lot of talks with my mom friends about how HARD it is to teach things like contentment, patience, gentleness, self control, ETC. To me, contentment is something I have had the hardest time trying to understand how to teach. 

That is exactly why We Choose Virtues is the perfect match for my family and any other family struggling with out to teach these virtues to their young children.

Let me set up the Family Kit and how it works for you:

– There are only THREE rules. I think this is so important because young children don’t respond well to tons of rules. The three rules are Obey, Be Kind, Be A Helper. That’s it. And yet, it is all you need.

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– 12 Virtues. There are twelve virtues and each have an easy “catchphrase” to help children be able to understand what the virtue means easily. There is also a memory verse for each virtue!

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Here are two examples of the Virtues – these are the virtues I’ve been working the hardest on in our home because WE need it:

 I am Content. I have my “WANTER” under control. I am NOT… bored, greedy or always wanting more and I don’t beg or whine. “I have made myself calm and content like a young child in its mother’s arms. Deep down inside me, I am as content as a young child.” Psalm 131:2 (NIrV)

 I am Gentle. I speak quietly and touch softly. I am NOT… rough, harsh or loud and I don’t destroy things or hurt people! “A gentle answer turns anger away. But mean words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 NIrV

(Whew. WHO DOESN’T NEED TO LEARN THESE VIRTUES?! I know I need to work on them just as much as my children.)

– Everything is set up as a positive experience. There are rewards and encouraging words. I love that it uses the Caterpillar, the Butterfly, and the Magnifying glass as examples for the virtues. Each of these have a catchphrase too that helps us to show examples that our kids understand easily:

Caterpillar: “I don’t have to stay the way I am! I am born to change, and change I will!”

Butterfly: “I will choose to use virtue, and become strong and beautiful on the inside!”

Magnifying glass: “I will never stop looking for virtue in YOU!”

The Family Kit includes:

  • Parenting Cards (these are “teacher” cards for families)
  • Virtue Flashcards for Families (play games and memorize easier with these cards!)
  • Kids Virtue Poster
  • Three Rules Poster
  • Butterfly Awards (downloadable)
  • Family Character Assessments (downloadable)
  • Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Pages (downloadable)

So how do we like the product? We love it.

Rory is at the stage where she is soaking up all the information like a sponge. I can see her little wheels turning and thinking about virtues and whether or not she is choosing them. Sometimes I literally see her stop and think and then walk way before she does something she knows she shouldn’t do. And she is also reminding Ryder to be gentle or whatever too. Let’s face it. Ryder is a threenager and is having a bit of a harder time than Rory. But she is still loving it too.

Ryder loves the coloring pages so much. She creates personalities in her head for the characters and colors them accordingly. I love that they send you a file so you can print the coloring pages out an unlimited amount of times.

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I think one of the very best parts to me is that it is teaching ME to choose virtues too. It has reminded me that I can tell them to be virtuous all day long but if I am not SHOWING them virtues in my actions it is a waste of time.

And GUESS WHAT, Y’ALL?!

My readers are getting 15% off anything in their store! Just enter this promo code at checkout: VIRTUE15 for 15% off anything in their store!

But they are having a special Black Friday through Cyber Monday too! The promo code is HOLIDAY30 for 30% off anything in their store. (Only one promo code per order.)

I love that they have family kits, children’s church kits, homeschool kits, etc! You just cannot go wrong and they have so many choices! If you do purchase the product, please tell me what you get, I would love to know! I have several friends who use We Choose Virtues in their homes and all have rave reviews!

 

*I received this product as compensation but, as always, the opinions are my own. I would never lead you astray, dear readers!*

Girls Trip to NYC 2014

About 6 or so months ago a group of friends were texting and joking around about how we needed a break and would love to go on a girls trip.

This seemed far fetched because how on earth could we possibly manage to get FIVE husbands to agree to let all the wives go on a trip to NYC at the same time?!!!!!!!!!

Basically the trick is to be married to the best husbands on earth. *shameless mushy plug*

We hopped the first flight Thursday morning. To say we were giddy would be the understatement of the century. I’m pretty sure we said, “OH MY GOSHHHH I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING,” 230923023 times.

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I ended up next to Trace Adkins in the security line. It was so not fair because my phone was in my purse going through the scanner.

I may or may not have stared weirdly as he took his belt off.

He said, “how are you today?” in THAT VOICE and I pretty much went to into 15 year old melt on the ground mode. WHY IS HIS VOICE SO …. sexy? (I cannot believe I’m saying this on my blog.) After we had our clothes back on – HAHAHAHAHAHAH- meaning from TSA craziness, I tried so hard to rush and get a picture with him. But I couldn’t get my phone in time and I wasn’t about to run to another terminal and bother him. So here is your picture:

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Unfortunately I apparently used all my celeb sightings on him. In the Nashville airport. Sigh.

Ahem. Back to the trip.

After a crowded ride on the NJ transit, we arrived in NYC. It was a drizzly day, but still beautiful. Two of the girls, Rachel and Jinny, hadn’t been to the city yet and I don’t think I will ever forget turning around to see their faces react to seeing the buildings the first time. It was absolutely priceless.

I’m going to break this up into days. This will probably be a long post because I just don’t want to forget anything. So, you were warned. Another disclaimer- these are all cell phone pics. Which look much better with Instagram filters and I don’t have time to do all that. Don’t judge the quality.

Day 1: Pizza, One World Trade Center, WTC Memorials, St Paul’s Cathedral, Century 21, Republic, ABC Kitchen.

Our first meal was pizza because, hello, NYC!

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After the best pizza ever* at John’s Pizzeria at Time Square (the Margherita pizza is where it is at, y’all), we headed downtown.

(*I still think Lombardi’s in Little Italy is the best pizza on earth, but John’s was delicious too.)

 

First we stopped at the “Little Chapel That Stood” or St Paul’s Chapel. Apparently it is the time of year where they repair all of the churches in NYC. I was so disappointed because of all the scaffolding that blocked the beautiful little church.

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Probably one of the most significant things we have experienced happened on the first day. We went down to see the new WTC and to see the memorials. As we were standing there in awe of the beautiful water memorial, a man walked up. I saw him walking by the names, glancing at them… and then just as he was about to walk by it caught his eye- a certain name. Jean Destrehan Roger.

We couldn’t take our eyes off of him. He stood there tracing the name with his fingers. His expression was a mixture of happiness and sadness. There was a sad smirk on his face as he stood over the name. We all stood there crying. It was one of those things that was so hard to watch, as he clearly loved the person behind the name, but it was impossible to look away.

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Jinny took this beautiful picture and we all cried when we saw it.

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One World Trade Center is insanely impressive. I lack the words to even express it properly. It was cloudy and we couldn’t see anywhere near the top. And in the middle of these massive downtown buildings there are beautiful trees that border these gorgeous memorials. It was truly breathtaking.

IMG_3577_3 IMG_3588_2_2 IMG_3597_2 IMG_3598 IMG_3600_2We headed over to Century 21 to try and detox our emotions and Y’ALL. I have always been such a huge C21 LOVER and I don’t know what has happened since the last time I was there but IT IS NOT THE SAME. Everything was so expensive. It was insanely crowded. I couldn’t even handle it. It isn’t the same C21 I fell in love with years ago.

That night we headed to Chelsea for drinks and dinner. We went to a bar/restaurant called Republic before our dinner reservations AT TEN PM, and it was such a good place! The food looked delicious and I fully plan to go eat there next time I am in NY.

IMG_3608_2We headed over to ABC Kitchen for dinner. Y’all. Y’ALLLLLL. First of all, you need to book a month in advance for a table. So just FYI.

Secondly, BEST MEAL OF MY LIFE. No but seriously. I decided to go all out and get the lobster. One of the best decisions ever. It was AMAZING. I got the salted mashed potatoes as a side and, also, best decision of my life. I literally almost licked the bowl. And my plate. DEAR MERCY it was so good. The apple orchard martini was so delicious too.

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Basically, if you go to NYC you MUST go to ABC Kitchen. You will not regret it.

Day 2: Chinatown, Little Italy, Katz’s Deli, Broadway, Times Square.

Just short of seeing NYC for the first time, the next best thing for someone to experience in the city is Chinatown. It is the most hilarious and crazy place ever. I feel like I can’t even describe the lengths these people go to just to get us a fake Louis. Watching someone experience it for the first time is pretty priceless. I’m glad you got your bag, Jinny!

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After Chinatown we roamed little Italy and NoLita and who knows where else looking for a cheesesteak place that had 4 stars. We walked about 20 miles to discover that it was closed. SO WRONG. Luckily Katz’s deli (famous from When Harry Met Sally) was on the same block. AND IT WAS DELICIOUS.

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We went to Times Square and got in line at the TKTS booth for tickets for Broadway. Doesn’t the guy in the back look happy?

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We got all dolled up to go see Chicago. I mean. FANCY.

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So. Chicago was extremely disappointing. We all had seen the movie and loved it. So we figured the musical would be 100% better. So here’s the deal. The stage stayed exactly the same the entire musical. There were no costume changes, no props, nothing. The singing was good, yes. But we all expected so much more out of such a long-running, highly praised musical.

Even so, jazz hands are totally addicting.

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We stumbled into an Italian restaurant off times square and it was … eh. The waiter was a jerk face. That’s all I can say about it. Ha.

Day 3: Mood, Rockefeller, 5th Ave, Central Park, Picklebacks

Saturday started off with a trip to Mood from Project Runway. Jinny was in heaven!

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Then we headed up to Rockefeller, 5th Ave, Central Park, etc.

It was really neat to see the tree at Rockefeller being put up! We had no idea how much went into it. On the side you could see tons of branches waiting to be put in to fill it up.

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And here we go again with the scaffolding at all the churches in NY. I was so sad they didn’t get to see St Patrick’s without it. There was even scaffolding all over the inside of the church. It was so frustrating to me!

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Obligatory Tiffany in front of Tiffany’s picture:

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We spent some time in FAO Schwarz and then grabbed some lunch and headed to Central Park to eat and see some of the park. It was so stinkin’ cold Saturday so we didn’t spend too much time but it was seriously so insanely beautiful. I’ve never been to NY in the fall and it was absolutely the prettiest I’ve ever seen it.

We had a lunch buddy and I wanted to put him in my pocket he was so cute.

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We also saw some people filming and we ran into the actors at a coffee shop and asked what they were filming and for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the film. It is an independent rom-com if I’m remembering correctly.

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I’m telling you- NY is so gorgeous in the fall!

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Some of the girls went shopping and some went back to the hotel after Central Park. My feet were KILLING me and I was so dang tired (and also running low on the moneys) so I went back to the hotel. But we saw Macy’s with the beginnings of their Christmas decorations. This “believe” on the side of the building made me all teary-eyed and excited for Christmas!

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For dinner we ended up splitting up and going to two different places. Emily and I were really wanting some good Thai food so we headed to Peak Thai on 49th and 2nd Ave (they don’t have a website so I gave you the address!). It was SO DANG GOOD. The place is small and intimate so this isn’t a place to bring 20 friends, but a great date night.

Which is basically what Emily and I had, a great date night- HA!

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We asked two different people to take our picture. They both were not great photographers. Ha!

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We met back up and went to a little bar after dinner and ended up at an SEC meetup. Unfortunately it wasn’t any of our teams but it was still fun to see other SEC lovers in the city.

After they left a group of about 30 young Koreans came in. They looked 12. For reals. But apparently they were 22. They were so precious and young. We had to leave because we just couldn’t chill next to tiny infant babies.

One of the highlights of the trip was watching one of the guys from the group go to lean on what HE thought was a wall but was in fact a curtain…

and he literally flew across the place he fell so hard. I mean, he seriously committed to leaning on that faux wall. I still cannot stop laughing about it. It was a really fun night! This picture cracks me up every time I see it.

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*picklebacks not pictured*

Sunday we slept in and got everything packed up and ready to head home. We were all ready to see our kids and so tired from all we packed into our time.

We headed down to Chelsea Market first. I’m so glad we did too because that place was seriously amazing. Next time I’m going to dedicate several hours to the market for sure. I would mark it as a must do for a trip to NY.

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We went downtown after the market to the Financial District. We saw Wall Street and the bull.

Now listen.

This was my first time seeing The Bull. Want to know what it looks like in real life?!

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That’s right, folks, it is COVERED with people so much so that you can’t even see it. Jinny had to fight off several people to get a picture with it.

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Note: more scaffolding.

IMG_3871We were so burnt out by the time we made it back to the hotel that we decided, after some convincing from the bellman, to cram into a standard car taxi to go to the airport. Oh yes we did. It was a clown car up in there. The driver was hilarious. Actually, we took a grand total of only 4 taxis the entire time we were there and all of the cab drivers were so fun and sweet. Being southern, we obviously talked their ears off. We learned that one was NOT a baseball fan, another was moving back to Haiti with his wife of 30 years and 6 kids after being away for 20 years, and the last one had a strong opinion about Chinese drivers. IMG_3880Y’all. As I was recapping I wanted to cry that the trip was over. I had the best time and hope we can make this girls trip a yearly thing. It was a dream of a long weekend. NYC is the PERFECT girls trip for anyone looking for a place to go with girlfriends!

Thanks for such a great weekend Emily, Jinny, Rachel and Alexis!

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——

I thought I would end this with a few little tips about heading to NYC if you haven’t been before:

– PLAN AHEAD. It is so important to get reservations made a month in advance (or more for some places) and to plan your days out. The only thing we didn’t do well was planning our meals. Next time we will have all the meals nailed down before we go. Go to Open Table to make your reservations!

– Immediately get a metro card. The subway can seem scary, but it is THE BEST. Seriously, my favorite thing about NY is the subway. Download the CityMapper app on your phone and it tells you EXACTLY how to get everywhere. From walking to the nearest subway, to which train to get on, and then walking to your destination after getting off the train. Sometimes you have a little trial and error, but you can always hop on another train at the next stop. Don’t waste money on cabs, people! The subways system is AMAZING.

– If you aren’t sure which way to go on the street, ASK. Us southerners have heard crazy, UNTRUE things about New Yorkers. We never had a person act rude to us when we asked for directions. Now, I wouldn’t ask too much because that would be silly since you have a phone that can tell you, but sometimes our phones would act weird and I just needed to go one block over but I wasn’t sure which way. So I always asked someone and it saved a lot of time and extra walking.

 

the joy that is family picture day.

I’ve had a lot of time on my hands since moving here because I have literally one friend here (this is not a sob story- its my fault, I have been laying low).

So I was browsing during “rest time” one day on Instagram over a month or so ago and found a local photographer. It just so happened she was having a give away and I just so happened to enter it. Obviously.

Turns out I am sometimes lucky and win things. So we set a date to claim my free mini session for Nov 1.

I was DETERMINED to not be stressed. I picked out our outfits WEEKS in advance (two weeks…). I did trial runs on my hair and makeup. I made ALL OF THE PROMISES of fun rewards for the children if only they endured a tiny bit of the photoshoot.

I was ON THE BALL, y’all.

November 1st came around and was windy and cold and miserable. So we rescheduled to Monday.

No big deal! I am SO PREPARED for a stress free experience.

You see, I don’t know how YOUR family works but here is how the typical day of the family photo shoot goes down:

1- Wake up, first zit in a year smack dab in the middle of your face.

2- Get in shower. Get interrupted 230923 times by children. Come out of shower with half a leg shaved and ponder if you even washed the soap out of your hair all the way. Nope. Totally didn’t.

3- Feed children their 82nd snack because you have read all of the blogs with tips on how to ensure your kids take great pictures and the #1 rule is to make sure the children are not hungry. A hangry child makes for bad photos. Common sense, right?!

4- Blow dry hair. For two hours because your children keep interrupting. When it is finally dry you look like:

FullSizeRender 3Oh yes. You are so welcome. #curlyhairproblems

5- Start makeup while your curling iron and straightener heat up.

6- Water children.

7- Go to use the irons on hair and realize you didn’t turn them on.

8- Put on a movie for the children. Realize one child has pooped her pants. Again.

9- End up taking a sink bath to try and wash all the poo you ended up getting on you from a child who SHOULD BE GOING IN THE TOILET.

10- Start curling hair. Pray you don’t burn your hair off because you are so distracted by children.

11- Ignore all the crazy sounds you hear from the rest of the house. It’ll clean up easily later, right?!

12- Take too long on hair. Realize you are running short on time.

13- Do  rush job on makeup. Sneeze immediately after putting mascara on and curse the day you were born.

14- Go into panic mode trying to get yourself and your children dressed.

15- Threaten children to the edge of their lives about NOT getting anything on their clothes.

16- Curse your husband for taking 2 seconds getting only himself ready. How is that even fair?!

17- Get into an epic fight with husband because he says the words YOU SHALL NEVER SAY TO YOUR WIFE, “Babe. Just chill out.”

18- Get to the location and contemplate abandoning the mission and going to the hospital instead to make sure you aren’t having a heart attack. Realize that you’re having a panic attack instead and wish you had an RX for some sort of happy pill.

19- Before getting out of the car declare that IF YOU DO NOT OBEY AND SMILE FOR THE CAMERA YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY FUN FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES. Tell husband to get it together or else he might as well not come home tonight. Ignore the fact that you know you are being a bit dramatic seeing as even on the worst marriage days we have never slept separately because we are mad.

20- Get out of the car and walk towards photographer looking like “OH HI, SO NICE TO MEET YOU, AREN’T WE PRECIOUS?!” :

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On this particular day, Ryder was in rare form.

Meaning she acted like a devil child.

The photographer would pose the girls and just when she would say, “okay, smile!”, Ryder would pinch the crap out of Rory just to make her cry.

Then she told the photographer “NO WAY”, when she asked her to stand in a specific spot.

I was so completely mortified I couldn’t even handle myself. I most definitely do not have perfect children but they have never acted like they did yesterday. That poor woman is probably praying we don’t ever ask her to take our pictures again.

I may or may not have cried all the way home.

There are two times in life where I feel murderous towards my family: getting ready for church on Sundays and FAMILY PICTURE DAY.

Please tell me this isn’t just my family…. seriously…. please tell me you are a psychotic control freak mother who NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY TO NOT BE STRESSED you end up wanting to cut someone you love.

I can assure you that the children look like this in every picture:

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Delightful faces, no?

The good news about all of this is that it was the absolute perfect way to get over any anxiety or sadness about the girls leaving on their very first trip without us. Andy’s parents took them to Gatlinburg for a few days. They are going to have the time of their lives.

And tomorrow I am leaving for NYC with four girlfriends from high school! I can’t even believe the trip is finally here! We are all just so ready to spend a few days away from our kids and responsibilities. I’m most excited about eating without having to share or telling anyone to take a bite and SLEEP.

this is what we call a success

Right after we moved here I was in this state of bliss that almost scared me because it had been a LONG DANG TIME since we had no catastrophes or crisis situations.

We were living a dream for a good two months of calm.

Well.

CALM IS OVER.

Now, nothing “huge” (like a child who needs OHS) is happening but A WHOLE STINKIN’ LOT has gone down in the last few weeks.

Andy’s truck has been out of commission for 2 weeks.

Both dogs are having issues.

And then… bless it.

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Rory was at AWANA and Andy and I were heading back to pick them up when we got the call.

“Hey, Tiffany!? Are y’all near the church? Oh good! Well. Rory has had an accident and has a cut and is here at the front desk with me. Don’t panic, it is going to be fine, but we just want you to be prepared.”

When I get there she is sitting in the children director’s lap all snuggled up with ice on her face. I knew by the director’s face that a trip to some sort of medical place would be happening. (I think she was seriously relieved that I am not a panicky person.)

I didn’t get a pic of it because it wasn’t open for long before we did a temp bandage to close it up, but it was a WIDE OPEN gap in her cheek.

She was playing at church when her and another little boy ran right into each other. It’s crazy to me how his head hit her just the right way to cause some serious damage.

Since it was Sunday, all the urgent care places were closed. I knew that because it was her face I was going to try my hardest to just get it glued to avoid more scarring/track marks.

I called my friend Amber and she directed me to PM Pediatrics in Chattanooga. It was a long night but the nurses and practitioners did a wonderful job with Rory.

She was SO BRAVE and did such a good job with everything. I know it had to of been scary for her. Here she is all bandaged up- of course we have family pictures this weekend, isn’t that perfect? She is gonna be rocking a tutu with her bandage and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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I feel I need to update you on the potty training front too.

Ryder has been in only panties for a week now. She is going without even being reminded to go.

But. We still are having poopy-pants because she just cannot get that part down.

But today!

Today was a success.

Or at least this is what I call a success:

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I went into the bathroom and found this. When I asked Ryder about it she was all, “YAYYYYY I WENT POOP IN THE BATHROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I mean. At least it wasn’t in her pants.

You know you’re potty training when you think crap in the floor is a win.

 

I haven’t stopped laughing all day.

I also have sent this to everyone I know.

Because I feel everyone needs a picture of poop in their life.

Sigh.

I’ve become one of THOSE moms. You know the ones. The ones who take pictures of poop in the baby potty and proclaims how proud they are of their kid all over alllllll the social media.

Except my kid doesn’t quite get it in the desired location.

Whatever. A success is a success, amiright?

Happy Tootie Tuesday!

(har har har)

Like. For real.

This morning Rory reached the height of her disdain for me so far in her life because I dropped her off at school in a hoodie and a baseball hat.

Rory: Mom can you just open the door and let me go in?

Me: No, why?

Rory: Well. Look at you. Like. For real.

Me: Rory, if you would sleep in your own bed all night and stop waking me up then maybe I would get up earlier and look better. (In my mind I finished this off with a big “HA GOTCHA SUCKA”.)

Rory rolls her eyes and walks inside. She then tells a teacher, “I’m sorry about my mom.”

BLESS HER DANG HEART. Maybe now she will learn her lesson about keeping me up all night.

Yeah right.

The actual deal is that Andy’s truck has been in the shop since this weekend and we have no idea when it will be fixed. So we are a one car family, getting up and ready at the crack of dawn to drop Andy off at work, taking Rory to school, coming home for a few hours to potty train some more, go get Rory, come home for rest time, then back to get Andy.

MERCY.

So excuse me Rory for not looking my best ONE morning.

It is like having a nonstop fashion police episode every day. Featuring myself.

This afternoon we took a walk around our complex to get some fresh air and I had to have a little discussion in front of some other people about obedience.

Rory: We all have to obey you, huh Mom? Even daddy does. He needs to obey you better too.

Me: Well, no, we all need to obey daddy and especially God and God says to ‘obey your parents for this is right’.

Rory: Well. You freak out on daddy sometimes. Like. For real. You FREAK OUT.

You can imagine all the people looking at me like:

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What in the heck Rory?! WHAT IN THE HECK?! I birthed you. And now you’re gonna call me out ‘LIKE FOR REAL’ twice in one day?!

I mean. LIKE FOR REAL.

For the record, who DOESN’T freak out on their husbands sometimes.

Secondly, SHE MAKES ME SOUND LIKE I DO THIS ALL THE TIME when I can assure you I DO NOT. Especially not in front of them.

Lastly, WHERE DID SHE LEARN THE WORD FREAK?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know my language is not stellar all the time but I can assure you I am very careful around my children.

Like. For real.

Basically I am having anxiety and confidence issues thanks to my 4 year old who like, for real, wants me to dress better and not freak out on her daddy.

I’ve gotta up my game.

Or something.

I don’t even know.

Like. For real.

 

Can we also discuss Chloe for a minute? Because she is genius with her judgmental look that applies to all situations. Anytime a friend texts me something weird I’m all :

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It is fantastic.

Oh shoot, I have to go. Rory is looking at me with her judge-y look so I guess I should take this hoodie off.

hush. don’t scare it away.

Yesterday I took Rory to school as per usual and got home with Ryder. She was in her room playing like she loves to do (because she gets to play ALONE in her imaginary dream world) and I was sitting on the couch watching my usual Gilmore Girls because I CANNOT QUIT.

All of a sudden I hear the pitter patter of feet on the floor. AND THEN A FLUSH.

I sat here in a state of disbelief and WHAT THE HECK DID SHE JUST FLUSH?

I casually walk by and realize she doesn’t have pants on. The following conversation happens:

Me *all cazh/cas* : Whatcha doin’? Did I hear the toilet flush?
Ryder: Yeah. I went potty.
Me: Ohhh ok. Well make sure you —–
Ryder (interrupts): MOM. I will potty in the potty, k? I know how do it. I am a big girl, ‘member?

So for the rest of the day I was literally paralyzed on the couch waiting, listening to what she was doing.

Every so often I would hear that beautiful sound of tiny feet on the bathroom floor and then the sound of GLORY when the toilet would flush.

All.By.Herself.

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She wouldn’t let me talk to her about it or anything. Just GAH MOM I GOT THIS.

I was literally telling myself every time I thought about going to check on her, ‘HUSH GIRL, DON’T SCARE IT AWAY.”

Like I literally said that out loud.

And let me tell y’all something.

I refuse to go back to diapers now.

I see the light.

I will fight until the end.

Or at least I will ignore it until the end and just pray she stays on this path.

She randomly came into the room and said, “I am DONE with diapers.”

So clearly ignoring and pretending I don’t know what is happening is working out really well for me.

I AM THE MASTER POTTY TRAINER.

My book will be out soon.

Titled:

Hush, girl. Don’t scare it away.
From potty training pro, Tifani Harris

Alternate title: How Ignoring My Children For Gilmore Girls on Netflix Helped Me Potty Train

It is sure to be a best seller.

 

*cazh or cas? Obvi short for casual.

but my mouth was open!

Well. I’ve been away.

Har har har.

I don’t even know what is wrong with me.

I literally called Andy this morning and told him I would love to go in a room and just yell for about an hour without stopping and maybe I would feel better.

So basically if any of you are a psychiatrist maybe you should come evaluate me.

Life has just been so crazy the past few weeks.

Actually, let me just say this to The Nester.

Surely if you would have known ahead of time that every season of Gilmore Girls was coming out on Netflix on Oct 1st you would’ve changed this challenge to another month. ???

I’ve watched the show, oh, 230923 times probably.

But never on Netflix which is THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE because you can watch it nonstop without having to pause for commercials or change the DVDs out.

Because let’s face it, nothing is worse than having to get up off the couch to change a DVD. It is a total buzz kill.

So basically my life has been taken over by Lorelei and Rory and Luke and Richard and Emily.

Why does this show engross you so much? I mean I literally cannot stop watching this show even though I’ve seen every single episode several times.

The other thing taking over my heart and mind is Mississippi State Football.

Y’all.

I cannot stop smiling, crying, yelling, weeping, hollering, etc over this football season. We fans have waited a long, hard time for this.

This article about my dawgs is a must read- it literally gave me chills and tears.

It also made me immediately go online and find tickets for a game for us to attend this year. I’ll keep you posted on that. You see, I realized that this is the very first season EVER that we haven’t planned to go to a ball game and WE ARE NUMBER ONE IN THE NATION right now and I cannot believe this year we would miss out on seeing our team play. NOPE not happening.

And then there was the epic group message chat of Saturday night.

We were all giddy (we as in Emily and I) over the MS State win and we were just ON A ROLL WITH THE HILARIOUSNESS.

Honestly, we were just having your typical group chat convos when all of a sudden Emily made all of our lives with the following conversation.

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Y’all. I don’t even know how Andy didn’t wake up because he was passed out beside me in the bed when all this was going down. And I literally had the entire bed shaking from laughing. It was amazing.

And Jinny wins the internet for her amazing Meme (or Mèmè as I like to say…) skillz.

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Bless Alexis’ heart she woke up to 468 text messages the next morning. HA.

Honestly I don’t even know how I’m gonna make it through NYC without peeing my pants the entire time. And yet I cannot wait.

The other thing that is getting us all kinds of tickled is the Great Halloween Costume Debate of 2014.

I have a strong desire to have coordinating costumes for the girls. STRONG DESIRE.

And I’m anti-Anna and Elsa because I know every child on earth will be those two.

Rory has been saying she wants to be Sheriff Callie so we have been trying to get Ryder to be the skunk that is on the show.

Apparently Ryder is very sensitive towards other people because she is very afraid that “people be angry I fink” because “people don’t like stinky things”.

When Rory was asked what she wanted to be for Halloween she perked up and said:

“I know! I will be the d*mn cat and Ryder you can be the d*mn dog!”

I would just like to point out that this one thing is actually all Andy’s fault.

Okay, this was a long enough break from Gilmore Girls. I’m knee deep in wanting Jess and Rory to get married…. STILL.

(Side note: Tomorrow is Ryder’s annual cardiologist appointment and we have a few concerns so we would once again appreciate all the prayers we can get for our sweet girl and her beautiful heart.)

Taking care of yourself as a SAHM (some tips). #write31days

I was a stay-at-home mom for 4 years before getting a job last year. I lived in unwashed/undone hair, little to no makeup, and yoga pants on a good day. Most days I stayed in my pajamas stained with crap (literally).

When I got a job I had an excuse to dress nice and put a good face on and dang did I feel good about myself.

Not in a cocky way, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel that good about myself but it just felt so good to get into some clean, fresh clothes and have my hair and makeup done every single day. I felt more alive and felt good in my own skin for the first time in a lot of years.

I say all that to lead to now where I’m a SAHM again.

I decided the very first day of my new but old role that I was going to make sure to get up and get dressed and ready.

I realize it very much so sounds counter productive since, as I’ve said, you literally get crap on you every day.

But you know what? I promise if you decide to, at the very least, wake up, wash your face, and put on some mascara you will feel a million times better. 

So I thought today I would give you a list of some EASY things to put on and still be casual and comfy around the house BUT will make you feel like more than a kleenex to your kids’ snot.

First lets discuss makeup. I find that if I even out my skin with a very light foundation and finish it off with blush and mascara at the least I feel SO MUCH BETTER ALL DAY LONG.

1- My favorite mascara. I have tried every mascara under the sun because I was blessed with great eyelashes but I am always trying to make them even bigger, better, and more luxurious. CoverGirl LashBlast is the best mascara ever and ever and amen. 

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2- I wore Bare Minerals powder foundation for about 10 years and it just wasn’t my favorite anymore for some reason. So then I tried Tarte 12 Hour Amazonian Clay Foundation and absolutely loved it while I worked. But now that I’m at home it was much too thick of a foundation for staying at home.

I tried Bare Minerals bareSkin foundation and it took me a few days and youtube tutorials to realize I was using way too much, but as soon as I did it the right way I fell madly, deeply in love. It is so lightweight and EASY. Make sure you invest in the brush with it because it makes all the difference to me.

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3- Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush. Y’ALL GO GET THIS IMMEDIATELY. It is a little more pricey at $26 but I have had mine that I use every single day for 6 months and it still looks almost untouched. For real. It lasts forever and is the most beautiful blush on earth. Bonus, it actually does last 12 hours. So you can add some color to your cheeks in the morning to look alive and not think twice the entire day if your blush is looking weird and splotchy.

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Clothes- now I know that there is nothing harder than putting on something uncomfortable and trying to clean and play in the floor with your kids. More importantly, all of my friends have real bodies and even the skinniest of friends have different bodies after baby. Especially right after. So here are some options I’m loving right now.

1- LEGGINGS and dresses. I’m not a leggings as pants girl, but I love a good pair of leggings with a very comfy and forgiving dress. I literally live in this sort of outfit now and I never in a million years thought I would. Also, I never iron so something like this would be perfect for me. ha!

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2- Jeggings. I discovered jeggings last year and feel like I can never go back. They are so comfy and stretchy. I can get on the floor with the girls like no big deal in these bad boys.

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I recently bought these at Faded Glory Jeggings at Walmart and don’t ever want to take them off. And they are $13. !!!! (Also they don’t have a zipper- they just slip on but are cute- how could that possibly be?! I’m pretty sure these are the new mom jean. HA.)

3- Flowy tops. Jennifer Garner addressed her “baby bump” this week making her my new best friend even if she never knows it. So should I say more about why I love a flowy top?

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I also love this outfit and the outfits recreated in the source! Maybe I need to start recreating some pinterest outfits!

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So mommas, let me say something loud and clear- IF I CAN DO THIS AND CHALLENGE MYSELF TO GET READY EVERY DAY SO CAN YOU. I feel better than ever and am enjoying being a SAHM again and I know a big part of it is because I’m getting ready and that means I’m taking care of myself first thing in the morning to ensure I feel my best.

And then guess what happens? I treat my whole family better and don’t feel like I’m the least important thing.

It is easy to stay in our pajamas all day and not take care of ourselves. That also means it is easier for us to dip into a vicious “no one cares about me” or “I will always come last” cycle. How do I know? I LIVED IN THAT CYCLE FOR YEARS.

But now I am in control of it thanks to taking care of myself a little every single day, even if that means just mascara. Do you hear me, moms? JUST MASCARA can make all the difference in the world.

Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your family.

So tell me- what do YOU do to make sure you are taking care of yourself every day?

——–

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say and go (because I’m a failure). #write31days

My parents are currently here visiting and I’m treasuring every second with them.

Therefore, I am not writing so much.

Here is what I will say, my girls were so surprised when my parents showed up I thought Ryder was for sure going to faint or sob and Rory was bouncing off the walls in delight. Ryder said, “I didn’t think you could ever make it here.” which caused ALL OF THE TEARS because, PRECIOUS.

1524604_10101350346501846_7983524833416469943_nYesterday we drove around town and I showed them the little I know about Cleveland and then we ate at the most delicious Greek and Italian restaurant. Their pizza was AMAZING and I’ve now marked “favorite place to get pizza” off my list here in town. We went for some fro-yo afterwards and Ryder learned a lesson in stealing.

I don’t think anyone was as shocked as my parents to see the girls sleep all night and sleep IN (Rory 7:30, Ryder after 8).

Today we are going to go to Rock City and the girls cannot wait to take Mimi and Papa there.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to shed some serious tears tomorrow when my parents leave- I don’t think that ever gets easier. I mean, 10 years later and I still become a mess when they leave.

So you can mark me down as a failure for not actually writing every.single.day. but I’ll be too busy enjoying life and my family to care. HA.