winter wardrobe staples, deal of the day sites, and my favorite coffee recipe

Happy Friday to all of you!

WE MADE IT! The weekend is among us!

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That ecard makes me laugh every single time.

Luckily, weekends are truly a break for me. (shameless brag approaching…) Andy really is absolutely amazing at helping me on the weekends with the girls. Sunday I always take a nap which is THE MOST ROMANTIC THING HE DOES FOR ME (and I mean that in a good way) and he’s good about tag teaming on the weekends. I will say that this comes with time too because when the girls were smaller and more needy it was much harder for him to deal but now that they are older he is quick to give me a break. So hold out hope moms of infants, it gets better!

I’ve been thinking lately about my wardrobe and beginning to clean out the things I just don’t wear and keep holding onto for some reason. I thought I would share some of my staples right now with you.

1) I bought this anorak before I went to NYC and it has been worn more than any other coat/jacket this winter so far. We haven’t had many insanely cold days so I have been layering and wearing this lightweight jacket more than anything else. It looks SO GOOD on and is so comfy and hangs exactly right. Added bonus- it is long in the back and covers the butt. It is currently on clearance so grab this deal if you need an anorak/rain jacket/light jacket. (side note, i hate this pic of the jacket bc who really ties the ties!? so below is a picture of me wearing it!)

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2. I went a little boot crazy this year and here are the three I live in. They are all so so so comfortable and I am so glad I found these. I have wide calves so it is always a struggle but thank God for places selling wide calf boots!

Avenue Sochi Suede Boot in grey

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Strappy Riding Boot in Brown from Torrid

****FAVORITE SHOE OF LIFE****

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Saldana by BareTraps

(I got mine at DSW but these are on sale!)

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3. The sweater coat. I’ve looked for the past year for the PERFECT sweater coat but could never find one. Then I got on HauteLook the other day and I SAW IT AND FELL IN LOVE. But I was still nervous about the fit. So when it came in and fit PERFECTLY I almost fainted. It is the absolute most gorgeous and soft and comfy sweater coat ever ever ever and amen. I shall never take it off. Unfortunately I just realized this is sold out, but just google tribal sweater coat to find something similar!

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Okay, speaking of HauteLook – I am in love. They are a deal of the day type sight (kind of like zulily but more “high end” but equally good deals. ALSO MIGHT I ADD MUCH BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE AND YOU CAN RETURN EVERYTHING. I won’t ever order anything from zulily again because their sizes are always off and you can’t return anything.)

The best part is they have beauty deals too! Great brands for up to 80% off. Amazing! I am seriously impressed with this site and would suggest it to anyone. They messed up my order because the color of the sweater coat I order ended up being sold out and so they sent me a really nice email explaining that they failed and they were sending another color but if I didn’t like it I could send it back for free and get my money back. I was impressed with their initiative and the way they contacted me. PS- I ended up loving the color!

Now I will leave you with a recipe for my favorite treat these days. I was missing Texas and decided to make my favorite drink from Paris Coffee – the Mexican Mocha.

Tiffany’s Version of MEXICAN MOCHA

  1. Put one packet (or two scoops) of hot chocolate in the bottom of your mug.
  2. Add one packet of truvia or whatever sweetener you would like.
  3. Pour in desired amount of coffee on top of hot chocolate. Stir.
  4. Add a splash of milk
  5. DRINK THE HEAVEN. Pretend you are with your best friends in coffee (yes that is a thing)- Caroline and Cassidy. Send them a text telling them how much you miss drinking coffee with them.

 

HAPPY FRIDAY! What items are you loving in your wardrobe these days? What is your favorite deal-of-the-day website? MOST IMPORTANTLY, what is your favorite coffee/tea treat?!

Marriage Monday: The Over Used Recipe Edition

When Andy and I got married we were young and broke. Most of our meals were mac and cheese, grilled cheese, 99 cent tacos at taco bells, dollar hamburgers at McD. Basically, we were real healthy.

Also, I wasn’t a great cook. I burned frozen meals. It was a bit ridiculous.

But when I was feeling especially fancy I would make one recipe.

Taco Soup

Nothing quite says romance like a bowl of canned beans, amiright?

(Side Note: We also had some awesome friends who invited us to dinner at least once a week- shout out to Joel and Emily who kept us out of debt in college by feeding us! haha! But seriously…)

No but for real. I made Taco Soup every two-three weeks. The problem with TS (taco soup- not to be confused with TS/Taylor Swift) is that when you make it you have to eat on it FOREVER. I had no idea what freezing meals was about back then. So I would make it on, let’s say, a Monday. We would eat it for every meal until the next Monday and still throw some out because we were so sick of it.

It was cheap and easy and I could make it without worrying that I would mess it up because IT IS PRETTY MUCH IMPOSSIBLE TO MESS UP TACO SOUP.

We ate that soup so much that after we graduated from college we didn’t have it FOR YEARS. Seriously. Years. We couldn’t even think about that dang soup without feeling bloated and nauseous.

About 3 years ago I tried a new, but oh-so-similar, recipe (Chicken Tortilla Soup) and we were able to eat it and enjoy it again. I still don’t make any version of this soup much anymore because we can’t handle it but it is still one of those meals that makes me nostalgic about our first years of marriage.

We felt so grown up making this soup, which sounds silly but we were 20 year olds, and it fed us for days and very cheaply.

This morning I decided to pop the ingredients in the crockpot for dinner tonight and couldn’t help but smile thinking of those old days.

The days that were very hard, but very care free at the same time. No kids, so many plans and dreams for our life together, just two kids eating cheap soup feeling like we were so grown up.

It made me think of all the love, fights, hope, disappointment, dreams, forgiveness, and fun we have had since the very beginning of our marriage and, thankfully, continue to have now.

There is always going to be change, there is always going to be disappointment. But if you are willing to fight for it, forgive, and have hope, there will always be love.

And there will always be one over-used recipe in any marriage. Ours is Taco Soup.

Taco Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb Ground Beef
  • 1 packet Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning
  • 2 cans Cream Corn
  • 2 Cans Whole Kernel Corn
  • 2 Cans Ranch Style Beans
  • 2 Cans Black Beans
  • 1 Can Rotel
  1. Brown ground beef in a pan, drain.
  2. In a large pot, add every can UNDRAINED.
  3. Add ground beef.
  4. Add Ranch and Taco Packets.
  5. Stir well.
  6. Cook on medium/high heat until bowling.
  7. Reduce heat, cover. Simmer for 15 minutes up to an hour. The longer it simmers the more flavorful.
  8. Serve with chips, sour cream, cilantro (which we could never afford), and shredded cheese. Or just eat plain. Whatever floats your budget or boat.
  9. ENJOY FOR DAYS. Or be smart and freeze for next time.

(If you want to do a Crock Pot – ground beef and then follow the steps of adding ingredients. Put on low heat for 6-10 hours. I didn’t have a crockpot because I couldn’t afford to buy one back then. ha)

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup (in the crockpot)

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 frozen chicken breast
  • 1 packet Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning
  • 2 cans Cream Corn
  • 2 Cans Whole Kernel Corn
  • 2 Cans Ranch Style Beans
  • 2 Cans Black Beans
  • 1 Can Rotel
  • 1-2 cups water (depending on the desired consistency
  1. Place frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot.
  2. Add water.
  3. Add all cans of corn, beans, and rotel to crockpot.
  4. Add Ranch and Taco Packets
  5. Stir.
  6. Set crockpot on low for 8-10 hours. (High 6 hours)
  7. Serve with chips, sour cream, cilantro (which we could never afford), and shredded cheese. Or just eat plain. Whatever floats your budget or boat.
  8. ENJOY FOR DAYS. Or be smart and freeze for next time.

 

Tell me what YOUR most loved/overused recipe is! I want to know!

Now. Enjoy a few pictures of Andy and I way back in college.

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And here’s a pic of us with our great friends Emily and Joel. I’m so thankful for your friendship and meals still to this day. Love y’all very much. (well. Joel only a little.)

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January Ipsy Glam Bag 2015

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Sorry for the technical difficulties in the video- hopefully my new camera will be coming in soon!
Join me on ipsy and subscribe to the Glam Bag! You get 4-5 beauty products every month delivered to your door, for just $10. Check it out here:
 http://www.ipsy.com/r/5dks?sid=ipsypoints&cid=email
January 2015 Ipsy Glam Bag
    • Elizabeth Mott All Over Shadow Brush $9.99
    • Hikari Cosmetics Mechanical Eye Liner $13
    • Juice Beauty STEM CELLULAR™ Moisturizer (sample) $65 !!!!!!
    • Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut Eye Shadow in Ethereal – couldn’t find the price, sorry!
    • Probelle Into The Blue Nail Lacquer $6

Hope you enjoyed this video! Please subscribe! Let me know if there are any tutorials you want to see!

apologies from the kindergarten fairy

Mornings are hard in the Harris house.

As you all know, I let Rory choose all her own clothes. 99% of the time it works out beautifully. I don’t care about the other 1%- she can just look crazy for a day.

One thing I’ve always been adamant about is that the girls wear tennis shoes to school. I think it is important because they can run and play better and I don’t have to worry about their feet hurting.

The problem is that Rory has now determined that she cannot walk in tennis shoes. Only cowgirl boots.

SHE SIMPLY CANNOT WALK WITH TENNIS SHOES, PEOPLE.

So every morning I wake up and this is how the next hour goes:

Rory (waking me up): MOOOOOOOOM WHERE IS MY PINK TUTU/PURPLE DRESS/WHATEVER SHE WANTS TO WEAR ???????????

Me (yawning): Hang on baby, I will be there in a second. Let me just wake up.

Rory: I NEEEEED IT NOWWWWWWW. *sob wail sob sob ALL THE SOBS*

It never fails. That is how I wake up every single morning. Lovely, yes?

Heaven forbid that whatever she had decided to wear before looking at her closet or drawers is dirty and in the washing machine.

HEAVEN. FORBID.

You will never hear the end of the sobs.

This morning was a battle. She woke up too early and got dressed and did her hair. I told her to put her tennis shoes on and THE WORLD ENDED.

It was rough.

So I did what any good, honest parent does…

I created the Kindergarten Fairy.

Yeah. You read that right.

In my little sleep, not quite woken up haze this morning I turned to Rory and said to her:

“Rory. You talk about kindergarten every single day. I know you absolutely cannot wait to go to Kindergarten. But let me tell you a little secret. There is a Kindergarten Fairy and she watches you to see if you are ready for kindergarten. If you pitch fits over things as silly as tennis shoes and if you don’t obey your mom and if you don’t treat everyone with kindness, she will know that you aren’t ready for kindergarten. Wouldn’t that be awful if she told the school you weren’t ready?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Her eyes were huge. She absorbed every word. She shut her mouth and wiped her tears.

I don’t know what came over me. Every single time she pitches these fits I calmly say to her, “Rory, you can cry all you want and be miserable. That is your choice. You get to choose if today will be a good or bad day. But I am your mother and what I say is final.”

I guess today I was tired and not prayed up. Therefore I lied to her and told her there was a Kindergarten Fairy.

And it worked.

GO FIGURE.

So, my apologies from the Kindergarten Fairy. I hope this is not a thing that trends and then suddenly becomes a THING where people outdo me with their fun ideas.

If you are one of THOSE MOMS who overdo it and are incredibly fun and creative, PRETEND YOU NEVER READ THIS. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT do the Kindergarten Fairy in your home if you are going to make fun surprises from her or make pixie dust or give toys to the kids.

THIS IS STRICTLY A TOOL TO MANIPULATE YOUR CHILD TO ACT THE RIGHT WAY.

If you make it into something magical, I will personally track you down and slash your tires.

Are we clear?!

In other news, Rory did her own hair today and I couldn’t be more impressed. How does she just know how to do these things?

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She may drive me to another level of crazy that I had to create a mythical creature (sounds better than a lie), but she’s still my most favorite almost-5-year-old fashionista.

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walmart, bowling, Golden Globes, and Monday mornings.

My favorite thing about my new town is the fact that I don’t have to go to Walmart if I don’t want to. BUT I will say we have a great Walmart here so its kind of a win-win. I don’t have to go, but if I do it isn’t too bad.

On Saturday Andy and I went to Walmart together because we had to get our oil changed. It went especially well and I couldn’t believe how great the kids did. The key is to get two buggies so they can’t touch each other. The other key to success is to let Andy do most of the grocery shopping with one child while I shop the beauty aisles with another. WINNING.

Then we went to the check out line. While waiting for Andy to meet me to check out, we had two different people talk to us.

The first one was a nice lady who leaned in close and said, “Hiiii sweet girl! You are just too cute!” Annnd apparently she spit when she talked because Ryder leans away from her and gives her THAT look and says, “Why you spit in my mouph?!”  I COULD HAVE CRAWLED IN A HOLE AND DIED.

The second person was a little old lady. She had a walker and couldn’t have been less than 92 years old. I’m not joking at all on this. She stopped to talk and held her little hand out. Ryder says to her, “wait, I’m not a toucher.” The lady laughed. Then she told her, “I not talk to strangers.” After telling her it was okay since I was there she said, “So you a grandma stranger? Why you walking with that? You a old grandma today?”

The child has NO FILTER. None. Luckily old Grandma Stranger had a great sense of humor and thought she was cute.

After our Walmart trip we went bowling with the Dixon’s. We had the best time. I was a little worried because y’all know how Andy is when he’s bowling… but there were no issues. haha! Rory had me in tears from laughing because she was so prissy when bowling. I got video so you can see it. It was so hilarious. She would have bowled all night too. I couldn’t believe her stamina. Oh. Who am I kidding. Rory is the queen of stamina.

Also, Amber and Bill have the sweetest baby ever, Lucas, and my girls are madly in love with him. They cannot get enough. And now they pray every single night for a baby in their family. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO TO GET THEM TO STOP. hahaha

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Yesterday I cleaned out our room and closet. I put up 7 loads of laundry I had avoided putting up all week last week. It felt so dang good to have a fully cleaned and organized room. I’m hoping to keep it that way. I love escaping to our bedroom during rest time and at night but it is hard to escape if we have it as the catch-all.

Then I watched the Golden Globes. I will say this: I have loved the GG for so long and it has become one of my favorite award shows because it is so much more casual and usually HILARIOUS. But this year I basically just felt “eh” about the whole thing. I think the joking about North Korea is getting old. Margaret Cho got on my nerves being on there so much. I just think Tina and Amy are funnier than that and that the whole thing was a miss on that part. I did LOVE George Clooney’s speech. I mean, Andy has never used “alchemy” when talking about me which I feel is a disgrace.

I will say I absolutely loved all of the silver dresses last night. Is it just me or are they totally inspired by the late 90s/early 2000s. Except much more chic and much less punk. My favorite in silver were Julianne Moore, Salma Hayek, Ellie Kemper, and Reese Witherspoon.

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Here is the vlog I did over the weekend, enjoy! (Side note: I need to figure out how to be able to change the screen on the videos because this is not a pretty look.)

the vacation(s) recap post.

There are a few things you should know.

1) IT IS FREAKING COLD. I just want y’all to know this because I know no one on earth is talking about it. I feel I should break the silence.

2) I have the worst case of vacation hangovers ever in the history of ever.

No but seriously. This morning Rory asked me if I would ever wear nice clothes again. Bless her heart.

But here’s the deal. Its freaking cold and I don’t want to get out of sweats because I can’t get over my tired from vacation.

The funny thing about it is that we got a decent amount of sleep and I even slept in a few days at the end of vacation. Shocking, right? Andy and I had a system though and it worked out well for both of us.

Let’s rewind here and do a little recap.

After a few glorious days at home over Christmas, we loaded up and headed for the beach. One of my best friends, Misty, and her husband recently got a beach house in Gulf Shores and graciously invited us and three other families to join us.

I’m going to be real honest, I was a bit worried about the trip. Five families (one I had never met before) in one house. 12 kids under the same roof. That sounds like INSANITY, doesn’t it people?!

Let me tell you something.

It was a stinkin’ blast. Those kids played SO WELL together. I mean, we barely broke up a single “fight”. The house was big enough for everyone to sleep and the living space is so well laid out that we didn’t feel on top of each other AT ALL. In fact, when we were inside, we barely saw the kids. They went off and did their own thing in the loft areas.

It was pretty much the best vacation of my life. I know that is a strong statement, but seriously. Cassidy, Kayla, and Misty are seriously my sister wives. They are the kind of friends you wait your whole life hoping you get lucky enough to have. They know my worst and, hopefully, my best and they still love me. Well. They better still love me. To get to spend a week with them and their husbands who I love too (don’t tell them though) was a dream come true. You know it is so rare to find friends that you honest to goodness love their spouses just as much. I have had plenty of friends that their spouses weren’t my favorite or that Andy would never be friends with. Basically what I am saying is, I won the stinkin’ lottery with these friends. I won’t ever get over being thankful for them. Then we threw another couple that I had never met before but instantly fell in love with too and it was just the best week of life.

I mean I wish I could tell you we did something insanely excited at the beach but…. actually no. I don’t wish that. Because I stayed in my pjs and *GASP* didn’t wear hardly any makeup for the entire vacation and OH MY GOSH IT WAS AMAZING. We sat out on the porch in our pajamas and watched the kids play in the sand. The craziest thing we did was play Heads Up after the kids were in bed and I may or may not have almost peed my pants from laughing. I also may or may not have pulled a muscle demonstrating break dancing. It was pretty epic.

I made a little video to put a bunch of pics and little clips in one place- here it is:

It was the saddest day ever having to leave. I held it together until I got in the car and then I cried like the baby I am when it comes to leaving my besties. It is just so hard because there is never any indication when I will see them next and it just makes me so sad. Andy and I seriously say all the time that if Texas would’ve been 4 hours closer to home we wouldn’t have ever moved. He loved his job there and I loved every single thing about Texas EXCEPT that it was just so far away from all our family. I am constantly trying to convince the girls they need to move closer to ME. ha!

From GS we headed to Gatlinburg to spend a few days with Andy’s family. It was a nice trip and we had a lot of fun. The girls obviously loved being spoiled by his family and all the attention of the aunts and uncles and grandparents. We played a ton of putt putt (and learned that Ryder is a putt-putt prodigy with EIGHT total hole-in-ones over three games) and walked about a hundred miles shopping while we were there. Rory was in heaven with all the signs of “Dolly Partner”. I think for her birthday we will have a Dolly Parton party. Her life would be made. Here are a few fun pictures from the trip:

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Andy and I had a plan that while in GS I would take care of the kids more and let him relax more and in Gatlinburg he would let me sleep in and relax more. It was the perfect plan and we both felt like we had the most relaxing two vacations in history. Teamwork at its best, people.

Let me tell you something else about the past few weeks.

Andy had off 13 total days. Since we have been married that has never happened, ever. I’m going to be brutally honest here…. I was worried about it. I thought “oh dear lord we are gonna be so sick of each other on day 3″.

But let me tell you what actually happened. Instead of getting tired of each other, we tag teamed SO well and had the most fantastic 13 days of our marriage probably. I’m not even kidding y’all about this. You know I wouldn’t lie to you. If it was awful I would tell you.

The first five days were spent at home and these were the days I was worried about the most. I am so used to be home alone that it is hard for me to break our routine and have someone else in the mix with me and the girls for so long. Andy stepped up to the plate though and helped me. We BOTH relaxed and took turns handling things with the kids. I was almost sad to leave and go on vacation because we were having such a great time together and with the girls. Then we headed on two different vacations and tagged teamed again and BAM best 13 days in history. Also, there isn’t much better for marriage than long car rides to get to talk and laugh together.

The day he went back to work I literally cried. (Shocker. I mean I never cry or anything.)

He got home from work that first day and said, “I missed you today!” as soon as he walked in the door and I cried again. Because Andy is not a talker (understatement) and is not mister “let me express my emotions ever”, so when he walked in and immediately said that it just melted my little heart more than anything he’s ever said. I had missed him all stinkin’ day and was so glad to be missed as well. I’ve missed him every single day this week and am longing for the weekend.

And now it is horribly cold and I feel bad even complaining because I have friends in NEGATIVE degree weather. But it makes for a hard time doing ANYTHING other than hunkering down under some covers and watching TV. The problem with that is the fact that I have children who have the nerve to want me to feed them and play with them and mother them. The little savages.

Hope y’all had a great holiday and are staying warm. Andy is working 90% of his days outside right now and I feel insanely sorry for him and anyone else out in the cold all day. I feel a pot of taco soup coming on, what about y’all?!

Happy Thursday!

 

Favorite Products 2014

Well I recorded another vlog and I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to post it. My camera messed up and I took it back since I had just gotten it. So for this video I recorded on an old video camera we got awhile ago. It obviously isn’t that great of quality so I just didn’t know whether to post it. I ended up posting it but it is definitely not a “proud vlog moment” its more of a “I freaking filmed and edited this forever and I’m so not gonna trash it”.

Obviously this is my favorite beauty products of this year. I only mentioned the things I “can’t live without” but there are so many more products I wanted to mention!

Hope you enjoy it, I promise the next one will be better! I’m on the hunt for a good camera to film with!

 

2014 Beauty Favorites: Things Mentioned

Hair:
Aussie Three Minute Miracle Conditioner Treatment
Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe
Skincare:
Clarisonic Mia2
First Aid Beauty Face Polish and Moisturizer
Philosophy Purity
100% Tea Tree Oil – suggested by my friend Emily!
Nails:
Pacifica 7 Free Nail Polish in Red Red Wine
Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Up the Ante
Makeup:
Dr Brandt Pores No More Pore Refining Primer
BareMinerals BareSkin Foundation
Maybelline 24 Hour Metal Tattoo
Naked2 Basics
CoverGirl Lash Blast Mascara (NOT WATERPROOF)
Benefit They’re Real Mascara
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush
Tarte 12 Hr Amazonian Clay Blush (MY LOVE LANGUAGE)
Revlon Colorburst Crayons, Lipsticks
Maybelline Color Elixir LipGloss

Christmas Letter 2014

As cliche as it might sound, I honestly cannot believe the year 2014 is almost over.

This year has been such a whirlwind, wonderful year.

We started out the year in Savannah, enjoying being so close to family and enjoying our life there. I absolutely loved my job and Andy was working hard at his. He had a few calls about other jobs but quickly turned them down because we loved our house and our proximity to grandparents and other family. Then one day he gets a call and the job seemed way too good to be true. One month later from the initial call Andy started his new job. What a whirlwind! We have so loved Cleveland and East Tennessee. I tell Andy almost daily I don’t know if I will ever get used to living somewhere so beautiful.

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Andy- What a year he has had, y’all. I couldn’t be more proud of him. This year has been the biggest year of growth for him in his career and he has worked so hard. The promotion he got was something we weren’t expecting so early in his career but he deserves it more than anyone I know. As we all know, Andy’s not much of a talker, but as far as I know he absolutely loves his job. I know his boss is very good to him and I know that he seems a million times happier. His job is always going to be stressful and crazy busy, but it isn’t weighing him down at all times like it was before. No one is more thankful than I am for that!

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Rory- I think out of all of us, Rory has had the most growth this year. She struggled through school last year and lost a lot of confidence in herself in the process. The move was hard on her, she remembers every.single.thing. so she had a hard time missing her friends and grandparents. She also is very attached to “things” and she most definitely struggled with missing her “yellow house”. It was a very big adjustment for her. About a week after we moved here, I started Rory in a PreK program that is affiliated with a church. We hadn’t had the best experience with that in the past, but I prayed long and hard over where to send her and kept coming back to this particular school. God directed us there because, y’all, that girl has flourished. Rory’s confidence is back and soaring. She has learned so much it is actually shocking to me. Tears are falling as I’m writing this just thinking about how far my precious girl has come from last year. Gone is the girl who comes home from school saying, “but I just want to be a good girl”. Thank you, Jesus, for answering our prayers for a wonderful teacher and school. Rory is such a strong-willed, smart girl and I know teachers make all the difference with her. I will be praying non-stop for her teacher selection each and every year so she can continue to flourish like she has this year. As you know, her fashion sense has flourished as well. She absolutely cracks me up with her need to have the right outfit and how much she thinks it out. Nothing about the process is vain, its just a very well planned and thought out process for her (as is everything in her life). She is so her father’s daughter because she has that engineer brain, but even fashion is math and a project to her. She gets a measuring tape and measures her self and then her clothes to see which thing would fit the best. I mean COME ON. No one taught her to do this, she just found a sewing measuring tape and has been doing it ever since. My heart swells with love and pride for my sweet Rory Eve. I’m so glad this has been a year of rescue for her. And I truly mean that.

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Ryder- Ryder is my free-spirit. I can’t tell you how many times a day Andy and I will say, “oh she’s in Ryder world.” It is so funny to watch her. Every day we drop Rory off at school and every day we get home and Ryder goes straight to her room. She LOVES being alone with all their toys. She plays alone all morning, even going so far as to say “mom get out I don’t need you!” after I check on her. I love to listen to her talking to herself or playing with Barbies and making them talk. I have never seen a child so imaginative, but apparently my sister, Telena, was that way too. Ryder hasn’t had as hard of a time with the move, but I think it IS because of her “Ryder world” and of course because she is younger. She is every bit of a threenager and we have certainly struggled with that, but because I just had a threenager in Rory and now see how precious Rory is at almost five, I feel like I can survive Ryder. It is challenging and we are looking into her possibly going to Rory’s school for a few days a week to have more structure. We shall see. I personally wouldn’t mind having some time to think and get things done without worrying what Ryder was going to get into that day. Ha! I can’t wait to see how Ryder continues to grow and learn new things every day.

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As for myself, I have had a wonderful year of growth as well. I feel like I started the year in a drought and am now coming out of that. I absolutely loved my job in Savannah and miss it all the time, but I have enjoyed this time at home with the girls. I’ve been trying to work on blogging more and have really gotten into loving makeup (which sounds juvenile) and the whole process of how it can make you feel like a whole new person. I’m really enjoying the apartment more than I thought I would, which goes to show that “attitude is everything”. It is cozy and I could definitely go for 2 bathrooms instead of one, but I do really love it. It is easier to maintain and I love the layout. You all know how much I love to make my home beautiful for my family and I think that even in the apartment I’ve done a good job at that. Since we finally sold our house in Texas, I do get excited about starting the process to find our first home here in Cleveland in the next few months. I’m hoping I can convince Andy that we need to go for a project house and have lots of remodeling and ripping down walls and making it into our own. I will say that ending this year knowing it is my last full year in my 20s has thrown me for a loop just a bit. I never thought I would be feeling this way, but I am a little sad. At the same time, I’m hoping my 30s are more settled and I feel that they will be. I hope that my 30s bring me finding the courage to finally go after my dreams of maybe writing that book I have always wanted to write. I’m hoping my 30s bring me friendships here that are mature and honest and real. I’m hoping they bring me more growth as a wife and a mom.

We have surely been blessed this year. I’m immensely grateful for the gifts God has given us this year. Big changes are always hard, but I feel like moving here rescued us in a lot of ways. We have all grown and changed in many ways. I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings us.

Thank you for being such a huge part of my year. I love every single one of you who reads the blog so much.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and I can’t wait to show pictures and video of our Christmas as well.

Tiffany

 

closure.

Two and a half years after moving, two separate moves, two realtors, and one person who screwed us out of thousands of dollars later… WE FINALLY SOLD OUR HOUSE IN TEXAS.

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I can’t even express to you what it feels like to have this weight lifted. It feels like approximately 117,000 lbs lighter. Having two house payments for 2 1/2 years has been beyond stressful. I am so beyond thankful to finally have this chapter closed.
And yet.
I couldn’t help but shed a few sad tears along with the tears of joy (and believe me, when we signed those papers I cried with relief like a baby).
This beautiful house that we lived in at one of the best times of our life sold and officially ended our time in Texas.
We closed on the house January 31, 2010 after living in two hotels in Oklahoma and Texas for two weeks after moving from Louisiana. We moved in the first week of February. Rory was born February 12. To say that time was crazy would be an understatement.
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We brought our precious Rory home to that house and oh, how I wish I could spend one more day just me and baby Rory. She was the best baby on earth. So easy, so perfect.
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Around 10 months she started not sleeping. I remember those long nights and days. That house saw all the hours with me.
It was there that “the bish” happened and I realized just how much of a stinker Rory was going to be.
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Then just 15 months later we brought our precious Ryder home to this house.
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I don’t think I slept more than an hour a night for so long. And that isn’t an exaggeration. I’d be up with Rory and Ryder all night. I have no idea how I made it through that.
And it was in this house that we had so many phone calls with cardiologists after we discovered Ryder’s heart defects. I remember vividly being in that cold doctor’s office and hearing her describe all the many defects and procedures we would have or hopefully not have. All I could think on the way home was how I could not wait to get into my house with the girls. This house was safe and I needed that safety to comfort me.
That home saw a lot of heartache and tears as we fought hard for our Ryder to grow and try to avoid open heart surgery. Those walls could tell you of prayers that last hours and of prayers that were simply pleading with God to miraculously heal her heart so she wouldn’t have to endure that surgery. It could also tell you the peace we felt when we realized maybe there was just never going to be another way and that surgery would save her life and hopefully the lives of others.
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That house was with us through ear infections, sleepless nights, open heart surgery recovery, etc. It was our comfort zone for many battlefields.
It also held more joy than any house could possibly hold. So much laughter over milestones and funny things our beautiful, perfect children did every day. It saw many firsts: smiling, rolling over, crawling, first teeth, pulling up, walking. I will never forget how Rory pulled up on the couch one night and then literally just ran across the room. There was no typical toddling from her- she just straight up ran. And I will never forget Ryder and her hilarious “scoot”. She would scoot all over that house on her bottom, it was the cutest thing.
That house saw lots of monthly photo shoots for Rory and Ryder, our very first “sister pics”, and two first birthdays.
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It held a lot of Sunday school get togethers with amazing friends. They were our rocks, our prayer warriors, our extended family.
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That house also invited friends over for play dates for tired mamas to drink coffee and have adult conversation. (This picture is actually from Kayla’s house but its the only one with all the kids.)
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It was in Texas that I learned the most what true friendship was and that house helped nurture those friendships through fellowship.
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Andy and I grew more in our marriage than ever in that house. We fought and made up, our poor sleep-deprived selves were sometimes too quick to anger, but luckily we learned to forgive and show grace in that house.
We will always cherish our time there and will never forget bringing our babies home and enjoying them so much in that home. I’m so thankful for our time there, it was the most growth in every aspect of my life that I’ve ever had.
I hope it brings the next owners as much joy as it did us.
 
(And maybe one day I will tell the tales of the other occupant of that house…. oh yes, we think it may have had a ghostly visitor.)

Ipsy December 2014

So. I decided to vlog.

I don’t even know, y’all.

Here are some notes: next time I will not be so zoomed in; next time I won’t use a new face cream and be so broken out; next time I won’t be so much of a debbie downer; MAYBE THERE WON’T EVEN BE A NEXT TIME, OK?!

I hope y’all like the video- let me know what you think!

Things mentioned:
Ipsy Subscription- http://www.ipsy.com/look/l-i361m5p0lp…
CAILYN Just Mineral Eye Polish
Coolway Boost Repair Treatment
NYX Butter Lip Balm in stupid Marshmallow
Nourish Organic Renewing Eye Cream
Tarte Deluxe Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 mascara

Be sure to subscribe to my channel- I’m hoping to do more of this in the future. I also have a bunch of AH-DORABLE videos of the kids on there. And by adorable I mean a bunch of them are of Ryder saying potty words, of course.