where did the summer go? and a creepy child story

We have had one of those weeks where some days seemed long but now it is Friday and I don’t even know where the days have gone to.

Y’all.

Summer is almost over.

How did it happen so quickly?! Where did the summer go?!

I mean I literally cannot believe it is coming to an end. It has been the most fun summer ever. I need about 3 more weeks of pool time.

Next week the girls will be going to “camp” at church during the day. I won’t even know what to do with myself.

And then the next week is Ryder’s first week of PreK and then the next is Rory’s first week of Kindergarten.

MY BABIES ARE GROWING UP AND I CAN’T HANDLE IT RIGHT NOW.

In other news, I need a hobby.

Moving on!

When we last left off at my parents’ house last week I told you all about the fun we had. Well it got even better on Friday because my sister, Tasha, and her boys came in and we got to spend the day with them. It was way too short and I wish I could have seen them longer but I’m glad for the time we did have!

282 281 280Clayton and his wrestling moves. Ryder giggled the entire time, ha!

We spent last weekend with Andy’s family at the river. The girls had the time of their lives. Rory tubed by herself and Ryder tubed with anyone she could. The best part was spending time with Andy’s sister and her babies! The girls couldn’t get enough of Emma and Zoe!

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The ride home was amazing. They slept for a while which never happens. They didn’t want to watch a movie. They never asked for a snack or drink. They never asked for a bathroom break. It was amazing.714

Tuesday we went school shopping! We had the most fun. My little cuties were so excited and loved every second of picking out things. Rory found the most perfect folder for herself. 008She’s a stinker alright.

This is the part of the post where I tell you a creepy kid story.

The other night I was painting something in my living room –

(This is what I was painting. Why they painted it the same as the wall color I will never know.)026

 

After I got done I started up the stairs to turn the girls’ lights off.

As I head up the stairs I put my phone light up the stairs to see and when I looked up with the light I saw it….

A child standing at the top of the stairs staring down.

It was Rory, of course, BUT STILL. I was not prepared for that.

I ended up falling/sliding down 1/4th of the stairs and laying there trying to just breathe.

I mean. THAT CRAP SCARED ME.

I say to Rory, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! YOU SCARED THE LIFE OUT OF ME CHILD!!!!!!!!!” (While holding my heart. Naturally.)

She says, “I can’t find Ryder, Mom. I just can’t find her.”

Me: Rory, she is in her bed.

Rory: *Still standing there all creepily* I just can’t find her, Mom.”

Bless it. She never even woke up.

I want you to know I didn’t sleep that night. I mean, I know it is my child, but there is nothing worse than getting scared out of your mind by a creepy little girl staring down the stairs. IT WAS THE WORST.

This morning I found her like this.088 089

Apparently sleep walking is our next adventure into the no sleep world.

Fun!

to grandparents’ house we go!

Monday morning we woke up bright and early to head to Mimi and Papa’s house for the week! I’ve been planning all year to spend a week in West TN with my parents so the girls could enjoy them during the summer time when work isn’t quite as busy for them. (My mom will laugh at this because lord knows that woman is always busy at work, bless her.)

You should know that Rory woke up and got dressed to hit the road in an interesting manner….IMG_2301

Her explanation for such a wardrobe was that she could ride all day to Mimi and Papa’s house and then take off her shorts and top shirt and “VOILA! I WILL BE READY FOR BED WITHOUT ANY WORK!” That’s my girl.

Monday and Tuesday were spent in the pool with Telena and Jacks. Jacy and Josh graced us with their presence a few times too. The girls have had the absolute best time with Jacy and Jacks this week. Mainly because Jacy loves to get them all dolled up with makeup and dresses and even a sparkly tattoo or two… or twenty. IMG_2381

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Oh, Ryder.

I also spent time with my sister in law and nieces on Monday afternoon and OH MY WORD THOSE GIRLS ARE SO CHUBBY AND CUTE. No joke I couldn’t even handle myself with them.

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You should know that every single time I come to my parents’ house – WITHOUT FAIL – they end up having a big storm roll through and the power is out for extended periods of time. I realize that it sounds like a personal problem because seriously it happens every time which therefore means I am obviously bad luck.

Like we didn’t already know this.

So Tuesday night a gigantic storm rolled in suddenly and out the power went for 6+++ hours. I’m not exactly what time in the night it came back on but I do know that it wasn’t before I hit the pillow like a wrecking ball.

So to entertain ourselves in the darkness we did a few things.

1- We took the inaugural stroll around the block to assess the damage. In my parents’ neighborhood this is a big deal, y’all. Half the neighborhood comes outside and joins in and it is a wonderful time had by all.

I personally like to call it the old folks/nosy neighbor parade but I will admit that I do quite enjoy this tradition.

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Lookie there- even the dog and my neck rolls joined in.

Step 2- Must make a faux campfire and sing loudly for all to hear in hopes the entire neighborhood will need to stick their fingers in their ears.IMG_2403Step 3- Must have glow stick to do a light magic show with before bedtime.

IMG_2434I quite realize my photography skills are POPPIN’ these days.

This is where I interrupt this program to tell you something downright TERRIFYING.

Wednesday morning Rory came in looking……… different.

As in girlfriend had stuffed her shirt.

I say to her, “Rory what is going on in your shirt?!” She nonchalant says to me, “Oh nothing, I was just itching.”

So I quiz her again and say that I know she can’t be “itching” because her shirt is soft and not scratchy at all.

I say, “Rory, we don’t put toilet paper in our shirts to make it bigger there.”

Rory: But I needed my “muscles” to be bigger!

Me: Rory, take that toilet paper out you do not need bigger “muscles”.

Rory: *insert eye roll* I JUST FEEL LIKE A WOMAN, MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *stomp uggggghhhhhhh stomp stomp stomp flush*

I CANNOT EVEN RIGHT NOW WITH THIS MESS.

On Wednesday I went to my friend Katy’s house and we got to sit and talk and just chill because our children are each other’s play date soul mates. I don’t say that lightly either. Every time we have gotten together they play and play and not once have they ever had a fight. It is blissful. The girls were super heroes saving the world from monsters and also attended a royal ball where they danced their butts off.IMG_2485 IMG_2478

Wednesday night I got to go eat with some of my favorite friends- Jinny, Alexis, and Emily. We laughed until my face seriously hurt and man, if that isn’t a sign of great friends I don’t know what is. I also almost peed my pants when we took approximately twelve hours trying to take a selfie.IMG_2490 IMG_2493

After dinner I met Katy and some friends for a late movie.

And then I crashed hardcore because mama can’t stay up that late anymore.

Thursday we spent the morning at the pool with friends (failed to get a pic) and the afternoon at Telena’s. It was such a wonderful and quiet day.

Last night we sat outside and enjoyed the swings because swinging at Papa’s is our very favorite thing to do. IMG_2351 IMG_2356

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Today is our last day at Mimi and Papa’s. I am so thankful we got this week to spend with them and we are excited to spend a long weekend with Andy’s family at the river. On to the next adventure!

Four. (A letter to Ryder on her 4th birthday.)

Better late than never, right?!

My precious Ryder,

You are now FOUR! You have been four for over a week but it still seems so surreal.

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Every year I have written your birthday post and have sobbed because we had made it through many obstacles. This year I am certain to cry tears of joy and thankfulness because it has been such a quiet year. A beautifully, quiet year.

As I sit here thinking of what to write to you, a ginormous and goofy grin spreads across my face because you are just so hilarious and silly and precious. I have so many words and yet none seem adequate.

Ryder, you give me so much unimaginable joy. There is no other word to describe you more than joyful. You always have a smile on your face and are always ready to make someone else smile too. Even when you are hurt you quickly start to smile. I thought I knew what joy was before I had you, but I surely did not because you have given me the perfect example of what the word means. I hope you never lose that joy.

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You are so joyful, but you are also very intuitive to what other people are feeling. You are the very first person to try to make someone feel better. When Rory is in danger (usually on purpose ha!), you are her alarm and her encourager to do the right thing. If I’m ever down, you will come and rub my back and make me smile. This trait is one of my favorite things about you. It is irreplaceable in our home- we needed you and your intuitive spirit in our family.

Goodness knows that you are also hilarious. Rory has a very dry sense of humor that keeps us in stitches, but you are just downright silly. You are constantly making all of us laugh with your silly antics and hilarious faces.

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Speaking of faces…. Girlfriend. No one has to guess what you are thinking. You are so insanely expressive and never hide how you feel. Sometimes that gets me into all kinds of embarrassing situations in public, but it is also something everyone that knows you loves. It is hilarious to watch you watching something. We can see ALL THE FEELS YOU HAVE all over your face.

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You are so dramatic that it keeps us in stitches. But you aren’t dramatic in a drama queen way- but in your expressions and the way you talk. Everything you tell us requires BIG HAND GESTURES AND DRAMATIC VOICE INFLECTIONS. You also have a wild and vivid imagination. You love to play by yourself and create a big dramatic world in your bedroom with your toys. Sometimes I sneak and sit and watch you without you knowing because it is the funniest and cutest thing to watch.

I have so many things that I say are my favorite thing about you because everything is my favorite, but the thing that truly is my favorite is how content you are. I could give you dirt and you would think it was the best day of your life. You are so abundantly thankful and content with everything. When we ask you what you want for your birthday you say, “Anything that you get me.” I MEAN COME ON. I literally think you’re my saving grace sometimes because of how content and thankful you are. I absolutely love this the most about you.

Though you aren’t sure of yourself often and struggle with anxiety over things (heights, darkness, failing at something), you are such an encourager to others. You are Rory’s biggest cheerleader. You are constantly encouraging her and cheering her on at everything she does. You encourage your dad and I too and there are so many times that I’m so thankful for your little encouragement throughout the day. You have no idea how much it means to all of us.

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Ryder, I want you to know just how special you are to me. Your smile has gotten us through some of the hardest times in our lives. You should know that not a single day goes by that I don’t look at you and see your beautiful scar and thank God for saving you. I don’t ever want to dwell on the pain of the past, but I also want you to know that I could never forget because we saw so many miracles performed with you. Most of all, your life reflects grace in every aspect. You have no idea how thankful I am that this year was a year of no health scares and stillness. I feel like I got to enjoy you without worry for the first time in your life and that is one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given.

Oh, Ryder, I also want you to know that you are strong, smart, and oh so kind. You can do anything that you set your mind and heart to. I hope I can continue to encourage you to try because sometimes just trying is so hard for you. I hope I never skip out on teaching you how important it is to sometimes fail so we can be better the next time. It is so okay for you to fail. We all do, especially me. But if we don’t try and try again we will never know our potential. You have the potential to do anything you want to. Even if you don’t always believe in yourself, I promise you I will never stop believing in you.

You are my little sunshine and I thank God for you every single day. Your life has taught me more than I ever thought imaginable.

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Love you to the moon and the heavens and back my precious one,

Mom

———————————————

FOUR YEAR STATS:

– 27 lbs

– size 3t (sometimes you wear 2 t and sometimes 4t – you have such long legs but are skinny so sizing is a struggle!)

– size 6ish shoe

– Favorite Foods: sausage, waffles, peanut butter crackers, oatmeal, brussel sprouts, CHICKEN, cooked onions, okra, corn, strawberries – you are such an amazing eater and a true lover of food, your dad and I always joke that you didn’t get enough food the first year or two so now you are trying to make up for it!

– you love to play by yourself but you also love playing board games and puzzles with the family

– you love to sing and are quite dramatic when doing so

– favorite movie : Ice Age, Despicable Me, anything that gets you laughing… and of course Frozen – you aren’t a big tv watcher

– you LOVE to read books, sometimes I will find you HOURS after bedtime still reading to your barbies or stuffed animals

 

 

 

 

Panama City Beach 2015

I still haven’t written Ryder’s birthday post.

I have avoided the upstairs at all costs (where the computer is) because NO AIR CONDITIONING.

Thankfully it is now fixed and slowly but surely cooling down in the house.

I thought about going through and editing all the beach pictures and then I was like…. NAHHHHHH. I just can’t even right now.

I CAN’T EVEN.

Sleep has been at a low. Our house and, well, ourselves are a mess. A HOT MESS. (get it?!)

So today I shall tell you about our vacation and posts the pics as I took them and CALL IT A DAY.

Thankyouverymuch.

To say this was the most fun vacation we have taken since becoming parents is an understatement. There were no diapers, no bottles. Just two little girls that have no extreme needs anymore.

I MEAN CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE WHAT I AM SAYING?!

It was so easy. So dang easy. So wonderful.

You should know that it was kind of gloomy the entire time with periods of sun. That was the only bummer. But the upside to that was that it wasn’t scorching/melting hot outside. It felt so good the whole week.

We arrived on Saturday and it rained the entire way. I will admit that it was the car ride from hell. Rory + Cars for Hours = DISASTER.

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But all was well when we got to the beach because it suddenly stopped raining just enough for us to get out for an hour or so.

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PCB15 612 PCB15 618 PCB15 651 PCB15 658The next day was overcast with some storms but we still managed to get out on the beach some. It was actually nice to not have to hear “I’m hot” complaints.

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So this is the part where I tell you the craziness that was our booking this trip.

Here was the thought process:

Get check from Oscar Meyer, book long weekend at beach.

Well, as it turns out, Andy ended up having off half the week for the 4th. So all he had to do was take off an extra day for us to be able to stay the entire week.

But the condo we booked was already booked up and that meant we had to get a hotel for the last night there. But then we added three days. So, we stayed two nights in the condo, one night in one hotel, and three nights in another hotel.

ARE YOU AS EXHAUSTED AS I AM JUST TYPING THAT?! It was crazy town.

I was a tad worried about how stressful that would be, but it ended up being totally fine. The hotels weren’t ON the beach so that was the only downside, but they both had great pools and the girls enjoyed it so much. The last hotel was the best because it had an indoor pool and a couch bed for them to sleep in.

Because let me tell you- The other one night in the hotel was …. interesting. 

PCB15 893I ended up sleeping diagonally  with my pillow on the nightstand and my legs under the children. Because #momlife.

Side note: Rory wants to sleep UNDER you. She legit tucks her feet and body under yours in the night. Ryder, like me, does not want to be touched. So you can imagine the joy that was that night of sleep with one child who can’t stop touching and another child who doesn’t want to be touched at all.

Okay. Back to the beach.

On Tuesday we went to a public beach and I will have to say, it was very nice! It wasn’t too crowded and it was such a sunny day. We stayed on the beach all day and had a blast.

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This is the part of the post where I interrupt to show you just how solemn and NOT DRAMATIC AT ALL Ryder is.

Casually walking to the beach….

PCB15 928WAIT. Something appalling has just happened!
PCB15 940Just kidding let me dance back to the ocean.PCB15 948Oh no. I feel unsteady….PCB15 952Oh, oh, ohhhhh I’m falling…..PCB15 953Oh, you want a picture of me?!PCB15 977Just one second missy…
PCB15 980I’m not gonna tell you again to put that camera up…. PCB15 982Let me become one with the sand and the ocean…PCB15 1010Let me just casually and not dramatically at all dig the tiniest hole known to man….PCB15 1040 PCB15 1045Okay now let us pause to talk about Rory and how completely ordinary she is… I mean she is not GORGEOUS AT ALL. And I totally did NOT have a moment of COMPLETE AND UTTER PANIC OVER HOW BEAUTIFUL SHE WAS because HEART BREAKER COMING TOWARD ME or anything…..

PCB15 738 PCB15 742I sent those pictures to most of my friends with the text saying, “I’m scared.”

I mean. She’s my kid so obviously I think she’s beautiful.

But this was the moment my future with her flashed before my eyes and I thought, “MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY!” Girlfriend is made for the beach. And girlfriend is going to break some serious hearts.

Honestly. Can you even with her tan and brown hair and brown eyes?

Totally ordinary and not gorgeous at all.

On opposite day.

Back to the beach…

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We went shopping at some gift shops one night to find Ryder a sand toy and the girls a little souvenir. Rory picked out some dangly earrings and therefore she is officially big now.

PCB15 727Rory also got a boogie board that night and as you can see on the above pictures she liked it. (I would make the effort to redo this in better chronological order but nah.)

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Ryder got a mermaid. I have no pictures of this.

We went to eat at Captain Anderson’s for dinner on Tuesday night and OH MY SWEET MERCY it was one of the best meals of my life. OF MY LIFE, PEOPLE. PCB15 1079 My girls. I’m so proud to be their mama. PCB15 1091After dinner we went to play Putt Putt and as per usual, the kids beat us.

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Wednesday was Ryder’s 4th birthday (coming Monday, her 4 year old post. I promise!). Andy and Rory had a fishing trip planned so it was just me and Ryder for the day!

I asked her what she wanted to do- told her we could do anything and suggested going to the beach and then pool and then whatever she wanted…..

She said, “No! I don’t want the beach. I want to go golfing and then I want to eat spaghetti with a giant meatball.”

WELL OKAY THEN.

Girl knows what she wants!

So we went to play golf and Ryder got FOUR hole-in-ones on her birthday. I mean. Seriously.

PCB15 1138 PCB15 1141After golfing we went to eat at an Italian restaurant and Ryder got a giant meatball for her birthday and it was her version of heaven on earth.

We didn’t buy her a big gift because the trip was the big thing and we were doing all the fun things they wanted in lieu of a birthday party/huge gift, but we did want to get her a few little things. She opened one gift when she woke up and then after lunch we headed to Target for her to spend $40 on a toy/toys and buy whatever dress she wanted.

This is where I inform you that it took AN HOUR AND A HALF for Ryder to pick out a Sophia Karaoke Purse and a Barbie. AN  HOUR AND A HALF BROWSING THREE TOY AISLES. I can’t even.

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Then we moved on to the clothing portion (where I felt for sure I needed to get an IV of caffeine at this point) and Ryder looked at

every.

single.

dress.

Then she finally said to me, “Mama- can I just buy some new pajamas instead?!”

SHE IS THE MOST PRECIOUS ONE. I have laughed over that ever since. She is so opposite of her fashionista sister. She just wants comfort. I feel ya sister.

You should also know that once we got to the check out she spotted princess pups. For $2. And she put back her $20 Barbie because she thought the princess pups were a better pick.

Most children would want those ON TOP of the other toys they browsed for an hour and a half, but not Ryder. She is the most sensible, content thing on the planet. PCB15 1159After the longest Target trip on earth, we decided we for sure needed a drink….

PCB15 1171I AM KIDDING.

We had time to kill so we went to Bed, Bath, And Goodness There Are So Many Clever Things I Certainly NEED.

I mean, that giant shatterproof wine glass was a good start.

Then we went to World Market where I wanted ALL OF THE THINGS and Ryder parked herself on a couch and took a snooze while I browsed the furniture section.

Again, MOST CONTENT CHILD ON THE PLANET.

We then got in the car and changed for our fancy birthday dinner.

This is where I tell you how much I love my minivan because I got in the back seat and changed and had so much room. We also had a dance party in the van because why not?

Then we headed to pick Rory and Andy up from fishing.

PCB15 1178They had the best time together. I’m so glad we had a day split up like that. Rory and her daddy are so much alike and love spending one on one time together and it is so rare. Ryder and I are the same way. It was such a good day.

Then we headed to Firefly  for Ryder’s fancy birthday dinner.

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She got chicken tenders.

Fancy.

PCB15 1189 PCB15 1190 PCB15 1195The girls did so good at the restaurant and I was so proud of them. They felt so special getting to eat somewhere so fancy.

They were better behaved than the drunk table next to us…. just a side note.

Then they brought her a molten cake and, well, you can imagine the excitement. Ryder and Rory proceeded to TEAR THAT THANG UP.

PCB15 1196 PCB15 1206After dinner we went to see Insdie Out and I will admit that I cried like a stinking baby. #hormones

We got back to the hotel to find that we were locked out of our room so while Andy handled this dilemma, Rory and Ryder crashed in the hallway. Preciousness.

PCB15 1352Want to know what is NOT preciousness?

Putting the kids to bed and getting ready for bed myself to find my pillow hostage by Crazy Sleeping Man Who Never Wakes Up. (I also regret to inform you that I left that beloved pillow at the hotel and haven’t slept the same since. RIP favorite pillow.)

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Thursday was our last full day of vacation and we lucked out to have some friends coming nearby that we don’t get to see often enough. So we headed to Rosemary Beach (30a if you are curious) to spend the day with them. This is where I tell you that we will certainly be staying there next year instead. Because I was fine with Panama City but it was CROWDED and I am not big on all the crowds.

PCB15 1363It was the most fun day. Anna Kate and Charli are the same ages as Rory and Ryder and they had a blast together. My girls haven’t stopped talking about wanting to go back to the beach with their friends one day. I tell you- there is nothing like having friends and your kids playing well together. It is the best.

After the beach day we headed to Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin and HOW HAVE I NEVER BEEN THERE? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to Destin area and never even heard of this. We met my cousin Margo and her husband and little girl. And by little girl, I mean TEENAGER – I CAN’T EVEN. I remember her stuffing her purses with pacies. Now I’m old and so is she.

Anyway.

Margo is one of my favorite people on the earth. Another side note.

We spent the evening with them and had a blast. I’m so mad we didn’t get a picture together! But as you can see the girls were so over pictures at this point in the trip…

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Rory did the trampoline and the rock wall. Ryder attempted the trampoline but she didn’t quite get to the part where they jump. Or even stand there long enough to get buckled. Bless it.

PCB15 1400PCB15 1440Rory is fearless as we all know. She amazes me.

Ryder did, however, love the carousel.

PCB15 1432We got back to the hotel and the girls snuggled up in bed just like the other nights and it literally pains my heart because I feel like it might burst from so much love. Look at them. I just love them so much.

PCB15 1126Side note numero 203945304 – here are Ryder’s new birthday pajamas: “I Otter Be In Bed”

….. I MEAN FOR REAL….. YOU OTTER BE!

PCB15 1358We headed out on Friday morning which ironically was the only day the entire trip the children slept in.

Heifers.

Andy drove until ATL and then he passed the torch to me.

Side note # 98349843 : I hate driving. I would be 1 million percent content with never having to drive again. That is my dream. To be rich enough to have a driver. Or to live in NYC where I can ride the glorious subway every day. #goals

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And there you have it.

Our PCB trip in a nutshell.

IT WAS THE MOST FUN AND I WANT TO GO BACK.

I cannot wait until our next vacation. These girls are more fun by the day. Life is good, y’all.

Happy Weekend!

no I don’t get free wieners for life

We are officially one month into summer and once again the saying, “The days are long, the years are short,” applies here. Most days I am longing for Andy to get home and yet I’m sitting here feeling BUT I DON’T WANT SUMMER TO END. Rory will be starting Kindergarten in just 7 weeks. WHAT!?!

The best part about summer is that there is no set schedule and we have been very much enjoying that. We come and go as we please and our days are filled with fun.

Our typical summer day is getting up and going between 6:30-7 (I know, right?! My kids are sleeping in!) and watching a tv show or two and then the girls do some sort of art project while I clean. Usually by the time that is over we are ready to eat lunch and head to the pool for a couple of hours. Then we have a rest time and then Andy is home. At some point in the day, Rory goes in the backyard and plays for an hour or so while Ryder heads to her room to play barbies or what-have-you in her own little world. Our only real struggle this summer that is about to make me a bit insane is the fighting. Good gracious these girls can THROW DOWN.

I will say though, this summer is the first as a parent where I feel we are relaxing AND having fun all at the same time. There are no diapers to change or mandatory naps or bottles to make/wash. It is a whole new world of parenting for me!

I mean…. y’all…. I DON’T EVEN CARRY A DIAPER BAG ANYMORE.

I have a tiny purse now. CAN YOU EVEN?!

I seriously never thought this day, or summer, would come. We are so carefree!

So a few months ago I got an email from a company asking if I would be interested in having one of my photos from Instagram in an ad campaign from a “major company”. Before they gave me any details they made my sign a non-disclosure agreement. So I did and then they told me it was Oscar Meyer and they showed me the picture that would be in the campaign. I literally laughed out loud when they sent it. So I had to sign a bunch of papers and then keep my mouth shut and wait for over two months before, FINALLY, last week a friend of mine sent me a text saying, “Tiffany! ARE YOU SERIOUS?! ARE THESE YOUR KIDS?!” and then two seconds later another friend sent it too.

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I seriously crack up every time I see that picture.

The best part is that there was compensation for the picture….

Sadly, it wasn’t free wieners for life.

But it was enough money to send us on a family beach trip that will be going down next week! Holla!

This past weekend was Father’s Day Weekend and we spent it mostly cleaning the garage and house and unpacking even more boxes…. and we still aren’t done. But I can finally park in the garage, thanks to Andy’s hard work, so I feel progress is being made!

Saturday night we went to Chattanooga to dinner and a Lookouts game. When we got there the sun was BLARING ON US and I wasn’t quite sure if the girls would make it past the first inning. Thankfully they did and as soon as they sun went down enough to not blind us, they had the best time EVER.

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Rory won this hat right when we walked in and she hasn’t taken it off much since. ha!IMG_0639 IMG_0640

Somehow Ryder managed to sneak some Coke from her daddy………….. IMG_0642 IMG_0643 IMG_0646

This is what Andy and I referred to as – “Ryder is coked out.” She cannot- CANNOT- handle caffeine.

After the game they let the kids run the bases and much to our surprise Ryder wanted to do it too.
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Rory was at the start of the line and ran so fast she beat two older boys, which I shall say gives me so much pride. That chick is fast. Ryder wasn’t exactly sure what “running bases” meant so she ran like a chicken who had escaped her coop for a minute but finally got the hang of it. AND SHE RAN THE ENTIRE WAY AND HER LEGS WORKED THE ENTIRE TIME. I’m telling you, the girl is getting more brave by the minute!IMG_0653

Last week I wrote about my 30th birthday and I have kicked myself ever since because somehow my OLD brain completely forgot one of the biggest highlights of the week!

The day after my birthday my friend, Amber, and I had plans to go to dinner. I was so looking forward to a girls night with her and ….. welll…… my actual birthday wasn’t really that fantastic. It was okay but I mean, just another day.

You should know that Amber drove so slow that she even stopped at a green light. I didn’t think anything of her slow driving until that point and then I just thought, “Chick has lost her mind.”

We get to the restaurant and Amber tells the girl her name and I heard the hostess say, “the rest are over there,” and that is when I saw it- a table full of friends!

Y’all. It was everything I could do to not cry! Amber didn’t even know these people but she still got on facebook and got together a group of girlfriends to throw me a surprise dinner. It was just the best.

The dinner was so much fun- we just sat there and laughed until I was certain I was going to pee my pants. I was also just overwhelmed by how thankful I was that all these women came to dinner and not all of them know me well. I just couldn’t get over it. It was the very best birthday dinner.

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Every time I move somewhere I always pray the same prayer- “God please send me one great friend.” He has always far exceeded my expectations and sent me several great friends. We have lived in Cleveland for almost a year now and I’m feeling so blessed that God has already sent me great friends. Amber has been such an amazing friend to me for many years now and now I have all these new friends to be thankful for too.

In my 30 years I have realized that some of the greatest blessings in life are your girlfriends. I’m so thankful for all of mine, new and old.

 

dear Jacy, on your 16th birthday…

Jacy,

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Today is your 16th birthday. At the risk of sounding completely cliche…. HOW?!

I will never forget turning 14 and knowing you would be born at any time. I couldn’t wait to hold you. I couldn’t wait to dress you up and play with you.

The first time I met you was the first time I realized what babies did to people.

For starters, you made me fall madly in love with the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. I was giddy the entire time I got to hold you. I immediately was sad knowing I would have to leave in a few days.

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But man- nothing could have prepared me for what I saw in your mom. Your mom has always been one of my biggest heroes, but that day I saw her happy – unconditionally happy and in love – for the first time. I wish I could describe adequately how her face looked when looking at you, holding you, feeding you, showing you off to others…. I have never in my life been more proud of your mom than then. She was a changed woman. And even at 14 I knew that you were the best thing that had ever happened to her and that you two would have an incredible bond.

I’ll never forget when y’all came to live with us and how exciting that was for me. I always wanted a little sister and now I had one! I remember rocking you for hours (and hours……) and singing to you. You would look up at me with those big blue eyes and just giggle. Oh, how I adored you. I loved putting your hair in a water spout on the top of your head and buying you cute clothes with the babysitting money I would make. 10354145_1446410642343120_2697102144342400222_n

 

Seeing you grow up has been one of the highlights of my life, Jacy. I think about how tiny you were in your preemie Gap overalls Tasha and I bought you. And now, 16… with your license! With your own car!

There are some things I want you to know as you turn 16. I know you’ll probably roll your eyes but just hear me out, okay?

You are beautiful. No but seriously. It isn’t at all fair that you skipped the bad hair and the bad outfit choices. WE SHOULD ALL HAVE TO GO THROUGH THAT STAGE, OKAY?! But you didn’t. Instead, you blossomed into the most beautiful teenager I’ve ever seen. (Also. It isn’t fair that you have those long legs when I’m stuck with these stubby disasters.) I look at you and hope that you know you are beautiful. Not in the conceded way that no one wants to be around, but in the way that you don’t try to find that validation from others. I just wish that you could know in your core that you are beautiful and never seek anyone’s approval about it. I spent way too much of my life (especially teenage years) trying to find my beauty through others (read:boys) and well, that never worked out for me. I don’t want you to struggle through that like I did. So just listen to your wise aunt and know, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

You are loved. More than anything else, I cannot stress to you enough how loved you are. I know that this is something I should say more often to make sure you know- but I love you. Unconditionally love you. And that’s not even important compared to your mother. Jacy, your mother loves you more than she loves herself. She loves you more than you could ever know. She loves you enough to make up for the lack of love you could have ever felt from other parents in your life. You never needed him because YOUR MOM LOVED YOU ENOUGH FOR THE BOTH OF THEM. And the greatest loss is his because, man, did he miss out on the most wonderful kid on the planet. When Josh came into the family like a saving grace, I saw how much he loved you too and I knew he would be one of the best things that ever happened to you. One of the best decisions your mom ever made for herself and for you was choosing to let Josh love you. Then there is your grandparents. You couldn’t possibly know the love from them. Of course there is your amazing aunts too. We all love you enough that you should never have to feel like you missed out on anything because you haven’t. We have all been so madly in love with your big blue eyes and beautiful soul since the first time we laid eyes on you. Unconditionally, we love you. The best part is that we don’t hold a candle to the way God loves you. Even when we fail you and you feel unloved by us, God is always there showing you how much He loves you.

I hope that today is a wonderful birthday. I hope you enjoy driving as much as I did when I turned 16. Remember to pay attention and DO NOT TEXT. (Sorry, the mom came out for a minute.)

Oh Jacy, I am so insanely proud of you. You are growing into a wonderful woman and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

I love you so very much,

Crazy Aunt Tiff

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the big 3-0 and a weekend at Dollywood

Well hello there. I assume I have lost all faithful readers including my mom at this point because who likes a “blogger” who doesn’t blog?

I don’t either.

But I do have a good excuse, or 47 actually. My laptop is having issues and is being quite moody. The desktop was acting funky too. So instead of being angry at either, I choose to pretend none of it was happening or that I didn’t have a blog at all.

Unfortunately for all of you, ha, I can’t quit the blog. I JUST CAN’T. I have too much to say and too few friends to talk to. Also, have you met my beloved husband? Not really someone who likes to talk…. and that is the understatement of the century.

SO I HAVE TO LET ALL THIS INNER DIALOGUE COME OUT SOMEWHERE.

I have no idea why I went off on that whole tangent. But I did and I don’t have the energy to erase it so I apologize.

Andy fixed the office up for me to be able to type all my words and I’m choosing to ignore his hasty approach that confirms his need for me to stop talking to him and start talking to you all.

OKAY ENOUGH LET US DIVE RIGHT IN TO THIS EPIC UPDATE OF THE LAST WEEK.

Let’s pull the bandaid off and talk about the elephant in the room.

I turned 30.

Last Tuesday was the big dirty thirty birthday. The girls and I spent the day at the pool and doing a little shopping. It really was a fun day. BUT SO LONELY because Andy was working. That night I took the girls to VBS and Andy got off in time to eat dinner which was a miracle.

I mean. When you get to be my age….. your birthday is just a day. IT IS SO SAD but so true.

003One thing I decided was that you know what…. I could look worse at 30. I could definitely look much better (ha) but IT COULD BE WORSE.

You should know that one of my best friends, Erin, wins the birthday award. She sent happy birthday texts all day. These are some of my faves.

010She knows the way to my heart. There is nothing I love more than a funny ecard or meme.

The best thing about last week was all the sleep I got.

No but seriously.

VBS. Verified Beautiful Sleep.

Er. I mean Vacation Bible School.

Rory went to our church in the morning and then at night they went to a friend’s church.

THEY LOVED IT AND SO DID I because OH THE SLEEP. Twice they took naps AND slept through the night.

Which makes me ask- IS THERE A VBS EVERY WEEK THIS SUMMER?!

It was blissful. The girls had so much fun and I did too.

130 070 011On Friday I got to have lunch with Erin as she passed through Chattanooga and my kids were CRAZY. Like I figured they would be but Rory was on another level. 141I decided to go ahead and make my planned trip to Sephora even though I was certain it would be torture.

Luckily for me, the children discovered the art of swatching makeup. And I’m sure everyone was being all judge-y and rolling their eyes but HAVE YOU EVER TAKEN TWO GIRLS TO SEPHORA BEFORE!? The staff all raved about how sweet and cute the girls were (tricky kids) and I got to shop for a minute without worrying. (Side note: The girls adored the Too Faced Contour Palette and therefore it’ll be my next makeup purchase. Also they loved their blush.)

164For my birthday, Andy got me family season passes to Dollywood and Splash Country. Saturday morning we woke up and headed to Pigeon Forge to conquer both parks!

Except then a weird thing happened…….

We were standing in line to one of the rides and Andy and I were talking about how much fun we were having and how good the girls were being when all of a sudden he says, “let’s just get a hotel and stay here and do the waterpark tomorrow.”

I ALMOST FAINTED.

Andrew does not do spontaneous. It isn’t in his nature.

This is why we make the perfect couple. I do spontaneous 98% of the time. It is how I function. We balance each other perfectly. Without him I would have no stability, without me he would have less fun.

So he booked a hotel and it was settled. We were throwing caution to the wind and staying the night.

And then it hit me. Never in a million years did I think we would make it to this stage in life where that is even an option. I mean. I had a baby and then had a baby. Meaning I had two babies at once on very different schedules and milestones. I had two in diapers. I had two that DID NOT SLEEP – FOR THE LOVE. 

Suddenly I felt like I had been transported into a space of time that I never thought possible. No diapers. No bottles. No need for 2309230239230923092309230923032902939230923092320390293029302930923029309230920392390294302842048029402930912309103298203904 baby items for an overnight trip.

WHAT IS THIS LIFE?!

So we stayed at Dollywood and rode every ride we could manage. Rory and I loved hitting up the rides together. It is so fun when your kids start to be able to ride more than kiddie rides. We did the log ride, a few roller coasters, etc, and had a blast together.

Ryder and I did some kiddie rides together too while Andy rode the ferris wheel.

Little fact- I don’t do ferris wheels. No. I cannot.

Here are some pictures in no particular order:

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Before:
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During:
228 253 265 284 292 293 296We, of course, tried (and failed) to get a family picture in front of the DollyWood sign. So I got just the girls which is better anyway.

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Being at Dollywood reminded me so much of my grandparents. Oh how I miss them. The hardest thing is knowing my kids won’t know them. I know my Granddaddy would have gotten a kick out of them and my Grandmother would have loved on them like she did all her grandkids. The little one in the middle was me. Rory’s twin. Telena is in the shades and Tasha is the one who refuses to smile. I’m guessing it was because her socks were rolled unevenly and the sun was glaring on the all white getup she had on.

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So we get to the hotel at 8:30 (bedtime) and there are two things you should know – 1) we had not eaten dinner and 2) I was getting a migraine.

I go into the room to make sure it was okay and it was one of those times in life I will never forget going from the start of a migraine to wanting to puke my head hurt so bad in just one second. The room smelled so badly of smoke. I could not get out of it fast enough. Andy went in and felt the same. So at this point I have a full blown, gonna puke from pain migraine. And no dinner or hotel room. This was the point I started doubting our spontaneity.

We finally got the hotel thing figured out- shout out to Best Western in Sevierville, TN for going above and beyond to make up for their smokey room. They had no vacancy and called every hotel in town to find a room for us. After all of that, we headed to TGIFriday’s because it was the closest thing and I barely remember it because all I could do was repeat, “Do not throw up,” because of the migraine. I ended up going to the car and wrapping a beach towel around my head and putting earplugs in for about 10 minutes to dull the pain.

We went to Walmart to get me some pills (thank you lord for ExedrinPM) and underwear. Oh yes. I love spontaneous things but I gotta have some fresh underwear, okay? I’m classy like that.

It took almost the entire night but the migraine finally subsided and we were up and ready to hit Splash Mountain.

(Sorry if I’ve lost you on account of all those boring details. But seriously I don’t want to hassle with erasing it all.)

I had no expectations on the water park because I hadn’t heard much about it but y’all it was good! I only took one picture which I can’t deny might be the highlight of my photography career since I clearly captured something beautiful.336

That back tatt tho.

I’ve zoomed enough times that I feel I can professionally say that the lower tattoo (some call a tramp stamp, I call it 18 year old rebellion) is a whale tail.

Let us compare.

whaletail

 

You’re welcome. Call me Detective Tizzy.

Rory took turns with Andy and I riding the big slides (the child has no fear and it is amazing). Ryder and I rode the lazy river at one point a total of 13 times consecutively. I was sore from the lazy river. Because FYI- there is no lazy in that river with a toddler.

We decided to leave around 3ish because we were all exhausted.

354This was before we even started the car to leave. Side note: toddler potty still ridin’ dirty in the minivan. And still the best decision of my life.

For those of you wondering:

If you live close enough to drive to Dollywood (Gatlinburg area) for a day or two- DO IT. My kids loved every second and I plan to take them back as many times as possible.

Now. Let me tell you the terrible thing that happens when you eat hotel faux eggs and go into the sun all day…….

Andrew was up the entire night yelling into the toilet.

I describe it that way because we all know that men do not simply throw up.

They shout into the toilet so that the entire world can hear.

I say this with all the love in my heart, by the way.

It is just humorous to me how loud it is when a man pukes.

He was completely fine and over it by noon.

Thank you, Lord.

So I will say this. While I love a good spontaneous decision, I feel as thought maybe next time we will plan instead because it ended up being half a hot mess. But we had such a good time and it was the perfect getaway for us after two weeks of chaos.

This week is going to be hot as heck so I shall spend my time in the pool with the kids and work on my mom tan.

“What is a mom tan”, you ask?

A mom tan is when the front half of you is much tanner than the back because

1) Who has time to lay out evenly?

2) Who has had a kid and enjoys laying butt up in the air?!

Happy Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

your typical outage update.

Today is finally (Allegedly) the last day of the outage.

Please, Lord, let it be true.

This has for sure been the hardest one for Andy. He’s worked longer hours (he’s nearing 100) and had more problems than normal. Worst of all, a contractor he has worked with before (but not on this particular job) fell from 30 ft and was killed. Andy has been so shaken up over it and we both are so sad for his family. 

It is hard to send your husband to work after something like that happens. 

Luckily for me, I had some awesome distractions! My parents and sister’s family came in for the weekend! It was so welcomed to get my mind off missing Andy and to help with the girls.

Friday was Andy and I’s 11th wedding anniversary. He was so sweet and got me an “outage survival kit” with cokes, chocolate, magazines, and a Starbucks gift card. He knows the way to my heart! 

On Friday my parents and sister got to Chattanooga approximately 5 hours before I thought they would – ha! I was so glad though! We met at Coolidge park and spent the afternoon playing there. Then we came home and had my aunt and cousins over for dinner. We told old stories and laughed until we were certain we would be sore the next day. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing in life better than that.

Saturday we woke up and headed to Benton Falls which isn’t too far from our house. We hiked the mile and a half there and back and Ryder’s legs worked the whole way. Miracle! We swam at the lake and picnicked. It was such a beautiful, fun day.  

   

We came home and grilled out and stuffed our faces and had a lazy night at home. Oh. And we celebrated my upcoming 16th birthday. Okay, okay. Jacy is turning 16 and I’m turning 20. 

 Sunday morning Telena and Josh left early so we decided to have a lazy day with my parents. We went to lunch and played on the slip-n-slide. Note to self: it hurts at almost 30 20 to go down the slide. 

It was such a fun weekend and I wish it didn’t go by so fast. We missed Tasha and her kids and Andy the whole weekend. Hopefully we can all get together soon.

Yesterday we started noticing that the house was getting warm. Every second seemed hotter. 

Then we realized the air was not working. At all.

Because WHY WOULD THE AC WORK LONGER THAN TWO WEEKS IN OUR NEW HOME?!!!!!! And WHY WOULDN’T IT QUIT DURING OUTAGE WEEK?!

So I wallowed in despair this morning for a minute and then I perked up with a trip to Starbucks and Target. Ah, yes. Much better now. 

 Hopefully I will have my air back today and have a happier post tomorrow. 

Until then I will fix my thoughts on this fact: 

 Can I get an “amen”?!

eventually.

We have a saying around our house right now about 99.99999% of things.

Eventually.

Me: “I really want some floating shelves here….”

Andy: “Eventually.”

Me: “I want the entire downstairs to be painted grey.”

Andy: “Eventually.”

Me: “I want a Land Rover/Kate Spade purse/trip to Europe.”

Andy: “Eventually.”

HA HA HA HA

No but seriously. Eventually is like the key word around these parts.

We are too sore and tired to think of doing anything crazy right now. We have 200 boxes in our garage waiting to be unpacked.

Eventually.

I’ve gotten around to sprucing up some rooms the best I can for now, so I thought I’d show you what the house looked like before and what we have done so far.

And eventually I will show you the entire house done.

Eventually.

But it won’t be too terribly long because we have family coming in two weeks so I’m sure this weekend will be filled with projects.

Enjoy our new home that is a beautiful mess and will eventually be a little less messy and have a little less beige.

Things to note- I’m having computer troubles with my computer and have no editing software so these are unedited and not great pics. You’ll have to excuse that. When I post pictures later I promise to have them edited better. Secondly, I forgot to take after pics of some rooms so that’ll be done eventually too. I’m too sore to walk up and down the stairs an extra time.

Front Living room- Before & After:IMG_0424 IMG_0427 IMG_0455 IMG_0457

Kitchen/Dining Before (aka mid move):

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The kitchen is the only room in the house I plan to completely redo. It is my fixer upper compromise.

Eventually.

Powder Room – Before & After:

IMG_0428 IMG_0444 IMG_0442 It is a version of Tiffany blue. Because I love a cliche.

Bedrooms Before- none of these rooms are completely done but are very close so afters will be soon:

Rory’s room-

IMG_0403 IMG_0405

This was on the wall in Rory’s room and I immediately took it down because I felt it was tempting fate a leeeeeeeettle too much. Am I right?!IMG_0400

Guest room/office:

IMG_0410

Ryder’s room- it is a burnt orange and she loves it much to my dismay. Eventually it will be a melon orange.IMG_0407The reason we knew this was our house was because of this next room.

You come down the hallway….IMG_0429Turn to the left and go up the stairs….

IMG_0450And all of a sudden you’re in this unexpected enormous family room. When we looked at the house this took my breath away. I hadn’t seen the master or upstairs yet but knew it was our house at that moment. I even proved my love of cliches by tearing up. I just could see ourselves living in this room as a family. Playing games, watching movies. Pictures can’t do it justice, but I triedish.

Before:

IMG_0423 IMG_0421 IMG_0420 IMG_0419 IMG_0418Afterish- eventually there will be a sectional instead of mismatched couches:IMG_0446 IMG_0447 IMG_0448 IMG_0452

So that is it for now. I am sad because I know these pictures don’t touch what the house actually looks like. Soon I will have it all done and take great pictures.

But that’ll come eventually.

Follow me on Instagram – @tiffanymcharris – for more updates! I posted a picture of my in progress coffee bar yesterday and it isn’t done but I love it already.

Happy Monday!

 

 

I’m going down!

I feel as though the last two weeks have been a complete blur. 

And I currently cannot move I am so sore from ALL THE STAIRS.

Last week I ended up having to go to the doctor for a hangnail.

I know. I KNOW. So random. So gross. So embarrassing. So frustrating because I NEVER go to the doctor so it has to be bad.

Well, they had to cut it open. He says that first he’s going to spray it with a freeze thing and then cut it. 

Y’all. I could not have been prepared for the pain. 

The freeze part was probably the worst. And then when he cut I couldn’t handle life anymore.

So much so that when it happened I said, “oh crap! Everything is black! I think I’m passing out! I’m going down!” 

And out I went. OUT LIKE A LIGHT.

Unfortunately I passed out 2 more times that day from pain. No joke. Blood and all that doesn’t bother me. It was from sheer pain.

I told the doctor that I would rather be having a baby than doing that. Ha!

So the pain and misery of that lasted way longer than I wanted but I seem to have healed up fine.

Except my ego is still bruised from waking up to nurses and the doctor laughing hysterically over my proclamation of, “I’m going down!”

As you know, we closed on our house Monday. And we have been overwhelmed with the moving process all week. 

The only downside to our home is that the garage is in the basement. So you can imagine the stairs involved to get up to the girls’ room upstairs. My butt muscles are ragey right now. Not a sentence I thought I’d ever type. 

I also bought so much paint to paint all the rooms in the entire house. And I’ve painted Rory’s room and am thinking the beige/brown color is looking better and better in some of the other rooms. 

The poor children are so tired of going here and there and back and forth. Rory has informed me she doesn’t want to leave the house for “a hundred days”. I don’t either.

Of course, she said she would be willing to leave for Disney World. 

Today I woke up to the realization that we had not even begun to touch the ENTIRE STORAGE UNIT FULL OF BOXES AND FURNITURE. I literally almost wept. 

Instead, I got on groupon and hired movers. Then I called Andy and informed him of my actions. 

I feel like, in this case, asking for forgiveness will come easy when he realizes what I’m saving him from. Because if my glutes are ragey, Andy’s are sure hating him in the worst of ways. He has moved 3/4 of the apartment alone. All of this moving has been done after his long work days too. He is an incredible man. Tired, incredible man.

But sometimes he is also cheap and I am not. Therefore I will hire the movers and he will end up loving me more for saving him the time and trouble.

The end.