The Harris Life

chasing life, one hilarious adventure at a time

June 3, 2016
by Tiffany
3 Comments

First Annual Summer Road Trip

If you would have told me two years ago that I would be able to hop in the car with the girls by myself and drive 5 hours and survive that- I would have laughed in your dang face.

I cannot believe how much easier and more fun each summer is getting. Not that I don’t miss my girls being little, but this is a brand new level of awesome when it comes to parenting.

First stop- Starkville, MS:

When we lived in Starkville as newlyweds, we joined a Sunday School class at First Baptist Starkville – the Newlywed Class to be exact. We met friends that were in the same stage of life (poor, struggling) and clung to each other for encouragement. We have all went our separate ways but kept in touch all these years later. A few months ago my friend Kristen, who now lives in Pennsylvania, told me that their family would be in Starkville for Memorial weekend. So we sent out a group message on facebook to see who all could come and wouldn’t you believe that most were able to make it! So we had ourselves a reunion on Friday night.

Y’all. There are just some people that no matter how long you are away from them when you are back together you realize I FREAKING MISS THESE PEOPLE AND LOVE THEM SOMETHING FIERCE. I was overwhelmed with the way I adore these people several times and even had some tears over it. We sat and talked and laughed until I literally hurt. Our time in Starkville was so sort but so sweet. I cannot wait until next time!IMG_8311 IMG_8268 IMG_8171 IMG_8193 IMG_8201 IMG_8235 IMG_8239 IMG_8241

Second Stop- Pleasant Ridge:

After our potluck reunion, the girls and I loaded back in the car and drove to Pleasant Ridge. My parents have a “little house” (as Ryder calls it) on the land my mom grew up on. When I found out they were going to be spending Memorial Weekend there I just had to go with the girls! To be honest, I didn’t know how Ryder would do for several days in the “crunchy” but they both had an absolute blast. We just sat around “the camp”, talked, ate, talked some more, rode in the ranger around the farm, swam, played in the mud, and took naps. It was the absolute best time.

IMG_8314 IMG_0002 IMG_0026 IMG_0035 IMG_0037IMG_8316IMG_8444IMG_8445IMG_0055

I miss the unplugged, “crunchy” life already!

Third stop- Huntsville, AL:

During the weekend Andy called me and told me our air was out. AGAIN. So I decided to extend our trip one more day because mama can’t handle no hot house, ok? To get home I have to drive through Huntsville and my cousin Brad and his wife Beth live there. They recently moved into a new house and they have a neighborhood pool so- SOLD. We stopped in for the night on Monday and slept like babies. Well, not my babies because they never slept. Anyway. They have such a beautiful home and it was such a nice way to spend our last night on the road trip!

IMG_0062 IMG_0064

Stop 3.5 – Scottsboro, AL:

As we were driving home from Huntsville we were going through Scottsboro and I saw the sign for the Unclaimed Baggage store. I had no idea it was in Scottsboro so when I saw the sign I just had to go check it out! Andy and I have wanted to go for years and he was so jealous that I went. We didn’t have long because I wanted to get back home but it was amazing. The girls brought $10 of their own money on the trip and never spent it so I let them get whatever they wanted with the money. Obviously Ryder decided to choose the giant, creepy doll. IMG_8384 IMG_0073

Stop Four- THE POOL: 

We literally rolled up into Cleveland, put our bathing suits on and grabbed some towels, then headed to the Y! It is finally open for the summer! We have spent every day this week there and it is going to be an awesome summer! I’m so glad we got to kick it off with an amazing road trip! Me and the girls had so much fun and I cannot wait to keep this tradition of doing road trips during Andy’s outage each year together.

Rory practiced all weekend for her big swim test. She had to swim the length of the lap lanes and then tread water for 60 seconds without stopping. Girlfriend was determined and rocked the test! She immediately went to the diving board and did a flip off of it. SISTER GIRL HAS NO FEAR. I’m so excited for the best summer yet!

IMG_0088 IMG_0084FullSizeRender (5)

June 2, 2016
by Tiffany
0 comments

Goodbye, Kindergarten!

I am pretty sure it was five minutes ago when I was writing a letter to Rory on her first day of Kindergarten…. and here we are going into 1st grade.

I thought I would just post a few pictures of her Kindergarten graduation. The end of the school year was strange for a lot of reasons- mostly because Rory got sick and wasn’t able to do field day or anything like that. So it kind of just ended in a majorly anti-climactic way. But! She sure was so stinking cute at her graduation!

13241190_10102219322172636_1839930972126678976_n 13177587_10102219322162656_3061600222373093273_n 13254301_10102219322377226_426439017238330108_n 13241201_10102219322422136_35732920056268577_n 13239256_10102219322282416_178177784982109480_n 13221091_10102219322287406_5823653797119054482_n 13220816_10102219322247486_5580522036101211197_n 13241196_10102219322237506_2922752050326190454_n 13227060_10102219322387206_1407614994257326223_n

The Friday after graduation Rory came home and told me she was tired and wanted a nap.

MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY

So Saturday morning she woke up with a high fever and I took her to the doctor where they diagnosed her with the strep and the flu. Then on Sunday she woke up with a deep barky cough and we realized she had croup on top of it. This was by far the sickest little Rory has ever been. She literally did not move out of my bed for 4 days. It was pitiful. We did a lot of steam showers and oils were EVERYWHERE trying to get her better.IMG_9726 IMG_9809

Then right as Rory was feeling better Ryder started a fever and wouldn’t you know she got the strep throat too. So we started summer with a BANG, right?!

To add insult to injury, Andy started his outage (shitdown as I affectionately call it) during all of this and well, I ALMOST HAD A MENTAL BREAKDOWN at one point. Here are some of the memes I saved to my phone during that time-

IMG_9625 IMG_9626 IMG_9628 IMG_9630 IMG_9658 IMG_9713 IMG_9727IMG_9807 IMG_9814

And also, I got so bored I took to taking pictures of myself and sending them to my friends so they would feel sorry for me-IMG_9801 IMG_9799

You can tell that it was a fragile time for me. Rory even told me in the nicest way possible that it was time for me to take a shower. Bless it. Girlfriend went and staged an intervention when I needed it the most.

Thankfully we all were perked up and were ready to roll by Friday for our first annual girls summer roadtrip. I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow. #staytuned #isthatnotsoannoying

 

May 13, 2016
by Tiffany
1 Comment

a letter to Mrs. Janice on the last day of PreK.

Mrs. Janice,

IMG_9188

I typed your name and tears of thankfulness and love are already flowing down my cheeks. I have dreaded this day for so long. The last day of PreK for Ryder. I cannot believe it is here.

You know I wouldn’t be so sad if it weren’t for the fact that the preschool were closing. I mean, I would definitely be sad that we wouldn’t see you next year all the time, but this has such a gut-wrenching finality to it that is so hard to bear.

Today I just want to tell you how much you have meant to me, and I am 1000% sure what you have meant to other moms and dads in Cleveland.

When we found out we were moving to Cleveland, I got on my face and begged God to show me where to send Rory to PreK. She had been torn down and beaten up at another preschool and so had I. I was so tired and weary. I knew that I needed to pray for direction on where to send her in a town where we knew no one. There is not a single doubt in my mind that God led me straight to Weekday because He wanted you as Rory’s teacher.

I want you to know that you completely changed our lives, Janice. Your unconditional love towards Rory and encouragement brought my girl back to life. You put her spunk back in her. I will never be able to thank you enough for encouraging her to be Rory and not some other version of herself. I sent her to school every day with you knowing that she would be loved, hugged, laughed at/with, and shown compassion to. I can’t tell you how many happy tears I have cried over the last two years because I knew my babies were loved so well.

Rory went to Kindergarten with a fierceness and a confidence that would not have happened without your love on her.

Thank you for changing Rory’s life.

The best part is that I also got to send my baby to you. I will never forget Ryder counting down the days until she got in your class.  I was counting down the days too. I knew she would be so well loved and encouraged.

Now. We both know Ryder needs a little kick in her pants encouragement to actually do her work, unlike Rory. Thank you for having so much patience with her and encouraging her. The other day we were working on Ryder’s letters and sounds and she told me, “Mama, you are not as nice and calm as Mrs. Janice is when she works with me.” I got a good laugh out of how much truth was in that statement. Thank you for teaching her and encouraging her.

She has also grown in confidence and matured so much under your care. Ryder will go to Kindergarten with confidence and sass because of you.

Thank you for loving me, too. You’ve seen my faults and seen me in some dark times the past two years. Thank you for your love and encouragement with my miscarriage. It meant the world to me.

Janice, I want you to know on this last day that you are a world changer. I know that your job  might seem so small some days and that it seems silly to think of yourself as a world changer. But you are.

You changed my world and the world of two little girls. You gave all of us exactly what we needed the past two years- love. I cannot think of another person on earth as loving as you. You have loved us so well.

I know that I am not alone in thinking this. Several of the moms from your class and I have talked about how devastated we are that the school is closing and that you won’t be there anymore. It is so important that you know that because we don’t want you to think we don’t care or that we don’t feel outraged/sad/disappointed in this decision to close the school. There are too many amazing teachers there to be able to understand why the school has to close. I hate there isn’t better closure for all of us, but especially you and the staff at school.

I just want to make sure you know on this last day that the school closing as no reflection on you.

You are an absolutely light and joy in this community and world. You have made my days brighter and you have certainly made my girls’ days brighter.

I am eternally grateful to you for loving my children and loving me so well these last two years. I am praying that God shows you exactly what your next step should be. I know your days changing the lives of parents and children are not over.

The Harris girls love you so very much, Janice. Don’t ever forget it.

First Baptist Weekday has been such a blessing to my family. It is a sad mistake that they are closing it. I am praying blessings over each teacher because they deserve better and so many students need to be blessed by them like I have been. Rory and Ryder had such a wonderful time there and have made such great friends! Thank you for the last two years and what a difference you have made over the decades you were open.image2 image1 image3

Oh, Ryder. I cannot believe how much you have grown this year!

13239179_10102214958233006_5046123384394361413_n

 

 

 

April 25, 2016
by Tiffany
2 Comments

remember me?

It has officially been so long since I’ve blogged that my password had to be re-entered and a “remember me” box needed to be re-checked.

I have found myself MIA in the blogging world. I love to blog. I just have avoided it for some reason.

Any counselors/psychologists/psychiatrists out there wanna come analyze me? I have a lot of stuff that might need some sorting out.

Ha.

No. But really.

Since the last time I logged in I took a few Easter pictures of the girls that you will probably enjoy. And by you, I clearly mean my mother and all the other relatives that come here only to see pictures of the cuties.

Easter20161 Easter20162 Easter20163 Easter20164 Easter20165 Easter20166

They are still silly and wonderful and smart and ABSOLUTE STINKERS.

Rory is almost done with Kindergarten. I just cannot.

Ryder is about to go to Kindergarten. I just cannot.

What in the world am I going to do with myself next year?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rory is playing softball and she is a beast. She’s just the most naturally athletic girl on the planet. She’s having a blast and we are loving cheering her on.

IMG_7881 IMG_7892

Ryder is just her usual hilarious self. She’s the best cheerleader for Rory and is such a champ for going to all the games and cheering Rory on. She also loves to get in my purse and put makeup on during the games.

IMG_8234

Which leads me to the “Hilarious Ryder Stories” segment of this post.

A few weeks ago we were at the store and Ryder had to go to the bathroom. I take her into the restroom and wait outside the stall.

She begins to sing (loudly) “Let It Go” like so:

“Let it *grunting*Goooooooooooooo, *GRUNTING* CAN’T. HOLD. IT. BACK. ANY.MORE…..”

*plop plop*

“WHEW MOMMA! NOW I CAN SEE BETTER!”

……

…………

……………..

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?! She was so full of crap, literally, that she apparently was having a hard time seeing.

Raising ladies is what I do best.

Maybe this has broken the ice on the non-blogging front. I actually have a whole lot I want to write about, but I’ve been feeling extremely protective of myself and especially the girls lately. Sometimes you just need to step back and enjoy life and let me tell y’all something- I am so enjoying my girls right now. They are the lights of my life and I’ve feeling fiercely protective of their hearts right now.

Happy Monday, friends!

 

March 11, 2016
by Tiffany
0 comments

the cringe.

We might as well start out today with the biggest news in the Harris house this year- RORY LOST HER FIRST TOOTH!IMG_6328

She’s had a wiggly tooth for over a month and this week she went to the dentist and they loosened it up even more. So today as I was doing Rory’s hair for school she was wiggling it with her tongue and I knew it was time. I said, “Sister, you gotta get that thing out this morning.” Selfishly, I wanted her to do it before school because I didn’t want it to fall out at school and me miss the excitement! And I’m so glad I did because her reaction was so fun.

As a side note: Many of you know that weird and strange things make me gag and cringe. Bananas are my kryptonite and I about fall out when I see one. Once Andy had a pack of Juicy Fruit on the nightstand and I almost vomited. I seriously all out gagged until I couldn’t see it anymore. GoGurt gives me the full body gags too.

Another thing? Wiggly teeth. It is so weird because teeth in general do nothing to me. I can watch someone bleed out without a single cringe. But every time Rory started bending and twisting that tooth I could not handle myself. So Rory started calling it “THE CRINGE” and would tell everyone, “I have a wiggly tooth but I can’t show you because it gives my mom The Cringe.” She knows me well.

BACK ON TRACK. I got the whole thing on video! It is a super short video but seriously the cutest ever. And I promise there is no blood and gore. (Also, I was telling her to hurry because it was time for them to leave for school, ha!)

When she grinned at me for the first time with that new toothless grin I teared up. I just couldn’t help it. She is just so big. I was thinking about how I couldn’t wait to post this new “first” and how it seems like yesterday I was posting her first monthly update at One month old. Time is flying. I find myself teetering between absolutely loving this stage and sad they are growing up. I saw this little picture meme thing on facebook today and thought, “YES.”IMG_6331

Life has been fun for Rory lately. She started softball and got to go to the skating rink for the first time in one day!

IMG_6281 IMG_5928Watching kids skate for the first time is like watching a baby giraffe try to stand up for the first time. It was hysterical.

And y’all know I’m living out my glory days through Rory in her first ever softball season. She is such a natural athlete, it is so fun to watch.

As for Ryder, she has decided (or her daddy has!) to play golf and do karate. She will be starting karate soon and her and her daddy have been going to the golf course down the street to practice. IMG_5926You can tell she is super proud of her new golf clubs. That Andy spent $80 on. I can’t even.

I asked Ryder at Rory’s softball practice if she wanted to play tball and she said, “Oh no, I’m much better sitting and cheering.” Then she turned to me and said, “You know I’ve been thinkin’ all night about this. I’m glad I have a lot of moneys saved up because now I can bring them to Rory’s games and buy a lot of hot dogs!” BLESS. Girl knows what she wants.

You’ll be delighted to know that the sleep trend has continued to go well. It has been a month since we put their beds in the same room and only two nights has a kid woken up. DO YOU EVEN UNDERSTAND THIS?! People. I feel like a new woman.

Rory has been sleeping with her sleeping mask every night. Maybe this is the key to sleep? All these years and all I needed was to put a mask on her?!

IMG_5373

And we all know that Ryder loves food and sleep more than anyone in the world. She actually told me yesterday, “Mama, I love Jesus, food, and sleep. I love Jesus the most but I can’t decide between food and sleep!” She is the most southern 4 year old on planet earth. I don’t know about you, but I sure wish I slept as awesome as Ryder does.IMG_6301

I can’t believe we are getting sleep, loosing teeth, and starting “real” sports. Life is good, y’all.

February 29, 2016
by Tiffany
1 Comment

the new {shared} big girl room

As soon as the girls left for school this morning I started working on their new room to get it finished up today! It has been two and a half weeks since the shared room process started and I was more than ready to finally get it together!

This is what it looked like when they left (and what it looked like two nights ago when we put the beds together!)- the rest of the room was a disaster of CRAP EVERYWHERE: 
12801345_10102094556958126_8543880645796172609_n

Can you tell they were excited about their new beds?!

And here is their finished shared big girl bedroom!

biggirlroom2

biggirlroom1

biggirlroom4

biggirlroom5

biggirlroom6

biggirlroom7

biggirlroom8

IMG_5656

I got their reaction on video too! After I turned it off Rory hugged me and told me she just loved it so much! There is absolutely NOTHING better than making my home pretty for my girls. I can’t wait for all the fun they will have in their new room!

Bedding: Target

Monkey’s Sign: Hobby Lobby

Unicorn Head: Target

Beds: Walmart

 

February 17, 2016
by Tiffany
1 Comment

parties galore!

I feel like I am currently nursing a party/candy hangover right now and I can’t quite get out of it.

Probably because there is still a million pieces of candy floating around our house.

Basically we had Rory’s actual birthday, Valentine’s Day Party, Valentine’s Day and then two days off of school to be in a huge cloud of sugar and fun.

I want you to know that one of the greatest moments of motherhood happened to me the night before Valentine’s Day. My children did their Valentine’s ALL ON THEIR OWN. They wrote their friends’ names and sign their own. I just sat there and watched and cried in delight.

IMG_4927 IMG_4928

Last Friday, as you know, was Rory’s birthday. I had been telling her all week that it wasn’t going to snow on her birthday this year because there was 0% chance in the forecast and it was going to be too warm. It has snowed every year since her birth but this was the year it was going to skip over us. Well, don’t you know it stinkin’ snowed that morning! We woke up and went outside to load in the car for school and we were all giggling and jumping up and down because it is officially 6 years of snow for Rory’s birthday! Here is an excited picture of Rory, but you can’t see the snow.

IMG_4947 and it was also Valentine’s Party Day. It was a whirlwind of fun for the girls and for me! I went to Rory’s school first where they went to different rooms and did different things like have a tea party, played bingo, and made crafts. The tea party was my favorite part- they learned about manners and the boys pushed the chairs up for the girls. Rory said to me, “Mama, my husband better do this on my wedding day!” and I laughed so hard. YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT, SISTER.IMG_4954IMG_5006 IMG_5012 IMG_4979 IMG_5073 IMG_5017 IMG_5105

After Rory’s party I rushed over to Ryder’s school party. I think Miss Janice, Ryder’s amazing teacher, has the funniest bunch of kids this year. They are all so hilarious and have big personalities. I cannot possibly say enough about Miss Janice. She is, hands down, the best preschool teacher on the entire planet. I KID YOU NOT. She is fun and she loves those kids like they are her own. I never ever worry for a second that Ryder isn’t having the best day ever with her because she is just so good to all the kids. We adore her and this preschool. This is the last year the preschool will have a school and I don’t know anyone who has put their kids in school here that isn’t TORN UP over it. I cannot tell you how this school has changed our lives for the better. Ryder cannot wait to go every single day.

The kids ate some party food and then they sang songs and danced. It was the cutest thing, ever. Ryder got the giggles so bad I was afraid she was going to wet her pants.

I may or may not have cried during prayer time. Is this not the cutest thing you have ever seen?!
IMG_5029 IMG_5035 IMG_5046 IMG_5060

One of the things I love most about my time being a stay-at-home mom right now is getting to go to all the parties and volunteer at their schools. I just love these stinkers of mine so much.

IMG_5071

Friday night was date night at our church and I didn’t think we would go because it was Rory’s birthday but both girls insisted they wanted to go so we didn’t argue. Andy and I went to Lowe’s and to a movie which is my idea of the perfect date. (Saw Deadpool. Please do not take your children/teenagers to see this. It is BAD. Look up reviews. We felt guilty for staying!) Andy and I haven’t been on a real date in a few months so it was so nice to get some time alone. Even after 13 Valentine’s Days together, I still love holding his hand at the movies. 😉

IMG_5117

For the past few days we have been having a lot of girl time fun. I’m going to be honest right now and tell you I kind of was dreading the days off from school because sometimes they can be long and draining. But, much to my surprise, we have had the absolute best time. I mean, I was sad having to wake them up early for school this morning! (Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying some alone time this morning!)

First, you should know that I decided to change things up a bit with the girls’ room. They have been begging me to share a room for a while, so we decided to go ahead and see how it would go. I sold their beds to get some new, girly white beds that matched because they never did well with bunk beds. (Mainly because I was always nervous they would somehow hang themselves off of them or fall.) So, in the meantime, we put their mattresses on the floor next to each other until their beds came in.

Y’all.

These children have slept harder than ever in their entire lives. Because there was no school, they would go to sleep about 9 and then they have both slept the entire night. Rory has slept 9-7:30/45 and Ryder 9-8:30 or later.

THIS IS ME DOING ALL THE SHOCKED FACES OF LIFE.

I told Andy I wasn’t sure I would be buying any beds. Because clearly this floor mattress thing is working out AMAZINGLY. Rory said she has woken up each night, but saw Ryder was next to her and just rolled over and went back to sleep. HOW PRECIOUS IS THAT?!

So yeah. Floor mattresses for life.

IMG_5146

Rory got tons of fun things for her birthday that she likes to call “projects” so we have also worked on that! Yesterday she got to spend her $50 gift card at Walmart too, which was the highlight of her life I’m pretty sure. Swiping the gift card on the card machine about did her in.

IMG_5264 IMG_5269We made lipglosses first which was so fun.

IMG_5232

Then we made brownies. Not for the faint of heart because they were gross, but I ate one anyway to please my children because I am mother of the year, of course.

IMG_5278 IMG_5279Also, please see the sign Rory made. “Welcome to Rory’s shop. You are delighted to Rory’s shop!” HAHA! Her making that sign about made my life, y’all.IMG_5277

You will also be delighted to know that the heat guy is here currently and after a month and a half of no eat in the winter- WE SHOULD HAVE HEAT TODAY. It has been crazy. Andy has had THE WORDS with the warranty people. You know if Andy blows up, things are bad.

I’m also clearly wife of the year because talking to me on the skype is so enjoyable it puts you right to sleep five minutes in.

IMG_5273

Bless it.

Happy Wednesday!

PS: Rory wanted to get my fuzzy dice for my van with her birthday money. I plan to surprise her with that soon. To be continued…

PPS: Ryder went the entire day with no pants on the other day and told me, “Mama, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could do life without pants?” That pretty much sums up Ryder right there.

 

February 12, 2016
by Tiffany
0 comments

a letter to Rory on her 6th birthday.

Dear Rory,

Just writing the introduction came with painful, but happy, prickling tears to my eyes. I cannot believe another year has gone by and that you are now 6. I don’t know why 6 seems so much bigger but it just does. You now have to use two hands to show your age instead of just one chubby toddler hand. It is just so overwhelming to your mom to know that you are already 1/3rd of the way done being in my home if you leave for college at 18. The thought is just too much to bear!Rory6Bday4

I honestly don’t even know where to begin this year with your letter because I just have so many things to say, but all seem so inadequate to describe how my love has grown even more for you this year, just like every year and every day that I have had with you.

One of my very favorite things about you is how confident you are. You have such a sense of style and confidence that is far beyond your years. This is what I pray the most never leaves you. I want you to always strut like you are on a runway no matter where you are like you do now. I am always fascinated by your confidence, because it something I have never had as much of and I am eternally grateful that is one of the things you didn’t get from me. Having a confidence like yours is such a beautiful thing and I will continue to pray that you never lose that.Rory6Bday1

You are still so insanely obsessed with fashion and dresses and tutus and I absolutely love that it hasn’t left you yet. In fact, our biggest and fiercest means of punishment for you at this age is to make you wear jeans to school. It is sheer torture for you. Your dad and I have laughed and laughed over this because it is just so typical “Rory” to have a punishment as easy as just making you wear jeans to get you to straighten up and try harder. All these years we have tried so many things and all we had to do is whip out some denim. WHO KNEW?!

You used to have a very shabby/homeless chic to your dress but the older you get the more it all just comes together into a perfectly mismatched ensemble. You still tell me that you want to be a “fashion engineer” when you grow up and I think that title suites you perfectly. Your daddy and I watch you all the time and say we can see you living in NYC one day having your clothing line on all the runways and in all the stores.

The thing you got from your dad the very most, as I’ve said a thousand times before, is your amazingly sharp mind. I watch you in wonder all the time at how your brain works and how I can physically see you thinking each and every step out. You can tell me how anything works within minutes of studying it and you absolutely love to take things apart and put them back together. The other day you actually said to me, “Mom, my new favorite word is equalization.” I mean, how do you even know what that word is? The scariest part is you went on to explain what it meant. Clearly it was already over my head. Your mama writes the words and makes things pretty- you were born to change the world with your ability to figure things out so quickly. It is truly astounding to someone with a totally different brain.

You are obviously still hilarious and make us laugh every single day, but you aren’t the typical type of funny girl. Your sense of humor can sometimes be dry and unexpected. You come up with little quips that make us howl with laughter but you’ll just walk off like no big deal. Seeing this side of you develop has been so fun to me. You aren’t the class clown, like your little sister so clearly is, but you are still genuinely hysterical all the time. I think that also has a lot to do with your confidence- you are quietly confident in your ability to make others laugh. Another thing you got from your daddy.Rory6Bday3

There is nothing you do better than being a sister to Ryder. You are so encouraging to her when she needs it the most and your confidence makes her more confident. I can tell you that seeing you love on her and protect her and make her feel like she is the best thing in the world is probably the best thing a mom could ever witness. Sure, y’all fight and bicker too, but 99% of the time it just like having a life long slumber party with your best friend. Let me tell you something Rory, your sister loves you more than you could ever imagine. Ryder loves you so fiercely sometimes it is hard for her to be without you. I can’t wait to see you back at the same school together next year because I know that will help Ryder be so much more confident knowing you are just down the hall.

Lately I have noticed a very sensitive side come out of you. You are profoundly affected by words and I have had to do a lot of holding back and showing grace towards you this year because of it. This is a lesson I am so thankful you have taught me. When you hear a word of encouragement your face physically lights up and you become a kid who cannot be stopped. I pray that I never quench that, but when I do that I am quick to apologize for using a sharp tongue. I want you to know that it is okay to be sensitive, goodness knows your mama is, but to make sure that you don’t let the wrong people steal your joy. It is such a hard line to have to teeter on and I’ve fallen off so many times. I will always do my very best to be the person you know you can run to when you need encouragement. And I sure know that you are my person because you are such a wonderful encourager to me.

This year you have learned so much in Kindergarten and you are thriving, baby. It is absolutely incredible to see you reading with confidence and writing. Watching you learn these things has been one of my favorite things I have ever done as a parent. Seeing your nose in a book, reading to yourself at night in bed has been amazing.

Speaking of bed…. you aren’t hating sleep these days. That is all I will say. Probably already said too much and jinxed it.

You are so astonishingly beautiful to me, Rory. From your perfect brown eyes that have taken in the entire world since the first moment you took a breath, to your sweet button nose and your perfect lips…. I just cannot ever get over how beautiful you are. How absolutely perfect you are. You got the very best features from me and your father and it made the most gorgeous little girl in all the world. Watching your eyes light up with wonder or laughter is sometimes too much for me to even see without crying from joy. I think my favorite thing about you, though, is your right eyebrow. There is so much expression in that one brow and it gives me the giggles every day because you sure do know how to work it. Rory6Bday2

The best part about this year is seeing your knowledge for Christ grow. Your dad and I have had long, deep talks with you about salvation and heaven and even hell. We can see your brain working and trying to take it all in. I love that you think about it in such a calculated way and take it very seriously. You ask HARD questions and sometimes I have a hard time answering things because I don’t want it to be too much too soon and scare you in either direction. God is moving in your heart right before our eyes and it is by far the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed.

You are a lover of things that are beautiful, you are sensitive and are moved to tears by things like cards or sunsets or kind words. You are a thinker and a problem solver.

You are absolutely just the best 6 year old in the entire world.Rory6Bday5

There is no one on this earth that loves you more than your Momma, Rory. I promise to always fight for you, always pray for you and with you about anything, always try to have the right answers or guide you toward them, and to always let you know when I am wrong and ask for forgiveness. I cannot promise to be the perfect mother, but I will promise to encourage you and to love you for the rest of time.

Love you to Heaven and back my sweet Rory,

Momma

6thbirthdays

 

February 11, 2016
by Tiffany
1 Comment

Rory’s Fashion Show Birthday Party

Rory and I brainstormed what kind of party she wanted to have for a few weeks and we finally decided that a Fashion Show Party would be the best party EVER for her. She told me it was the best and I certainly hope it was and that she and her friends had a fantastic time!

Unfortunately I forgot to designate someone to take pictures and so all of my pictures are subpar phone pictures. BUT they will have to do!

Originally I had planned to have all these games and yada yada then I decided to scratch that and just let them eat, have makeovers, walk the runway/dance, and play. It certainly seemed like they had a wonderful time even without every second planned out! I couldn’t believe how relaxed I was, but I think it was just so beautiful to see my girl with her friends having a blast. The cherry on my own personal sundae was that Andy and I had great friends there too that loved on her so much.

Most of the decorations I made myself and they were minimalist but cute!

I made my own invitations this year and did it VERY last minute so I think they looked pretty good considering! (hearts weren’t there, not putting all my info out for the internets!)rorys6inviteBlog

I found this chalkboard in the dollar aisle at Target and I have used it so much! It was perfect to welcome our friends to the party!IMG_4583I also made this tassle garland from tissue paper – found directions here! It was so easy and I think I’ll keep it up through Valentine’s and maybe longer!
IMG_4579

This “Happy Birthday” banner I found at Michael’s without any writing on it! It was $2.50 and I just lettered it with some micron hand lettering pens I already had!IMG_4581Laid out on the table were all the accessories- crowns (similar, mine were cheaper but not online), lipglosses (similar), boas, rings, and necklaces! I linked all of them so you can find them- they were all super cheap and the perfect thing for the “goody bag” to send home!
IMG_4578

Cupcake Station! I got our cupcakes from Walmart and they were so cute! Little dresses! The paper balls came from Target. IMG_4651 IMG_4594

Two days before the party I was cleaning up Ryder’s Barbies with her and getting them dressed when I thought- HOW CUTE would these dresses be hanging up like a garland?! So I got some pink string and hung some dresses to *try* to hide all the unsightly electronics in our family room.  IMG_4587 We hung some “foil curtains” I got from Amazon and by the time the party started 90% had been torn off. These weren’t well made (SUPER THIN- this pictures shows two layered on top of each other…) and I should have just made this myself out of something. Oh well, I’ll remember from next time! It was cute for a minute though!IMG_4585 Of course we had to have a runway! This was Rory’s favorite part and it is now in her room perfectly laid in front of her mirror and I can assure you EVERY SINGLE DAY is a fashion show up in there. IMG_4588All the Princess dresses waiting to be worn…
IMG_4592

Because it was a night party we ate first because most kids cannot hang without food past 6 o’clock, am I right?! We had $5 pizzas and chips and a fruit tray. Simple. Exactly how I wanted it. Ha!

After dinner the girls had a little makeover! I got so tickled because almost all of them wanted the brightest blue in the ginormous eyeshadow pallet. I got the ELF pallet from TJ Maxx for $3!  (And this is the only picture I have of the makeovers….)12705288_10208985786228809_1100873214966573893_n

So my original plan was to play songs over our surround sound and let them walk the runway several times. WELL. They walked the runway so fast I didn’t even get a picture and then they just had a big ol’ “Shake It Off” dance party! Also, my phone wouldn’t connect with the system and all of that was a disaster. They still had a blast dancing! Andy set his phone up to record them on the tv so they got to watch themselves dance and walk the runway. It was a total hit! #nerddadsforthewin

IMG_4684 IMG_4660 IMG_4659 IMG_4657

Then it was time for cupcakes!

HOW CAN SHE BE BLOWING OUT A #6 CANDLE?!

IMG_4742The most precious, stinkerish princesses in all the land 😉IMG_4732

Rory opened her present and she was so cute. She took such great time and effort into looking at all the cards and every detail of the gift. She told me later that she was sorry she didn’t seem more excited at times but she was holding back tears because she was so happy that people came and would buy her gifts.

AND THEN I CRIED LIKE A BABY BECAUSE OH MY GOODNESS SHE IS PRECIOUS.

IMG_4722 IMG_4720

In case you were wondering, Rory is wearing a “wedding dress” that her aunt Ashley wore in a wedding as a flower girl when she was little. Rory literally wears this dress every second of every day that she can. Not even kidding, that dress being given to her is the highlight of her life so far. hehe! Thank you Gigi and Ashley!

IMG_4620 IMG_4638

Oh, Rory, I cannot believe you will be six years old tomorrow! I’m so thankful for you and your fun self! I hope this Fashion Party was a night you will always remember!

January 19, 2016
by Tiffany
5 Comments

my miscarriage story

I have gone back and forth and debated with myself about whether or not I should share this or not since the moment I learned we were miscarrying. After sharing on facebook, I received so many messages from friends saying they were so glad I shared and that they, too, had been through this before. The saddest part about miscarriages is that they seem so shameful and you never hear about them. So, I decided after hearing from so many that I would go ahead and share my story so others could relate and have somewhere they could come to and say, “this happened to me too.” I guess my wish is that someone out there feels a little less lonely after reading my story.

Obviously, this is deeply personal and although I have shared so many things with you that most would not because I truly have a heart that craves transparency in life, this is a stretch for me. I could write this and skim the surface but if I want someone to feel less lonely that won’t help. So I am going to try and be as transparent and open my heart which is truly terrifying to me because the grief is so tangible still. This won’t be an eloquently written essay, it will be a timeline of sorts and just my story and what happened to me. So bear with me, please.

Over Christmas break I was incredibly nauseous and sore in places that early pregnancy brings on. I honestly did not think I was pregnant but the symptoms continued for a week. Finally, on December 29th I took a pregnancy test. I literally peed on the stick and turned it over to put the cap on and it already had a BRIGHT positive line. I’ve had two other babies and neither pregnancies did that. There was a waiting time. This time, immediate.

Because I am a crazy person and one test was not enough- I mean, WHAT IF IT WAS DEFECTIVE?!- I drove myself and the girls to the nearest Dollar General and bought another test. I would have bought 20 tests but I had to ask the 15 year old boy behind the counter for the test and it was painfully awkward. Basically, I was a big ol’ redneck with my kids and my Dollar General pregnancy test. I had shoes on though so I didn’t totally go white trash.

I took the test as soon as I got home. Immediately positive.

I was hysterical in the best way you can imagine. I was crying and laughing and giggling and panicking and laughing some more. I cannot possibly describe to you the smile on my face. It was a true Christmas miracle. The girls both had been praying for a baby for Christmas. I’ve never once discussed us having another baby with them, but they have asked every day for so long when they can have a baby in the house. When talking about what we wanted for Christmas Ryder said, “I know what Mommy wants! She wants God to give her a baby!” Seriously y’all, never discussed it with them.

I put the two tests in a little Christmas tin and wrapped them up with tissue paper to surprise Andy.IMG_2538

When he got home I told him I had forgotten about a present and let him open it up. He was shocked and giddy. I know y’all don’t believe me but seriously, Andrew was giddy. I got it on video and will treasure it forever.

Andy and I talked and said, “can you believe we are having another baby?!” two million times over the next week. We discussed names and how we would tell Rory and Ryder the news. We downright giggled at the thought of getting to tell the girls.

On Sunday night, Jan 3rd, I went to the bathroom and was spotting. I did freak out because the reality of “oh yeah, people sometimes miscarry” hit me like a brick. But, I bled with both girls so I didn’t panic completely. On Monday morning I went to the doctor. My hCG counts were great. The ultrasound didn’t show much because it was too early but everything looked completely normal for how far along I was. On top of all of that, I stopped bleeding.

I went back Wednesday for more blood work. From Monday to Wednesday the hCG levels would double or more to indicate a normal pregnancy.

Friday morning, January 8th, I got the call. “I’m so sorry but your numbers didn’t go up enough. You are having a miscarriage.”

I sat in the chair completely paralyzed for a good 30 minutes. I sobbed deep sobs you can only do when you are completely alone. The hardest thing I had to do was call Andy and tell him. I knew he would be heartbroken too and I didn’t want to be the bearer of such sad news.

In just one phone call life went from planning to ending. It was such an abrupt halt to happiness.

I drove to the doctor’s office that afternoon and I honestly don’t even know how I made it. It is all such a blur. The only thing I remember was turning on the radio for some noise and this song came on. You’ll never convince me that it wasn’t on at that time for me. I so desperately needed to hear the words- “Whatever may come, His strength is enough… my heart is at peace for greater is He…”

At the doctor they confirmed the miscarriage diagnosis. I cried some more and they were so sweet and comforting. They told me I would start to really bleed and cramp over the weekend. Andy called his parents and met them with the girls so I could spend the weekend in bed because we knew there would  be a lot of pain, emotionally and physically, that I didn’t want them to see.

Over the course of the weekend I cramped and bled exactly zero amount. Absolutely nothing happened. I did, however, cry a lot and sleep a lot. It was so nice for me to get to do that without having to worry about the girls.

On Monday I went back in to see my regular doctor since he wasn’t in on Friday. He once again checked and confirmed the miscarriage. I once again sobbed. We discussed my options and both decided a D&C was the best option for me. I scheduled it for that Friday to give time for it to be able to happen naturally that week as a possibility. Cried all the way home.

During this time I’m having to get blood work done and every time my hCG was still high but not doubling. It did such a number on my mental state because I kept wanting them to be wrong since the pregnancy hormone was so high. Maybe they missed something. I am so incredibly pro-life so it messed with my mind pretty badly. The entire week was a blur of doctor appointments and going about life as normal. Absolutely nothing happened “naturally” as we had hoped.

Friday morning we got up early and drove to the hospital in Chattanooga. Andy and I didn’t really talk. We were tired and sad. I didn’t cry the entire way there, which is a surprise. I felt like I had a better grip on things. I was so ready to move on and get this over with.

Once back in the surgery prep area/room things started to sink in.

I shed a few tears but thanks to a dose of Valium in my IV, I was okay. My doctor came and talked me through surgery stuff and then he grabbed my hand and prayed for me. I cried like a baby.

I was rolled to the operating room and once on the table something clicked with me. This was it.

This precious life that I celebrated so much was over and was about to be gone forever. 

For some reason it took a little longer than normal for the anesthesiologist to get in and put me under (like two extra minutes at most). The mixture of medicines combined with me laying on that table alone while people rushed around me made something snap. Reality set in and hit me hard. I started to sob and I couldn’t wipe my tears so I could hear them falling on the table. A nurse saw me and rushed over. She held my hand and wiped my tears for me. I apologized a thousand times and another nurse came on the other side. They both wiped and wiped as I continued to sob. I started hearing scripture in one ear from a nurse, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted…” and on and on it went. In the other ear I heard sweet prayers of comfort. I continued to sob pretty hysterically (if I’m being honest) until the anesthesiologist rushed in and quickly put me under. It was absolutely humiliating and lonely, but through that terrible feeling God showed up through those nurses and their faith. I remember thinking, “God, make me brave enough to do this for a friend or stranger. To be unashamed to whisper scripture and prayers in their ears.” I cannot possibly tell you how much that meant to me to hear that when I truly needed it the most.

I woke up from the surgery still crying. Apparently the tears never stopped. I’m blaming the medicine. When I woke up another sweet nurse rushed over. She said, “oh honey, I’ve been watching you cry in your sleep, are you ok?”…. I said, “I just need you to tell me I didn’t fart today in the surgery.” She howled with laughter and said that was absolutely NOT what she expected me to say. I fell back asleep with a smile on my face. When I woke up again the doctor was there. My pregnancy was confirmed to be ectopic. That meant the struggle wasn’t over yet. I cried a tiny bit more and dramatically said, “THIS WILL NEVER END.”

I was given a giant shot to help shrink the pregnancy out of the tubes. If it doesn’t work they will have to do another surgery to remove it. BUT I am praying strongly and with belief that I won’t have a need for another procedure. I’m still having to go in three times this week to check numbers. So this truly hasn’t ended yet. But it will soon and the hardest part is over.

This is what I can say about a miscarriage.

It is a club you do not want to join. I took great comfort in so many contacting me with their stories and encouragement. But I did not want to be in this club.

It is by far the loneliest experience of my life. I cannot tell you how alone I have felt through all of this. It isn’t anyone’s fault or anything that happened to make me feel alone, it just is so gut-wrenchingly lonely.  Every single thing that happened made me feel that much more alone.

But.

God was so clearly with me each step of the way. I have been prayed for and prayed over. I have had friends from far and wide coming to me with their stories and encouragement.

Miscarriage is a very dark place, but God’s light has shown through so much. I don’t know what I would do without the hope I have in my faith. This has been hard enough with my faith.

God truly is close to the brokenhearted, He has proven that to be true so many times in my life.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18