maybe sometimes we need to lose it.

Do you ever have about a million things hit you at the same time that are just so discouraging and ugly and seem hopeless? Do you ever feel so beaten down you just want to beat someone back? Do you ever just crack under it all and lose your shiii cool?

That is where I’ve been this week.

I’ve lost my cool. Too many times.

In fact, I’m going to be really honest with y’all. (Like I ever have a problem with honesty here?! ha)

But things got ugly.

I had enough of bad attitudes, disrespectful mouths, and the absolute carelessness of others and I LOST IT IN FRONT OF EVERYONE.

I have never lost my cool and yelled like that in front of the girls. Ever. I mean I LOST IT. It didn’t last long but it was like a mighty storm that comes in and shakes the entire house.

My family knew that Mama was D.O.N.E.

My immediate reaction was one of severe guilt. I’m talking severe, y’all. I was shaking from guilt and feeling like the worst mom on the planet. I immediately grabbed the girls and wrapped them in my arms and begged their forgiveness. I prayed whiled holding them that God would forgive my outburst and to help me handle things better. I prayed that loud and clear so the girls could hear.

We all sat there and loved on each other.

Immediately after the guilt was washed away and I saw the girls faces I realized that maybe this was the best thing I had done in a while for myself and for my family.

I know, I know. This is so not what we are used to reading on mom blogs. We are used to people telling us that we need to be quiet and selfless at all times. We are told to never have an outburst.

While I think that can be good advice, I also think that if we don’t have the very rare outburst when we aren’t being treated the right way or the kids are deliberately disobeying, our children won’t ever know its okay to say,” ENOUGH.”

I want Rory and Ryder to always feel like they can say “enough”. If they are in bad relationships of ANY kind, I want them to be bold enough and strong enough to say, “I WILL NOT TAKE THIS ANY LONGER.” I tell them all the time that if someone is being mean to them at school they need to say, “I do not want you to do/say that to me anymore.” I teach them to be kind always, but to also stand up for themselves.

So if we, as mothers, are constantly being selfless and letting our kids see us never say, “I HAVE HAD ENOUGH,” then how are they going to learn by my actions the very things we have taught them?

Not to mention that they are my children and SHOULD NOT be acting that way. What I say goes. PERIOD. I shouldn’t be dealing with arguing and disrespect.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am certainly hoping I never have to lose my cool again. But so what if I do?

Since my outburst and declaration of ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, my girls have been so much more caring. It has done a complete turn around. They are not running around trembling and scared that mom is going to have another outburst AT ALL. They have just realized that I’m not taking the behavior anymore. Rory hasn’t been pushing every limit and Ryder hasn’t been saying, “no,” to my every word.

Today they ran to me and told me they missed me after just one night away with grandparents. On the way home from the park they both talked to me and sang with me and we haven’t done that in forever. Weeks, y’all. Its been several weeks since the bad attitudes have been around.

Today Rory drew a picture for me and told me she was sorry because she knew she wasn’t being nice to me lately. Not in a scared way, but in a way that made me know she truly understood she had been acting not-so-good.

So moms, if you have the occasional outburst of “ENOUGH”, don’t beat yourself up over it.

The key is to apologize for the outburst and to explain why it happened.  Never call names or say things that tear anyone down. All you need to say is, “I have had enough.”

We need to start sticking up for ourselves in a way that is loving. “I love you too much to let you treat me this way.” We would want our kids to do the same for themselves, wouldn’t we?

I just love all of you mom friends so much. After a long winter indoors we are all weary and ready for the sun to shine through into our kids’ hearts and attitudes. I want to encourage you to say “enough” when you need to and to love your people hard through it.

Sometimes you just need to lose your cool in order to get their attention and in order to show them you love them too much to let them continue on with their poor behavior.

And then remember that every moment is a new one, so move past the outburst and show them grace and how attitude is truly everything.

Love you mom friends. Hope this encouraged you today.



the great home and kindergarten search of 2015

Last week was one of those crazy busy weeks that involved so many big decisions it was hard to keep up with “normal” life things. Like laundry. Which I can attest to since Andy and I put up approximately 347 loads of laundry yesterday.

On Monday we embarked on The Great Home Search of 2015 with much anticipation and joy. We saw A LOT of homes the very first night.

I hated very single one.

Okay, maybe that isn’t true. There were two I liked alright, but I will say I was so discouraged that I thought for one second just maybe we should wait longer to buy a home.

And considering the lady/elephant that lives above me hasn’t slept in DAYS and stomps around AT ALL HOURS OF THE DAY AND NIGHT,  you must know just how discouraged I must have been to live like this any longer by choice.

(I am currently writing this at 4:46am because her alarm went off at 4:18 and she has been stomping around ever since. Hilarious note about the situation: Rory has taken it upon herself to yell randomly in the night when the situation gets out of hand…. it goes something like this, “HEY LADY GO TO BED ALREADY!” Not even kidding.)

(One more hilarious murderous note: One night this week I got the kids to bed earlyish and after went to the bathroom. I sat down on the toilet – tmi – and sighed a huge sigh of satisfaction that the day was done and relished in my moment of quiet and aloneness in the bathroom for the first time the entire day. AND THEN NEIGHBOR LADY PROCEEDED TO TAKE THE MOST GIANT, LOUD DUMP OF LIFE and I thought…. I AM TRULY NEVER ALONE IN THE BATHROOM EVER. You’re welcome for that.)

Luckily we have the best realtor on earth and on Wednesday my spirits perked up 40000% after seeing a lot more homes that day.

In fact, Andy and I saw three that we were totally in love with and had finally narrowed it down to one semi fixer upper in a neighborhood we adore that is close to their work.

We had 3 more homes on Thursday to see but had no hopes of them measuring up to the ones we had seen the day before. But Andy had found a for sale by owner house online in our favorite neighborhood and really wanted to see it.

We all walked into the home with zero expectations and each room we walked into felt more like home than the last. Before we even made it upstairs I was in tears and saying, “Andy I think this is the one.”


The home is two stories/split level and has just the exact amount of room, character, and charm we wanted. It also has a kitchen that isn’t my favorite so I am looking forward to having one room in the house to redo eventually.

We are officially under contract and as long as everything with the home inspection, etc, goes smoothly we should be in our new home by summer.

As if finding a home wasn’t enough for one week, it was also the week of “Kindergarten Rocks” which is an open house at all elementary schools in the county. I’ve been hearing amazing things about one school that is near our new neighborhood and it has great scores so we went and checked it out. I was so impressed by the school and how well organized the open house was. Rory was GIDDY to be there checking out Kindergarten. So that night we officially registered her for Kindergarten and I immediately needed someone to hold me and rock gently as I sobbed.

I will say this though- Rory is ready. She be-bopped around the school with me and I was just in awe at how big she was. I can’t wait to see her thrive in school which, like her daddy, is HER THING. She is a learner and loves every second of learning a new thing.IMG_3864

I’m praying every single day that she makes wonderful friends who are kind to her and to others. I’m praying that she will always love on those who need it the most in her class. I’m praying that God will choose the exact teacher she needs to challenge her, encourage her to be herself, and reign her in when she needs to be without crushing her spirit.


Oh, Rory girl, I know you are so ready but Momma is wanting it to take a little longer for August to get here.

This week is spring break for the girls and we have lots of fun planned! Tomorrow I will post about our hiking trip this weekend – we are hoping spring is here to stay so we can go on these free adventures all the time!


babies, weddings, mudding, and butts. (what more you could ask for?!)

I have been gone from the internet world (more on that in another post) for two weeks and I now feel like I have SO MUCH to catch you up on. Let’s dive right in, okay?

First, I feel like I should update you on the state of my hair after Dave made it skanky two weeks ago.

After I posted that skank hair photo I had several people screen shot it and use it against me and HELLO I WILL GET YOU BACK BECAUSE I AM THE QUEEN OF PAYBACKS. Just needed to put that out there.

I am sad to say that it got worse before it got better because I dyed it darker and then it faded to a weird green/grey color that doesn’t look good on anyone. So I booked myself an appointment at a salon (got a groupon which is sorta Dave friendly) and finally fixed my hair.


Thursday night we headed towards West TN.

And let me just say…. I’m continuing to be completely blown away by the amount of use we get out of the potty in the car.

IMG_3499Friday I spent some of the day with my coworkers at my old job in Savannah. We laughed until we cried/about peed our pants and oh, it was so good to my soul. The people I worked with are some of my favorite people on earth and I miss them every single day. After my time at the office, I dropped by two of my friends’ place of work to say hi and surprise them. I wasn’t there long at either but just wanted to say hi to Jennifer and congrats to Haley who is expecting her second baby!


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As we were on our way towards Andy’s parents we got word that Ashley (Andy’s sister) had her babies.

Unfortunately, Ashley has had a very hard time and the entire experience was extremely traumatic. It isn’t my story to tell, so I won’t give details here, but please be praying for her- this is the hardest thing she has ever been through and it continues to be hard.

I will say that I am just so proud of her and of her husband Drew who has taken such great care of Ashley during all of this.

The babies were born at 33 weeks, but are doing well. As with all preemies, there are always hurdles and obstacles but we are confident that God is going to work miracles in their lives as he has already done! Please continue to pray for them and that the girls and Ashley continue to heal and recover and can be reunited at home soon.

Andy and I got to see these precious girls Saturday morning and I tried so hard to hold it together but cried the entire time because I CAN’T HELP IT. We have already prayed so hard for these babies and for their lives before they were even conceived and continue to do so as they are in NICU getting stronger before they go home.

Zoe Nicole – 4lbs 12oz



Emma Nicole – 4 lbs 5 oz



After we left the hospital, Andy and I both cried in the car together. Seeing them hooked up in that little bed was so hard and seeing Ashley in rough shape was even harder. It brought back a flood of hard memories for us and our ordeal with Ryder. It also made us so thankful, once again, that miracles still happen and medicine has advanced so much to where we know these girls will be running around with our girls in no time.

Saturday night Andy and I got all dressed up and went to our friends Will and Catherine’s wedding.

IMG_3596It was so beautiful and sweet. Will graduated with Andy and I and it was so great to see him get married and how happy he was. We hope they have a lifetime of happiness and fun together. I think Catherine is a perfect fit for him and I just like her so much!

As a bonus, I got to see so many friends and teachers from our hometown and it was such a nice treat. My friend, Lauren, was the photographer and I can’t wait to see the pictures because I know they will be amazing.



Unfortunately, we got STUCK. As in the minivan. In the mud. At the wedding. It was AN ORDEAL. But it brought me full circle thinking of how Will, Will Sipes, Kyle, me, Josh, and I think a few other people crammed into my truck in HS at a basketball game and drove to a nearby field and went mudding. Because we were morons. And also because we were so much fun. It was one of those moments you just had to laugh your head off and think of how far you’ve come…. and how minivans and trucks are two totally different things.

Also, several people drove by and were all “OF COURSE IT IS YOU WHO IS STUCK IN THE MUD TIFFANY. THIS ONLY HAPPENS TO YOU.” We laughed until we cried over the whole ordeal.

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Now I would like to tell you a funny story about Ryder and her school shenanigans.

And when I say “funny” I mean LORD, HAVE MERCY.

Ryder’s class played the game where you sit in a circle and the teacher says a sentence and then you whisper it around the circle until the last person. Then the last person says what they heard and you see whether or not anyone told a lie or messed it up.

These kids are 3 so I’m not sure why they tried it.

The teacher says, “God loves you and so do I.”

That was the statement. Isn’t it precious?!


It gets to the last person and the little boy hesitated before he said what he heard… finally he said it-


The teachers eyes are wide and half the group start giggling…. but one little girl in particular was LAID OUT ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING.

You guessed it. Ryder.

Apparently she heard, “God loves you and so do I,” but decided to whisper in her neighbor’s ear, “butt.”

Because, why not?!

Lord, have mercy. Seriously. HAVE MERCY. Why, WHY, WHYYYY?! I have no words. NO WORDS. I wish I would’ve been shocked by this story. But of course I’m not.


Happy Monday! Please make sure you “like” The Harris Life on Facebook to get the blog posts on your news feed!


the worst kind of diy (alternate title: this is all dave ramsey’s fault)

As some of you might have noticed (meaning, my mother), I took an unexpected break from blogging this week.

I kind of snapped and haven’t been in the frame of mind to blog.

Which means I should’ve known I also wasn’t in the frame of mind to do a DIY dye job on my hair.

So instead of cleaning, blogging, resting, etc etc etc in the mornings while the girls were at school as I normally do, I was busy dying my hair like a mad woman.

Let us start from the beginning.

I have been dying my own hair red to touch it up for 6+ months. It has gone wonderfully and there have been no mess ups.

The last time I got my hair done by a pro I HATED the color red she did and wore a hat until I could tone it down.


Oh, I kid, I kid. But it was a whopping $150 for a trim and bad dye job. OH AND SHE DIDN’T EVEN DRY MY HAIR AT THE END. Let’s just say it wasn’t the best experience.

Andy almost died from a heart attack when I told him how much it was. And it was uber shameful to have to tell him I hated the color. (He hated it too.)

That is when I started doing my own hair.

Well Andy was “over” the red and it was so hard to maintain the roots. So I decided to DIY a new color.

So I chose a brown color and dyed it and EW it was mousy and dull and terrible.

So I headed back to the drug store and saw an ombre kit and thought, “YES! This is what I need! I will just lighten the bottom of my hair and it’ll give it dimension and be cute!”

Bless my heart.

(This is where I warn you that there are a lot of horrifying pictures coming of my hair and my no makeup face. You have been warned.)

So I did the ombre and came up with this which actually wasn’t so bad.



Except Andy saw me and had “Chloe face” and was clearly not thrilled with it. So I decided to just lighten the very bottom a little more and it would all work out.









I immediately started texting Telena to get her to help a sister out seeing as she’s a professional hair person. She calmed me down a bit.




I replied with this pic:





(I don’t believe Telena ever told me to lighten it more- I think I was on the crazy drugs and made this up.)

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So. As you can see, I was having THE ISSUES.

I hung my head in shame with a baseball cap on and entered Walmart to buy some color with the help of Telena on the phone.

You know you’ve hit a hair dye low when you are shopping hair dye with this one:

IMG_3177Bet you $100 her husband put her on a budget too.

Well. I WOULD bet $100 except its not in the budget to do so.

I consulted Telena when purchasing the new color. Here goes nothing…..



End result.




So here is my Personal Service Announcement:


At least my momma loves me no matter what I look like…. RIGHT MOM?!



February Ipsy Glam Bag 2015 (and notes on my psychological state)

I’m just going to let y’all know that the events of the last 18 hours have BLOWN MY DANG MIND.

The dress. THAT DANG DRESS. I cannot understand how it is black and blue in that picture. I CANNOT UNDERSTAND.

While I was DEEP into discussion and disbelief over that dang dress, I was watching How To Get Away With Murder ….. ……. ……. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but OH MY GOSH I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!!!! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

And then Rory woke up and got dressed for school this morning and when I saw her I nearly fainted. She had on sweat pants, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. SWEAT PANTS AND TENNIS SHOES. The child hasn’t ever worn sweat pants and for about 6 months has REFUSED to wear anything but cowgirl boots.

I’m telling you.

EVERYTHING IS NOW IN QUESTION. My psychological state is in need of help right now.

One thing NOT in question though? I still love my Ipsy Bag.


Did you like that transition? I’ll be here all day.

A whole lot of people have been canceling and hating on Ipsy and OF COURSE I did too back with the December Bag.

But I’ve had two good bags in a row and have forgiven them for the hand creams.

Of course, I recorded a video reviewing the bag AND NOW THERE IS PROOF THAT IS WHAT I WAS RECORDING. Hope you enjoy!

IPSY GLAM BAG is a $10 a month subscription of beauty products –

Cargo Cosmetics Mini Lip Gloss in Anguilla

Hey Honey – Take It Off! Exfoliating Honey Peel Off Mask

Rob Scheppy for ‘Tini Beauty Eyeshadow in Pearl Fizz

Mitchell and Peach Fine Radiance Face Oil

ModelCo BLUSH Cheek Powder in Peach Bellini

 Happy Weekend!

humiliated and snow days.

Mother, father… if you are reading this you may want to just skip over until you see snow pictures.

So yesterday I filmed my Ipsy Bag review and then had to run out to meet Andy for lunch.

After we got home there was a knock on my door from the maintenance people. They needed to check the windows and spray for bugs.

I let them in and followed them into our room because I needed to make sure there was no underwear lying around anywhere.

I noticed their eyebrows going to the ceiling and caught them glancing at each other like… WHAT DID WE JUST WALK IN ON?!


Then it hit me….


and I’m not talking about the G rated kind…..

I scrambled to find words to explain that I was filming a review….. it just seemed like I was lying. I WAS SO HUMILIATED I COULD HAVE DUG A HOLE AND DIED IN THERE.

You should have seen their faces. I know they are still laughing about it. Those perves.

Speaking of perve…. Andy and I watched this clip from our local news approximately 22 more times than necessary because of the accidental filming of the word “sex” they kept showing. WE ARE MIDDLE SCHOOLERS AND SO MATURE.




Last night it started snowing and it didn’t stop until this morning. The snow is GORGEOUS.


I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this type of snow before. Its not icy or wet which I’m used to coming from west TN. you can roll it and create the perfect snowmen easily. We have had the absolute best day playing in it. We have the hugest hill ever and we conquered it today. Andy was skeptical and thought it couldn’t be done. He hasn’t met me now has he?! Ha!

Unfortunately, I didn’t anticipate the speed at which I would fly down the hill. I barreled down that hill so fast I was seriously afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop before the drop off at the bottom. It was a successful day of sledding though if you accessed the damage. Rory busted her chin, Ryder has a huge scratch on her face, and I busted my lip and nose. All in a days fun, right?! We had a blast and wish Andy could have stayed home with us today!

He got up and went to work just after 7. It was hysterical watching him try to clean his truck off.



Here are some pictures from our day!

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Of course even though I told them 1290398232398 times to make sure to go potty before we got all our clothes on I had one little tootie who did not heed my warning.

So my choice was either climb several flights of stairs and get the entire apartment dirty …


Why not just use to potty in the car?! This has provided relief (har har) when we’ve needed it more times than I could’ve even hoped for.



Happy Snow Day!

moms at walmart and snow

Last week was a blur of sickness and appointments and yuck. Just wasn’t the best week we’ve ever had.

We did have a good streak though- a year with no fevers or illnesses. So I definitely feel mighty blessed about that.

Wednesday Ryder had her first dentist appointment. As a heart patient, she had to take antibiotics before and that was BRUTAL. Luckily that was by far the worst part because girlfriend LOVED the dentist. She was such a big girl and didn’t hesitate to let them do whatever they needed to do.

10384359_10101571604339366_8652238932542243569_nThursday night I went to dinner with a group of friends. It was so fun and yet bittersweet because my new friend, Vanessa, is moving. We are all so sad to see her go. (In fact, she was supposed to leave today but we woke up to snow so HA YOU CAN’T LEAVE.) After dinner we all went to Walmart and acted on high levels of silly while we were there.


On Friday night we did end up having a good snow and decided WHY NOT and played for a good fifteen minutes in it before bedtime.

Much to our relief we had some snow/ice left on Saturday morning so we find the best sled we could- a pool tube.

It worked like a charm and the girls had the best time sledding/tubing down some the very small hills at our apartment complex. (We live on the side of a hill/mountain/foothill WHAT DO YOU CALL IT? So we have some epic sledding hills that could happen if we got enough snow!)

I knew Rory would love it but wasn’t quite sure about Ryder. SHE LOVED IT. Until she got too cold. But for a good bit of time she had the time of her life.

The most important news is that Andy entered a chili cook off and WON. I’ve never been so proud in all my life.

Please note Andrew’s love of being on camera in the video.

Hope you enjoy! As promised it is a shorter video! :)

Frozen Meals | Fishing Tales| Rory’s birthday week

A little over a week ago, Andy and I got the bright idea to cook 21 frozen meals.

When I say, “Andy and I,” I clearly CLEARLY mean Andy. I would never volunteer to cook 21 meals at once, ever.

That being said, I have so enjoyed not cooking the past week because I already (meaning mostly Andy) cooked dinner! We went by this plan for the 21 Freezer Meals from ALDI and so far we have really liked all of them! So if you can deal with about 4-5 hours of cooking and 6-7 loads of dishes, you will really like this!

I have the pulled pork in the crockpot as we speak and I can’t wait for dinner!

After all the cooking we treated ourselves to an afternoon of fishing. It was too cold and windy and was a fail on the fishing front but we had a wonderful little picnic and a fun time out of the house on a sunny day with the girls.

The only thing caught was a random bobber someone else had left behind. I was the one that caught it. Who knows how. But no one is surprised by the randomness of this situation, now are they?

I have to interject with a marvelous story from my childhood.

I went camping with one of my best childhood friends, Jinny, one weekend. I always loved going camping with her family.

On this particular trip we decided to go fishing off a dock/pier/bridge/wooden structure. I have no clue where everyone else was and why I was alone fishing at this particular moment but I was. All of a sudden I saw a snake and for some STRANGE REASON ONLY TIFFANY WOULD DO I decided to hit the snake with my bait/hook. (Doesn’t this sound like something a little girl named Rory would do?!)

Well I’ll be darn if that snake didn’t freaking LATCH ON FOR DEAR LIFE. I will never forget it jumping at the bait and the panic that ensued. I mean I SCREAMED LIKE I WAS BEING MURDERED, Y’ALL. I realized no one I knew was around me so I started screaming louder, “I CAUGHT A SNAKE! HELP HELP HELP HEEEEEEELLLLLPPPPPPPPP I CAUGHT A SNAKE!”

Then my genius self decided, “you know what?! I bet I could flick this snake off of my line!”

So there I go, swinging that snake all around trying to get it to fly off while screaming, “HEEEELLLLPPPP I CAUGHT A SNAAAAAAAKE I CAUGHT A SNAAAAAKE!”


I see Jinny and her parents running toward me because I AM SURE they assumed I was dead from all the hollering I was doing. Finally we get the snaked reeled in and this (moron) guy grabs the snake and holds it to his face and declares, “oh its just a water moccasin”…………….

And that is the day I learned to never attempt to scare a snake.

You know, now that I think about it… I think that may have been the last time I was invited to go camping with the Culpeppers. Interesting discovery for myself.

What can I say? I’m a wild card. I shouldn’t be trusted.

The whole week we spent celebrating Rory. On her actual birthday we took donuts to her school and she was so excited about that. I am convinced her love language is donuts. Who could blame her?



After school we went to ChickFilA to play and have ice cream with some friends. The girls had a blast. That night we went to Rory’s choice for dinner which was Hibachi.

Now let me just say that girlfriend knows whats up choosing the most expensive place for her day. The girls loved the “show” they put on cooking.

Saturday was the most perfect day ever staying home in our pjs. LIKE WE DID NOT GET OUT OF OUR PAJAMAS THE ENTIRE DAY.

Ryder has been sickly and ran a little fever on Saturday. It ended up being the best day to just stay in and have a day of rest. Sunday morning she woke up wheezing so I knew I had to take her to the doctor. She went in and said, “now I have something fun planned today so I need to know if I can still go,” hahaha!

She was the absolute perfect patient and every single staff member came into the room to see her. I’m not even kidding. She took every test and poke and prod like a champ. She was so sweet.

At one point she started to get a little gassy and bless it, she is rank. Well, the nurse walked in and Ryder sits up and says, “I’m sorry about that smell, I let out a little toot.”


Good news is that Ryder claimed it and the nurse didn’t have to wonder if it was me. So I guess that part is a win.

She was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and got an RX for a steroid and breathing treatments. She is already back to her old self and I’m so glad.

Little note: My children had a little over a year straight where they didn’t run any fever. IS THAT CRAZY OR WHAT?!

Sunday afternoon we headed for Chattanooga to round out Rory’s birthday week and celebrate Valentine’s for them. Our gift to them for Valentine’s/Rory’s birthday was to see Disney Jr Live Pirate and Princess show. We had an absolute blast and the girls loved it. I think they actually enjoyed the pirate part better than the princess part!

Last week was busy and full of fun things. I’m so glad we have today at home to play and relax. Now hopefully all this rain won’t ice over because I’m pretty sure these children of mine NEED TO GO TO SCHOOL TOMORROW OKAY?! ha!

I vlogged last week and its longer than I intended because it was so many days of it. Next time I will only do a few days at a time so it will be shorter.

Hope you enjoy the video! Let me know if you do!



Wilderness at the Smokies | Rory’s birthday weekend

Winter birthdays are hard because you have to have an indoor party. And the cost of finding a place big enough for a party and then supplying everything for the party ends up being $200++++ depending on how big you go.

So I made the executive decision that THIS year we would take a little overnight trip instead. We had planned for years to take Rory to Disney on her 5th birthday, but life happens and you move and just can’t swing it. It happens, right?!

After a lot of discussion over where to go, Andy and I decided on Wilderness at the Smokies. It is a resort and indoor water park.  There were so many fun things to do other than the water park too- they have a ropes course, playground, arcade, mini golf, bowling, laser tag, and more I can’t remember. They also have restaurants at the resort so you don’t even have to leave ever. We absolutely loved it. Every single one of us. I can’t say enough great things about the weekend there. The room was great and every other accommodation was great too. We can’t wait to go back! The best part? We spent less than we would have on a party and had zero stress. WINNING.

I just have to say that Rory mastered every single attraction. She did such an awesome job  on the ropes coarse and went down every slide. She also did so good on the surfer thing (I have no idea what it is actually called). I was so proud of her and her determination to do everything she could without fear!


I got a lot of a video and a few pictures. But mostly I just PLAYED with the girls and put my phone and camera away for most of the trip. It was WONDERFUL. Enjoy the video!

(Side note: we had planned to go to Dixie Stampede with Rory and her new “Dolly Partner” dress but we ended up going THE ONE WEEK they take a break in the year. Guess we will have to go back and take her another weekend!)

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FIVE. (a letter to Rory on her 5th birthday)



My Dearest Rory,

Today you are five and I feel like I can hardly wrap my brain around that enough to even type it because WHERE DID THE LAST FIVE YEARS GO?

Everyone says it goes by in a blink and that is so very true. I blinked and you went from an infant to five.


I will never forget the night you were born and those big, alert eyes taking in the room and observing every inch of my face. Your dad and I giggled out loud at how you wouldn’t take your eyes off of us for even a second. Your eyes were filled with such wonder and that has never left you. Every single moment is captured by you with deep observation. It is amazing to watch you take every detail in.IMG_0179Four has been a great year for you. You have grown and matured so much this year. Sleep has also been better which is a true miracle. We still struggle but have found ways to help nights go better even when you can’t sleep. You have been so extremely healthy all year which has been an enormous blessing. Sometimes I think your immune system is so rock solid because even now at FIVE today you still put every.single.thing. in your mouth. If I had a dollar for every time I have to tell you to not put something in your mouth you would be set for life.

IMG_0222I thought on your fifth birthday I would list my five favorite things about you. It was a good idea until I realized how hard it would be to limit it to just five, but I’m going to try-

1- The way your lips wrinkle upward at the corner of your mouth when you laugh and create this sweet little dimple. I look forward to your laughs just so I can see that spot and kiss it. In fact, your laugh is one of my favorite sounds in the entire world. It is so contagious and sweet. I could listen to it all day for the rest of my life.

2- The way you need to know how everything works. It is amazing to see your mind observe every detail of whatever is around you so that you can figure out how it works or how it is made. You will take apart things just to see how it goes back together. I’m always in awe of this.

3- I absolutely love how independent you are. I, of course, always want to be needed because I am your mom, but it makes me so proud to know that you have the will to figure out things on your own.

4- Your fierce style. Girlfriend, you have style for days. I love how you don’t care what anyone else thinks about your outfits. It doesn’t matter what you have on, you will strut yourself into school, church, wherever like YOU OWN THIS PLACE because you are so proud of your outfits. I’m always amazed at how you put things together that would never cross my mind. I’m so glad your confidence has soared so much this year and that you are in your element now.

5- Your tenacious spirit. Most of the time I just call you strong-willed, and that is so true, but you are also wonderfully tenacious. Once you set your mind on something you are going to do it until you do it WELL. You do not give up, you will press on until you master whatever you’re doing. I believe this is my absolute favorite thing about you. Nothing makes me prouder than seeing you tackle something head on with determination. You may fail or fall several times but you always, always pick right back up more determined than ever until you nail it. I wish I was more like you in that way.

I could list thousands more things that I love about you.


I want you to know that I am so deeply proud of you. I can’t get over how smart you are and how beautiful you are. I love that you are unique and don’t follow a crowd. I will be praying that you always start the trends and set the standards instead of follow them.

This year has been such an amazing year of growth for you. You started the year struggling with confidence and feeling like you were good. That was the hardest time for me as your mom because YOU ARE SO GOOD. Every bit of you is good. We are ending this year in a new place where you are confident and flourishing. I’m so thankful for that. You have learned so much at school and about life this year. You are in such a good place and I’m just so proud of that.


I cannot wait to see what year five brings for you. It is going to be an exciting year of big changes. You will start Kindergarten soon and that is so scary and exciting for your mother. I know you are beyond ready and I can’t wait to see how much you learn over the next year.

Rory, on your fifth birthday, I want you to know that you are my biggest joy and my most precious gift. Being your mom has been my biggest source of pride. Until I had you I didn’t grasp the meaning of the verse, “fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalms 139:14)- and that verse describes you so perfectly. I know God formed every inch of you perfectly. I wish I could ingrain this into your brain for eternity so you could never waver in your confidence. You are beautiful on the inside and out and I pray that you will always know that.

Sweet Rory Eve, I love you more than words could ever say. Thank you for being such a wonderful daughter and big sister. I’m so proud of you. I’m so thankful for you. These five years have been the most challenging and beautiful years of my life. I wouldn’t change a single thing about you. You are sassy and sweet. You are funny and serious. You are the most amazing five year old in the entire world.


“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7

I love you to the heavens and back my precious girl,



Rory at Five:

– 42 inches tall- you can now ride most rides which you are so excited about!

– You LOVE: TUTUS AND DRESSES AND NOTHING ELSE (ha), unicorns, play tattoos, barbies, COWGIRL BOOTS AND NOTHING ELSE, makeup, ponytails, legos, “Dolly Partner”, swimming, dancing, running, and most of all you are madly in love with your little sister, Ryder

– Favorite Books: Go Dogs Go, Franklin, Pinkalicious (you really love all books though)

– Favorite Songs: You love praise songs, it is the sweetest thing to hear you sing them! You also love “Let It Go”, “Cool Kids”, “Welcome to New York”, “Shake It Off” (anything by Taylor Swift actually!), “The Honey Song”

– Favorite Movies and Shows: Sheriff Callie, Kate and Mim Mim, Octonauts, and Paw Patrol. All Disney movies are your favorites- you love anything princess!

– I asked what you wanted to be when you grow up and you said without hesitation: “A FASHION ENGINEER” – I couldn’t possibly think of a better job for you.


chasing life one hilarious adventure at a time