Category: Family

the fight just isn’t cookie cutter

Do you ever wonder how we became so cookie cutter?

Lately in my struggle to fight for Rory, I have found myself desperately wanting to put her in a box of “this is how it is going to go”. Me, the person who prays so hard to never have her put into a box…. I’m the very one trying to do it.

Rory has been counting down to the day she went to Kindergarten for what seems like years now. She was so ready and so eager to get there that it drove us nuts all summer, ha!

Then a funny thing happened. Kindergarten started and the first week was amazing. And thennnnnnnnn, well we all know how fast that went downhill.

As we have already discussed, Rory is the definition of strong willed. In fact, when you google “strong willed”, I am certain that her face will pop up.

Rory struggled so hard for a few weeks. She had so little self control and so much strong will. That is not a good combo. It leads to things like, oh I don’t know, gluing your neighbor’s hand to the desk. Or cutting their paper. Or getting into a fist fight on the playground. Just hypotheticals, of course….

Life for those weeks was not fun. She would have a terrible day at school and since I am her mother, I disciplined her when she got home. We were both frustrated and agitated and feeling like failures.

It all came to a head one day, as things spiraling out of control seem to do, and I just broke down. I was so weary and burdened by parenting my precious girl. I didn’t know what to do. I cried so many tears I didn’t think I had anymore in me.

Because I can tend to be strong willed and stubborn too, it took me a long time to figure out what was happening. When I realized what I was doing it knocked the breath out of me. I was trying so hard to put her in the box.

I was desperate to fix all the problems by making her be that kid that sits in her chair and does all her work and never says a word.

I mean, can you imagine a world where Rory Harris didn’t have her spunky personality? The thought alone causes a giant lump in my throat.

Do you know what would be more devastating than some hard days with bad colors on a chart?

A world without Rory exactly how God made her- strong willed, hilarious, unique, fabulous, and absolutely stunning inside and out.IMG_5446

I’m so ashamed of myself- what an epic parenting fail. I spent weeks torturing Rory and myself while I was trying to enforce the worlds’ view of “normal kid behavior” on her.

So here is what happened that has changed everything:

1- I apologized. I got on my knees in front of Rory and told her that I was so sorry for not trying harder to understand what was going on at school. I apologized for not showing her enough love and for being too harsh. I asked her to forgive me. And then we prayed together and asked God to forgive us both.

2- I talked to Rory’s teacher as a mom desperate to help my kid. Not in the defensive way most parents go at teachers. I just flat out said, “I know my kid is a great kid and I expect more out of her.” Because I do not want to put Rory in a box, but if I don’t discipline her and let her know that I love her too much to let her act the way she was acting I will be putting her in another kind of box- the box that labels her forever as a problem child whose mother won’t step in for her. I am so incredibly thankful because Rory’s teacher has not once told me she was a bad kid. She has encouraged me and Rory. She, like me, expects more out of Rory because we know she is a good kid. She is committed to letting Rory’s personality shine but also directing her to make the right choices. Again, I am so incredibly thankful for her teacher. God answered my desperate pleas to place Rory with a teacher who would love her and encourage her.

3- For the most part, I let the discipline at school be enough. If she had an especially bad day she would write a letter to apologize to her teacher and lose TV. But that is as far as I would go. I realized that Rory’s spirit was being crushed by me because I was berating her about her behavior when she got home. I trust her teacher and respect her so much after speaking with her so I trust her discipline to be enough to help Rory realize bad behavior is not okay. Now. The next thing I’m going to tell you isn’t for everyone- but I know my child and know that this was completely needed- I told them to paddle her. Rory, her teacher, and I talked and we explained to her that they had permission to paddle her if she needed it. Rory’s eyes grew so wide I thought they were going to pop out of her head. The knowledge they have my permission alone has made Rory turn a complete 180 at school. They have never come close to needing to paddle her, but they have my permission to do so and Rory knows it. *Again, I know this is not the path everyone agrees with and I whole heartedly believe this is a child by child decision.*

4- Prayer. I cannot stress to you enough that this is the most important and crucial part of the equation. My biggest failure in all of this is that I didn’t have the wisdom to start this on day 1. Sure, we said short “bless this day” prayers before school. Sure, I prayed over her and her school the first day where she could hear it. But that wasn’t good enough. So now, each and every morning Rory sits in my lap in the living room and we pray. I snuggle her up and kiss her face until she rolls her eyes and then I put my hand over her heart and start to pray. First I pray something like this- “God bless this day. Help Rory to have a wonderful day today. Lord, we know that Rory is such a great kid. We are so thankful that you created Rory and gave her to us. She is so precious to us. God, we are so thankful that you have given us another day. We pray that we will use it well and show others love and kindness. Lord, control our hands and our mouths today. We are so thankful that the Bible promises that you will help us and we are praying that you will help us today to make great choices. Please bless our teachers today and help them to have a great day. We love you and praise you for giving us another day. Amen.” Then Rory says her prayer. It varies every day but she always, always asks God to help her have a good day and to help her make good choices. Since we have been starting the day off like this, we are all so incredibly blessed by it throughout the day. Our hearts are lighter because the burden of carrying the behavior is off our shoulders. We start the day fresh and confident that we aren’t alone in our struggles. Again, I cannot stress to you enough how this is the most vital change I have made to help Rory and her confidence. She has to know that we all struggle and all fall short but God is always here to love us and help us. If I do nothing else, I have to at least teach her that.

The thing I’ve been asking myself the most over the last few weeks is this – when did the fight for our kids and our families become so cookie cutter?

I want more than anything for Rory to be strong, independent, and confident in herself because of the way God made her. But how could I ever expect those things to be instilled in her if I’m trying to make her into a cookie cutter child? She needs to know that we mess up and we ask forgiveness and we move on. She knows that consequences for poor behavior are going to be hard and that we expect more from her.

She has to know that we love her too much to let her keep sinning and keep making bad choices. If we don’t teach her this now, when will we? This is the most crucial time in parenting. We have to show her how much we love her and how unconditional that love is. We have to show her that it is okay to mess up but that we are not going to stop her from having consequences. We have to teach her how to apologize and how to forgive by always being willing to do so ourselves.

I’ve said this a million times, but I will never, ever stop fighting for Rory. I will never stop fighting for Ryder. I will never stop fighting for my marriage and for Andy. I will fight until I die for their hearts and I pray that I’m never cookie cutter about it again.

Let us start fighting for our children’s hearts instead of fighting for their behavior. The heart is so much more important and the heart will lead the behavior in the right way.

Lake Winnipesaukee

One of the best parts of our move here is that I already have a few friends in the area, Andy’s brother lives 20 minutes away, and also an aunt and a cousin live in the area! We have rarely lived anywhere with established friends and family so I just feel so thankful I already have a few people close to me!

My Aunt Patrice and cousin Jessica and her little girl Bree invited us to come to Lake Winnie to have a day of fun. There are tons of rides for kids and a great waterpark too. I’m pretty sure, mainly because they won’t stop telling me, that it was their “MOST FAVORITE DAY EBBBERRRRRR”.

I couldn’t believe it but Ryder actually rode pretty much every ride she could ride and had a blast doing it. I was so proud of her.

Rory was in heaven because girlfriend would ride ANYTHING.

You will ALSO be shocked to know that Ryder walked in the heat from noon to 7:30ish without ever saying “my wegs won’t work”. It was a true Labor Day miracle!

{However, her legs or body wouldn’t work the entire morning because “they too tired, momma! they can’t work!”…}

Rory also told me between giggles yesterday, “Mom! My face hurts from smiling so much!” Mine did too, Rory girl, mine did too.

I didn’t get a ton of pictures because I was too busy having fun! It was just such a wonderful day with family and we can’t wait to go back again!

Rory giggling like crazy on her first ride. This was one of my favorite parts of the day. I literally almost cried watching how much fun she had on that first ride.

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And believe it or not, Andrew and I got to ride a couple of rides without the kids too. Isn’t he just precious?! IMG_4727We all slept GOOD last night. The girls woke up telling us they’d like to go back there everysingleday. Bless it. They are precious.

Yesterday I was thinking, between giggles, about how hard parenting is and then just when you think you can’t answer another “BUT WHY” or “HOW DO YOU SPELL ____?” or referee another fight or step over another tantrum-pitching toddler you suddenly get a day of pure joy. That is exactly what yesterday was for me. Its been a tough week or so and I thought IF I HAVE TO BREAK UP ONE MORE FIGHT OVER STUPID CRAP I’M GONNA CUT SOMETHING. Then we go on a fun adventure and the girls are SO good and I get to laugh with them the entire day and experience the joy of riding rides for the first time with them. THAT is what parenting is all about.

Keep up the good work and fight hard through the tough parenting decisions/discipline/toddler tantrums and you will have days of pure joy as a reward for your hard work. It never fails.


our new adventure.

*I apologize for this post in some areas- most of this comes from my journal that I keep and I wrote it over the course of about a week or so and I just kind of copied that and added some in between.

On June 18th, Andy came home and said, “Well. I got a call about a job today.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. We have officially moved every two years or less since we have been married. I can hardly keep up anymore.

My mind immediately went into overdrive. I asked Andrew approximately 1000000 questions. He knew maybe 8 answers of those because, hello, he had no more info than that at this point.

The problem with these weeks of limbo between the initial call and the interview (which took longer to set up because of 4th of July holiday) is that life goes on but also stops. People start talking about plans in the future and all you can think is how you might not be around anymore.

But, at the same time, there is no guarantee from one phone call that you will move or that it will work out. So you try and stay connected and involved (and in my case this time still trying to make friends here) even though you aren’t sure it is worth the effort if we will be moving. (That sounds harsh, but I don’t know how else to say it.)

So, basically, these last few weeks have been very much hurry up and wait. We have kept completely silent minus immediate family and very, very few out of town friends.

We finally went to Cleveland (aka our Chattanooga family vacation…) and Andy had his interview. The company bent over backwards to ensure we were set up and had a great experience. Andy rocked his interview, of course, and they verbally offered him a job that day. Wednesday we got the official paper work in. We said a lot of “this is really happening!” to each other. Tears were shed. Giggles were fluent. We were ecstatic.


It is hard to believe we are facing this again.

A move.

Andy got the call about this job exactly two years after we moved from Texas to TN. When we accepted the job at the Counce mill and moved to Tennessee we thought this would be it. The very last move.

I also said and thought I’d never live in (and especially LOVE) Louisiana and Texas. So. Clearly I have no idea.

I have such extreme mixed feelings about this move, just like any other move.

Thinking about living my work FAMILY has made me shed many, many tears. LOTS OF SOBS. I would lie awake at night thinking about how I would never make it through telling them we were leaving without sobbing. I just can’t imagine leaving them, leaving my job, leaving “my” patients. I just love my job and work family so very much.

And of course, the friends we do have here mean so much to me as well and I hate leaving them too.

The hardest part is definitely telling your friends goodbye.

But, y’all know I am also so excited about this new adventure. Moving is always hard in some areas but if you know me you know I love and crave change. So I’m completely ready for our next adventure as a family. (Adventure is the only word that can describe it- I think of every move as just that. A beautiful, new adventure God has given me.)

This has very much so come out of no where. Andy and I had zero intentions to move. Andy especially planned to live in Savannah forever.

So, as with every move, we are overwhelmed with bittersweet feelings.

We will so miss living THIS CLOSE to family. That has been such a wonderful treat after not having it. I wouldn’t trade a single second here because my girls finally got to know their grandparents, aunts, and cousins so well. And I’m so glad we won’t be TOO far so they can continue to build these beautiful relationships with them.

We know God has placed this amazing opportunity for Andy and our family exactly where and when He sees fitting best. We are just so excited to see the plans He has for our family in a new location.

Also, let me say this: I am overwhelmed with pride for my sweet husband. Andy is the hardest worker I know. He has reached every single goal he has ever wanted. He is so driven and gets what he wants because he earns it. I couldn’t be happier for him for this awesome promotion and for all the accomplishments I’ve been by his side to see.

He makes every single move worthwhile.

We cannot wait to see what Cleveland, TN has to offer the Harris family and what WE have to offer Cleveland.

I  just don’t think they can prepare themselves for the Harris family…. 😉



***update: as predicted, lots of tears were had at work today when I told my boss and coworkers. LOTS O’ TEARS.


actually living.

About a week or so ago, I heard a remark somewhere (honestly cannot remember where I heard it) and it went something like this:

Are you actually living your life or are you living it through your phone?

Besides Instagram, despite what it might seem, I really don’t log onto social media much. I post everything through Instagram and then I occasionally get on the facebooks to give a status about my boringbuthilarious life. So it really isn’t the social media thing making me not live my life…

It is my camera.

I’ve lived a good part of my life now through the camera on my phone. Constantly trying to capture that perfect picture and spending time coming up with the perfect caption.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I don’t regret a single picture. I’m so proud and thankful I have captured so many details of our life through pictures because it sets our family up to never forget anything. I know my kids will immensely enjoy having so many pictures of them growing up. No one ever regrets taking too many pictures.

What I DO regret is the times I’ve been more concerned about taking the picture than with what is actually going on. I’ve missed out on a lot of fun and gotten frustrated for no reason because ALL I WANT IS A FREAKING PERFECT PICTURE or ALL I WANT IS TO CAPTURE THIS BEAUTIFUL (I think? because I’m not really living it…) MOMENT.

So, the past couple of weeks you’ve seen less pictures because I’ve “challenged” (hate that word, but whatever) myself to maybe give up a few pictures to actually LIVE in the moment instead of living through my phone.

Most of all, I want my children to remember me as a mom who enjoyed time with them and not remember me for only trying to get a picture to enjoy.

Is any of this making sense? Do any of you struggle with this as well?

So this post is, GASP, going to have a lot of very imperfect/not-so-good pictures. And, even more shocking, I AM OKAY WITH IT.

Last week we took a little mini-vacation to the Chattanooga area. To say we had a good time would be the understatement of the century.

Friday night we met with our friends Amber and Bill and their three boys for dinner in Downtown Chattanooga. It was so good to see them and see their boys. Amber and Bill went to my dad’s church when I was a freshman in college. They married a week after Andy and I and we have kept in touch (thank goodness for the internets!) ever since. We walked to the park by the river and let the kids play. It was so cute seeing them play together. Rory and Will (and Ryder a little bit) played tag and it was so cute. Amber is such a good, fun mom and you can so tell just being around her kids. They have great imaginations and are so fun.

(The “funny” thing about not taking so many pictures is that the girls did much better when I did want their pictures taken… interestingggg.)

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We did our normal Hotwire thing and stayed in the Chattanooga Choo Choo for about 1/4th the price you could book it online. HOLLA, Hotwire, HOLLA.

Now. I will say the hotel wasn’t a 4 star retreat. But it was clean and had great outdoor pools and the room was very large. So, what else do you need?

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The girls absolutely loved seeing the trains. They were so cute soaking it all in.

Rory was obsessed with “The Big City”. She kept saying, “Mom. When are we going to go back to The Big City? When can we go explore The Big City?” It was so cute.

One of their favorite parts of the entire trip was riding the free shuttle Chattanooga has that runs downtown. They seriously thought it was

Saturday we rode the shuttle to the Tennessee Aquarium. The girls hadn’t been to a real aquarium before so I knew it would be really fun. But I had NO IDEA how awesome it would be to experience them seeing it and taking it all in. I just had no clue.

They were so cute and thrilled and EXCITED the entire time. Everything blew their minds. Watching them made me (and Andy!) laugh and giggle and it was just such an overwhelming blessing to see our kids enjoy something so much. I know it is just the aquarium but y’all don’t even understand. I literally cried watching them enjoy it so much. And because I kept my phone put up and on silent, I got to truly soak in every second of it.

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Their favorite part was the sharks for sure. Rory loved touching the sting rays too. It was such an awesome experience. I cannot wait to take them back, and now I’m definitely taking them to the Atlanta aquarium as soon as I can!

After the fun morning, we walked to Coolidge Park. Walking in heat never ends well with Ryder. Her legs most certainly stopped working. But we FINALLY made it after some tears and a lot of sweat. The girls and I rode the beautiful carousal and then the girls played in the fountains while mom and dad took a rest in the shade.

(Rory is practically a TEENAGER in these pics! wahhh!)

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The girls loved staying in hotels for a few nights. Only one night they slept decent though. We decided to do two double beds instead of a big king bed. I’m not entirely sure that was the best choice, but who knows. All I know is that it seemed like we did A WHOLE FREAKIN’ LOT of playing musical beds. We started off one way and woke up in totally different beds every night.

(Musical beds is a lot like musical chairs except there is no music and mommy ends up with no sleep.)

But, the girls were so cute snuggled together at the beginning of each night.

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Y’all. We had an amazing weekend.

I took some pictures and most of them are poor camera-phone quality.

And I don’t even care.

I enjoyed every second with my family (no for real- like every second) and the girls got to have their mom sans phone.

It is the best thing I’ve done for my girls and for myself

Sometimes you need to actually live your life instead of trying to make it fit into your camera. Am I right?!

what they don’t tell you about marriage

Yesterday was Andy and I’s 9 year anniversary.

I know what you are thinking- how could SHE be married for nine years? She’s much too young!


Well, at just 18 years old I married a guy I was crazy about. He was 19 and handsome as could be (some things will never change).


We were two skinny babies who had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

Sweet mercy, no no no we didn’t. We were blissfully unaware of the hardships and joys that came with marriage.

I remember the first year and remember feeling bad ALL THE TIME about myself and our marriage because IT WAS HARD and everyone kept commenting on how we must be experiencing “newlywed bliss”… and I all I could think was “IF THIS IS BLISS I CAN’T FATHOM WHAT HELL WOULD LOOK LIKE”.

Not saying it was hell necessarily, but well, some days were.

I thought something was way wrong with me because, quite frankly, sometimes I wondered what we had gotten ourselves into and if I wouldn’t have severely disappointed all those who loved us, I might have just ran away. (remember, I was only 19 our first year of marriage… aka I was dumb and selfish.) Plus, EVERYONE on social media that was married seemed to be so happy they couldn’t help but share their happiness every FIVE SECONDS on there and well, I kinda wanted to punch all of them in the face a little. Or a lot.

Each year after the first got a smidge better, but honestly it wasn’t until the fourth year that I finally could say I truly enjoyed being Andy’s wife. We had gotten through some severely hard times and I felt like we finally had made it to a place where we didn’t struggle constantly.

Not to say the past 5 years after that fourth year mark haven’t been hard because OH THEY HAVE at times, but we finally figured out how to fight better and finally became less selfish.

And that’s the thing they don’t tell you about marriage. It seems like it is either you are blissfully married or you are suddenly divorcing. No one tells you about the middle.

Andy and I decided a long time ago that divorce just was not an option for us. It just isn’t. And we have been through things that most wouldn’t make it through.

Only by the grace of God did we make it to 9 years.

And are we blissfully married now? Yes and no.

Yes- I love that man more than ever. Yes- I am so proud of him. YES- I cannot fathom my life without him.

No- marriage is still so hard. No- we are at a stage with young kids who tend to hate sleep and we take out our sleep deprived frustration on each other.

Yesterday Andy and I both gave each other cards. What the card writers said was sweet and sentimental, but it was what WE wrote to each other that was both funny and touching.

We both wrote a version of the same exact thing- “This wasn’t our favorite year of marriage. It wasn’t our hardest or our easiest. But I still wouldn’t have wanted to spend it without you. Here’s to a much better year where we try harder to love and respect each other.”

At first I laughed because we seriously wrote the same exact thing pretty much.

And then I found myself crying out of happiness that we still had so much hope and promise to make it better this year. We BOTH realized it wasn’t our best year and we BOTH are ready to tackle another year to make it much better than the last.

We are on the same page, and that is a good place to be.

Andy is my favorite blessing. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. Even the hardest years are better with him in it.


life has changed so much

Around 1:30 in the morning last night, I woke up with a child staring at me in that creepy way children insist on waking you up in the middle of the night. I jumped and sucked in my breath (because even in my subconscious fright I’d never let out a yell that would wake the kids!) and then realized it was just Rory. Too exhausted from being up with ear pain to put her back in bed, I just threw her in the middle of us. She snuggled up and immediately started snoring and I smiled in delight over it.

That is when it hit me. Life has changed so much.

Rory has officially, until last night which was honestly totally not her fault, slept ALL NIGHT BY HERSELF IN HER BED for a month straight. No waking up. Sleeping until 6 or later.

I don’t know if you realize… its not like I have ever talked about sleep issues here, ha!… but this is the first time in her life that she has slept so well.

And it is life changing.

I realize that sounds dramatic to those of you who have never had legitimate sleep issues with kids, but it really is.

What is funny is the first week this all started, Andy and I were SO TIRED. We went to bed at around 9 each night and would wake up more tired than ever. Our bodies (especially mine) were so used to no sleep that it took well over a week to adjust to sleeping all night. I swear I had a sleep hangover big time.

And since Rory is sleeping, so is Ryder, especially now that she has zyrtec every night. That has been such a relief too because she’s finally not miserable.

It’s crazy how sleep makes life more bearable.

Last week was Rory’s last week at her “preschool”. She only goes two days a week, but just those two days changed her life so much this year. She wasn’t labeled the “problem” anymore and her confidence SOARED. What an answer to prayer and a burden lifted off this momma’s shoulders. She LOVED going to school to see “Miss-us” Sharon and Miss Bonita.

Here she is first day of preschool and last day of preschool. My, my , my how she has changed. She’s taller, she’s losing that baby face, and SHE IS SLEEPING. Things that are the same- same bow, same sassiness (but with that pose, seems to be growing), and still bruised up legs from playing hard!


Tuesday was her last official day of school because Thursday was Preschool Fun Day. Tuesday we went for our favorite after school treat to get frozen yogurt! Rory loves the catfish out front!


Then Thursday we had a wonderful day with all our school friends! I wish I could’ve gotten a picture of the entire group.


This past weekend I was invited to a (very southern) Sip and See for a dear friend from Starkville, Kathryn and her new baby Mattie Grace. I was so excited to go, and everyone was bringing their kids, so I decided to bring Rory and Ryder along too. Well the day before I realized I’d be in the car for 6 hours for a two hour shower and that made me a little crazy to think about so I decided to get a hotel on Friday and spend more time with friends. Then after booking hotel I went a little crazy because I was SO WORRIED about how the girls would do since their track records for hotels isn’t the greatest and I was going to be BY MYSELF. So insert panic attack moment.

But, much to my surprise, the girls were DELIGHTFUL. Their behavior, sleeping, and their mostly calm car riding SHOCKED ME if I’m being honest. It was the most fun weekend I’ve had in a long time. I loved getting to be able to take the girls to Starkville and letting them meet all my friends and their little kids.

hotel fun (they insisted on sleeping together and it worked well for half the night, then Ryder wanted to sleep ALONE…)


We met up with my sweet friends Kristen and Lydia at Chik-Fil-A first and the kids all had a blast playing in the playground area and eating together. Then we somehow managed to get all five children down for a nap at the same time.


After nap we went to our hotel and swam our little hearts out and ate some pizza! It was such a fun day and night!


As you can see, Ryder became OBSESSED with Reed and the feeling was MUTUAL to say the least. Bless their hearts, they were down right smitten. It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. Guess we will just have to arrange a marriage or something. HA!

Saturday was the shower for Kathryn and y’all it was the best time ever. I loved getting to visit with my sweet friends from way back when we were in college.

This group of girlfriends have been through so much together. Incredible joys and incredible losses, devastating divorce, infertility and miscarriages, cancer, job losses, extremely sick babies, and I could go on and on. But even in MY darkest times, these girls have always been the first to tell me they are praying for me and I know they mean it. I’m so blessed to have them, even if we don’t see each other as often as I would like, I love knowing they are there no matter what.

Top picture- left to right: Ashley, Kristen, Lydia, me, Emily, Amanda, Martha Ann, Kathryn

Bottom picture- left to right with kids: Lyda (Jake and Reed), Ashley (Peyton- not pictured?), Kristen (Collette), Me and the stinkers, Emily (Olivia and Riley, Sam not pictured), Martha Ann (Emma), Kathryn (Mattie Grace), Amanda


Ryder, Riley, Olivia, Rory- these girls had the best time together. Riley and Olivia were like little babysitters. They did such a great job watching the girls during the shower and at lunch! Rory has asked for them every day since!


I just had the best time in Starkville. On the way out of town Rory said, “Momma, I just love Starkville.” Oh me too baby, me too.

Since Ryder was so insistent that she sleep ALONE in the hotel room, I decided to go ahead and take the dive into a big girl bed. I was so worried she’d wake up scared or wake up not wanting to be in it since she is already such a good sleeper in a crib as long as she is feeling good.

Well. Easiest transition EVEERRRR. (I’m using the word ‘ever’ a lot in this post, yes?) Anyway- seriously, she loves it. She has slept so good in it, sleeping all night and later than normal. So thankful! Doesn’t she look so tiny in that big ol’ bed?!


The other big news associated with the new bed is that I’m able to just lay her down again and walk out and she goes right to sleep. AMAZING! Isn’t she precious?!


I’ve always hated the guard rail things but had to break down and get one because the daybed was higher up than I expected. Well, little miss was just like this and sound asleep when I went to check on her this morning! So much for guard rails! ha!


It was an awesome weekend with my girls and we loved coming home to Andy on Saturday. This week has been busy too, I will post more later on that. Right now my kids just went down for nap without a fight and I’m heading to bed myself for once!

Happy nap time!

I am my mother.

For Mother’s Day we headed to Jackson to spend some time with my mom and dad. My sister and her family came over too and we just had a great time. It was a totally stress free time for me because Rory is at an age where I don’t have to worry about every move she makes anymore and Ryder was so totally obsessed with Jacks that I was basically kid-less!


God blessed me with the best mother. She, along with my dad, has always been my biggest cheerleader.

247520_10100655693077876_1641463328_nBut more than all that, I think the most important lesson my mom has taught me is to laugh. Laugh through the hard times, the good times, and all the times in between. I’m so thankful that my parents weren’t rigid and too serious. I grew up in a house where my mom said things wrong (for example: she was asked once, “what did you do while Tiff was in surgery?” and she replied, “oh, I just read a good boob!”… you can imagine the laughter that followed. in fact, I’m still laughing about it.) and had funny blunders. (don’t worry- my dad had them too!) Instead of crawling away in a hole and acting crazy about it, she just always laughed. In fact, she laughed harder at herself than anyone else could. There are so many more hilarious things she did- I will tell you about the time she believed she found “the marijuana” in my car another time, it is a personal favorite of mine …

So, when last week I had a major blunder, I couldn’t help but think of how I AM MY MOTHER.

You see, I went to Lowe’s to get some paint, and was texting a friend on the way to the car. I threw my paint in the car and walked around to get in the driver’s seat. When I went to open the door, I was startled because A MAN WAS SITTING IN MY CAR!!!! So startled, in fact, that I screamed in fright.

Only… it wasn’t my car.

So, naturally, the guy is DYING FROM LAUGHTER and I’m still so shocked at everything I have no idea what to do. I walk around (WALK OF SHAME) to the passenger side, get my paint, mutter “have a great day!”, and basically run to my car. I glance back and the dude’s car is shaking so hard and he’s wiping tears from his face.

And I start crying.


I literally am laughing right now writing it again. (I know a lot of you already have heard this story…)

And that is why I love being Debbie McIntire’s daughter. Because I have the upmost confidence that laughter heals and makes everything so much better thanks to her.

Now, my choir director might not be so fond of this giggle gene, but that’s another story for another time as well…

So, yes, I am my mother. And I couldn’t be happier about that.

Love you, Mom! Don’t be mad at me forever for exposing your boob blunder to all your bookkeepers. (PS- Hi bookkeepers!!)

the felon.

I don’t know if I ever told y’all this, but yours truly has recently had a run in with the law.

You see, several months ago, I was on my way home from my parents’ house and entered a tiny town here in West TN and was trucking along nicely when all of a sudden I realized a cop was behind me with the lights on.

So I got a ticket for going way too fast in a 35 zone.

Well, sometime later, Andy and I were on a date when I realized that I had missed my court date. As you can imagine, I was a bit freaked out about this.

And, of course, I realized this in the middle of the weekend when there was nothing I could do about it.

So that next Monday I called and said I was so so sorry but had totally forgotten about the court date and was there anything I could do???


The guy kindly rescheduled my court date.

Before I hung up with him I said, “Sir, can I …. drive now?”.

He chuckled loudly and said, “Yes, your arrest warrant will now be canceled.”


So, you see people, you are dealing with a felon here! I’d watch out!

Today is said court date and rest assured I will be there EARLY to avoid any mishaps.

Because momma can’t go to jail… ain’t nobody got time for that.

The reason I forgot my last court date was because I was getting my hair done.

Which is hilarious because I got it done today as well.

Look! I’m practicing my mugshot!


No, honestly, that is a picture to demonstrate the new hair. I got bangs! I haven’t had bangs since the 90s! For real!

Which, BY THE WAY, makes me feel old.

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday and him and my mom came and spent the day with us and the girls were SO EXCITED. I didn’t tell them they were coming so it was a total surprise. Rory’s been asking if Mimi and Papa could come to her house for about a week, so she was showing out like crazy. It was so fun.


Last night I tried Zumba and I will have to admit I didn’t have high hopes for it…


I ended up LOVING it. I got to revert back to my cheerleading/school dance days. I thought my rhythm had left when I had kids, but I still got it y’all!

Ok, the rebel here has to get ready for court!

Do I say “Guilty.”??? I’m a wee bit nervous.

MIA and a photo dump.

 Well, as some of you may have noticed, I’ve been a bit MIA. It is really hard to a) find the time and b) find a place to get on here right now.

Things have been hectic but are going well. I’m so thankful for my parents letting us stay at their house. Rory and Ryder are loving all the extra love from grandparents and aunts and cousins and I am loving that they get to experience that.

We’ve kept busy and are having a bunch of fun. I am uncertain of the whereabouts of my “real” camera so I’ve been taking all of them on my phone. I will now just dump a bunch of pictures at you to show what we have been up to!

cousin fun

Rory’s new buddies, Wilder and Bailey

trip to the river

my favorite views from date night at the 360 Grille in Florence

sister fun

Rory’s favorite time of day has been early mornings with Papa drinking his famous “Papa coffee”.

Rory also jumped off the diving board for the first time this weekend!

Today we went to a water park type thing in Paragould, AR and it was so much fun! It was the perfect size place (not too big, not too small) to take Rory. She had a blast And believe it or not, Ryder LOVED it too! She crawled all around in the shallow water. It was hilarious watching her being so silly.

We also have two newsworthy events that have happened in the last week!

First, Ryder is officially pulling up! She’s still a little shaky but she’s getting better all the time! Its so cute!

And the biggest news of all, Rory no longer has a paci!


Last week I told her that Clayton needed to take it home with him because he was a baby and she totally fell for it! She cried for it ONE time… that’s it! I still can’t believe how easy it was! Now it is time to tackle potty training once we are moved into the house! I’m actually excited about it, ha!

Alright, that’s all for now. I will try to blog more now that we are semi-settled into my parents’ house.

But I’m making no promises.

I’d hate to let all (two) of you down.


the long goodbye.

Once we told everyone we were moving, it seemed like every day I was wondering if I’d ever see that person again. Or if that’d be the last time we did that particular thing. After a month of doing that, it seemed like we were saying goodbye for ages already and I was so emotionally exhausted.

It has taken me so long to write this post because I just haven’t wanted to “go there” in my mind and write it out. To write it is to feel it for me, and I just don’t want to feel it anymore.

But, I’ve waited long enough, so I thought today would be the lucky day.

Before I left I made sure to see my friends as much as I could and I loved that. We had play dates and girls’ nights and had a blast.

And I’m pretty sure thats made it even harder to be shocked into the reality of being without my friends in Paris because I’ve realized how wonderful they were even more so now that I’m away. I seriously feel like I waited a lifetime for those friends. I have friends from TN, MS, LA, etc, that I am still close with, but we’ve been away from each other for forever and haven’t all been in the same stage of life most of the time. So I finally found friends in the exact stage of life who were moms who want the best for their children and also are constantly on the brink of losing it because of the kids like me. I discovered how wonderful and precious that is and how much it means to have people in the same stage as you are in life that you can cry to and have a good laugh with.

And oh how we have laughed and cried together this year!

This week I have ached from missing the play dates, coffee dates, swim parties, late night WalMart runs, and dinners out that were always on a whim.

So, playdate on Friday in TN???!!! I’m giving y’all enough notice to pack and drive up tomorrow! HA!

-4th of July with friends-

The Welch’s

The Offutts

– last playdate-

from left: Bubba, Emma, Peyton, Haydon, Ace, Rory, Annalise, Ryder

Kayla, me, Cassidy, Misty

Know that I miss all of you so much and can’t wait to see you when we come back in August!