Category: Family

the winner.

Obviously this is late because, hello, its how I do everything…

but we have a winner of the 585 Boutique giveaway! I used random.org and it generated comment #4.

Kayla C!

Kayla, you will get an email from Sarah soon!

Today we had a birthday party for Ryder and had so much fun. I will do the post on that Monday. Its been an awesome day and we are pooped!

Tonight was date night at our church and we ALWAYS take advantage of it. I’m going to miss our church so much!

This past Monday we did one last photo shoot with our amazing photographer/friend here in town, Jennifer. She never ceases to amaze me. I just had to try and fit in a family picture before we left Paris. We decided to do it at the infamous Eiffel Tower here with the giant cowboy hat.

When she posted the picture I completely lost it. I feel the weight of the move with this picture and the weight of so much we are losing very soon. To some people, we will be forever frozen just like that- two small little girls and us in our late 20s. For some reason it just totally gripped me and I sobbed for a good hour.

Yes, I absolutely realize we are gaining so much with this move closer to our family, but we are also leaving family behind. And right now while we are still here waiting for move day, I’m just plain sad. It will get easier and better especially once we are there, but right now is hard. So I’m spending as much time with friends and now with Andy since he’s “unemployed” for a few weeks and enjoying every second we have left here.

Hope y’all are having a great weekend!

a Friday post.

This has been quite a long week and I have found myself unable to write any sort of blog all week. I have so many things floating around in my head but have no idea where to even begin to put them down coherently.

We’ve had a good week though. Rory started a new Mother’s Day Out and has had a blast in her new “big girl” class. Where is the time going? She’s so grown up these days. Ryder is in the same class she’s always been in and, of course, adores Miss Nora and Miss Anna.

Here are the girls before school Tuesday and Thursday- can you tell Ryder is a complete stinker?! How did I get two little precious heifers?!

On Wednesday night I went out with a group of my friends and had the best time! We were celebrating mine and Regan’s birthdays. I am going to miss these girls so much.

(From Front Left: Regan, Kayla (hiding), me – Front Right: Misty, Cari, Cassidy)

Cassidy and I on the way to Chili’s- we were so giddy to get out of the house finally! I’ve been stuck inside with shingles (yes, I have shingles) and Cassidy’s little girl can’t go outside because of a cut so we were SO READY to get out!

Right now in our stage of the big move is the hardest, I think. Everyone knows we are going, WE know we are going, but we are still here. So plans are being made past our timeline of being here and I get overcome with sadness that I can’t be apart of it. My friends here have been amazing and I can’t imagine not getting to go, quite literally for most of them, right down the street and let the kids play and laugh or cry with them.

I’ve been weepy and on an emotional roller coaster that I didn’t quite expect. And I also feel like I’m disappointing everyone. I have responsibilities here at church and plans with friends that we didn’t get to yet and I feel like I’m letting people down by leaving.

But more than that, I feel like everyone is expecting me to be so over the moon and ecstatic about moving “home” and so far, I’m just not. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited about our next adventure and that we will be closer to our family and friends in TN, but I’m also so sad that I can’t get to the excited part just yet. I feel like I’m stuck in this place of not knowing how to feel because if I’m too excited that will hurt people here, but the fact that I’m not quite showing excitement as everyone seems to be expecting from me is also hurting people.

And, to be honest, TN isn’t necessarily “home” anymore. We have been away 8 years, and all of our marriage, so THIS is home.

Which also means THAT will be home too. Because no matter how many friends I have here and no matter how extremely sad I am to leave my wonderful friends and church family here, I know that this move is the best for our family. And I have learned through all the moves in our marriage that I can be happy and make a home anywhere. I made a commitment to Andy when we were married eight years ago this past Tuesday and I am always excited to follow his dreams (and mine) and I will always hold true to that commitment. I don’t care where I am, if my family (meaning Andy and the girls) are there, nothing else matters. I will be happy wherever they are.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about marriage in our eight years together, its that my life is made better by being with Andy. I have a partner to go through all these exciting yet disappointing times. I am lucky to be married to someone who is passionate about his goals and dreams and I knew before we were ever together that he was going to do great things with his life. And I’m just more than privileged to be apart of it and to help with making OUR dreams come true for our family.

Happy Anniversary, Andy! I would pick you every time, even if I had a million chances and a million choices… I’d always pick you.

 

the move, wrestling, and some videos.

Well, we broke the news to our family and friends, and then everyone on facebook, so I figured it was time to do a post on it.

Andy and I have lived away from “home” for eight years now. We grew up for the most part in Tennessee and eight years this week we have been away. We’ve lived in six cities and three different states over these eight years. We have had an absolute blast moving and getting to know new people and new places. Some we loved more than others, but we were happy because we were together even in the poor times and the friendless times.

And now we are moving again, probably for the final time, to Pickwick, TN (or that area depending on where we find a house). Andy has been offered a great job opportunity with PCA (Packaging Corporation of America) and he is so excited about this new job.

We will now be just an hour and hour and a half away from our parents, closer to our siblings, and closer to extended family. There have been times where it was hard living away before kids, but now that we have kids I know the importance of living near family. I want my kids to grow up knowing their grandparents and aunts and uncles. And, selfishly, I want help. This year was obviously very hard on us and it made it even more difficult on everyone because everyone was so far away.

But, oh, how I will miss Paris. I have the most amazing friends here. Last week I didn’t know if I’d make it through having to tell everyone that we were moving. It.was.rough.

So, keep us in your prayers as we try to sell our house, find a house, and everything else that comes with moving.

—-

So my precious little petite girls have taken up wrestling as their new hobby.

It’s intense.

 I can no longer leave them in the room alone together because I’m afraid of what they’d do to each other. I feel like I’m on permanent referee duty already!

It always starts as an innocent-looking hug or game of Ring-Around-The-Rosy.

 

Then, BAM!, they are in an all-out wrestling match.

Gotcha!

Aren’t they precious?! ha!

—-

And now I will leave you with two videos. The first is of Ryder getting into trouble and laughing about it. The second is just me talking to Rory. I love having little videos of her at different stages to remember what she sounded like and things she was saying.

I will explain the paci thing in another post.

Let me give you a hint though: Rory is smarter than us.

hello, again!

Why, hello!

Its been a while since I’ve updated the ol’ blog, but we have been out of town and crazy busy!

 Rory’s school year ended! She had a great year and learned so much. They had an end of the year program and she sang her little heart out. It was SO CUTE.

Here’s the video I got on my phone- sorry its not the best quality, but I don’t have time to upload the better version right now! (Rory is in the very center!)

 We went to TN for Memorial Weekend!

We spent the first part of the weekend with my family. It was so great to be together. I haven’t seen them in so long!

We went to Papa’s church

and did a lot of swinging…

and rode the “tractor” A WHOLE LOT (like, starting at 6:00 am!).

Then we made our way to the river (TN river) to see Andy’s family!

Rory LOVED every second on the boat. She loved the beach and riding the tube for the first time too!

She conquered the castle!

As for Ryder… well she’s been her usual happy, crazy self. She loved every minute of being in TN too!

Hope everyone had a great Memorial weekend as well!

I’m back!

Well, it seems as though I’ve taken an unexpected blog break. Honestly, I haven’t had the energy to use my brain enough to put a post together since last week.

Not to mention that I’ve had some major technical difficulties the past couple of days.

So, you’re in for a giant post now.

You’re welcome, Mom.

Since I last bored you with every detail of our life talked to you, we’ve been on playdates, threw baby showers, had a lot of family time, been embarrassed at the WalMart, and went to the doctor.

First up for discussion, playdates.

Last Wednesday, my friend Misty invited us over for a playdate. We let the kids play in the water and they had a blast. Well, all but Ryder anyway. The kids are all older than Rory by a year or two but she fits right in and thinks she’s their size and its so cute. (PS I was going to blog about this last week, but my friend Kayla never blogged about it and therefore I had no pictures because I left my camera at home that day. So really its her fault for my blog break!)

One of the bigger kids that was there brought a frisbee from home and all the kids eyed it all day. Well he sat it down for a minute, so Rory sprung at the opportunity to play with it!

He was not too keen on her plan of sharing and decided to get it back. Well, Miss Little Rory is quite the determined two-year-old and put up a major fight against this six year old. In fact, she almost won! Look at the look of determination in her eyes! ha!

Ryder, on the other hand, hated pretty much the entire playdate.

She hated getting lotion on and being outside in general.

She wasn’t really a fan of her hat.

She was absolutely furious when I put her in the pool.

Needless to say, I think Rory is our tomboy and Ryder’s going to be our girly girl.

At least one of them had fun!

This weekend I helped throw a shower for a sweet friend of mine, Stephanie! It was so much fun! We have been praying for her and John to have a baby for as long as we’ve known them (about two years!) and are so thankful God has answered our prayers! They are going to be wonderful parents!

On Sunday I tried to get pictures of the girls in their cute dresses before church but they were not having it.

So I decided to get just Ryder. Well, she wasn’t into either and just kept pointing that little finger and me and shaking it at me. Little stinker.

On Monday morning we had another playdate at my friend, Angela’s, house! She had all the supplies for us to make homemade sidewalk paint and Rory had so much fun! They also played in the sand and did a bunch of fun stuff. I somehow lost the pictures on my camera of them painting the sidewalk ? who knows what happened.

Ryder DID enjoy this playdate! I put her in Angela’s wagon and she played in there and had a blast the entire time! She relaxed and played and was so cute.

So I’m definitely getting a wagon as soon as I can!

Today I took Rory to the doctor to see what to do about our sleep… or actually our no sleep. So we have a plan of action and hopefully it’ll work!

She was a sweetheart today for sure. She pointed out every letter for Dr. Cutrell today and sang lots of songs.

Oh, and didn’t even call anyone out for tooting which was a first!

My friend Lori kept Ryder while I was at the doctor forever and I’m so thankful for her! I’ve been so blessed with great friends in Paris and I don’t know what I’d do without them!

Happy Wednesday!

PS: Check back tomorrow for a giveaway!

 

 

cousin fun

Well our weekend was wonderful. It was crazy, insane, and loud, but so much fun! My parents now have eight grandkids, so you can imagine how crazy it gets with just that. Then you throw in another “kid”, Jessi, and eleven adults it makes for a housefull of fun!

Rory’s birthday party was fun and disorganized (ha!) and I will blog about that soon.

Today I want to tell you about all the fun the cousins have when they are together.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take as many pictures as I normally do but I have a few! Rory was completely in love with every single one of her older cousins. I mean every.single.one.

And she sorta loved her little cousin, Clayton, too but got very possessive of the toys he was playing with because “no! those are Ryyydur’s toys!”, of course. Bless her heart, she’s very protective of her sister. She did thoroughly enjoy taking a bath with Clayton though (because he let her dump water on his head).

Jacks, Landon, and Riley of course did their own thing most of the time which included lots of playing outside and also included sawing through a rock (for real). Jacy and Cade played basketball with the older kids (me, Papa, Josh and Patrick) and OH MY WORD it was the worst game of horse and around the world EVER. No one made any shots and it was ridiculous.

Clayton and Ryder stared at eachother a lot but barely made contact unless we made them. Soon they will be giving us a run for our money! (Can you believe they are just 2 months apart?!)

All weekend long we were cracking up at Clayton. He does this signature move that only one other person in our family has ever done and we got SO TICKLED all weekend at it. This picture doesn’t really do it justice but here is the signature lounge…

Aunt Nita, doesn’t he look SO MUCH like Patrick doing that?! I hope this makes your day. We miss Patrick so much and I can’t believe its been 12 years since I have hugged his neck. I miss him all the time.

Alright, tomorrow is the big day! I’m flying to OH to be with Andy for FIVE days of R&R! 

Hallelujah and amen.

grand plans, junk food, and Valentine’s

I had all these grand plans for consistently blogging while I was here in TN…

like for instance, taking Valentine’s Day pictures the day before we left.

Well, friends, I uploaded those pictures on my computer at home and then cleared my SD card to have room for everything for the trip.

Which is smart, you know, if I had brought my desktop along with me.

Anyways, we’ve been having a blast seeing friends and family, and most of all partying for Rory’s birthday! Its been a good week but we are all exhausted since NEITHER OF MY CHILDREN want to sleep anymore. Honestly, I just don’t understand why I was tortured blessed with these children that do not sleep.

Dear Lord, I love my sleep. Can’t I get some kids who love sleep too? Amen.

Rory’s been having tons of fun getting away with murder with the grandparents. And also getting to eat things like potato chips, nutty bars, and let’s not forget the coke she drank. She’s going to be sad when she gets back home! ha!

Andy left a Valentine’s present for Rory before he left for his work trip. She absolutely loved it. She “read” the card over and over and loved her bear and chocolate kisses. And THEN the slinky came out. Y’ALL. Best dollar spent ever. They both are obsessed with it. Rory decided to play a game where she gave one end to Ryder and then backed way up and then Ryder would let go. It was hysterical. Ryder laughed so hard she literally flopped on her face.

So here are your 3 days late (unofficial) Valentine’s pictures. Rory sat and cheesed for me for a minute and then her and Ryder just acted silly when I tried getting their pictures together. Seriously, they are just little butts. And I love them dearly.

I will do a couple posts next week all about Rory’s birthday parties! Tasha’s family will get to TN tonight and so all the sisters and their kids will be together tomorrow and I cannot wait! Hope you have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

let’s start this celebration!

We woke up bright and early this morning to take Rory to the eye doctor in Dallas. We had been noticing that her eye seemed to turn in and so we needed to get it checked out. The doctor had told us that she would probably have to have surgery to correct it and so we have been worried about it because we’ve had enough this year with surgeries!

Well, I’m happy to report that no surgery is needed! Finally, a specialist appointment with the kids that didn’t end badly! Apparently she gives the illusion of having a “lazy eye” because her eyes are so big and dark and the bridge of her nose is wide. Its something she will grow into and will need no further testing. PRAISE THE LORD!

After the appointment, we decided to take Rory to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate her birthday as a family a little early.

Rory loved it, though she was a little timid. I got her to ride one moving ride and then she was OVER IT. She’s going through a “scarey” phase right now, so its kinda a bummer. She runs in about 19833 times a day from her playroom or wherever saying “mommy! mommy! that a scarey me!” and who the heck knows whats scarey-ing her. She liked playing the games and watching us play though, so that was fun!

She tried with all her might to climb into the tall kid play thing but just couldn’t get the strength to hoist herself up more than two levels. She did go up and down about two thousand times though!

Her favorite games were anything with balls. She loved skee ball and similar games. But she’d only throw over handed so it didn’t work out so well, ha!

She thought she was big stuff putting the coins in.

And even bigger stuff when she “drove” the car. (oh and yes, that precious pumpkin of mine totally gave a smile without me even asking!)

Ryder had fun too being passed around between us and watching Rory run around.

By the way, Ryder is a total stinker. Everytime I’d put the camera to my face to take a picture while holding her, she’d grab it. So here she is with her stinker face on…

If that ain’t proof of a stinker, I don’t know what is.

Then it was time to collect all the tickets and pick out a prize!

She picked a lizard, vampire teeth (that didn’t fit in her mouth), and a bracelet.

About two seconds into the ride home, both girls passed out and slept the entire 2 hours home.

We had such a wonderful day together. Nine days until my Big Stinker is 2!

 

Happy 60th Birthday Papa!

Today is a very, very special day!

Our Papa is 60 years old!

He is the very best Papa in the whole wide world! He loves to play with us and sings us songs. We have so much fun with him!

Papa, we love you so much and hope you have the best birthday ever! Wish we could be there to have “Papa coffee” with you and ride the horsey!

Can’t wait to see you in February!

I made an actual sign for them to hold up, but it didn’t work out very well.

our Christmas card

It’s Christmas week but it doesn’t feel like Christmas week.

For starters, it’s so warm that I wore flip flops to Kroger today.

But really, the reason it doesn’t feel like Christmastime is because it’s the first time in my life that I’m not going to be home in Tennessee for Christmas.

In fact, it’s the first Christmas in my entire life that I won’t be waking up at my parents’ house on Christmas morning.

Dang. This might be harder than I thought. Today I really started missing my parents. Like really really missing them.

All that being said, I’m so excited that we get to stay home this year.

For the first time in our marriage (7 1/2 years!), we are going to start our own traditions with our little family at our little home in Texas. And I simply can’t wait for that.

I am still in the process of sending out Christmas cards (sorry they are late!) and of course can’t send one to everyone because postage is so expensive. The best way to share with everyone is to post it here and you can save it to your computer from here!

Merry Christmas from the Harris’!

I also had planned on writing a Christmas letter this year, but fell short on that too for many reasons. First of all, I simply ran out of time. But mostly its because reliving this past year has been more painful and much harder than I thought it’d be.

So here is a Christmas letter of sorts for all of you.

—-

I hope that as you are reading this your hearts are full of love and happiness this Christmas. And if you are reading this and you are struggling and going through a trial bigger than you know how to handle, know that God sent His Son for YOU. He sent His Son to comfort you, to protect you, to love on you this Christmas and every Christmas. Cling to His promises of comfort and joy in the midst of your darkest days.

This year has been the year of struggles and storms for us. The year started with nonstop ear infections with Rory and her eventual procedure to have tubes. God was preparing us for something even bigger and more crippling to come. (And believe me, that time in our life was HARD.)

In February, we had our 20 week ultrasound to find out if we were having a boy or girl. During the ultrasound, they noticed something different about Ryder’s anatomy. We were sent to Dallas thinking that Ryder didn’t have some of her parts (bladder, urinary tract, etc) but when we got there we realized that she just had a fluid filled cyst. We are still praising God for this! By May, the cyst was gone and we were released from the specialist. Again, we were being prepared for something bigger to come.

Then around April/May we were, again, crippled by the news of Andy’s mom’s cancer. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and we were all devastated. When you hear pancreatic cancer, fear creeps in like nothing you’ve ever seen because the statistics are never good from what you know. In June, Marlyce had the whipple procedure done and it was a very hard surgery and she had a very hard time recovering. But we are praising Jesus’ sweet name because she had the rarest form of pancreatic cancer you can have and is now doing wonderfully, especially considering all her body has endured this year.

On June 26th I went to the hospital having contractions every two minutes apart. Because I wasn’t “changing fast enough” they gave me a really strong sedative/pain pill and sent me home. The next day I spiked a 105 fever (just like I did with Rory) and had to spend four days in the hospital trying to get my fever down. It was so scary, just like with Rory, and the unknown infection went away without us knowing what was exactly wrong.

On July 1st, I was induced. During labor, Ryder’s heart stopped at the height of every contraction. It was scary and no one knew why. But after an extremely easy and fairly quick labor, Ryder Amelia was born at 2:15 pm. She was the most perfect baby, just like Rory was, and so beautiful and sweet.

While we were at the hospital after her birth, Andy and I talked a lot about how she didn’t eat. The nurses complained that she was a “snacker” and told us to be on a strict schedule with her. We just thought she wasn’t ready to eat yet or something, we weren’t sure what was going on.

At Ryder’s two week appointment, Dr. Scott heard her murmur. I still question whether or not this was the first time anyone had heard it… but thats a whole ‘nother story for another day. We went to the hospital and had a chest xray and EKG done. Four days later, I was told there was a small defect but we could wait to go to the cardiologist because it wasn’t any big problem.

During that time, Ryder was diagnosed with colic because she screamed all the time and we couldn’t get her on a schedule and couldn’t make her eat. It was tough. It was exhausting.

On August 11th, I took Ryder to her first cardiologist appointment. I immediately knew something was way wrong and was scared out of my mind. There I was, all alone (Andy was out of town on business and I didn’t think I’d need him since I was told it was no big deal), hearing huge medical terms and getting the run down on the many defects of Ryder’s heart. I was so crippled with the fear, I literally didn’t know if I’d be able to walk to the car with Ryder. We immediately scheduled Ryder’s first procedure in hopes to fix her heart without any huge medical intervention.

Ryder’s first procedure, an attempted balloon cath, was on August 18th. When they went in to do the cath to open her obstructed pulmonary valve, they realized they wouldn’t be able to do it because the holes in her heart were too big. If they were to open the valve, the blood would rush into her lungs and, essentially, drown her. We were sent home on three medications, hoping that they would help Ryder to be able to eat and help her heart to be able to close on its own.

On September 2nd, Ryder had her two month well-baby checkup. But Ryder was not well at all. She had only gained 10 ounces since two weeks old and was struggling with everything in her to eat and breathe. She got her vaccines and because of her crying from them, she went into cardiac distress. In three days Ryder only ate a total of 10 oz of formula. To say this was the darkest moment of my life would be an understatement. She was unresponsive and would barely wake up for more than 15 minutes at a time.

I haven’t shared this before, but it will be my most cherished memory of my sister for the rest of my life. On Thursday morning, Telena called me crying about Ryder. She said she just had to call me because she couldn’t stop thinking about Ryder. She encouraged me to be aggressive for Ryder until someone listened. I will never forget the power she gave me that day.

I called the cardiologist that Thursday morning and got Ryder in the next morning. I packed my bags with a weeks worth of clothes because I knew I wouldn’t be coming home until Ryder’s heart was fixed. We were with the cardiologist no more than a minute and had already decided on open heart surgery as our only option. Ryder was admitted into the hospital to get a feeding tube so that she could be strong for her surgery the following week.

On September 15th, Ryder had open heart surgery to fix four holes and an obstructed valve. The surgery went so smoothly and we will forever be thankful that God gave us Dr. Mendeloff to perform her surgery. Those few days in the CICU were so unimaginably hard and yet, wonderful. We became stronger as a family and it changed our lives forever.

The past three months since her surgery have had high highs and low lows. Each day was either a struggle or a triumph kind of day.

The past two weeks have been triumph weeks though. Ryder is FINALLY eating like a “normal” baby and she has started sleeping through the night.

Through all these trials, there have been such joyous moments as well.

Rory has been our constant comic relief through every single hard day. I don’t know what we would have done without her wonderful spirit and fun personality through all of this.

We have met some of the most wonderful people in the world  and have seen God work through total strangers for us.

Our friends in Paris have rocked our world with their support and love for us. Our church family was such an amazing blessing to us during this time of heartache. They took care of Rory, gave us financial gifts, and care packages. They brought meals, meals, and more meals. We can’t thank them enough.

Our friends from all over sent care packages and cards. They called, texted, emailed, and spread the word to pray for Ryder. Facebook BLEW UP with updates from my friends from every part of the country sharing Ryder’s story and urging their 500+++ facebook friends to pray for our precious daughter.

My parents came for weeks this year and took off many, many days of work to watch Rory. Andy’s parents were ready to come at any time, and did come to help as well. There is no way I will ever be able to repay them for this. When I needed my Mom and Dad most, they were there holding me up and taking care of my other precious daughter so that I wouldn’t have to worry about her well being for even a second.

And I know I have said this before, but you can’t possibly know how much you have impacted our lives with your prayers. YOU changed me forever. I wish I could say thank you in a way that seems worthy because just words simply don’t seem like enough. But, I will say them now, and many times to come- THANK YOU for everything.

If you are reading this and you are facing a trial and are hurting, please PLEASE if I can help in any way at all, let me know. I would love to pray for you, pray WITH you and ask others to pray. Email me at tiffany@theharrislife.com (tiffany{at}theharrislife{dot}com), comment on the link on facebook, or comment on this post. Please leave a link to your blog or care page or whatever. I would LOVE to be able to pray with you and for you.

Again, thank you for everything you have done for my family this year.

I hope you all have the merriest Christmas of all.

Love you all very much,

Tiffany