Category: Family

they’re mocking me.

So, once again, I embarked on the impossible- getting Rory and Ryder’s picture together in their Christmas outfits.

I want y’all to know that these kids are about to drive me to drink.

If you go to church with me, ignore the previous comment.

Now it seems that the girls are conspiring against me in this whole picture taking nonsense.

I mean, now they’re just mocking me.

Seriously though. This was not planned. I did not tell them to do this. I have no idea how I managed to get this picture.

But it captures their personalities perfectly.

The little butts.

Again… I say that with all the love in my heart.

I did manage to get a couple of cute, non-sticking-out-their-tongues-at-me pictures though.

Rory insisted on “hold sisser hand” in every picture.

Which is simply adorable, if I do say so myself.

Rory also talked and sang the whole time.

I tried to get pictures of Ryder by herself because she has my niece’s dress on, but this is the only one I got and it came out in this weird color…. and honestly, who has time to fix it?

So there you have it. I’d call that a successful photo session adventure. And no tears were shed! Amazing!

I’m trying to plan as many playdates as possible in the next two weeks because Rory doesn’t have MDO and will get so bored if we stay home all week.

And no one wants to see what happens when Rory gets bored.

Plus, my playdates with my fabulous friends in Paris always consist of a lot of coffee and awesome girl time. Who doesn’t love that?!

Ok! Happy Christmas Week!

winter long pajama party

Well, its winter.

I used to love winter back in the day when I didn’t have kids.

Winter with kids is just wrong on every level.

So for now, we are holed up for winter as much as possible. I don’t want to take Ryder amongst the nasties that bring their flu viruses and the like into public places. And I don’t want to take her out into the cold much either. After all we’ve been through, the last thing I want is for girlfriend to get the RSV or something.

So we’ve been having pajama parties every single day. In fact, more days than not the girls stay in their same pjs all day until they get fresh ones on at night. Reason #1- I see no point in dirtying more clothes just to be at home, Reason #2- if I change Rory into clothes then she automatically thinks we are going somewhere and YOU come try to convince her otherwise, and Reason #3- what’s better than a winter long pajama party?!!!!!

PS- Don’t just stop by the house unannounced unless you are prepared to see us looking a big mess up in here. Consider yourself warned.

Rory loves the PJ parties though. She feels comfy all day and besides, PJ’s are the easiest thing to take off. Yes, that’s right. She’s still stripping. Its gotten so bad that I’m seriously considering either just biting the bullet and all out potty training her on Christmas break or duct taping her clothes on.

Because, folks, it is NOT MY IDEA OF FUN to run around chasing her butt naked self. And its NOT MY IDEA OF FUN to discover puddles wherever in the house because she decided she’d rather live in a nudist colony. She has to “I potty Mommy” no less than 7854653 times a day.

But at least she’s cute. (I feel like I have to say that a lot with this kid. ha!)

and I’m pretty sure Jacks and Landon taught her a lovely little trick of showing her food…

You are welcome for that.

This past weekend Andy’s parents came up to have Christmas and watch the girls while we took a little overnight trip to Dallas.

Rory loved opening presents. Her favorite things she got were her toothbrush and Tangled doll. Is anyone surprised by either?!

We had an awesome time in Dallas just SLEEPING and eating without kids crying and begging us for “bite! bite!”. We are so thankful we have parents that will do that for us. And I’m thinking we should make this a monthly thing?! haha!

Happy Wednesday!

Thanksgiving Trip: The Final Post

Alright its time to finish this business up!

On Friday after Thanksgiving we made our way to the TN river where Andy’s parents live. We had a great time just relaxing and letting the kids play and get spoiled. Then on Saturday Andy’s grandmother and aunts came to see the girls! It was so great to see them since we never get to. Marsha brought her granddaughter, Adrianna (hope thats how you spell it- if not forgive me!), and her and Rory played together.

Aunt Marlene and Ryder

Aunt Marsha, Adrianna, and Ryder

group shot

Then on Saturday we headed back to Jackson to my parents’ for the McIntire Christmas. We aren’t going to be home for Christmas and neither is Tasha so we decided (last minute) to have it while we were all together at Thanksgiving.

the kids opened presents

Papa made the boys traps for their presents. They were a huge hit!

Mimi made Rory tutus and a wand. We play with them every day… she thinks she’s a fairy!

I got my mom Just Dance 3 for her present. And somehow I didn’t get a picture of her and my dad doing it on my camera. I got one shot of it on my phone and there may or may not be a video floating around youtube. You’ll have to ask Patrick about that though.

Everyone had such a blast playing.

Rory LOVED it and asked for it for Christmas too. (I LOVED it as well which is why I made Rory ask for it.)

And of course, we had to get a family picture.

Please note Clayton on the bottom left.

After all of that, Rory got her FIRST haircut!

I wasn’t sure how it would go at first…

But thanks to Telena’s awesome skills and to some singing, she warmed up!

We had such a wonderful time and I can’t wait until we can all get together again. Christmas won’t be the same without going home but I am really excited about starting our new traditions here at our house and getting to spend a really long weekend together as a family at home.

Thanksgiving Trip: Part 2

Oh my word. I’m seriously never going to be able to get through all these pictures. So, just warning you, there will be at least one more trip post. I could do it shorter, but it was such a wonderful time that I don’t want to leave anything out. We needed this time with our family so bad after everything with Ryder and I want to remember it.

The most important things about Thanksgiving in Mississippi are: photo ops, outdoors, food, and most of all, FOOTBALL.

My sister, Tasha, and her family came (Patrick, Landon, and Clayton). Clayton is two months older than Ryder. So, naturally, we had to do a little photo op with them!

Clayton is just a little chunky.

And Ryder is just a little squirt.

Here is Rory getting in on the cousin picture action:

Ryder met Uncle Pakert/Patrick for the first time.

Rory rode a tractor with Uncle James.

(and these totally made me tear up- reminds me of when I used to ride the tractor with my granddaddy. I miss him so much.)

Rory also did a lot of climbing.

First she climbed her Uncle Josh.

Then she climbed a tree all by herself.

And then Telena helped her climb some more.

Jacks scared all his great aunts and his Mimi with this dead lizard he found.

The youngest grandkids swung with Papa and Jacy.

We, of course, got a group picture. (Thanks to my nagging.)

And then, hallelujah, we ate.

and ate, and ate, and ate.

Amen.

Rory sat at the big girl table. She was so proud.

And then it was time for football.

We play football every year on Thanksgiving day.

Its “tag” football, but somehow it seems to get a bit more rough than intended.

Everyone gets a chance to play, even the kids (this year Jacks and Landon).

And every year there is debate over fair teams, downs, out of bounds, etc. This year was no different. And for the record, our teams were WAY off this year.

My dad, the football star.

My sister, the goob.

And every year, someone ends up getting hurt.

This year it was Andy’s turn.

Well, that concludes the Mississippi Thanksgiving adventure. Tomorrow I will post about our time at the river with Andy’s parents!

Happy Wednesday! (PS: TWO DAYS until our weekend away in Dallas without kids!)

 

Thanksgiving Trip: Part One

Well I am having to break up my Thanksgiving post into parts because I just uploaded 776 photos from my camera and there’s no way I can go through all of them today and put all of them on one post.

Anyways. We had an absolute blast in TN/MS last week! Rory and Ryder were so good most of the time and both enjoyed all the extra spoiling love and attention.

On Saturday we met my dad half way in AR. Rory was so excited to see him. She kept calling him “Papa Mimi” instead of just Papa. It was so cute.

Sunday we went to my parents church and it was wonderful to get to see everyone there. I’m so thankful for my dad’s church family and all of their prayers for Ryder during her surgery. After church I met up with one of my best friends from high school, Jodi, and we went to a Holiday Mart a school in my hometown puts on every year. It was great to catch up with her and hang out without kids.

Monday morning, the girls and I headed over to our great friends’, Katie and Sam, house. They have a little boy, Brooks, who is about 14 months old  who is ADORABLE. Unfortunately, my child refused to share and was so rough so they didn’t have the greatest time playing, but I enjoyed getting to catch up with Katie so much! Oh, and we tried to get pictures of all three kids together. It went so well.

“Stop touching me!”

“Please stop touching me!!!!!!!!!!”

“I’m outta here!”

Monday night we went and hung out at my sister, Telena’s house. Rory absolutely loved playing with Jacks, Jacy, and Riley the whole time.

Tuesday was nasty all day so we just stayed home and had a lazy rainy day.

Wednesday we headed to Dumas, MS. I’ve been informed that its not the middle of nowhere but instead the center of the universe.

Touché. Touché.

We had such an amazing time in MS. Its truly home to me, even if I don’t get back there much. I have dreams of living on my grandparents’ land one day.

My aunt and uncle live there (actually two aunts and uncles) and they have miniature horses. Let me tell you. They were a big hit! Here are all the kids getting to ride one of the horses. My Uncle Frank led them around and all the kids LOVED it. (Uncle Frank is loved by all kids. ALL kids.)

I had to include this. Do you see the boys pointing and laughing? Yep. The horse was peeing and they thought it was hysterical, of course.

Ok, can I just say I want to move Jacy in with me so I could have a babysitter on hand all the time? She was SO MUCH help the entire week with Rory. And Rory absolutely adores her. Jacy- you are the best niece EVER. Please come stay with me this summer… PLEASE???

Landon and Rory rode the pony together. They are the cutest.

My niece, Riley.

Sweet nephew, Jacks.

Cousin, Sadie Beth.

Beautiful niece, Jacy. (Notice that her legs almost touch the ground, ha!)

Cousin, Elizabeth.

Cousin, Maleah.

Sweet nephew, Landon.

Everyone took turns holding Rory… too bad she refused to look at camera.

Okay! That is all I can do today. My house is a DISASTER and we are having company this weekend. I will post part 2 tomorrow!

we’re on the road again…

I’m blogging today from the backseat of my car smashed in between the girls. I would take a picture but my arms and smooshed between carseats.

But I did take this picture of my darling parents.

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This picture is so typical of them. My mom is telling a story, my dad is aggravating her, and I’m squished in the backseat.

Some things never change.

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You should also notice that my mom most certainly has one of those neck pillows.

Let me tell you something about my mom- she’s one of THOSE people who is addicted to anything labeled “as seen on tv”. I may or may not have inherited this trait from her.

So we have had a great week so far. Rory and Ryder are getting spoiled by so many people and I’ve had many breaks. Andy is coming to MS today to meet us and I can’t wait to see him!

Alright, it’s time to go sing our usual road trip songs.

Happy Thanksgiving!

payback

I am the baby of three girls in my family by A LOT of  a few years. I can tell y’all so many stories of my sisters scaring me, leaving me out, etc. (And they may or may not have a lot of stories of me being a brat to them, ha!)

In fact, I think I should tell you a story that scared me so bad I still haven’t recovered.

My grandparents lived in Dumas, MS on an old country road in the middle of nowhere. My great grandparents and an aunt and uncle lived on this road as well. As kids, we loved to explore the woods and walk up and down this old dirt road.

My great grandparents had a storm shelter. Not a lovely one that people install for you, though- this one was the back of a van covered by a mound of dirt on the side of the road. It looked like someone drove it into the embankment and left it there. (This may not make sense to you, but just go with it.) The shelter was creepy as all get out just as it was. My Grandmother Latham would store preserves in jars and such in this storm shelter.Since I was just 6 or so and my sisters and cousins were in their angry teenage years at the time, they of course did not want me hanging around them. (Mostly because they were doing things they were afraid I’d tell on them about. ha!)

One day I was tagging along and walking with them down the road. My sisters and cousins decided to tell me a little story.

They told me that an old man walked up and down the road at night looking for kids who were tattle tells. They said that if I told on them for anything the old man would come rip out my insides and put them in those jars and set them in the store shelter.

People, I needed psychiatric help over this. I still do.

I say all of this to say, I’m sure I paid them back several times over in many different bratty ways over the years.

Which is exactly why I LOVE these pictures.

Rory has been known to do all kinds of things to Ryder. She wakes her up from her naps by being loud, she hops in the bed with her, she takes her paci…. MUST I GO ON?!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So today she leaned over the swing and was waking sister up from her nap once again and Ryder just got a grip on Rory’s hair and WOULD NOT LET GO.

Naturally, I grabbed my camera despite Rory’s screams of “SISTER, HAIR! HAIR!” and got those glorious pictures. You are welcome.

I’m so excited because I get to go see my sisters and parents TOMORROW! We are going to spend time in MS and TN and I just absolutely cannot wait.

Pretty sure my sisters will be doing some payback after they read this post.

OH WAIT. They never read my blog. HA!

visit from Gigi and Grandpa

This weekend Andy’s parents (now referred to as Gigi and Grandpa) came for a visit. Its the first time other than Ryder’s surgery they have been able to come since Ryder was born.

We had a great weekend. It was nice to be able to get some stuff done around the house without having to worry about Rory “helping”. They brought some furniture down so I organized while they played outside with Rory.

And best of all, Andy and I got to go on a date without the girls! We needed it so bad! Andy was so excited, can’t you tell?!

On Saturday, we went over to their hotel and let Rory swim! She had an absolute blast! She’s my little fearless fish in the water. I can’t wait until next summer when I can take both girls to the pool!

Ryder had fun too!

And for a Ryder update. She has been drinking so great the past 4 days. We thought we were in the clear and were so excited!

But the last three bottles she has thrown up (not spit up- we are talking about projectile here) about 2 1/2 ounces into the bottle. I’m not sure whats going on. We have a checkup tomorrow with cardiologist so I’m hoping we can figure it out by then. We are also hoping she doesn’t throw up anymore. We have made such great progress on eating and gaining weight. It is SO EASY for her to start losing that weight if she doesn’t keep down the food. So please say a prayer for us!

Have a great day!

He Knew

Over the course of the past few months, I realized that God has been preparing me and our family for things for a while. He knew.

God knew we should wait a while before having kids in our marriage so that we would be closer and know each other well before trying to throw in parenthood. He knew we should explore and travel, fight and make up, learn how to be a husband and a wife. He knew.

God knew when we got pregnant with Rory and thought we were going to lose her that He was preparing us for a more difficult time. We prayed that we wouldn’t have a miscarriage and He came through despite what the doctors were telling us. He knew.

God knew when I had a scary labor that He was preparing us for more scary times in the hospital. He saved me and Rory and we give Him the glory for that. He knew.

God knew through all the 13 ear infections in 4 months that Rory would need tubes. He knew she would make it through that. He was preparing us for a bigger procedure to be done with our other child. He knew.

God knew when we were so scared that Ryder’s organs weren’t developing properly at 20 weeks pregnant. He was preparing us for more extreme fear to come. He helped us to realize to give our children over to Him and trust He will take care of them. He knew he was just starting on the impact Ryder would make. He knew.

God knew when we first heard the murmur on tiny little Ryder. He knew what was to come with all of it. He prepared us and kept us close the entire time. He knew

God knew when to show me it was time to go ahead with the surgery. He prepared us to be able to make the best but hardest decision of our lives so that our little baby would not only live but thrive. He knew.

God knew that we needed an extreme peace to wash over us as we prepared for surgery. He knew we needed a HUGE community to overwhelm us with prayers. He knew.

God knew we needed to feel him wrapping his arms of comfort around us as we handed Ryder off to go into open heart surgery. He knew He needed to send people who loved us to wait with us and distract us. He knew Dr. Turner (our pastor) needed to come to provide comic relief and help the hours fly by. He knew.

God knew Ryder would go through major surgery and be healed. He knew.

God knew Ryder’s story would impact so many people. He has used her story to encourage others all over the US. He knew.

God knew that He would not only heal Ryder but miraculously heal her. She no longer struggles to eat. She no longer gets blue. She know longer has a hard time breathing. She is no longer “failure to thrive”. He knew.

God knew that at the appointment today He would blow me and the doctors away. He knew that he would make her murmur that they thought would be there the rest of her life even after surgery would be undetectable. He knew she would gain TWO pounds and make us cry with joy. He knew.

God knows the future for Ryder. God knows the future for Rory. God knows the future for Andy and I. He knows the future for you.

I am so thankful for those of you that have prayed and continue to pray for us. It isn’t all over, but we are close. God is so good. I hope that through all of this I have honored Him… its the least I can do.

I’m linking up with WLW Wednesdays (just a day late!).

smiles

To say that I’m overwhelmed by the love and prayers we have felt the past couple of weeks would be an understatement. I’ve received emails, cards, phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, etc. encouraging me and telling me that people are praying for Ryder. I’m so moved by all of these things that I don’t even have words to express how thankful I am for them. They have helped carry me through all the doubt and bad news.

I wanted to explain what is going on with Ryder now after her procedure so that everyone can know.

We went in last week to have the balloon cath done to open Ryder’s valve. When we got to the hospital the surgeon explained that the first thing he would do was go in with a camera and take pictures and look around the heart to make sure they knew exactly what was going on. From there they would determine whether or not they could do the cath.

Unfortunately, they found that the hole between her left and right atrium was much larger than they anticipated so he was not able to open the valve. The reason they didn’t do the cath was because the valve being tight is actually helping the situation with the hole. The hole is causing so much extra blood flow through the heart and body that the tight valve is slowing down all of that to the lungs. Which is a good thing for now. The valve is continuing to close over time though, so either way something has to be done. If the hole closes up we will go back and do the balloon cath…. and if not she will undergo open heart surgery to close the hole and open the valve.

So now we have Ryder on two different medications, twice a day, to help the heart not have to work as hard and to keep fluid off of the heart so that hopefully the hole will be able to close on its own. These medications are also supposed to help Ryder eat better. She is also on a higher calorie diet (just more formula to water ratio) to help her gain weight.

The GOOD news is that she seems to be gaining weight! Finally! The days and nights are easier because even though she still has a hard time eating, its more bang for her buck with the higher calorie intake.

Its seriously my full time job now (on top of normal care for a newborn AND a sweet little toddler) to make sure her feedings go smoothly and that she is eating well. It. is. exhausting. But of course, worth it.

And Ryder seems so so so much happier. And I have proof!

Yesterday she was playing on the floor and rolled over!!! I thought it was a fluke but she  ended up doing it three times! The amazing part is that the doctor told me last week that she would probably be delayed in physical activities until the hole closes up. Well she showed them!

Please continue to pray for Ryder that God will close this hole and that she won’t have to have open heart surgery. I know He can, and I am praying for that miracle. The doctors are not hopeful that it will, but I know God can do this if its His will. And please pray that if it isn’t His will to preform this miracle that we will have an easy time understanding and be able to get through it as easy as possible emotionally (And and I) and physically (Ryder).