Category: Holidays

Happy 2nd Birthday, Rory!

Rory, you are TWO YEARS OLD today!

I just can’t believe how fast time flies by! I am mixed between being so sad that you are growing up too fast and so glad because each day you get more fun!

Rory you are the sweetest, spunkiest, most determined two year old I’ve ever seen. Your indepence and need for knowledge is amazing. You are always wanting to know how something works and don’t stop until you figure it out! You are such a problem solver and I can almost bet you will be an engineer like your Daddy.

I can’t tell you how many people ask to hear “Rory stories” when they see us out. Everyone gets such a kick out of you because you really are just SO funny. Of course, I love telling on you because your mischeviousness cracks me and everyone else up! Your personality is so sweet and fun and everyone loves to be around you. I couldn’t be more thankful for that!

Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you, Rory! We can’t tell you how thankful we are that God chose you to be our daughter. What an amazing gift you are to us! My biggest prayer for you is that you take your strong-willed spirit and do something amazing and something that changes people’s lives.

We love you Rory girl!

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.

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas weekend!

We started the party on Friday night by going to see Santa. We talked Santa up the whole way there, telling Rory he was our friend and that he brought presents, etc.  She was SO EXCITED to see “Claus” as she calls him.

And then we got there and she had a little freak out and said, repeatedly, “oh no Claus! oooohhhh no Claus!” and clung to me with all her might. It was hysterical.

Ryder sat in his lap like a big girl and pulled his beard as hard as she could the entire time.

So all in all- completely successful, no?

And then Christmas came!

It all started at 2:oo AM when Rory came into our room saying “a Claus? a Claus?” and I said “oh no missy- Claus hasn’t been here yet!”.

So then at 5:45 she woke up and was ready to go. We went into the living room and opened all the wrapped gifts and then we showed her the new playroom and her big presents.

The “before” pictures of all the presents.

The kitchen we made Rory. I will do a whole blog post about this one sometime this week!

And the opening of presents/after pictures. She didn’t stop for even a second the entire morning. It was wonderful seeing how excited she was all day long! She cooked up about 9823 cheeseburgers and served a whole ton of tea!

and of course, we learned how to climb into the kitchen and hide really quick!

And then about an hour after Rory woke up, Ryder decided to wake up and see what Santa had brought her as well! She was EXCITED! Of course, Rory had to help open the gifts.

I tried, in vain of course, to get their picture together in their pjs on Christmas morning….

And then Ryder almost jumped out of the bumbo trying to get to her dog!

We went to church and it was a wonderful service. I’m so glad we went! Ryder wore the dress her Aunt Telena got her for Christmas! (again, the tongue is always out these days!)

After church, we ate a huge lunch- ham, potatoes, pasta salad, corn, and cornbread. (Too bad we skipped out on carbs this year- HA!) Then we all took a long nap and it was so nice. Afterwards, Rory woke up and played so hard until she crashed at about 8.

This was the end of the day. She told me she “cean up kitchen mommy”… ???

Its been a wonderful, quiet Christmas! Hope yours was wonderful too!

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{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,














sugar high

So far our Christmas break has consisted of A LOT of cleaning house and laundry catch up.

Thank goodness I’ve hired some help…

We’ve also been watching Ryder do all kinds of new things.

Like sit up better! And man she loves this new skill!

Yes, she does always have her tongue sticking out. Its so stinkin’ cute!

She also started saying “dada” very clearly this week. And now she says it ALL THE TIME. Meaning, all day long and all night long. Little precious.

The girls had their first ever tea party.

They are absolutely precious.

Today my sweet friend from church, Angela, had us over for a Christmas cookie decorating party. We had such a blast!

Of course, managing both crazy kids of mine tends to be quite stressful, but Rory still did great decorating her cookies. She absolutely loved it!

She was obsessed with the sprinkles.

And with licking the icing…

Angela and Hannah

Julie and Grady

Roxanne and Samuel

Sherry, Jaxon, and Spencer

And yes, I got some pictures of me and the girls! Shocking!

and then the inevitable happened… Rory figured out to take the top off some green sprinkles and dumped the ENTIRE bottle onto her cookie. Boy was she excited, though!

Sugar high.

Here are her cookies… I’m so proud of my big girl!

Thank you, Karley, for taking these pictures for me!


class Christmas party

Today was another first in the life of Rory! She had her first ever school Christmas party!

I didn’t get many pictures because they were shoving their faces with pizza and cookies the entire time, but it was so fun to see Rory at school with her friends.

I got a babysitter for Ryder so that Rory could have my undivided attention for her first school party. I loved having that time with her, and realized how desperately we need to have alone time more often than we do now. In the process of figuring out how and when and what to do together….. suggestions????

Santa came to Rory’s school before the party and her teacher, Miss Karie, said that she loved him. She marched right over and started talking to him from what I hear. I guess I need to make a trip to see Santa with the girls!

Notice that in most of the pictures Rory is either eating or very sneakily trying to steal her friends’ food or drink. Stinker.

Her class had an ornament exchange and Rory got this cute sock monkey ornament. And y’all, she is OBSESSED with it. In fact, she is sleeping with it right now.

Now, what the heck am I supposed to do without MDO the next two weeks?!!!!!!!! HA!

PS: Rory looks super cute in her shirt made my Amanda!

PPS: Did you enter the giveaway?! It ends tomorrow at 5pm!

PPPS: I started planning Rory’s birthday party and am so depressed that I have to acknowledge that she’s going to be two in just two months! Doesn’t she look like such a big girl now?!

PPPPS: Ryder is rolling over! Got a video!

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.


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.

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.


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!