Category: Everyday Life

the joy that is family picture day.

I’ve had a lot of time on my hands since moving here because I have literally one friend here (this is not a sob story- its my fault, I have been laying low).

So I was browsing during “rest time” one day on Instagram over a month or so ago and found a local photographer. It just so happened she was having a give away and I just so happened to enter it. Obviously.

Turns out I am sometimes lucky and win things. So we set a date to claim my free mini session for Nov 1.

I was DETERMINED to not be stressed. I picked out our outfits WEEKS in advance (two weeks…). I did trial runs on my hair and makeup. I made ALL OF THE PROMISES of fun rewards for the children if only they endured a tiny bit of the photoshoot.

I was ON THE BALL, y’all.

November 1st came around and was windy and cold and miserable. So we rescheduled to Monday.

No big deal! I am SO PREPARED for a stress free experience.

You see, I don’t know how YOUR family works but here is how the typical day of the family photo shoot goes down:

1- Wake up, first zit in a year smack dab in the middle of your face.

2- Get in shower. Get interrupted 230923 times by children. Come out of shower with half a leg shaved and ponder if you even washed the soap out of your hair all the way. Nope. Totally didn’t.

3- Feed children their 82nd snack because you have read all of the blogs with tips on how to ensure your kids take great pictures and the #1 rule is to make sure the children are not hungry. A hangry child makes for bad photos. Common sense, right?!

4- Blow dry hair. For two hours because your children keep interrupting. When it is finally dry you look like:

FullSizeRender 3Oh yes. You are so welcome. #curlyhairproblems

5- Start makeup while your curling iron and straightener heat up.

6- Water children.

7- Go to use the irons on hair and realize you didn’t turn them on.

8- Put on a movie for the children. Realize one child has pooped her pants. Again.

9- End up taking a sink bath to try and wash all the poo you ended up getting on you from a child who SHOULD BE GOING IN THE TOILET.

10- Start curling hair. Pray you don’t burn your hair off because you are so distracted by children.

11- Ignore all the crazy sounds you hear from the rest of the house. It’ll clean up easily later, right?!

12- Take too long on hair. Realize you are running short on time.

13- Do  rush job on makeup. Sneeze immediately after putting mascara on and curse the day you were born.

14- Go into panic mode trying to get yourself and your children dressed.

15- Threaten children to the edge of their lives about NOT getting anything on their clothes.

16- Curse your husband for taking 2 seconds getting only himself ready. How is that even fair?!

17- Get into an epic fight with husband because he says the words YOU SHALL NEVER SAY TO YOUR WIFE, “Babe. Just chill out.”

18- Get to the location and contemplate abandoning the mission and going to the hospital instead to make sure you aren’t having a heart attack. Realize that you’re having a panic attack instead and wish you had an RX for some sort of happy pill.

19- Before getting out of the car declare that IF YOU DO NOT OBEY AND SMILE FOR THE CAMERA YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY FUN FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES. Tell husband to get it together or else he might as well not come home tonight. Ignore the fact that you know you are being a bit dramatic seeing as even on the worst marriage days we have never slept separately because we are mad.

20- Get out of the car and walk towards photographer looking like “OH HI, SO NICE TO MEET YOU, AREN’T WE PRECIOUS?!” :

Family walking outdoors holding hands smiling


On this particular day, Ryder was in rare form.

Meaning she acted like a devil child.

The photographer would pose the girls and just when she would say, “okay, smile!”, Ryder would pinch the crap out of Rory just to make her cry.

Then she told the photographer “NO WAY”, when she asked her to stand in a specific spot.

I was so completely mortified I couldn’t even handle myself. I most definitely do not have perfect children but they have never acted like they did yesterday. That poor woman is probably praying we don’t ever ask her to take our pictures again.

I may or may not have cried all the way home.

There are two times in life where I feel murderous towards my family: getting ready for church on Sundays and FAMILY PICTURE DAY.

Please tell me this isn’t just my family…. seriously…. please tell me you are a psychotic control freak mother who NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY TO NOT BE STRESSED you end up wanting to cut someone you love.

I can assure you that the children look like this in every picture:


Delightful faces, no?

The good news about all of this is that it was the absolute perfect way to get over any anxiety or sadness about the girls leaving on their very first trip without us. Andy’s parents took them to Gatlinburg for a few days. They are going to have the time of their lives.

And tomorrow I am leaving for NYC with four girlfriends from high school! I can’t even believe the trip is finally here! We are all just so ready to spend a few days away from our kids and responsibilities. I’m most excited about eating without having to share or telling anyone to take a bite and SLEEP.

this is what we call a success

Right after we moved here I was in this state of bliss that almost scared me because it had been a LONG DANG TIME since we had no catastrophes or crisis situations.

We were living a dream for a good two months of calm.



Now, nothing “huge” (like a child who needs OHS) is happening but A WHOLE STINKIN’ LOT has gone down in the last few weeks.

Andy’s truck has been out of commission for 2 weeks.

Both dogs are having issues.

And then… bless it.



Rory was at AWANA and Andy and I were heading back to pick them up when we got the call.

“Hey, Tiffany!? Are y’all near the church? Oh good! Well. Rory has had an accident and has a cut and is here at the front desk with me. Don’t panic, it is going to be fine, but we just want you to be prepared.”

When I get there she is sitting in the children director’s lap all snuggled up with ice on her face. I knew by the director’s face that a trip to some sort of medical place would be happening. (I think she was seriously relieved that I am not a panicky person.)

I didn’t get a pic of it because it wasn’t open for long before we did a temp bandage to close it up, but it was a WIDE OPEN gap in her cheek.

She was playing at church when her and another little boy ran right into each other. It’s crazy to me how his head hit her just the right way to cause some serious damage.

Since it was Sunday, all the urgent care places were closed. I knew that because it was her face I was going to try my hardest to just get it glued to avoid more scarring/track marks.

I called my friend Amber and she directed me to PM Pediatrics in Chattanooga. It was a long night but the nurses and practitioners did a wonderful job with Rory.

She was SO BRAVE and did such a good job with everything. I know it had to of been scary for her. Here she is all bandaged up- of course we have family pictures this weekend, isn’t that perfect? She is gonna be rocking a tutu with her bandage and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

FullSizeRender 2


I feel I need to update you on the potty training front too.

Ryder has been in only panties for a week now. She is going without even being reminded to go.

But. We still are having poopy-pants because she just cannot get that part down.

But today!

Today was a success.

Or at least this is what I call a success:


I went into the bathroom and found this. When I asked Ryder about it she was all, “YAYYYYY I WENT POOP IN THE BATHROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I mean. At least it wasn’t in her pants.

You know you’re potty training when you think crap in the floor is a win.


I haven’t stopped laughing all day.

I also have sent this to everyone I know.

Because I feel everyone needs a picture of poop in their life.


I’ve become one of THOSE moms. You know the ones. The ones who take pictures of poop in the baby potty and proclaims how proud they are of their kid all over alllllll the social media.

Except my kid doesn’t quite get it in the desired location.

Whatever. A success is a success, amiright?

Happy Tootie Tuesday!

(har har har)

Like. For real.

This morning Rory reached the height of her disdain for me so far in her life because I dropped her off at school in a hoodie and a baseball hat.

Rory: Mom can you just open the door and let me go in?

Me: No, why?

Rory: Well. Look at you. Like. For real.

Me: Rory, if you would sleep in your own bed all night and stop waking me up then maybe I would get up earlier and look better. (In my mind I finished this off with a big “HA GOTCHA SUCKA”.)

Rory rolls her eyes and walks inside. She then tells a teacher, “I’m sorry about my mom.”

BLESS HER DANG HEART. Maybe now she will learn her lesson about keeping me up all night.

Yeah right.

The actual deal is that Andy’s truck has been in the shop since this weekend and we have no idea when it will be fixed. So we are a one car family, getting up and ready at the crack of dawn to drop Andy off at work, taking Rory to school, coming home for a few hours to potty train some more, go get Rory, come home for rest time, then back to get Andy.


So excuse me Rory for not looking my best ONE morning.

It is like having a nonstop fashion police episode every day. Featuring myself.

This afternoon we took a walk around our complex to get some fresh air and I had to have a little discussion in front of some other people about obedience.

Rory: We all have to obey you, huh Mom? Even daddy does. He needs to obey you better too.

Me: Well, no, we all need to obey daddy and especially God and God says to ‘obey your parents for this is right’.

Rory: Well. You freak out on daddy sometimes. Like. For real. You FREAK OUT.

You can imagine all the people looking at me like:



What in the heck Rory?! WHAT IN THE HECK?! I birthed you. And now you’re gonna call me out ‘LIKE FOR REAL’ twice in one day?!


For the record, who DOESN’T freak out on their husbands sometimes.

Secondly, SHE MAKES ME SOUND LIKE I DO THIS ALL THE TIME when I can assure you I DO NOT. Especially not in front of them.

Lastly, WHERE DID SHE LEARN THE WORD FREAK?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know my language is not stellar all the time but I can assure you I am very careful around my children.

Like. For real.

Basically I am having anxiety and confidence issues thanks to my 4 year old who like, for real, wants me to dress better and not freak out on her daddy.

I’ve gotta up my game.

Or something.

I don’t even know.

Like. For real.


Can we also discuss Chloe for a minute? Because she is genius with her judgmental look that applies to all situations. Anytime a friend texts me something weird I’m all :


It is fantastic.

Oh shoot, I have to go. Rory is looking at me with her judge-y look so I guess I should take this hoodie off.

hush. don’t scare it away.

Yesterday I took Rory to school as per usual and got home with Ryder. She was in her room playing like she loves to do (because she gets to play ALONE in her imaginary dream world) and I was sitting on the couch watching my usual Gilmore Girls because I CANNOT QUIT.

All of a sudden I hear the pitter patter of feet on the floor. AND THEN A FLUSH.

I sat here in a state of disbelief and WHAT THE HECK DID SHE JUST FLUSH?

I casually walk by and realize she doesn’t have pants on. The following conversation happens:

Me *all cazh/cas* : Whatcha doin’? Did I hear the toilet flush?
Ryder: Yeah. I went potty.
Me: Ohhh ok. Well make sure you —–
Ryder (interrupts): MOM. I will potty in the potty, k? I know how do it. I am a big girl, ‘member?

So for the rest of the day I was literally paralyzed on the couch waiting, listening to what she was doing.

Every so often I would hear that beautiful sound of tiny feet on the bathroom floor and then the sound of GLORY when the toilet would flush.



She wouldn’t let me talk to her about it or anything. Just GAH MOM I GOT THIS.

I was literally telling myself every time I thought about going to check on her, ‘HUSH GIRL, DON’T SCARE IT AWAY.”

Like I literally said that out loud.

And let me tell y’all something.

I refuse to go back to diapers now.

I see the light.

I will fight until the end.

Or at least I will ignore it until the end and just pray she stays on this path.

She randomly came into the room and said, “I am DONE with diapers.”

So clearly ignoring and pretending I don’t know what is happening is working out really well for me.


My book will be out soon.


Hush, girl. Don’t scare it away.
From potty training pro, Tifani Harris

Alternate title: How Ignoring My Children For Gilmore Girls on Netflix Helped Me Potty Train

It is sure to be a best seller.


*cazh or cas? Obvi short for casual.

say and go (because I’m a failure). #write31days

My parents are currently here visiting and I’m treasuring every second with them.

Therefore, I am not writing so much.

Here is what I will say, my girls were so surprised when my parents showed up I thought Ryder was for sure going to faint or sob and Rory was bouncing off the walls in delight. Ryder said, “I didn’t think you could ever make it here.” which caused ALL OF THE TEARS because, PRECIOUS.

1524604_10101350346501846_7983524833416469943_nYesterday we drove around town and I showed them the little I know about Cleveland and then we ate at the most delicious Greek and Italian restaurant. Their pizza was AMAZING and I’ve now marked “favorite place to get pizza” off my list here in town. We went for some fro-yo afterwards and Ryder learned a lesson in stealing.

I don’t think anyone was as shocked as my parents to see the girls sleep all night and sleep IN (Rory 7:30, Ryder after 8).

Today we are going to go to Rock City and the girls cannot wait to take Mimi and Papa there.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to shed some serious tears tomorrow when my parents leave- I don’t think that ever gets easier. I mean, 10 years later and I still become a mess when they leave.

So you can mark me down as a failure for not actually writing but I’ll be too busy enjoying life and my family to care. HA.


That is stuck and I know she did not cut her hair. (?) #write31days

Well. I already missed a day. Dangit. But man yesterday was crazy. So I’m giving myself grace on that.

Ironically yesterday’s topic was stuck and obviously I’m supposed to take that and write beautiful words like my friend Cynthia did, but today I’m just gonna tell you the tale of Ryder got a splinter stuck in her foot. And the tale of how Rory cut her hair.

Most importantly I will tell you about one of the best weekends ever.

(I realize these things don’t count but I’m committing to write every day(ish) not to always use to prompts.)

Friday Andy left for a trip to his parents’ house to go hunting. He randomly said to me one day, “why don’t I just take the girls and you can stay home?” and I’m pretty sure I cried because ALONE IN MY HOUSE FOR A WEEKEND?! SERIOUSLY? DOES THIS HAPPEN EVER TO A MOTHER?!

So for the first time since having children I was alone in my own house for a few days and though I couldn’t wait to see them yesterday, it was blissful.

I met up with some girlfriends, shopped, SLEPT, and organized the mess out of my house.

My bathroom and master closet are finally how I want them. FINALLY.

It was pretty much one of the best weekends ever in the history of ever. Especially because MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS KILLED A&M on Saturday. I mean they flat out smoked them. I watched the game alone while plucking my eyebrows (luxury, people!) and I’m not gonna lie, I totally teared up several times. I get emotional over football.

And though I don’t ever cheer for TSUN I was BESIDE MYSELF with glee when Ole Miss beat Alabama. I even wrote a status that said HAIL STATE AND HOTTY TODDY. It probably won’t ever happen again but dangit I was just so proud of the state of Mississippi.

Not even the roach that crawled across our table at PF Chang’s when Amber and I were trying to have a nice, uneventful meal out would ruin my perfect Saturday.

The girls and Andy got home last night and Rory and Ryder talked NONSTOP FOR HOURS about how much fun they had this weekend. I’m so glad they got to go spend time with grandparents.

Ryder got a nice splinter in her foot while she was there and when he got home it was red and mean and needed to get out of her foot. Everyone tried with no success and we tried all of the concoctions from all of the internets. NOTHING WORKED.

I finally realized I was going to have to just cut it out.

So for a minute I became heartless and cut that sucker out and wouldn’t you know it took two seconds when I finally did that and Ryder was so relieved and so was I.

I may or may not have cried for 30 minutes after finally getting it out. It was TRAUMATIC in all caps.

When it was over Ryder said to me, “Mom you are the superhero!” and let us just say- LIFE. MADE. 


This weekend also marked a major milestone for the stinkers- Rory cut her own hair. When I asked her why on earth she did that when she KNOWS NOT TO EVER DO THAT she said, “Mom I just felt like I really needed bangs now.” And she actually did give herself a nice wispy bang.


So there you have it, two prompts done in one – Ryder’s splinter was stuck and I know Rory did not cut her hair.

Learn. #write31days

I’m sitting here mulling over the word learn. This post could go a thousand different ways.

There are so many things I would love to learn: a foreign language, how to sew, how to “balance it all”, how to make my children obey at least 99% of the time, how to enjoy every moment of life, how to have a successful, happy marriage (not that we don’t but there is always room for improvement and growth), how to train a dragon…. I mean there are MILLIONS OF THINGS I would love to learn.

But most of all?

I want to learn to trust myself. To believe in myself. To let go of insecurities that are like cancer to my dreams.

I want to be a writer BUT : I don’t have the time, I can’t find my niche, I don’t think I will get the support I need, people think I am crazy, I am afraid I will step on people’s toes and hurt their feelings, I am afraid no one will care about what I want to say.

These things run rampant through my head at all times.

Can’t I just learn to let all that go? Can’t I learn to just be myself and be a dreamer and WRITE ALREADY.

I’m always learning. Learning to adapt and to change my life and my goals for my current circumstances.

But I need to learn to not be afraid to go for MY dreams and my God giving gifts in life.

I am 10000% on board with Andy’s dreams and goals. I LOVE to serve him in that way. I can’t tell you how happy this has made me.

But part of me is missing something. Something for me. Some of my dreams are leaving a hole in my heart.

This has been my hardest lesson to learn in life, to just quiet my fears and use my God given gifts well.





New. #write31days

Sleep is running low this week (no that isn’t anything new), so I’m going to take the easy way out since my brain is too tired right now.

Next month (!!!!) I’m going to NYC and it has gotten me all kinds of excited but also all kinds of itching for new clothes/shoes/makeup/bags/YOU NAME IT.

Because out of everywhere I have been in my life, NYC is one of my very favorite places in the world and it deserves my best, ya know?

So I’ve been on the search for a few new things for fall and winter and NYC combined.

1- The perfect plaid shirt. I’ve literally been on this search for a month and haven’t found the right one yet.

I am loving this one From Target – can’t get over the patched elbows. This is the #1 contender. It comes in 3 different colors.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.03.28 AM

2- The perfect scarf. If I can’t ever find a plaid shirt that fits well and that I like, I’m going to try for a big plaid scarf. Otherwise I want maybe a leopard print and/or aztec print.

Here is a neutral aztec I’m really liking from Forever21.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.21.46 AM

I tried this leopard print scarf on at Torrid and it was hard to put down (didn’t have any $ at the time to get it).

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.22.58 AM

And OH MY GOODNESS LOOK AT HOW PRECIOUS THIS BOW SCARF IS! *runs off to get it immediately*  (from Torrid)

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.23.39 AM

I’ve had my eye on this scarf at Target for quite sometime.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.34.17 AM


3- The perfect tall boot.

Now. Girlfriend (meaning me) has some wide calves. I’ve ALWAYS had wide calves. Always. So I have to look for wide calf boots. And btw- MOST OF MY FRIENDS at ALLLLLLL sizes have wide calves too and have a hard time finding boots. Why don’t people get a clue and design for real people already?! Gah.

I bought these boots at Torrid and I loooooove them. Love. Looooove. They fit SO WELL.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.39.30 AM


I would love some black boots as well but they really aren’t in the budget.

4- A gold watch.

I love classic watches like this Michael Kors watch. I wonder if I can convince Andy I need it? Like NEED not want. HA.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.45.15 AM


5- Makeup. We all know I’m obsessed with makeup. Here are a few things I think I’m gonna need going into the fall/winter and for NYC.

Naked2 Basics – I didn’t think the first Naked Basics was for me but I’m loving the 2nd one. I have the Naked2 palette and have had it ALMOST TWO YEARS without running out. It is AMAZING. But I’m finally to the point where I’m needing a new palette and the basics are small and great for travel. I don’t need as many as the regular Naked’s so I’m thinking the basics would be the perfect fit.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.50.38 AM

I also feel a strong need for a new blush. I’m DYING to try this Ambient Lighting Blush by Hourglass (loving the Ethereal Glow). I’ve heard so many things about it and I need a color better for the cooler months.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.54.07 AM

I’m also looking for a great eyeliner- any recommendations welcome!



What are you looking for this fall? I’d love to know!




View. #write31days

One of the things I love most about our apartment is the view.

I wake up every morning and think, “I will never tire of this gorgeous view.”

The pictures can’t even do it justice. The mountains are bigger, the sunrise brighter, and the colors more gorgeous.

IMG_1213Every morning I see the sunrise through our windows and it is such a reminder that each day is new and fresh. Each day unique just like each sunrise. Each day His mercies are new- for me, for my marriage, for my children.

But we all know it isn’t that easy. Or, actually it IS that easy, but life gets in the way.

The children act like little demon people, your spouse fails you and you certainly fail them.

You lose your mind between the laundry that just won’t quit and the children that just won’t obey that particularly day (or heck everyday).

And in an instance, it is all snaps out of focus.


It is all a blur. You can see the beauty in it, but it isn’t as beautiful as you want or expected it to be.

A whole day goes by in a blur of cleaning the same things over and over again, telling your children to please FOR THE LOVE stop fighting with their sibling, and tension with your spouse because life gets in the way of love and friendship sometimes.

It is hard to NOT let every single day be one blur after another blur running together.

Instead we have to fight hard to snap it back into focus.


Each day I have to learn to let things not bother me so much.

The truth is, I can’t control everyone’s behavior all the time.

I can control my behavior though.

I can’t control the fact that the dishes pile up and goodness the laundry. I can just take one task at a time and get it done when I can.

I can let the mess be beautiful. A sign of LIFE in my house. How sad would a house be without the mess, without signs of life?

In order to keep my view in focus I have to not only give grace to those around me, but also to myself.



Write 31 days.

Five Minute Prompts.

Read my 31days post here.





31 Days of Writing : Move


I don’t know why I do this to myself because commitment isn’t my thing. Remember how I tried before to do The Nester’s 31 days? Well it worked out for a while and then it just kinda fizzled out. (Search for 31 days in the search bar and you can see my 31 days of letting go series …. which incidentally I let go of around day 20something.)

But I’m itching for a challenge and to write more so I’m hoping this fits the bill and gives me something to look forward to each day.

The best part is- I found a blog that was giving writing prompts and the goal is to just spend 5 minutes on each post. Now this I can handle…. right?!

Go visit Kate and see other Five Minute-ers.



I feel like I have said that word more in my life than anything else sometimes.

Most people don’t quite understand why we move so much. We get a lot of “are you in the military?” questions. No, we are not. We just have been called to many different places in a short amount of time.

In fact, we have been so accustomed to moving that when Andy and I moved here and could actually for the first time in our marriage see ourselves living here forever, I completely panicked.

Staying in the same place from now on????? Seriously?! Crazy talk.

I’ve had a lot of people say that I am brave, adventurous, smart, etc for moving so willingly. But sometimes I don’t feel brave at all.

Sometimes I feel like we are constantly running. I have fleeting thoughts of myself as a coward somehow.

And then sometimes I feel proud that we have seen so much and gotten to know so many people. I have friends from coast to coast.

The most important thing about each move is that they have all made my marriage stronger. We lean on each other more. We appreciate each other more because of the sacrifices we make to better our lives and our family. We are beyond thankful for each promotion, each step up in the right direction toward our goals.

We love each other harder because once you are in a new place, all you have is your family. Andy and I always know with each move that leaving friends is so hard. But the beauty of it is that it makes our friendship even closer and that is the friendship that will always last. 

I’m thankful for every move, even if sometimes I didn’t understand why God would move us then or in those circumstances or in that place. I’m still so thankful for the growth I’ve experienced because of them.