Category: Rory Eve

breakfast ain’t free, baby.

Last week was the very first week of having a kid in “big kid school” and I navigated it well, I think.

This week, not so much.

For starters, let us talk about carpool.

Also known as the bane of my existence.

Here is the deal about carpool that I just CANNOT UNDERSTAND. People get there hours early to be the first in line. Buuuuutttttt they have to wait for hours in the car????? And they get their kids a whopping 4 minutes before I get mine if I show up *gasp* exactly on time????? I AM SO CONFUSED ABOUT THIS PEOPLE. Can someone honestly tell me what the point is? I literally showed up at Rory’s school one day at 2:50 and got through the line in 5 minutes.

Yesterday Ryder had a dentist appointment …..

*short interruption- Ryder loves the dentist. But she has to take this nasty medicine before because she is a heart patient. I forgot about her appointment so I rush over to Walgreens to get the RX and give it to her. Then we had one hour to kill before the appointment. So I headed to target and distributed the medicine in the car……….. except I forgot that without fail the first tsp always ends up being spit out. On me.

IMG_4568Once we got to the dentist she was fine and happy as can be.

IMG_4569 IMG_4573Back to the story…

On Wednesday we were out too late from Ryder’s appointment to do anything other than just sit in the carpool line. I got there at 2:15. Rory woke up at 4:15 yesterday morning so I had run all over the place all day long and then sat in carpool for too long and ended up falling asleep. Twice. And both times a lady in a minivan behind me honked very aggressively at me when I didn’t move the 2 inches forward in line. MY BAD, LADY- MY FREAKING BAD!

You should also know that the girls started children’s choir at church yesterday and both said they couldn’t believe I had never taken them there before because they had the time of their lives. Rory was just a tad disappointed she didn’t get on stage and sing with a microphone the first night.

^ that was random.

Now. On to the other failures I had this week so far. On Tuesday they had a parent volunteer training at Rory’s school. I called to see what time it was and apparently misunderstood the secretary because I thought she said 9 and 5:30. My original plan was to go at 9 but then I got a wild hair to redo something in my house and decided I could go at 5:30 because then I would also get a break from kids! Win-win!

Welllllllll

Turns out the times were 9am and 1pm. So I ended up missing it altogether because I’m selfish and a terrible person. Sigh.

If you are keeping tabs you should also know that Rory is SO UPSET because I won’t let her join girl scouts. I mean, the soccer and gymnastics just isn’t enough. *insert mom eye roll*

The biggest change this week was that Rory now gets dropped off in the morning outside and she goes in by herself. I may or may not have shed even more Kindergarten Mom Tears over this.

IMG_4452So I had talked to her and told her that when she went in the first day to make sure and ask where to go so she didn’t get lost. She bee-bopped herself right in like no big deal. I mean, I don’t want her to be crying but I would really love for her to AT LEAST WAVE and pretend she is going to miss me.

So we got a notification saying she was running low on lunch money and Andy and I were like HOW ON EARTH could she already be out?!

When talking to Rory later about her day she excitedly said to us, “Did you know they have FREE BREAKFAST?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Andy and I look at each other like, “SAY WHAT?”

She then goes on to say, “Well the first day I walked in and the lady says you can either go to the gym or to the cafeteria for breakfast so I’ve been going in and eating free breakfast! They had pan-a-cakes and fruit and so much good stuff!”

So the mystery of the missing lunch money is solved because BREAKFAST AIN’T FREE, BABY.

Andy and I have laughed nonstop about this. I mean, bless her heart, she just did what I told her and asked where to go and thought she was taking them up on a good deal of free breakfast. hahaha!

So there you have it. I haven’t been a great kindergarten mom this week but oh well. I have a bunch of weeks left to do better, right?! ha! Honestly, it is all just so trial and error at first. She is getting to school and her folder has been signed every night. I call that a big ol’ win!

 

 

 

Rory goes to Kindergarten.

It is finally here. The day she has been counting down for over a year…. and no I’m not even kidding about that.

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Rory is a Kindergartner.

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It took four outfit changes last night for her to finally decide on this outfit. And I am not gonna lie- I could not have been more thrilled to see that tutu. Some things will never change. I needed that tutu to remind me she’s still the same girl, just now at big school.

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Rory,

Last night when I was making your “first day” sign, I cried huge crocodile tears for so many reasons. Memories flooded me at that moment of all these years we have had together. I’m so thankful that my #1 job has been to be your mom. Nothing has made me feel more proud than to have you as my daughter.

You have tested me and made me giggle all within seconds for years. There were many times I couldn’t wait for you to go to Kindergarten so you could test someone else, ha! Your toddler years were hard at times because I just wasn’t ready for a child as magnificent as you. You have blown my mind with how you like to experience every.single.detail. of every.single.thing. you see. For so long we battled because I wasn’t wise enough to let you be strong willed. I didn’t understand your “engineering” brain and tried to make you have a brain more like mine. That was a failure on my part because I wouldn’t want you to change one thing about your personality or the way you think.

That is my biggest fear and therefore my biggest prayer for you as you start your new journey into school. I don’t want anyone to ever try to put you into a box again. I want you to soar with your own uniqueness.

I want your teacher to love you for YOU. I want her to love every quirk and every detail about you. For so many years I have been your main caretaker and your biggest cheerleader and I’m going to be real honest- it is so hard to pass that torch onto someone I don’t know. That right there is the hardest part to me.

I’ve been praying for your teacher for a long time now- that she will let you be yourself and love your strong willed nature. That she will nurture and love you like your momma does. She’ll never love you as much, but I’m hoping she is a close second.

Today is hard because I know how ready you are, but I’ve found myself not so ready. The house is so quiet without you in it. But I know with everything in me that Kindergarten is going to be amazing for you. You are going to soar at school. You are so much like your daddy and you absolutely love to learn. I am so thankful for that.

Driving you to school today was like torture. I knew I needed to be brave, just like I’ve told you to be for so many years now, and I knew I couldn’t cry before dropping you off. So I choked back the tears on the two minute drive to your school and just prayed for God to stop the stinkin’ tears until later.

When we got to the school they had us all go into the cafeteria to sit for a minute and it was so cold in there. You immediately asked if you could snuggle in my lap and IT TOOK EVERYTHING IN ME TO NOT BAWL LIKE A BABY. Oh, how I needed just one more snuggle before Kindergarten. So we sat there and I put on a smile and kissed your head and smelled you (moms are freaks) and savored every second of that snuggle.

Then we went into your classroom. You found your name and started to play and looked at me like, “when the heck are you going to get out of here?!” All the other parents were standing around and some kids were crying. Not you. You immediately dove into the play-doh and starting making something with the intense concentration that makes your tongue stick out. I knew it was time. Even if all the other moms were still there, I knew it was time.

I bent down and gave you one last hug and kiss. I told you how much I loved you and how proud of you that I am- you weren’t paying me any attention but I said it anyway because I always need you to know that.

Then you looked at me with those big brown eyes and said, “Mom, I got this,” with a huge smile on your face.

You are so right, Rory, you got this.

You’ll be proud to know that your momma didn’t cry until she got to the car. And then I sobbed HARDCORE. I cried all the way home. I cried into my cup of coffee. And now I’m crying into my keyboard.

I’m so incredibly proud of you. You were made for Kindergarten. This is the time I get to sit back and watch you shine. I cannot wait to see what God does in you this year.

No one will ever, EVER, love you as much as I do Rory- don’t ever forget that.

To the moon and back,

Mom

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finally a soccer mom

The dream has happened. It is finally soccer season which means…

I am finally a soccer mom.

*Insert spirit fingers.*

This is not something I anticipated being so excited about. I played soccer until 9th grade (would have played longer but our high school didn’t have a soccer team…… #smallschoolproblems), but softball was my thing. I don’t even think I was better at softball over soccer at all. I just think I went into HS knowing that I wanted to play and make a difference on a very, very young and new team. I don’t know if I did that or not but I sure did try.

Side note: I also think I was determined to play softball and hopefully be decent at it because my middle school coach told me that I “just wasn’t a star” and “probably should pick another sport”. Nothing gets a McIntire fired up like telling them you can’t do it.

Okay back on track. Whew. That was a tangent wasn’t it?!

When we signed Rory up for soccer I realized HOW MUCH I WANTED HER TO PLAY. She played Tball last year and I knew then that it probably wasn’t her sport. She got bored and there wasn’t enough constant hustle for her. (If she wants to play later when she has more patience we sure will go that route.) Before her first practice I just thought that soccer would be right up her alley.

And I was so right.

Rory is a hustler. When I tell you she is fast I mean SHE IS LIKE A LIGHTENING BOLT.

Saturday was Rory’s first game and she did amazing. She scored 5 goals and had great control of the ball. She was so cute with her ponytail and uniform. She would look over at us and give a big thumbs up.

IMG_5233 IMG_5289 IMG_5267 IMG_5269 FullSizeRender 2 FullSizeRenderSunday’s game was a bit different. We had some attitude problems and just didn’t have our head in the game. I’m suspecting it was because she was up THE ENTIRE NIGHT on Saturday. But what do I know about life?

Ryder is not what we would call an “outdoor person”. (Understatement of the century.) So keeping her happy during the games is a bit tricky. She has been packing her purse with snacks to bring and a drink. But I’m thinking I’m going to need to bring an umbrella and a personal fan for her too because OH MY WORD I CANNOT HANDLE THE COMPLAINING.

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(In fact, complaining was at an all time high on Sunday from both girls that I said ENOUGH ALREADY and took away the TV until further notice.)

One thing you can be sure of though, my girls are die hard fans of each other. Rory is always encouraging Ryder to try new things and to push herself. I am always so proud of Rory and her encouraging spirit, especially towards her sister.

And this weekend the tables turned and Ryder got her chance at encouraging Rory and SHE BLEW IT OUT OF THE WATER. Ryder cheered for Rory so hard I thought she was going to pass out. She jumped and cheered and yelled, “GO WHOA-WY!!!!!!!!!!!!” over and over again.

I do believe the pride I have in my children was at an all-time high on Saturday. Between Rory doing so awesome and Ryder cheering her on- I JUST BEAMED LIKE A CRAZY PERSON. There was nothing you could do to wipe that silly grin of pride off my face.

Somehow I managed to get the best part on camera. I mean I couldn’t have planned this even if I tried.

I’m so excited to see how the season turns out. Rory was back on her game last night at practice, so I’m hoping Sunday was a no-sleep fluke.

And maybe one day I will turn the TV back on for the children.

 

 

is it still the spring break?!

Ryder has had a hard time grasping the whole Spring Break thing this week.

About every 10 minutes she runs to me and excitedly asks, “Is it still the spring break?!”

Bless.

I will admit that I wasn’t exactly looking forward to spring break. But as it has turned out, we have had a really awesome week. The weather has been GLORIOUS every single day and we have spent 99% of our days outside. AND NOTHING IS BETTER THAN THAT, MY FRIENDS.

Bonus perk to spring break: Andy’s parents came in for a too quick trip and the girls got to stay in a hotel with them and swim and play until they were tuckered out. And I got a night of sleep! WINNING!

The only downside is that my children, especially Rory, have woken up too early every single morning. And Rory has HAD to do some sort of “homework” several times a day. Ryder just wants powdered donuts and a nap.

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Rory has also practiced the art of filling in her brows.

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Before we move on, I would like to give you a little flashback to Rory on spring break (or just in spring) circa 2011. WHERE DID MY CHUBBY BABY GO?!

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Spring Break 2015 started with a bang at Benton Falls last Saturday where we hiked a total of 3 miles and almost killed our children in the process.

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LEGS OFFICIALLY DON’T WORK.

IMG_4240You were wondering who was hiking with us????? Yes??? Oh no big deal, just like 40 nuns.

THAT’S RIGHT PEOPLE, WE HIKED WITH NUNS.

IMG_4225 IMG_3997Never know what you’re going to find when you are with the Harris family.

Monday we went to the Chattanooga Zoo with my friend Amber and her boys Will, Thomas, and Lucas. Will and Rory have gotten to be big buds and it is SO CUTE. They just all of a sudden grew up so much.

IMG_4370 IMG_4377 IMG_4375Wednesday we went to the park for a bit and then we all took a 3 hour nap. OH YES WE DID.

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Thursday we were invited by a new friend in our new SS class to come dye Easter eggs! The girls had the best time ever and I had a great time getting to know a new friend.

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Today we finished out Spring Break ’15 with a girls day out to a movie and shopping at the mall. (DON’T WORRY DAVE IT WAS ONLY WINDOW SHOPPING, OKAY?!)

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Let me just tell you- this stage of life is 99% of the time A DELIGHT. I never thought I would get to the day where I could take the girls by myself to go see a movie at the theater and enjoy every second.

I mean I literally teared up at one point in the movie when I glanced over at them watching Cinderella with wide eyes and little grins. My beautiful, fun girls. I’m so thankful for this stage of life.

So here is a note to moms of littles that are close together- soon you will be able to enjoy that they are close and have so much fun with them. I promise. If I can make it you certainly can!

I have to say. I’m actually sad for spring break to be over! But at least this gave me encouragement for how fun summer will be! I am so looking forward to pool days and fun in the sun!

Happy Friday!

 

 

 

the great home and kindergarten search of 2015

Last week was one of those crazy busy weeks that involved so many big decisions it was hard to keep up with “normal” life things. Like laundry. Which I can attest to since Andy and I put up approximately 347 loads of laundry yesterday.

On Monday we embarked on The Great Home Search of 2015 with much anticipation and joy. We saw A LOT of homes the very first night.

I hated very single one.

Okay, maybe that isn’t true. There were two I liked alright, but I will say I was so discouraged that I thought for one second just maybe we should wait longer to buy a home.

And considering the lady/elephant that lives above me hasn’t slept in DAYS and stomps around AT ALL HOURS OF THE DAY AND NIGHT,  you must know just how discouraged I must have been to live like this any longer by choice.

(I am currently writing this at 4:46am because her alarm went off at 4:18 and she has been stomping around ever since. Hilarious note about the situation: Rory has taken it upon herself to yell randomly in the night when the situation gets out of hand…. it goes something like this, “HEY LADY GO TO BED ALREADY!” Not even kidding.)

(One more hilarious murderous note: One night this week I got the kids to bed earlyish and after went to the bathroom. I sat down on the toilet – tmi – and sighed a huge sigh of satisfaction that the day was done and relished in my moment of quiet and aloneness in the bathroom for the first time the entire day. AND THEN NEIGHBOR LADY PROCEEDED TO TAKE THE MOST GIANT, LOUD DUMP OF LIFE and I thought…. I AM TRULY NEVER ALONE IN THE BATHROOM EVER. You’re welcome for that.)

Luckily we have the best realtor on earth and on Wednesday my spirits perked up 40000% after seeing a lot more homes that day.

In fact, Andy and I saw three that we were totally in love with and had finally narrowed it down to one semi fixer upper in a neighborhood we adore that is close to their work.

We had 3 more homes on Thursday to see but had no hopes of them measuring up to the ones we had seen the day before. But Andy had found a for sale by owner house online in our favorite neighborhood and really wanted to see it.

We all walked into the home with zero expectations and each room we walked into felt more like home than the last. Before we even made it upstairs I was in tears and saying, “Andy I think this is the one.”

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The home is two stories/split level and has just the exact amount of room, character, and charm we wanted. It also has a kitchen that isn’t my favorite so I am looking forward to having one room in the house to redo eventually.

We are officially under contract and as long as everything with the home inspection, etc, goes smoothly we should be in our new home by summer.

As if finding a home wasn’t enough for one week, it was also the week of “Kindergarten Rocks” which is an open house at all elementary schools in the county. I’ve been hearing amazing things about one school that is near our new neighborhood and it has great scores so we went and checked it out. I was so impressed by the school and how well organized the open house was. Rory was GIDDY to be there checking out Kindergarten. So that night we officially registered her for Kindergarten and I immediately needed someone to hold me and rock gently as I sobbed.

I will say this though- Rory is ready. She be-bopped around the school with me and I was just in awe at how big she was. I can’t wait to see her thrive in school which, like her daddy, is HER THING. She is a learner and loves every second of learning a new thing.IMG_3864

I’m praying every single day that she makes wonderful friends who are kind to her and to others. I’m praying that she will always love on those who need it the most in her class. I’m praying that God will choose the exact teacher she needs to challenge her, encourage her to be herself, and reign her in when she needs to be without crushing her spirit.

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Oh, Rory girl, I know you are so ready but Momma is wanting it to take a little longer for August to get here.

This week is spring break for the girls and we have lots of fun planned! Tomorrow I will post about our hiking trip this weekend – we are hoping spring is here to stay so we can go on these free adventures all the time!

 

Wilderness at the Smokies | Rory’s birthday weekend

Winter birthdays are hard because you have to have an indoor party. And the cost of finding a place big enough for a party and then supplying everything for the party ends up being $200++++ depending on how big you go.

So I made the executive decision that THIS year we would take a little overnight trip instead. We had planned for years to take Rory to Disney on her 5th birthday, but life happens and you move and just can’t swing it. It happens, right?!

After a lot of discussion over where to go, Andy and I decided on Wilderness at the Smokies. It is a resort and indoor water park.  There were so many fun things to do other than the water park too- they have a ropes course, playground, arcade, mini golf, bowling, laser tag, and more I can’t remember. They also have restaurants at the resort so you don’t even have to leave ever. We absolutely loved it. Every single one of us. I can’t say enough great things about the weekend there. The room was great and every other accommodation was great too. We can’t wait to go back! The best part? We spent less than we would have on a party and had zero stress. WINNING.

I just have to say that Rory mastered every single attraction. She did such an awesome job  on the ropes coarse and went down every slide. She also did so good on the surfer thing (I have no idea what it is actually called). I was so proud of her and her determination to do everything she could without fear!

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I got a lot of a video and a few pictures. But mostly I just PLAYED with the girls and put my phone and camera away for most of the trip. It was WONDERFUL. Enjoy the video!

(Side note: we had planned to go to Dixie Stampede with Rory and her new “Dolly Partner” dress but we ended up going THE ONE WEEK they take a break in the year. Guess we will have to go back and take her another weekend!)

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FIVE. (a letter to Rory on her 5th birthday)

 

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My Dearest Rory,

Today you are five and I feel like I can hardly wrap my brain around that enough to even type it because WHERE DID THE LAST FIVE YEARS GO?

Everyone says it goes by in a blink and that is so very true. I blinked and you went from an infant to five.

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I will never forget the night you were born and those big, alert eyes taking in the room and observing every inch of my face. Your dad and I giggled out loud at how you wouldn’t take your eyes off of us for even a second. Your eyes were filled with such wonder and that has never left you. Every single moment is captured by you with deep observation. It is amazing to watch you take every detail in.IMG_0179Four has been a great year for you. You have grown and matured so much this year. Sleep has also been better which is a true miracle. We still struggle but have found ways to help nights go better even when you can’t sleep. You have been so extremely healthy all year which has been an enormous blessing. Sometimes I think your immune system is so rock solid because even now at FIVE today you still put every.single.thing. in your mouth. If I had a dollar for every time I have to tell you to not put something in your mouth you would be set for life.

IMG_0222I thought on your fifth birthday I would list my five favorite things about you. It was a good idea until I realized how hard it would be to limit it to just five, but I’m going to try-

1- The way your lips wrinkle upward at the corner of your mouth when you laugh and create this sweet little dimple. I look forward to your laughs just so I can see that spot and kiss it. In fact, your laugh is one of my favorite sounds in the entire world. It is so contagious and sweet. I could listen to it all day for the rest of my life.

2- The way you need to know how everything works. It is amazing to see your mind observe every detail of whatever is around you so that you can figure out how it works or how it is made. You will take apart things just to see how it goes back together. I’m always in awe of this.

3- I absolutely love how independent you are. I, of course, always want to be needed because I am your mom, but it makes me so proud to know that you have the will to figure out things on your own.

4- Your fierce style. Girlfriend, you have style for days. I love how you don’t care what anyone else thinks about your outfits. It doesn’t matter what you have on, you will strut yourself into school, church, wherever like YOU OWN THIS PLACE because you are so proud of your outfits. I’m always amazed at how you put things together that would never cross my mind. I’m so glad your confidence has soared so much this year and that you are in your element now.

5- Your tenacious spirit. Most of the time I just call you strong-willed, and that is so true, but you are also wonderfully tenacious. Once you set your mind on something you are going to do it until you do it WELL. You do not give up, you will press on until you master whatever you’re doing. I believe this is my absolute favorite thing about you. Nothing makes me prouder than seeing you tackle something head on with determination. You may fail or fall several times but you always, always pick right back up more determined than ever until you nail it. I wish I was more like you in that way.

I could list thousands more things that I love about you.

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I want you to know that I am so deeply proud of you. I can’t get over how smart you are and how beautiful you are. I love that you are unique and don’t follow a crowd. I will be praying that you always start the trends and set the standards instead of follow them.

This year has been such an amazing year of growth for you. You started the year struggling with confidence and feeling like you were good. That was the hardest time for me as your mom because YOU ARE SO GOOD. Every bit of you is good. We are ending this year in a new place where you are confident and flourishing. I’m so thankful for that. You have learned so much at school and about life this year. You are in such a good place and I’m just so proud of that.

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I cannot wait to see what year five brings for you. It is going to be an exciting year of big changes. You will start Kindergarten soon and that is so scary and exciting for your mother. I know you are beyond ready and I can’t wait to see how much you learn over the next year.

Rory, on your fifth birthday, I want you to know that you are my biggest joy and my most precious gift. Being your mom has been my biggest source of pride. Until I had you I didn’t grasp the meaning of the verse, “fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalms 139:14)- and that verse describes you so perfectly. I know God formed every inch of you perfectly. I wish I could ingrain this into your brain for eternity so you could never waver in your confidence. You are beautiful on the inside and out and I pray that you will always know that.

Sweet Rory Eve, I love you more than words could ever say. Thank you for being such a wonderful daughter and big sister. I’m so proud of you. I’m so thankful for you. These five years have been the most challenging and beautiful years of my life. I wouldn’t change a single thing about you. You are sassy and sweet. You are funny and serious. You are the most amazing five year old in the entire world.

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“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7

I love you to the heavens and back my precious girl,

Mom

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Rory at Five:

– 42 inches tall- you can now ride most rides which you are so excited about!

– You LOVE: TUTUS AND DRESSES AND NOTHING ELSE (ha), unicorns, play tattoos, barbies, COWGIRL BOOTS AND NOTHING ELSE, makeup, ponytails, legos, “Dolly Partner”, swimming, dancing, running, and most of all you are madly in love with your little sister, Ryder

– Favorite Books: Go Dogs Go, Franklin, Pinkalicious (you really love all books though)

– Favorite Songs: You love praise songs, it is the sweetest thing to hear you sing them! You also love “Let It Go”, “Cool Kids”, “Welcome to New York”, “Shake It Off” (anything by Taylor Swift actually!), “The Honey Song”

– Favorite Movies and Shows: Sheriff Callie, Kate and Mim Mim, Octonauts, and Paw Patrol. All Disney movies are your favorites- you love anything princess!

– I asked what you wanted to be when you grow up and you said without hesitation: “A FASHION ENGINEER” – I couldn’t possibly think of a better job for you.

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how to rock a tutu {written by Rory}

Yesterday morning Rory decided she wasn’t wearing tutus EVERYDAY anymore. I pretty much was hysterically sad over this declaration. I thought about it all day. She’s been wearing tutus every single day pretty much for two years. So I decided to question her last night and figure out what was going on. She said, “Mom. I’m growing up. I’m getting bigger. Some of my tutus are baby tutus so I need to wear other clothes that are IN now.”

“IN”, SHE SAID.

I went to bed with a heavy heart last night because my sweet girl is declaring that tutus aren’t “IN” anymore.

Let me let y’all in on a little secret…. though we have fought over her clothing choices some, her wearing tutus is probably my most favorite thing in the entire world. She rarely completely matches but it always goes together. It takes any ordinary outfit up about 100000 (princess) notches. So the thought of her not wearing tutus anymore… I CANNOT EVEN IMAGINE IT.

When Rory woke up this morning and chose a tutu my heart sang many lovely tunes. I was so relieved. SO RELIEVED.

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It occurred to me that Rory is very deliberate about every decision she makes, so why not ask her how she chooses her tutus.

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Me: Rory- you rock that tutu today girlfriend! How did you choose that tutu? And how do you know you are rocking it?

Rory:

Mom. This is easy.

First you have to pick out a shirt.

Then some shorts or pants to go under the tutu because we don’t want our panties to show.

You put the pants and the shirt on first.

Then you pick out a tutu that matches… or sometimes it doesn’t have to match but it has to GO with the shirt.

You gotta pull up the tutu all the way and make sure it goes OVER the shirt. I always wear my shirt tucked into my tutu. It is fancier that way, you know.

But then you have to TWIRL and make sure it twirls big and twirls right. If it doesn’t I have to pick out a better twirler.

You put your shoes on and you are ready to ROCK in your tutu!

Love, Princess Rockstar Rory

And there you have it, folks. Rory’s first fashion blog post. Ha!

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Sweet Rory, I hope you always rock whatever you want to wear (as long as it is modest, of course!). I hope you never lose your sense of unique style. I hope you are always so proud of your outfit choices even if they aren’t “the norm”. Everyone who sees you in your tutus delights in them. Let your light shine, sweet girl. You certainly make my every day so much brighter.

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actually living.

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

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

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

It is my camera.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Y’all. We had an amazing weekend.

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

And I don’t even care.

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

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

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

FOUR. (a letter to Rory on her 4th birthday)

Oh, sweet Rory girl, HOW are you FOUR?! I don’t know why, but you should know that your mama has had a hard time keeping it together knowing that you turn four today. It just seems so big.

Actually, YOU just seem so big.

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See what I mean?!

Girlfriend, you crack me up each and every day with your clothing choices. You will FIGHT ME TO THE END on what you wear each and every day. There are days on end where I just throw my hands in the air and say, “WHATEVER GIRLFRIEND, go ahead and look homeless,” and then there are days when LAWD it is just so many kinds of wrong and we both end up in tears before you finally change your clothes. (For example, the other day it was 10 degrees and you had a sundress on with a swim suit underneath it with flip flops. No honey, no.)

But then, out of nowhere you will pick out an outfit and put it together like the one you chose today for your 4 year old pictures and I feel like maybe you have a future in design or some sort of art. You have this “eye” for things that are slightly off and you find beauty in it. It is one of my favorite qualities about you. Not to mention that you are an AMAZING drawer for your age.

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But on the opposite spectrum I wonder if you will be an engineer like your amazing dad, or a doctor or veterinarian or something where you have to be extremely smart. Because sweet girl, if there is one thing you should know about yourself it is that you have ALWAYS been amazingly brilliant. From the time you were a baby your dad and I have been amazed at your ability to problem solve.

Mix your crazy-smart brain and your tenacious spirit and well, the world should LOOK OUT because Rory Eve Harris is a force to be reckoned with.

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You are also so hilarious. You have such a dry sense of humor and it is surprising coming from a little girl. You are witty without trying to be and you say things that are SO hilarious without batting an eye or cracking a smile.

I don’t think I know of anyone on earth as observant as you. You take everything in and forget NOTHING. Sometimes this causes problems for your parents who try to be tricky, ha! And sometimes it seriously scares me that you will remember every single time I wasn’t patient with you.

You are also extremely curious. Lord have mercy. Sometimes I LOVE your curiosity and sometimes…. well… not-so-much. You tend to get into things and you are a GO BIG OR GO HOME type of girl, so when you get into something, IT IS A DOOZY. (For example, you and your sister EMPTIED an entire thing of Vicks and 5 tubes of lip gloss in about .5 seconds this week.) No matter what I do to try and hide things from you or lock doors or whatever else EXTREME measures, you use your mighty brain to figure out a way to whatever you want. It wears me out and makes me laugh all at the same time.

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Oh, Rory. On one hand I am just so sad you are turning four and on another hand I am SO GLAD. There have been times this year when I thought I was definitely ruining you and scarring you for life. I wasn’t always patient with you or understanding of your strong-willed nature. You tested me to my limits and I definitely didn’t respond well to those tests. I’ve heard that 3 is the hardest year and I am hoping that is true. I know that the past few months have shown me that things are getting MUCH easier so I am hopeful that I didn’t completely fail you. I worry every single day that I’m not equipped to raise a child as amazingly strong-willed as you. If it weren’t for the fact that I know God gave you to me specifically and knows the best for you and for me, I would be beside myself. I want you to know that I need grace from God every single day and you shouldn’t ever be afraid to fail because that same Grace is openly available to you too. I’ve been working hard to show you the Grace of God through my actions and though I’ve failed you in that regard more than once, I am trying so hard to show you grace more freely every single day.

And just so you know, I love that you are strong-willed. I honestly do because I KNOW that one day you are going to do amazing things because of your strong-willed nature, not in spite of it.

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Rory Eve, you should also know that you are stunning. You are just simply beautiful. Your big brown eyes, olive skin, and brown hair are the perfect combination. I love to snuggle with you in the mornings and just stare at your perfect face. Sometimes it makes me tear up because I cannot even imagine anyone more beautiful than you. I’m desperately clinging to these years of innocence with you because I am not ready for the years of insecurity and comparing yourself to others. I just want you to know that YOU are the most beautiful girl in the entire world.

My precious daughter, if you don’t listen to anything else your mother tells you, listen to this: You, Rory, are absolutely perfect in every single way. God made you EXACTLY the way you are because He has AMAZING plans for you. He has plans to use your tenacious and strong-willed spirit, your beauty, your brains, and your amazing sense of humor for His glory if you just let Him.

I love you so much Rory that I can’t even imagine a love more than I have for you and your sister. My days weave in and out between trying to let you flourish and reigning you in and guiding you to make good choices. I want you to experience the best things and always know that your potential in life is LIMITLESS. Truly limitless, Rory.

And no one on this earth is a bigger fan and supporter of you than me. I will love you NO MATTER WHAT, sweet girl. I promise to always try and guide you in the right path. I know I will fail you at times, but I promise to try my hardest to always do the very best for you. You won’t always like it, and I am okay with that. Just always remember that every decision I make is because I love you so fiercely.

You are the most amazing FOUR year old on the entire planet. I couldn’t love you more or be more proud of you.

Love You to Heaven and Back,

Mom

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Your 4th Birthday Stats:

– 3 ft tall and 30 lbs; you are now wearing mostly 4t clothing but (GASP) I have bought you some XS in the GIRLS department, size 9 shoe

– You love: your sister, “snuggle parties”, ballet, putting on “shows” for mom and dad

– Favorite Book: Go Dogs Go by Dr Suess (you can “read” the entire thing!)

– Favorite Songs: Hip-Hip-Potamus, Let It Go, Never Ever Back ‘Gether (oh yes, Taylor Swift)

– Favorite TV Shows: Sophia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Doc McStuffins, Barbie: Life in the Dream House

– Favorite Movies: Frozen, Madagascar, Tinkerbell movies, The Croods, Wreck It Ralph

– Favorite Foods: cheese dip at the Mexican, broccoli, any fruit, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, SWEETS