Category: Rory’s Monthly Posts

a letter to Rory on her 7th birthday.

My Sweet Rory,

SEVEN.

It happened in a blink.

You ask me all the time to tell you about the night you were born and every time I tell it I get teary-eyed. If you have babies of your own you will know that there is nothing on earth more magical than having your first child and holding it for the first time.

When you were born you were immediately so observant of every detail around you, and that still continues today. It is one of my favorite things about you. Now that you are reading so well that just added a whole new sense of wonder to light your beautiful brown eyes. 

Your dad and I watch you in complete amazement 90% of the time. It doesn’t matter what you do, you conquer it. From climbing trees, to flipping on the trampoline, to riding your bike, to playing soccer, to doing the monkey bars, to swimming, to reading, to math, to drawing… you have this amazing gift of being good at everything you want to do. I’m not just saying this because I am your mother- I would say the same if I weren’t. We have watched you this year absolutely thrive. You have worked your tail off at school to get better at reading especially, but all of your grades have improved from the first of the year. Your favorite thing to do is climb trees and you have climbed trees all over Tennessee and also in North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. Every time we go on a trip and stop at a rest stop you find a tree to climb and declare you will climb a tree in all 50 states one day! Simple things like that remind us how amazing you are and give us a glimpse into your future.

You are a goal setter, an adventurer, a conqueror

When I watch you being fearless when you tackle every single day and with such force, I can’t help but wish that I was more like you. Your fearlessness gives you no boundaries in life and I so admire that about you. You often tell us at the most random times that you know you are going to be moving away to be a missionary when you grow up. And while my heart flutters with pride and brokenness of not seeing you every day, I do not doubt for a moment that you could do that. I can so see you fearlessly spreading the Gospel to the most desperate places. My prayer every single day as a parent is that I will never stifle this in you. I pray you will always be fearless in your life. Before I even knew your personality I claimed Joshua 1:9 as your life verse –  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” This is proof to you that God will place verses and ideas in your mind before you even know the future that will one day apply so well. I couldn’t have picked a better verse for you if I tried. You ARE so strong and courageous. I’m praying with everything in me that remains true and that you always find strength in the Lord.

The biggest thing that has happened in your life this year was getting saved. In October, all on your own, you asked Jesus into your heart. It was the most amazing day. My heart as not stopped expanding with pride over this. Next week you will be baptized and you are so excited. We are so proud that you followed your heart and the tugging of Jesus speaking to you. I have no doubt you will do amazing things for Him in your life.

I think the biggest blessing to me, besides your salvation, is seeing you finally be proud of yourself this year. I know you feel so appreciated for just being yourself at your school and with your teacher this year. As your mother, I cannot tell you the joy this brings to me. We went in for a check up the other day and you told the doctor that you were so proud of yourself for making such great decisions now and having better self control. You told us how you are working so hard and are just doing a great job. The doctor and I both looked at each other with tears in our eyes- that was the best outcome we could have ever imagined. Although you know why you are on a daily medicine and that it is there to help you, you aren’t giving the credit to that- AND YOU SHOULDN’T. It is all you, Rory. You are making changes and better decisions because you want to. Yes, the medicine helps, but sister- YOU SHOULD BE PROUD. You have matured and grown so much this year. You recognizing your hard work is wonderful- I hope you never sell yourself short and let anyone or anything take the credit for your hard work.

You are still equal parts girly and equal parts tomboy. You will go outside dressed in a tutu dress with tennis shoes and climb the tallest tree or make the biggest mud-pie. I absolutely adore this about you. You’ve decided to play flag football and when I told you that you may be the only girl you said, “AND?! I am just as fast as any boy out there.” AMEN, SISTER. Yes you are! I can’t help but giggle knowing that you are ready to get down and dirty and show those boys how it is done! And who knows… you may even throw a tutu on while you do it!

The older you get, the more beautiful you get, Rory. You have the most perfect eyes that squint in the cutest way when you laugh. And, oh, that laugh. Your laugh is your dad and I’s favorite sound. Your eyebrows let everyone know exactly what you are thinking and you better not ever touch those perfect brows or I will ground you! ha! Your toothless grin gives me all the giggles and I love it when you smile so big showing it off. Basically, what I am saying here is that you are the most beautiful seven year old in all the world… I can say that with conviction because I’m your mama.

You are so thoughtful and kind. You are a friend to every one, no matter what they look like or how they act. I love this about you.

Every year with you is my favorite year. Six was so good to us and I know seven will be even better. It is so fun to have actual conversations with you. You ask such tough questions that sometimes I have to tell you I need to do some research and get back with you on that! Ha! I so admire your desire for knowledge and wish I was more like you- you definitely get that from your dad. In fact, you get most things from your dad. But all my favorite things about myself I see in you 20 times better and it makes me so proud. 

Rory Eve, you are the light of my life. You challenge me, you give me such joy, and I love you more than words could ever say.

Love,

Mama

 

At Seven You:

-Weigh 41 lbs, 46.25 in tall

-Wear size 12 shoe, size 5/6 clothes

-Love all vegetables but asparagus are your very favorite. Your favorite meal is spaghetti. You aren’t a picky eater- you will try anything- but you eat like a bird! We have to sneak calories in all the time!

-Your favorite shows are Good Luck Charlie and Ninja Turtles. You could seriously binge on TV if I let you!

-You LOVE to sing and you and I take songs all the time and sing together. You naturally harmonize and I’m definitely signing you up for voice lessons soon!

-You also LOVE to dance and are really good at it! Dance parties after school are a must around here.

 

Ryder goes to Kindergarten, Rory goes to 1st.

Oh my sweet girls, I cannot believe our summer of fun is over and it is time to send you to school every day! I couldn’t possibly tell you how much I am going to miss you! IMG_3737

A few years ago when you were tiny toddlers and babies that cried all day or got into all-of-the-things, I couldn’t wait for you to go to school! I had all these plans to enjoy my coffee in peace and not have anyone hanging on me all day.

AND NOW ALL I WANT IS TO DO THAT AGAIN.

Motherhood is a crazy thing, girls. One day you will understand.

Rory- you were so excited to start 1st grade! You’ve been looking forward to going back to school all summer. I can’t wait to see how you grow this year in your knowledge and self confidence. I spend so much time praying for you and your sweet heart right now. You have big emotions and I know you are just having a hard time understanding all these new feelings that come with growing up. I’m praying so hard that you find a friend that is so kind and dear to you this year in your class. You are so kind to others and I’m so proud of you for that. I know you are going to shine this year academically and with your personality. IMG_3705

This morning you SERIOUSLY did not want me to walk you in. But you weren’t ashamed to give me a huge hug and kiss in front of your friends. I will cling to that as long as possible! IMG_3707

Oh, Rory. I am so proud of you and cannot wait to see you grow this year in 1st grade! Never let anyone dull your sparkle, girl!

 

Ryder- oh my precious Ryder. HOW, how how how how how, are you big enough for Kindergarten? You were so excited to go today you barely slept. Then I had the hardest time waking you up!

IMG_3689

This morning you were SO SERIOUS about the whole process of getting ready and going to school. I love seeing you focus so intently and take every detail in. You are the silliest girl in the room but also can be the most serious. I love this about you. You looked so tiny walking the halls of school, but you are also ready for this. You have been so excited to start Kindergarten. I hope that excitement continues throughout the year. IMG_3687

My biggest prayer for you this year is that your self confidence grows and that you realize how smart you are. I think because Rory is so naturally smart and determined to learn it intimidates you so you think you aren’t as smart. Girlfriend, I have news for you. You are so smart and so brave and so amazing. I have prayed long and hard that you would get a sweet, nurturing teacher and I really think that is what God gave you. I cannot wait to see you learn and grow this year. I know you are so excited and I know you will completely dazzle everyone in your class like you do every single person you meet. We know you will keep everyone laughing and entertained all day long!IMG_3737

My beautiful girls – I am so incredibly proud to be your mother. I think you two are the most magnificent people in the entire world. I believe in you and know you are going to soar this year at school. I am so thankful I get to be your mama. Don’t ever forget that I love you more than anything. You are my most precious gifts. I am always here for you to listen, to hug, to wipe tears, and to cheer you on.  IMG_3763

I did a pretty good job holding my tears in and keeping it together this morning.

Until.

I was giving Ryder her last goodbye hug and she squeezed me tight and said, “Its okay mama- just be brave.” It flashed me back to all those years of doctor appointments and unknowns when I would whisper that into your ear. After you said that I straight up RAN out of that school because all the other moms were sobbing and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I made it to my car with just a few tears trickling and then let loose. I SOBBED and sobbed and sobbed all the way home. This growing up business is just so hard! But I’m so proud of you two going into school brave and strong. That makes all these years of hard work as your mom pay off!IMG_3764 I am praying for you all the time and am so excited to see you two grow this year! IMG_3756

 

the cringe.

We might as well start out today with the biggest news in the Harris house this year- RORY LOST HER FIRST TOOTH!IMG_6328

She’s had a wiggly tooth for over a month and this week she went to the dentist and they loosened it up even more. So today as I was doing Rory’s hair for school she was wiggling it with her tongue and I knew it was time. I said, “Sister, you gotta get that thing out this morning.” Selfishly, I wanted her to do it before school because I didn’t want it to fall out at school and me miss the excitement! And I’m so glad I did because her reaction was so fun.

As a side note: Many of you know that weird and strange things make me gag and cringe. Bananas are my kryptonite and I about fall out when I see one. Once Andy had a pack of Juicy Fruit on the nightstand and I almost vomited. I seriously all out gagged until I couldn’t see it anymore. GoGurt gives me the full body gags too.

Another thing? Wiggly teeth. It is so weird because teeth in general do nothing to me. I can watch someone bleed out without a single cringe. But every time Rory started bending and twisting that tooth I could not handle myself. So Rory started calling it “THE CRINGE” and would tell everyone, “I have a wiggly tooth but I can’t show you because it gives my mom The Cringe.” She knows me well.

BACK ON TRACK. I got the whole thing on video! It is a super short video but seriously the cutest ever. And I promise there is no blood and gore. (Also, I was telling her to hurry because it was time for them to leave for school, ha!)

When she grinned at me for the first time with that new toothless grin I teared up. I just couldn’t help it. She is just so big. I was thinking about how I couldn’t wait to post this new “first” and how it seems like yesterday I was posting her first monthly update at One month old. Time is flying. I find myself teetering between absolutely loving this stage and sad they are growing up. I saw this little picture meme thing on facebook today and thought, “YES.”IMG_6331

Life has been fun for Rory lately. She started softball and got to go to the skating rink for the first time in one day!

IMG_6281 IMG_5928Watching kids skate for the first time is like watching a baby giraffe try to stand up for the first time. It was hysterical.

And y’all know I’m living out my glory days through Rory in her first ever softball season. She is such a natural athlete, it is so fun to watch.

As for Ryder, she has decided (or her daddy has!) to play golf and do karate. She will be starting karate soon and her and her daddy have been going to the golf course down the street to practice. IMG_5926You can tell she is super proud of her new golf clubs. That Andy spent $80 on. I can’t even.

I asked Ryder at Rory’s softball practice if she wanted to play tball and she said, “Oh no, I’m much better sitting and cheering.” Then she turned to me and said, “You know I’ve been thinkin’ all night about this. I’m glad I have a lot of moneys saved up because now I can bring them to Rory’s games and buy a lot of hot dogs!” BLESS. Girl knows what she wants.

You’ll be delighted to know that the sleep trend has continued to go well. It has been a month since we put their beds in the same room and only two nights has a kid woken up. DO YOU EVEN UNDERSTAND THIS?! People. I feel like a new woman.

Rory has been sleeping with her sleeping mask every night. Maybe this is the key to sleep? All these years and all I needed was to put a mask on her?!

IMG_5373

And we all know that Ryder loves food and sleep more than anyone in the world. She actually told me yesterday, “Mama, I love Jesus, food, and sleep. I love Jesus the most but I can’t decide between food and sleep!” She is the most southern 4 year old on planet earth. I don’t know about you, but I sure wish I slept as awesome as Ryder does.IMG_6301

I can’t believe we are getting sleep, loosing teeth, and starting “real” sports. Life is good, y’all.

a letter to Rory on her 6th birthday.

Dear Rory,

Just writing the introduction came with painful, but happy, prickling tears to my eyes. I cannot believe another year has gone by and that you are now 6. I don’t know why 6 seems so much bigger but it just does. You now have to use two hands to show your age instead of just one chubby toddler hand. It is just so overwhelming to your mom to know that you are already 1/3rd of the way done being in my home if you leave for college at 18. The thought is just too much to bear!Rory6Bday4

I honestly don’t even know where to begin this year with your letter because I just have so many things to say, but all seem so inadequate to describe how my love has grown even more for you this year, just like every year and every day that I have had with you.

One of my very favorite things about you is how confident you are. You have such a sense of style and confidence that is far beyond your years. This is what I pray the most never leaves you. I want you to always strut like you are on a runway no matter where you are like you do now. I am always fascinated by your confidence, because it something I have never had as much of and I am eternally grateful that is one of the things you didn’t get from me. Having a confidence like yours is such a beautiful thing and I will continue to pray that you never lose that.Rory6Bday1

You are still so insanely obsessed with fashion and dresses and tutus and I absolutely love that it hasn’t left you yet. In fact, our biggest and fiercest means of punishment for you at this age is to make you wear jeans to school. It is sheer torture for you. Your dad and I have laughed and laughed over this because it is just so typical “Rory” to have a punishment as easy as just making you wear jeans to get you to straighten up and try harder. All these years we have tried so many things and all we had to do is whip out some denim. WHO KNEW?!

You used to have a very shabby/homeless chic to your dress but the older you get the more it all just comes together into a perfectly mismatched ensemble. You still tell me that you want to be a “fashion engineer” when you grow up and I think that title suites you perfectly. Your daddy and I watch you all the time and say we can see you living in NYC one day having your clothing line on all the runways and in all the stores.

The thing you got from your dad the very most, as I’ve said a thousand times before, is your amazingly sharp mind. I watch you in wonder all the time at how your brain works and how I can physically see you thinking each and every step out. You can tell me how anything works within minutes of studying it and you absolutely love to take things apart and put them back together. The other day you actually said to me, “Mom, my new favorite word is equalization.” I mean, how do you even know what that word is? The scariest part is you went on to explain what it meant. Clearly it was already over my head. Your mama writes the words and makes things pretty- you were born to change the world with your ability to figure things out so quickly. It is truly astounding to someone with a totally different brain.

You are obviously still hilarious and make us laugh every single day, but you aren’t the typical type of funny girl. Your sense of humor can sometimes be dry and unexpected. You come up with little quips that make us howl with laughter but you’ll just walk off like no big deal. Seeing this side of you develop has been so fun to me. You aren’t the class clown, like your little sister so clearly is, but you are still genuinely hysterical all the time. I think that also has a lot to do with your confidence- you are quietly confident in your ability to make others laugh. Another thing you got from your daddy.Rory6Bday3

There is nothing you do better than being a sister to Ryder. You are so encouraging to her when she needs it the most and your confidence makes her more confident. I can tell you that seeing you love on her and protect her and make her feel like she is the best thing in the world is probably the best thing a mom could ever witness. Sure, y’all fight and bicker too, but 99% of the time it just like having a life long slumber party with your best friend. Let me tell you something Rory, your sister loves you more than you could ever imagine. Ryder loves you so fiercely sometimes it is hard for her to be without you. I can’t wait to see you back at the same school together next year because I know that will help Ryder be so much more confident knowing you are just down the hall.

Lately I have noticed a very sensitive side come out of you. You are profoundly affected by words and I have had to do a lot of holding back and showing grace towards you this year because of it. This is a lesson I am so thankful you have taught me. When you hear a word of encouragement your face physically lights up and you become a kid who cannot be stopped. I pray that I never quench that, but when I do that I am quick to apologize for using a sharp tongue. I want you to know that it is okay to be sensitive, goodness knows your mama is, but to make sure that you don’t let the wrong people steal your joy. It is such a hard line to have to teeter on and I’ve fallen off so many times. I will always do my very best to be the person you know you can run to when you need encouragement. And I sure know that you are my person because you are such a wonderful encourager to me.

This year you have learned so much in Kindergarten and you are thriving, baby. It is absolutely incredible to see you reading with confidence and writing. Watching you learn these things has been one of my favorite things I have ever done as a parent. Seeing your nose in a book, reading to yourself at night in bed has been amazing.

Speaking of bed…. you aren’t hating sleep these days. That is all I will say. Probably already said too much and jinxed it.

You are so astonishingly beautiful to me, Rory. From your perfect brown eyes that have taken in the entire world since the first moment you took a breath, to your sweet button nose and your perfect lips…. I just cannot ever get over how beautiful you are. How absolutely perfect you are. You got the very best features from me and your father and it made the most gorgeous little girl in all the world. Watching your eyes light up with wonder or laughter is sometimes too much for me to even see without crying from joy. I think my favorite thing about you, though, is your right eyebrow. There is so much expression in that one brow and it gives me the giggles every day because you sure do know how to work it. Rory6Bday2

The best part about this year is seeing your knowledge for Christ grow. Your dad and I have had long, deep talks with you about salvation and heaven and even hell. We can see your brain working and trying to take it all in. I love that you think about it in such a calculated way and take it very seriously. You ask HARD questions and sometimes I have a hard time answering things because I don’t want it to be too much too soon and scare you in either direction. God is moving in your heart right before our eyes and it is by far the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed.

You are a lover of things that are beautiful, you are sensitive and are moved to tears by things like cards or sunsets or kind words. You are a thinker and a problem solver.

You are absolutely just the best 6 year old in the entire world.Rory6Bday5

There is no one on this earth that loves you more than your Momma, Rory. I promise to always fight for you, always pray for you and with you about anything, always try to have the right answers or guide you toward them, and to always let you know when I am wrong and ask for forgiveness. I cannot promise to be the perfect mother, but I will promise to encourage you and to love you for the rest of time.

Love you to Heaven and back my sweet Rory,

Momma

6thbirthdays

 

Rory’s Fashion Show Birthday Party

Rory and I brainstormed what kind of party she wanted to have for a few weeks and we finally decided that a Fashion Show Party would be the best party EVER for her. She told me it was the best and I certainly hope it was and that she and her friends had a fantastic time!

Unfortunately I forgot to designate someone to take pictures and so all of my pictures are subpar phone pictures. BUT they will have to do!

Originally I had planned to have all these games and yada yada then I decided to scratch that and just let them eat, have makeovers, walk the runway/dance, and play. It certainly seemed like they had a wonderful time even without every second planned out! I couldn’t believe how relaxed I was, but I think it was just so beautiful to see my girl with her friends having a blast. The cherry on my own personal sundae was that Andy and I had great friends there too that loved on her so much.

Most of the decorations I made myself and they were minimalist but cute!

I made my own invitations this year and did it VERY last minute so I think they looked pretty good considering! (hearts weren’t there, not putting all my info out for the internets!)rorys6inviteBlog

I found this chalkboard in the dollar aisle at Target and I have used it so much! It was perfect to welcome our friends to the party!IMG_4583I also made this tassle garland from tissue paper – found directions here! It was so easy and I think I’ll keep it up through Valentine’s and maybe longer!
IMG_4579

This “Happy Birthday” banner I found at Michael’s without any writing on it! It was $2.50 and I just lettered it with some micron hand lettering pens I already had!IMG_4581Laid out on the table were all the accessories- crowns (similar, mine were cheaper but not online), lipglosses (similar), boas, rings, and necklaces! I linked all of them so you can find them- they were all super cheap and the perfect thing for the “goody bag” to send home!
IMG_4578

Cupcake Station! I got our cupcakes from Walmart and they were so cute! Little dresses! The paper balls came from Target. IMG_4651 IMG_4594

Two days before the party I was cleaning up Ryder’s Barbies with her and getting them dressed when I thought- HOW CUTE would these dresses be hanging up like a garland?! So I got some pink string and hung some dresses to *try* to hide all the unsightly electronics in our family room.  IMG_4587 We hung some “foil curtains” I got from Amazon and by the time the party started 90% had been torn off. These weren’t well made (SUPER THIN- this pictures shows two layered on top of each other…) and I should have just made this myself out of something. Oh well, I’ll remember from next time! It was cute for a minute though!IMG_4585 Of course we had to have a runway! This was Rory’s favorite part and it is now in her room perfectly laid in front of her mirror and I can assure you EVERY SINGLE DAY is a fashion show up in there. IMG_4588All the Princess dresses waiting to be worn…
IMG_4592

Because it was a night party we ate first because most kids cannot hang without food past 6 o’clock, am I right?! We had $5 pizzas and chips and a fruit tray. Simple. Exactly how I wanted it. Ha!

After dinner the girls had a little makeover! I got so tickled because almost all of them wanted the brightest blue in the ginormous eyeshadow pallet. I got the ELF pallet from TJ Maxx for $3!  (And this is the only picture I have of the makeovers….)12705288_10208985786228809_1100873214966573893_n

So my original plan was to play songs over our surround sound and let them walk the runway several times. WELL. They walked the runway so fast I didn’t even get a picture and then they just had a big ol’ “Shake It Off” dance party! Also, my phone wouldn’t connect with the system and all of that was a disaster. They still had a blast dancing! Andy set his phone up to record them on the tv so they got to watch themselves dance and walk the runway. It was a total hit! #nerddadsforthewin

IMG_4684 IMG_4660 IMG_4659 IMG_4657

Then it was time for cupcakes!

HOW CAN SHE BE BLOWING OUT A #6 CANDLE?!

IMG_4742The most precious, stinkerish princesses in all the land 😉IMG_4732

Rory opened her present and she was so cute. She took such great time and effort into looking at all the cards and every detail of the gift. She told me later that she was sorry she didn’t seem more excited at times but she was holding back tears because she was so happy that people came and would buy her gifts.

AND THEN I CRIED LIKE A BABY BECAUSE OH MY GOODNESS SHE IS PRECIOUS.

IMG_4722 IMG_4720

In case you were wondering, Rory is wearing a “wedding dress” that her aunt Ashley wore in a wedding as a flower girl when she was little. Rory literally wears this dress every second of every day that she can. Not even kidding, that dress being given to her is the highlight of her life so far. hehe! Thank you Gigi and Ashley!

IMG_4620 IMG_4638

Oh, Rory, I cannot believe you will be six years old tomorrow! I’m so thankful for you and your fun self! I hope this Fashion Party was a night you will always remember!

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

 

IMG_0147

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.

IMG_0186

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.

IMG_0249

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.

IMG_0146

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.

IMG_0226

“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

IMG_0256

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.

IMG_0140

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.

rory4_1

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.

Rory4_3

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.

Rory4_4

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.

IMG_8943

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.

rory4_2

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

————–

IMG_8933

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

Rory’s 4th Birthday Party

I know it has been a while since I’ve blogged, so what better way to end the break than with Rory’s 4th Birthday Party?!

As y’all know, Rory is a MORNING PERSON. Girlfriend wakes up early and enjoys the mornings. So I decided because that is her PRIME TIME OF LIFE I should most definitely have her party in the morning.

I stayed up late doing some of the decorations and watching the Olympic Opening Ceremony (duh) and I somehow ended up on the couch at about 5am this morning. I woke up to Rory rubbing my face saying, “Mom- you are amazing! You did all this?! You are magical, Mom! You are so wonderful!”

Now, y’all- that is pretty much the most wonderful way to wake up EVER.

Then as if I weren’t magical super mom enough, we look outside and it is SNOWING. I don’t want to brag, but me and THE LORD are tight and we had a talk about how I’d be the BEST MOM EVER if it snowed on Rory’s FROZEN themed birthday party day and well, HE CAME THROUGH, Y’ALL. HA!

Rory has declared this to be “the best day ever in her life” and I’m pretty sure she had an awesome time.

Enough talking, here are a few pics from the party! Now, y’all know I don’t take the best pictures and I tried to just enjoy the party and not overdo it on the picture front so you’ll have to excuse me on that part. I do hope you enjoy though!

The Birthday Girl in front of her cake (that you can’t see oops).

rorycake

Some of the decor. I feel like the pictures definitely don’t do it justice. Rory said it was a “frozen wonderland” so I’m going to pretend that I did an awesome job.

decorations

The food! I typed up labels for all the food and TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT THEM so dang, I had a fail for the day. We had cake (obvi), build your own snowmen treats, “ice”/aka blue jello, icey drinks, and “snowballs”/aka powered donuts.

food

IMG_8838

IMG_8839

I got the cake at the local WalMart and y’all, it was GOOD. I’m pretty sure my girls and I have the same love language which is CHOCOLATE CAKE.

IMG_8858IMG_8859

IMG_8870

IMG_8869

Rory loved every single present. After everyone left she got them all back out and just stared at them in wonder. She said “I didn’t know everyone was going to give me so much! I just love my friends!”. PRECIOUS.

IMG_8872

IMG_8873

We are just so thankful for Rory and especially thankful she has some wonderful friends who showed her so much love today. There is NOTHING that makes this momma happier than seeing her with her friends and knowing she is loved.

Mom and Dad love you so much Rory girl! Hope you had a wonderful day today celebrating your birthday!

rorymomdad

Rory’s official birthday post will come Wednesday on her actual birthday. We have lots of fun things in store!

a letter to Rory on her 3rd birthday

My Dearest Rory,

Words could not possibly describe my love for you, my precious girl. Tears fill my eyes just thinking about how much I adore you and how thankful I am for you. Before you, I never even realized how empty my life was… then I had you and suddenly my life was completely and utterly full.

Rory3YrPics4

I remember the night you were born like it was yesterday. I remember how much I longed for you and how labor was the easiest thing in the world just knowing you were about to be here. I remember the look on your daddy’s face when we first saw you and how his life was finally full as well. I remember getting to hold you for the first time and you looked right into my eyes with such wonder and curiosity. Funny thing is, that look is still there in those beautiful eyes all the time.

You are so full of life and so fun to be around. You have this joy that exudes out of you about everything. You are almost always laughing and you are quite the little comedian yourself. I have never laughed so much in my life than when I’m with you.

Rory3YrPics7

You think everything is just so special- from a simple card to a bike, you think all gifts are equally of the same importance.  You love to get gifts, but I can already tell you love to GIVE gifts just as much. You will draw a little picture and bring it to me with a HUGE smile and say, “Momma, I made this special just for you!!!!!!”, and my heart melts every single time.

You are so compassionate and loving. Anytime anyone is hurt or crying you will be the first one to love on them and ask them if they are okay. If I have a headache or am tired, you will tell me to lay down and bring me “tea” and “cookies” from your kitchen to help make me feel better. If Ryder is crying (unless you caused the crying… ha!), you will love on her and kiss her boo boos and tell her, “oh baby Ryder, its okay little girl”… melts my heart. I LOVE this about you. I hope you continue to be compassionate the rest of your life.

Rory3YrPics3

You are such a passionate person as well. You feel everything with 100% of you. Whether it is joy or anger, you always feel it with all of you. You have such strong emotions already and I love that you aren’t afraid to show them.

You are such a thinker. I have never seen anything like it in a child before you. I will watch you get real still for a minute and you will sit there and think and plan out your next move. You want to know everything there is to know about everything that crosses your path. Sometimes I get flustered because you are always taking things apart and making messes, but then I realize that you are just wanting to know how things work. I can’t even fathom your brain and you are just 3! You are smart well beyond what you “should” be at three, that is for sure. All of this you get from your Daddy, there is no doubt about it.

Rory3YrPics6

You have always been so beautiful too. I want you to always remember that beauty truly comes from within, but I also want you to know that I think you are gorgeous. I love your naturally tan skin and how soft it is. I love your wild hair (one of the few things you got from your momma!) and how it always wants to do its own thing. I love how petite you are, but even so you are fiercely strong. I love your sweet round face and your sweet little lips and perfect teeth that show your megawatt smile. And oh how I love those big brown eyes- those eyes that take in the world with such wonder and amazement.

The thing I want you to know most, my sweet Rory girl, is that your potential is LIMITLESS. You are smart, compassionate, beautiful, kind, joyful, and full of life. I am so deeply proud to be your mother. I couldn’t have ask for a more precious gift than you. It is overwhelming to think how amazingly blessed I am that God chose ME to be YOUR mother. I will be eternally thankful that God placed you here with me and your dad.

Rory3YrPics2

You have brought so much joy, laughter, and love into our home. No matter what we have gone through, at the end of the day we can ALWAYS laugh and talk about how wonderful you are.

My prayer for you is that your wonder and curiosity never cease, but instead grow and flourish to become something amazing. Whether that be a doctor, a teacher, a missionary- I could care less as long as you are passionate about what you do.

Rory3YrPics5

I also pray, every day, that your incredible strong-willed spirit never be crushed. You are SO strong-willed, and while that can sometimes make me crazy at this age, I want that to remain in you forever. I want you to always want to be YOU and to always put up a fight for things that are right. I pray that NO ONE- no school teacher and most of all not myself- crush that spirit. It is who you are, Rory, and it is something you should cherish because I certainly do. Strong-willed does not have to be a bad thing at all, it can be the best gift in the world.

I love you more than you could ever know, my precious Rory. I am so proud of you. Most of all, I am so blessed to be your mother.

Love,

Momma

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!