Category: Uncategorized

Don’t worry, this is just my poop face.

Pretty sure this past weekend was the most glorious weekends pretty much ever.

I feel like the sun hasn’t shown its face in so long and it was WONDERFUL to spend time outside. Saturday we spent the entire afternoon outside. The girls explored and talked to the neighbors and got dirty and it was awesome. Oh, and the best part? I got the tiniest amount of sun ever possible but whatever, it was still a bit of a tan.

Yesterday also marked my least favorite time of the year- annual outage time. SIGH. I’m so proud of Andy though and decided that this year instead of complaining about how hard it is on ALL of us, that I’m just going to pray for Andy everytime I think about the outage or him in general. I’m just going to pray that his poor body that endures LONG days (4am-11pm is a long day, y’all, and he has been known to pull those kind of days on a shutdown) will weather this time better than usual. I’m going to pray that he sleeps well every night, even if that means I’m up every night for the whole month. I’m going to pray that he is safe and that his contractors are safe and that the projects he is over go without a hitch. I know this is so stressful on him and I’m going to make sure this year he is bathed in prayer and loved on when he gets home no matter how hard it may be on me (because I can guarantee it is worse on him).

In other news, I was up all night last night because time change has done some damage on me and the girls. Rory didn’t go to sleep until, well, forever. She is the master procrastinator when it comes to bedtime. She came in our room no less that 20 times last night. The following are examples of her needs in life past 8:00pm:20140310-154259.jpg

“Mom! Did you hear me?! I sneezed so much.”

“Mom! You need to turn your TV off because it is waking me up.”

“Mom! I really have to go to the bathroom again.” Me: No, honey you don’t. Rory: “Mom! Do you want me to pee in my pants? Cause I will if I can’t go!”

“Mom! I sneezed again so much. You better get me some medicine for my sneezes!”

I think you are getting the point….

Ryder was up at 4:45 this morning because well, I don’t know why. So I put her in my bed so that maybe she’s go back to sleep. Well, she went back to sleep at 6:20. It was one of those mornings where I didn’t want to shower because I didn’t want to wake Ryder up, and then I didn’t want to get in the shower because Rory might come barging in and wake her up… so I had no shower and my hur is a MESS.

Yeah, I said ‘hur’.

(Hur = hair, mom.)

Rory also came in our room at 1:30 claiming that she had a dream and God told her she needed to snuggle with her daddy.

Mmmmhmmmm… well played, Rory. So once I got her all tucked back in and back in bed I had all these crazy thoughts running through my head about a blog post. Then I saw what my note said today and well, I’m quite concerned for myself.

So I figured I’d just go through each point and make a blog post out of it… because why not?20140310-154240.jpg

The first and third points in my note go together.

Yesterday we went to the Mexican after church because tradition, duh. Also, I obviously love to torture myself.

After we ate Rory declared she needed to go to the bathroom. Now, I quite despise the public restroom situation, but Rory was grabbing herself saying, “Ohhhhh lawd momma I can’t hold it anymore!” so I thought it was wise to go ahead and let her contaminate herself.

So we get in there and have to wait because the place (as in the restroom) was packed out. Of course.

We finally go into the stall and Rory declares, “Mom! I think its a poop kinda time!” … To which I respond with a hearty, ” SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! NO ONE WANTS TO KNOW THAT!”

So at this point people are already giggling. Then the giggles get louder as Rory proceeds to make lots of noises that you just apparently HAVE to make to go #2.

And as if that weren’t enough, she then decides that I must be worried because she proceeds to say to me, “Don’t worry, Mom! This is just my poop face! Its not my mad face! See, my mad face looks like this *insert mad face here* and my poop face looks like this *insert poop face and a big grunt*! See the difference?!” and then shows me approximately 10 more times to be sure we are clear that she is not mad at me, she’s just making her poop face.

I’m 100% certain one lady peed in her pants while waiting on Rory to finish poop facing in the bathroom.

As if that weren’t bad enough, I took the girls to WalMart after church last night and Rory decides that would be the PERFECT time to show Ryder the difference between the poop face and the mad face. So here they go, right in the middle of the WalMart saying things like, “Okay, Ryder- let me see your mad face…. ok ok good…. now let me see your poop face…. okay well you need to squeeze down a little harder… ok perfect” …. over and over again. Lots of grunting going on… honestly a few farts flew in that grocery cart and I thought LORD HAVE MERCY THEY ARE ABOUT TO CRAP THEIR PANTS.

But luckily, no sharts happened at the WalMart yesterday.

The next point on the crazy note is simply Weiner dog.

Now I THINK this has to do with our new neighbors. You see, I’m fairly certain they have a wiener dog and I’m 100% positive this will end badly for me.

You see, my children keep asking what their dogs names are and what kind of dogs they are and I’m 99% sure Andy told them that it is a wiener dog.

Now, you might think this is crazy to be worried about this, but really y’all? Have you read this blog AT ALL?

I can see it now… them talking to the new neighbors and me trying to act normal when lo and behold here comes the girls yelling “WIENER” and well, that would be devastating.

I know you are thinking that I’m over reacting, but I am trying my hardest to seem normal to at least one neighbor.

Because all of the other neighbors have seen me a) fall off the lawn mower on numerous occasions b) fall down my front steps at least twice c) flash them on two occasions and d) run into things with the lawn mower at least 10 times.

So, as you can tell, I’m pretty sure we leave a lasting impression.

So much so that we moved into the neighborhood and 3 homes promptly went for sale.

I’m starting to get REALLY PARANOID.

And my paranoia is so bad apparently I’m typing things like ‘wiener dog’ on my phone at 2:11 am.

The bipolar comment comes from my realization after looking back on the following text between the husband and I.20140310-154317.jpg

My last post was about how life was bipolar, but I’m pretty sure it is ME. Ha! Don’t pretend you don’t  text things like that to your husbands. This particular moment was brought to you by the “we will be leaving in just a second” text and then not hearing from him for 3 hours. So I felt the need to express my feelings in the form of a violent text. He called me .3 seconds later. HA HA! See! I know what kind of push a man needs to get a response!

Oh and one more thing- this picture makes you think my girls would never do such things as poop vs mad faces in the WalMarts, right?!

They are such precious little turds.

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life is bipolar (and other profound statements, such as, glitter farts)

You know what I’ve found about life, no matter what stage of it you are in?

It is bipolar. Life is bipolar.

I know y’all are thinking I’m so profound right now.

But am I right or am I right?

Sometimes it is just so stinking exhausting trying to keep up with the ups and downs of life. And I’m not even necessarily talking about the BIG LIFE ALTERING THINGS.

I’m talking about the every day. The mundane. The routines.

The up all night and early mornings. The 5 minute showers where you only get half of one leg shaved. The hurrying out the door for school and work. The tension that comes with feeling so rushed every.single.day. no matter that we wake up at the butt crack of dawn everysingleday. The coming home after a long day for EVERYONE and having to rush to get supper cooked. Letting the kids play for a few minutes while I tidy up the house so it doesn’t get out of control (which happens SO QUICKLY). Then, BAM, it is bedtime and I haven’t even spent enough QUALITY time with them. I have spent time hurrying them here and there and correcting them and parenting them but it always grips me that what if I didn’t love them enough today? Then its crash in our own bed, watch a little tv, and out we go for a few hours until the first kid wakes up.

I’m talking about the every day with marriage.

Marriage is so bipolar too. Despite what your precious friends on Facebook say, marriage is not 24/7 of sunshine and rainbows and flowers and chocolate covered strawberries and glitter farts. It is gritty and fun and awful and wonderful and HARD and sweet mercy exhausting and oh-so-beautiful. Bipolar. I go from looking at Andy and thinking that my heart hurts because I love him SO MUCH. I really do think that sometimes. I cannot even stand it I have so much pride in him and his accomplishments and his work ethic and his good looks. And then sometimes I look at him and I want to punch him a little.  That is real life folks.

In fact, we’ve been in this “marriage class” (please envision me doing lots of air quotes here) as I like to call it and this is no joke- they talk about “real life experiences” and tell these crazy boring stories of their “fights” about things like not turning the eye on the stove (?) and I’m sitting there thinking “um… true story… I threw a shoe at Andy once in our early years of marriage”. Now THAT is the type of thing I want to hear about. Not because it gives me pleasure to hear these things (though, it kinda does) but because I JUST WANT PEOPLE TO BE REAL. God intended for there to be conflict in marriage. No really, he did. He never promised those glitter farts, y’all. He never did. He says it is going to be hard.

And then there are the toddlers….

The definition of toddler is this; bipolar tiny people.

Rory and Ryder can go from EXTREME HAPPINESS LIVING IN A FAIRYTALE DREAM FANTASY WORLD to THE WORLD IS ENDING, MY WEGS WON’T WORK, LIFE IS SOOOOOO UNFAAAAAIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRR, I HATE EBERYFING, YOU ARE MEAN, YOU AREN’T MY BEST FWIEND ANYMORE, YOU WILL NEBER BE MY FAVWITE EBER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m pretty sure living with the toddler is one of the most draining experiences on earth. Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely 100% for sure the most rewarding job too because they are SMART and absorb every detail of anything you teach them and they are so sweet and adorable and snuggly…

but they will turn on you in about .0000002 seconds.

No joke, y’all. Today Ryder was so excited about life. The outlook was so promising.

Then she could not for the love of cookies get her sock on right. I don’t know what about it wasn’t right because it was exactly right in every way possible but it royally ticked her off and therefore her legs would not work and I had to literally drag her out of the door. Normally I would carry her but she informed me she couldn’t even put her legs around me because they didn’t work enough. Now, of course I don’t let her get away with this. But when you are already running let, you just drag them out the door and pray they don’t need therapy.

Rory has reached an age where MOST of the time she is very reasonable and absolutely wonderful… that is until it is time to put on clothes. I don’t know if y’all know this or not but “FOUR YEARS OLDS DO NOT WEAR PANTS, MOM! THEY ONLY WEAR TUTUS AND DRESSES THAT TWIRL!” *insert dramatic eye roll here* These are all true stories I’m telling you, people. Rory had a come apart because I put on a skirt that did not meet her twirl standards. Bless her poor, deprived heart.

And then, more if you are a woman I think, there are the friendships.

Between PMSing and one-upping and judging each other and all the passive aggressive CRAP, it makes friendships with women hard. If I’m being honest I only have a select few friends that I don’t feel like I have to walk on eggshells around at all times. Is that friendship?! I’ve had MANY kinds of friends- from the amazing to the oh-so-terrible and no matter how old I get I feel like it all just stays the same. Sometimes I’m just so dang exhausted with the bipolar-ness of girlfriends.

I also work at a place of ALL women and y’all, I love these people to death but we all get the case of the grumps sometimes and even work can sometimes be bipolar.

Don’t even get me started on family…. (ha…. no but really y’all wouldn’t believe some of the bipolar things my family has been through lately)

So, right now in my life that is just how I feel. I feel like I’m on this crazy roller coaster of bipolar chaos and sometimes I’m just ready to jump off.

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I know the easier thing to do would to be to give up and not fight against the ups and downs and just call it a day. I know mere survival is how I look at life sometimes.

There have been lots of days (weeks, actually) of late that I have JUST survived. That is it. Mere survival. I have succumbed to the stresses of the every day and I’m not doing a very good job at maintaining my mission which is to love my people well.

I want to LIVE with intention, not just survive. I want to love my people better. I want to make sure the people in my life that stick with me no matter what are never unsure of where they stand with me- I want them to know how much I love and appreciate them. I think just surviving is so selfish. I want to breathe life into my girls, into my husband, into my friends, and into my family. I don’t want to allow anyone else to steal my joy – I want to be a joy to others.

I will admit it is a STRUGGLE for me. I let people steal my joy every day. But that is my choice! I want to choose to find joy no matter what the day brings.

Is anyone else struggling with these same things? Is the bipolar/roller coaster of life getting you down? Am I the only one in a marriage that doesn’t involve glitter farts?!

 

 

the shift.

I feel like I should start this post with a warning sign. So … WARNING: BRUTAL HONESTY and REAL TALK about myself coming up.

This week marks my last week working full time. And oh my word I’m so glad.

But here’s the deal, y’all:

Life has shifted.

Gone are the days of mom showers (well… not completely gone). Gone are the days of waiting, waiting, WAITINGGGGGG oh-so-impatiently for Andy to get home from work. Gone are the days of all day spills, locking myself in my closet, and praying God would just come back before I had to hear one more whine.

I know y’all. I know. I hit some horrible lows that I’m not proud of as a stay-at-home mom.

The thing is, I have spent most of my mom life preaching against the mom war over and over and over. But the truth is that I was preaching it mostly to myself.

I have spent my entire mom-life feeling guilty. 

I feel guilty over many things : for not properly “training” my children to sleep/for not letting Rory just sleep with me every night, for my kids eating processed food sometimes, for letting them eat pop tarts sometimes four days in a row, for giving them juice, for not dressing them in smocked clothing at all times, for not putting bows in their hair all the time (because, duh, the bigger the bow the better the mom! aka the southern mom’s motto), for not giving them a bath every single day (I know.. gasp), for every second I’ve spent wishing for nap time/bedtime, for HATING dinnertime with them, for LOVING nights where they are with grandparents, for taking trips without them, for choosing Andy over them at times, for yelling and having a short temper on hard days… I could literally go on for days.

But the thing I feel the most guilty about is the working/not working situation.

The whole time I was a stay-at-home mom I was masking my secret longing to be able to get a job of my dreams (or even at the local fast food joint on the worst of days) with blasting things about how “I HAVE THE HARDEST JOB ON EARTH AS A MOM Y’ALL … .oh but it is so special and I’d never trade it for anything in the world!”

Y’all that was a dang lie. It WAS the hardest job on earth… that is the end to the truth in that statement.

I posted all those posts and shared all those delightful, precious blogs I read on Facebook with a “love this!” or “amen!” or “PREACH ON SISTER!”, ALL THE WHILE being negative in my head about how this was not the life I ever intended.

Ten years ago Andy and I sat in pre-marital counseling with a good family friend, Larry Murphy. Ol’ Murph told us to write down five or so goals we wanted for our life together.

Andy’s were something like this: 1) Retire at age 60. (because when you are 19 that seems so stinkin’ old); 2) Either own a sailboat or a vacation home in St. Thomas one day (I’m on board with that one Andy!); 3) Be debt free.; 4) Have 3-4 kids.; 5) For Tiffany to be a stay at home mom.

Y’all. When Larry read that out loud I whipped my head around to Andy and said, “UM THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. EVER.”

I love to eat my words.

And I can bet you anything Larry was chuckling to himself about how these young kids were about to go fight it out in the car. HA.

Now, when we made the decision for me to stay home I was DELIGHTED. Honestly. I was so thankful and glad. For one I couldn’t imagine leaving my baby anywhere.

But the main reason is that I have had some of the worst jobs on earth. I worked at a place in Starkville that was downright abusive at times. I worked somewhere in Louisiana that was simply hostile ON THE BEST OF DAYS. So I was mostly delighted because I didn’t have to work terrible jobs anymore. I know that is awful to admit, but that right there alone sold me on the stay at home part.

When it was just Rory I did love it so much. I really did. Even the nights she didn’t sleep I could nap when she did and it was just so fun when she was a baby. Then she started being quite the stinker and doing things like eating fish and y’all… it got harder with every second.

Throw in a baby when I already had one and a sick one at that and I LOST THE WILL TO STAY AT HOME.

It is more than that- I just didn’t do my best as a parent. I really didn’t. I wish more than anything I could go back and do better. I wish I would have snuggled even more and been more grace-giving and patient with my very much a stinker Rory. Don’t get me wrong I definitely cherished many days and am eternally thankful God saved Ryder and that he blessed me with two kids.

I just realized more and more that being a stay-at-home mom really wasn’t for me.

So we move to Tennessee and everyone I met here worked. So my longing for a job got worse. The days were terribly long in that tiny rental home that smelled like dog pee and was next door to a meth den (like for real). I was so lonely I physically hurt and those are times I’d really like to black out of my life. I was NOT fun to live with. I really wasn’t.

Miraculously when we made the decision that I was going to get a job I got one fast.

And I hate that this is the truth, but man has life changed for the better.

I absolutely love my job. I love every single person I work with like family. I feel like they care about me just the same. It makes me want to weep with joy that I’ve finally found something that gives me purpose outside of my home.

Y’all, I am such a better mom too. I enjoy them more than I ever have. Part because they are at such a fun age, but mostly because we aren’t together every waking minute. I can’t wait to get home to them at night. I can’t wait to spend the weekends with them. I love snuggling in the WAY EARLY mornings. I’m so much more fun too. We have countless dance parties, pj parties, coloring parties, must I go on, now. I say ‘yes’ to them so much more.

I’m telling you all this because I honestly felt so guilty for a while because I felt like it was so wrong for me to feel this liberated and different. It felt wrong that I was away from my kids and loving it. Not to mention that when I told people I was getting a job they’d say, “WHY!???? You’re leaving the dream! Don’t do it!” and such.

Yes, I was living the dream. But not my dream. I was living SO MANY women’s dreams but not mine.

And y’all, I SHOULD NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT THAT.

I know that now I am such a fun, loving, grace-giving, merciful mother. We have read more books, played more games, learned more scripture together, and snuggled more than we have ever and I’m working full time.

That is the honest truth.

So moms, this is what I want to say to you.

It is okay to absolutely love your life whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom.

You should never, ever feel guilty about your family’s choice in that matter.

My friend Cassidy is a stay-at-home mom and I swear, y’all, she enjoys every second of it. Is it HARD on her and her family?! Yes! She crunches every.single.penny. so that she can stay home. I’m not lying. I’ve never seen a family so happy with not-so-much money. They don’t seem like they have to crutch their money though. You would never know it because of the happiness that exudes out of every single one of them because Cassidy makes their life so completely wonderful because SHE ABSOLUTELY LOVES her job as a stay-at-home mom. She is the best at fun parties, lunches, teacher gifts, etc etc etc. I always pick at her that she makes all other moms look bad. She is simply amazing and she is in love with her life.

But y’all…. I’m that way now that I work. I absolutely love my life. Are there moments I don’t love? Yes. Are there things I would change?  Yes. But as a whole, I am happier than I’ve ever been. My relationships are so much better. Andy and I are better than we have been in quite a while. We can’t wait to see each other at the end of the day. He doesn’t dread coming home and I don’t dread him leaving and long for him to get back simply to help. My relationship with my girls is better. I can’t tell you how this has changed our life at home into a more positive atmosphere.

And that is what matters. What is MY dream and best for MY FAMILY’S LIFE is the best. This is not a selfish thing either. I knew it wasn’t working out with my being a stay-at-home mom. It was selfish to have the attitude I had about staying at home. I know that was so wrong.

Moms set the tone for the entire household. They really do. “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”… how many times have we heard that quote?! It is so true though.

The tone in my house is so different. Its as if we opened up the windows to a stale home and let the fresh air in.

Life has shifted and I am so thankful I don’t have to feel guilty about it and neither do you, girls.

I can’t wait to get home to my precious stinkers and see them patting the seat between them saying, “Come snuggle a little, momma!”.

Oh how I love this shift.

 

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you light up my life

Where do I even start?

Well first of all let me apologize ahead of time for any typos or craziness that may occur during this post.

I’m on the pain meds, people. Things are about to get weird.

Last week I started experiencing some pain and it turned out to be a UTI. Like a really bad one. So that was fun already and then the UTI went away and I still had tons of pain.

Enter kidney stone prognosis.

Lord. Have. Mercy.

This is right on up there in the pain level next to pushing out children.

I can vividly remember my mom having them some growing up and how much it scared me because I can remember her being in terrible pain. I also remember thinking it was going to kill her because my momma is a tough woman and the kidney stones took her down.

So yeah. I feel turrible.

So yesterday I got some hefty doses of the pain pills, and if you know me at all you know I don’t do medicine well.

Sure enough I’m a mixture of higher than a kite and drunker than a skunk.

So when the good stuff kicked in last night I kept dreaming that I was singing karaoke and was SO MAD because Andy wouldn’t join me on stage.

In reality, I was singing in my sleep and kept waking myself up and each time when I woke up I was singing, “YOUUUUU LIGHT UP MYYYY LIIIIIIFE”.

I’m pretty sure Andy didn’t appreciate this.

I also did some texting last night to my bff Erin. Please try and tell us what I was trying to say because neither one of us can figure it out today.

 

 

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A golden star will be rewarded to those who can translate for us.

Happy Wednesday!

journey of praise

As I have thought about Ryder on her birthday and all that we have been through since the moment we found out we were having a MAJOR SURPRISE baby, I decided to go back and read some of the answers to prayers we have received.

Then I decided to put together a list of posts throughout the two years to show all the answers to prayers and to show how awesome our God is. I think it is so important to remind myself and everyone who has followed this journey of ours that God is still working miracles all the time and he has definitely performed major miracles in our lives!

Singing His Praises

Singing His Praises: Part Two

the good and the bad 

peace

smiles

two month checkup

the scoop on Ryder

if I’m being honest

power

surgery update

the sweetest day

miracles

one week later

He Knew

six weeks later

one year (!)

six months later

Happy 1st Birthday, Ryder!

I really actually enjoyed reading and looking back at all these for once. Just knowing how far we have come and that so much is behind us for good gives me chills (in a good way). This is the first time I’ve looked back and haven’t been completely haunted by the terrible memories. Now I can just be in complete awe of how amazing the power of prayer is. Thank you for always praying for us!

“He is the one you praise; He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” Deuteronomy 10:21 

Always remember, and always keep reminding me, that we saw with our own eyes these awesome wonders!

 

so long 2012, bring it on ’13!

Well, another year is coming to an end and I’m realizing more and more that it is true what they say- the older you get the faster time flies. And this year FLEW.

It has been such a fun, crazy year. So much has happened and most seems like a blur.

The year started with a lot of frustration, sadness, panic, and sheer chaos because of Ryder’s stomach issues. I didn’t blog about it besides just mentioning eating troubles, but y’all- there were weeks (WEEKS) that Ryder screamed about 12-18 hours a day. She was in so much pain and no one would listen to me and it was just awful. Andy and I will talk about it now and just say, “can you believe we survived all that?!”. It was so miserable for everyone, especially her.

Once that cleared up, Ryder actually started really sleeping and really thriving.

But then came the sheer torture that will be forever known as the 6 months I didn’t sleep more than an hour a night. Rory went through a major phase (I don’t even know what to call it- phase seems like an understatement) where she would be up literally ALL NIGHT LONG. The days were so long, but the nights were even longer. I honestly don’t know how we did that. Things still aren’t great on that front, but they are a bit better than that time. I literally almost went crazy. Ask all my Texas friends… I was a total weepy, crazy, zombie mess of a human.

But during all of that I also had the time of my life with my friends in Texas. I got really involved in church and also with a group of girlfriends. I loved all the projects I was constantly involved with and loved the semi-busyness of life.

In May we took a trip to Vegas and it was SO MUCH FUN. Andy and I really got to reconnect and enjoy so much time together.

That trip turned out to be life changing for us. Andy got a call to come interview with the paper mill in Counce, TN and we decided to see where it lead.

This was one of the hardest decisions of our lives. We knew with everything in us that if he took the interview we would be moving. We LOVED Paris. But we have always longed to be closer to family, so we knew it was our time. After Vegas, we came to TN and got the job offer a day after his interview. Andy signed the papers and accepted the job.

That week was one of the hardest weeks. I was so torn between being so extremely excited and so proud of Andy to being so extremely sad and heartbroken that we would have to move. When I say I had good friends in Paris, y’all just don’t even know. These people were my FAMILY. They were my rocks during Ryder’s sickness. God sent them to me to be His hands to help me survive. I wouldn’t have been able to go through the surgery, stomach issues, and sleepless nights without them.

We celebrated Ryder’s first birthday and then we moved a few days later. It was so bittersweet.

When we initially moved to TN, the girls and I lived with my parents for 5 weeks until our rental was ready. It was so fun and so hard all at the same time. I’m so thankful they put up with us for that long!

Since being in Savannah, I went through some struggles of being lonely and depressed. And just when I thought I wouldn’t be able to ever make friends or ever find a church, God started putting people in my path.

I’m happy to report that over the past few months I’ve really started to make some friends in Savannah. We have found a church we really like and I’ve made friends with some women there. I didn’t think it’d ever happen, but it did! Now if only my kids would stop being so crazy, maybe they will let me stick around. HA! I’m so thankful God sent us here and I’m so thankful for the friends He has given me here.

I finally got Rory potty-trained this year too. That, my friends, was a HUGE accomplishment. Like, I didn’t know it’d be such a life goal until it was over. Ha!

Andy’s work has been INSANE and we have been in a fog because of it, but we went on our cruise and it was wonderful being able to have that time with Andy. Since being back, things have slowed down so much, so we are thankful for that as well!

The girls are doing so well. They love each other and are best friends. Ryder is such a delight and is so easy now. Rory has really been such a delight too. She’s still strong-willed, but we are figuring out each other and making some great strides towards reigning in the negative of that and feeding it in a positive way.

Basically, it has been a CRAZY year. We’ve had some AMAZING times and some really hard times.

But life is good.

GOD is good. He’s been so good to us this year, and is so good all the time.

I’m so thankful for all the lessons 2012 taught me. I’m thankful for the tears and for all the laughter… oh how there has been laughter!

Bring it on, 2013! Hoping this is our best year yet!

I thought I’d post links to my favorite blog posts of the year. I read back through the year and some of these made me cry and some made me laugh out loud. Hope you enjoy looking back with me!

Love you all- thank you for reading the blog and being an encouragement to me!

the mom shower.

the many faces of Ryder

Happy 2nd Birthday, Rory!

six months later.

don’t worry, I got this.

Happy 1st Birthday, Ryder!

the long goodbye

the identity struggle

letting go and feeling it

we’re not married.

why I don’t have friends.

an abundance of laughter (and embarrassment)

not the Christmas I intended.

 

 

matching dresses and videos

Hello! Hi! How are ya?

How many fell for my joke yesterday? Anyone?

Andy did and it was amazing. Seriously amazing.

It was the icing on top of a great weekend.

Friday night we all went to Chili’s and the kids actually behaved which was quite weird. Because hello, you’ve seen my kids, they are quite the stinkers.

On Saturday I took my Thirty-One stuff to a Spring Fling here and sat there with my friend, Cassidy, and we just talked and ate cake pops and had the best time. It was like going on vacation! (Don’t tell Andy that though, he thinks I was working.)

Then we had DATE NIGHT at church which is my favorite night of the month!

It started off SO romantic too. Andy said he needed to run in and get something at Autozone and that it’d take 15 minutes tops. I’m sitting there basking in the silence of my car and I realize he’s been gone forever. He had to dump some old oil so I thought he was in the dumpster area but I couldn’t find him. So 30+ minutes come around and I start making up scenarios of what happened to him in my head. Clearly he had gotten stabbed back there and was left to die. Or maybe even shot and I just happened to not hear it?

Because I’m completely sane and rational.

Does anyone else do this?

Anyways, about 45 minutes into this 15 minute TOPS trip to Autozone we finally leave. We ate at Shogun and then drove around looking at houses and neighborhoods for when we move. Like three years from now. Ha!

Sunday we had a relaxing day at home, minus the heart attack Andy had, and I managed to pass out on the couch and sleep about thirty minutes. Revival started at our church yesterday and its been awesome so far. I’m so excited for the rest of the week!

The girls looked cute in their matching dresses at church yesterday and y’all- they let me take their pictures! Miracles do happen!

I would like to take a moment to thank my assistant, Andy, for helping me by putting a large stuffed animal above my head and pretending like it was attacking me so that the girls would laugh their little heads off. 🙂

Can I get a hallelujah?!

This is how Rory reacts to herself or Ryder tooting.

That’s how I react to hearing toots too.

I taught Rory all she knows about modeling… work it, sister.

Honestly, Rory’s face makes me a) laugh out loud and b) want to kiss her to death.

Ryder is doing her new thing where she sucks in air as long as she can before passing out. Hence the big purple mark in the middle of her forehead that shows she has no oxygen. ha!

Dear Ryder, please breathe. You’re making me worried.

Precious little messes.

I got two videos today of the girls. The second one is longer (4 1/2 minutes) so just warning you!  Enjoy!


six months later

Its late at night, I hear Andy snoring in the background along with the two monitors buzzing in their threatening tone that any second a baby will cry. I’m alone in my thoughts, with only the computer screen as a light into the room. I have tears streaming down my face as I’m reading previous posts about this time six months ago. I’ve been avoiding looking back because I want to be moving forward in my life instead of stuck beside that hospital bed where my sweet baby laid for so many days. But for whatever reason, tonight seemed to be the night I couldn’t avoid it any longer.

First, I clicked on facebook and started reading all of my statuses and, more importantly, the comments left under them. My tears stream harder as I realize I didn’t even know how many people were praying and sending me encouragement. I remember my phone buzzing so much from facebook notifications that I had to turn them off while I was in the hospital because it just got to be too much. I feel a pang of guilt that I didn’t personally answer every facebook message, email, text or call. I wish I could’ve been better about that, but I could only exert the energy to read them. I did read every single one of them though, through blurred vision from my tears, but I did read them and am so thankful for everyone who lifted us up when we needed it the most.

Then, I start clicking the links to my posts and reading them and the comments that were left. I am transported back to that hospital room and the feeling of being so alone and yet so loved all at the same time. I have never experienced such heartache and joy all at once.

I remember the events, which were a blur at the time, like they happened yesterday. Though six months isn’t very long in the scheme of life, it seems like a mixture of yesterday and a lifetime ago.

As I close my eyes, I can think back to the first time my radar went off that something seemed wrong in some sense. I remember how slow those two months before her surgery seemed to go. I remember her first procedure and the first time I had to hand her off to the nurse to be put under. I remember Dr. Lashus coming into the waiting room where Andy, my dad, and I were sitting and explaining to us that the procedure was a fail. I can vividly see the look in his eyes as he was trying to sound upbeat that told the truth, there wasn’t much hope for us avoiding open heart surgery at some point. I remember knowing with everything in me that something was so wrong a few weeks later and getting in early to see Dr. Pearse. I remember those long days and nights in the hospital before surgery that were so precious to me because I was able to just concentrate on helping Ryder get better and able to love on her without interruptions.

And oh, how I remember the morning of the surgery. I remember Andy and I holding Ryder together and praying over her. I remember having to hand her off to the anesthesiologist, Dr. Harris, and how sweet he was to me and to our baby girl. I can see the image of him crossing through those huge surgery doors that say boldly “DO NOT ENTER” and just pleading with God that the next time I saw her she’d be alive and well. I remember all those hours waiting during surgery and just trying to distract myself from the fact that my two month old daughter was laying there with her chest open not breathing on her own.

I remember them wheeling her bed past us and letting us look at her for a mere moment before transporting her into the CICU. I remember how frail she was and how I couldn’t even see her face because of all the tubes and wires.

And then when we finally got called into the CICU to be with her, I remember not being able to breathe because of how bad she looked. She was screaming in agony and they just could not manage her pain. I remember being sick to my stomach because the sound of my voice and my touch hurt her even more. Let me tell you, there isn’t much worse to a mother than the fact that not only can you not do anything for your daughter, but you can’t even talk around her or touch her. Those days were so long in the CICU and I became so emotionally numb during them. I hated hearing and seeing babies crash around me, and hated even more seeing their precious parents weeping and pleading for a miracle.

-Surgery pictures-

The only picture I got the first day after surgery because she finally was calm for a moment. I just couldn’t bare to take her picture while she was in so much pain.

First time seeing her the next day, and to us, she looked so much better.

Our sweet nurse who loved on Ryder most of our stay in CICU.

First feeding after surgery.

Holding her for the first time, which was such a challenge because of the chest tube, but our nurse figured out a way to do it.

Andy feeding her for the first time.

Finally, after two days, figured out the exact cocktail of pain meds to help her relax and settle down.

Ryder’s heart surgeon and God’s miracle hands, Dr. Mendeloff.

The difference between a few months ago and now is that now I can fast forward to the end without pausing forever to look at and analyze every detail of what went wrong and if it was somehow my fault. I always hesitate over the images of Ryder after surgery, because it is something that will be forever etched into my mind and soul, but I can finally move forward past that.

For so many months after surgery Ryder still wasn’t well and I think that, in large part, contributed to my being “stuck”, but now Ryder is thriving and gaining weight and eating so well and there is so much peace that comes with that. There were times that I honestly didn’t know if that day would ever come.

We now have a story to tell. A story of mercy and grace that is unimaginable in power. We can tell others how the community of Christ is a tight circle and people will lift you up in times of trouble. They will flee to your side and help you through every step. And they will pray for you, oh how they will pray for you, to have peace and comfort through your storm.

I know this because so many did it for me and my family. I can tell you with the utmost certainty that I would have never made it through the hardest days of my life without each of you who prayed for my family and sent me encouragement in the form of Scripture. Because when you are going through your worst nightmare, Satan is very near to you, putting negative thoughts and images in your head every single second. But my friends were there showing Jesus to me and reminding me to stay positive.

So today, six months after Ryder’s surgery, I will celebrate our struggle. I will praise Jesus’ name all day long for carrying us through and building our testimony to better His kingdom. Because that’s really what its all about and all that it comes down to- growing the Kingdom of Christ.

Thank you for being such a huge part of our story.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-19

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happy new year

Well since Andy went back to work on Wednesday, the kids and I have just bummed around the house in our PJs. We’ve watched movies, played, and rested. Mainly, we’ve played “kitchen” and Rory’s served up some amazing meals! Then I put a little soapy water in her sink to entertain her while I tried to feed Ryder and oh man, it was the highlight of her life!

Since we’ve moved the table into the playroom, Jackson has decided its his table and stands on it peering at the pesky squirrels in his yard all day long.

Oh, and we’ve been to the doctor three times this week.

Poor Ryder has been miserable. On Tuesday she screamed, without stopping, from 2-11:45pm. It was such a hard day for everyone.

I got in with the doctor I’ve been trying to see for quite a while yesterday, and he listened to me and is sending her to a GI specialist at Medical City Children’s Hospital- the same place she had heart surgery.

Also, some of you may have already noticed (especially in above pictures) but Rory is having some eye issues. We think her muscle isn’t tight enough so her eye can’t focus right and so it goes in. We are taking her to a pediatric eye specialist soon and going to see if she needs a procedure to tighten that muscle.

Man. This year has been such a rollercoaster. Just when I think things have finally settled down something comes up.

But everyone has struggles in their life and they come in all shapes and forms. Our struggle for now is our kids.

Of course, I wouldn’t trade a single day or single struggle with these precious girls for anything in the world.

Bring on 2012! We’re ready for a new year, for new experiences, and for new fun with our girls!

The things that will remain the same in 2012- God’s unfailing love for us, God’s strength that carries us through every struggle, God’s mercy when we have such joyous times amongst are hardest days, and God’s grace that wipes away the sins of the days when we forget that He’s carrying us through and act like we haven’t received any love or help from Him. Oh, thank You for Your grace…. its the one thing I need every single day.

Happy New Year, y’all!

we have a winner!

I just want to thank everyone for entering to win the giftcard! I had so much fun reading everyone’s favorite Christmas traditions! We are staying home for the first time and creating new traditions this year and I’m excited to try out some of yours!

Without further adieu, the winner is….

Jaime Tyson!

I will mail it to you tomorrow!

And let me just say, Jaime has been such a great friend this year. We live so far away (her in FL and me in TX) but she has been here for me through everything. She sent care packages while I was in the hospital and prayed for Ryder so diligently. Thank you for everything!

Hope y’all have a great weekend!