Whole 30 week 2 Update – HALFWAY THERE!


Honestly there were times where I seriously did not think it was going to happen because MAMA WANTED COKE.

But I can honestly say now that I’m halfway through I’m seriously not craving Coke like I used to (I mean unless someone is drinking it in front of me or I’m checking out at Walmart then I’m like GIVE ME ALL THE COKE but it goes away fast).

The positive changes I have seen in myself are:

  • better sleep- we are ALL sleeping better. I don’t think I’ve slept more than 4 hours straight without waking up since I had kids. I’ve been going to bed earlier and sleeping all night without waking up unless a kid wakes me up.
  • less bloated, tummy issues
  • It took until the last two days but I’m finally feeling more energized. I woke up this morning and went and worked out and felt really good. And! I did not want to quench my thirst with anything other than water! (Side note: I gave up caffeine all together
  • Truly am not missing sugar. I never ever ever thought I’d be able to say that.

Now, you should know that I haven’t cheated. However… Andrew has. (He got a coke last week and I found it in his car and I told him it was the worst betrayal of trust we had ever had, hahahahaha!) He’s done pretty good while at home because, as I have said before, I’m not cooking more than one meal. Whatever I cook, everyone eats. Well let me tell you something- mister has had some serious changes.

You all know how much/how loud he snores- it has gone down SIGNIFICANTLY. The other night I didn’t hear him a single time. It is CRAZY.

I am so proud of him for trying to stick with it even though he doesn’t want to and hates it. I’m thankful he agreed to do it with me!

So this past week I slacked MAJORLY on taking pictures which I am super aggravated about. I swore I would do better and then this morning I was so hungry after working out I couldn’t even think straight enough to remember to get a picture. Oh well! I’ll do better from now on.

Breakfast is pretty much always the same- eggs, sweet potatoes, fruit, or some other leftover veggies.IMG_3873 IMG_3855

Lunch is leftovers because I cannot cook three times a day and not a salad fan.

Dinners are where I shine. This week I made both asparagus and green beans the same way and they were AMAZING. (Saut√©ed with light olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little onion powder until they are caramelized… my mouth is watering just thinking about it!)IMG_3967 IMG_3923

This week I’m trying some more creative meals and I cannot wait. My staples for sides are brussel sprouts, fresh green beans, and asparagus.

It was a better week, although there were times I wanted to cut someone. ha! Hanger is a real thing, y’all.

Overall I am feeling so much better and feel like the next two weeks will be easier now that I’m not craving sugar anymore. I’m hoping to stay with exercising to maximize my overall results too.

Being halfway through this gives me a mental pick-me-up and I’m so ready to tackle the rest of this.

Even if I do sometimes/most of the time feel like this… ūüėČIMG_3872My biggest encouragers and inspirations are these two precious faces. They have been champs through all of this!


survived the first week of school.


It is Friday and we all officially survived the first week of school. We are all exhausted but also excited about the new beginnings of this year.IMG_3813

I haven’t talked much about this since it all went down, but last year proved to be a little rough for us. So many reasons that I won’t discuss here but we just felt with 100% certainty that it would be best for us to change schools. It is hard when your children get older to blog because the things I say here and on social media can really affect them now. I learned that the hard way. I want to be wise with my words and not vindictive over others who may have done me wrong. Especially because my reaction could and has caused chain reactions that aren’t what I want for my life or for my children’s lives. All that to say- I’ve struggled to find balance between my old blogging ways of hilarious honesty and also protecting my children. I think I’m starting to find the balance though.

We started our new school and it has been a wonderful week. Both girls absolutely love their teachers and cannot talking about how pretty and sweet they are. Oh, how I have prayed for these teachers even before I knew who they were.

Ryder’s favorite part has, of course, been the food.


She has absolutely loved eating lunch every day and she cannot contain her excitement each day when telling me about it. Bless it.

Rory has actually enjoyed it too! She is really going through a growth spurt and eating well consistently for the first time in her life. But I also think that has to do with the Whole 30 we have been on. No sugar means better meal times. She’s been doing a great job with this diet change and I can really tell a difference in her.

I forgot to mention this on Monday but a few weeks ago when we went to get school supplies, new shoes, and new outfits for the first day I told the girls they could pick anything they wanted to wear. Well when we got to the store they both decided without my prompting to wear the same thing. They decided on the outfit because they said it would be easier for people to know they were sisters. IS THAT NOT THE SWEETEST?! They wanted to match every day this week but contrary to popular belief I really don’t have much that matches anymore besides dresses for church and a few outfits. So they were forced to wear different things and I think they survived it. ha!IMG_3763

All of this to say, we survived and I am just so proud of the girls for doing so well the first week. Some seeds of doubt were planted in my mind a few weeks before Ryder started Kindergarten and I really struggled with “are we doing the right thing?!” by sending her. I got a few papers back that confirmed she was ready because she did so great and got a little note from the teacher saying so. I’m thankful I trusted my gut.

Rory has done great too. Any time you change schools and don’t know anyone is so hard- I know from personal experience- so I was so nervous for her. We talked it up and prayed lots about finding new friends and I know that really helped to settle her nerves. The first day she hopped right in and she has already made a few friends. Rory is so resilient and I’m so thankful for that. She has also worked so hard this week and I’m very, very proud of her. We are excited about this new chapter. I’m also so proud of her for being such a great big sister and helping Ryder’s start to school. I know that has helped my heart and Ryder’s nerves so much!IMG_3809

This morning I was dropping them off and Rory helped Ryder out of the car and then they walked in holding hands. There is just nothing sweeter than that.

As for me…. well. Its been an emotional week. On Wednesday I pulled into the garage and sat and cried because I didn’t want to go up into the quiet house. I let the devil take over my brain and cried to God asking why, WHY, can’t I have another baby? That is the desire of my heart and coming home to a quiet house sent me over that edge. But God is always perfect in His timing and answers so I have to push that negativity out of my mind and keep on praying. One of my best friends just found out she is pregnant after the same struggle as me and I am so happy for them and know that it can happen for me too in the perfect time. God is good and I’ll continue to trust Him.

Also on Wednesday I crawled back in bed and went back to sleep until 12:00. I’m not gonna lie- I enjoyed that very much. I’ve been working on normal house things and just relaxing this week. Next week I’m going to tackle some major organization issues in the house. And who knows what else!

AWANA and choir start next week and soccer starts shortly after. I already miss the easiness of summer but also enjoy this season of fun activities. It makes the days we are together at home so much sweeter.


Happy Friday, y’all!

Whole 30: Days 1-10


I wanted to update every week on Monday and will do that the rest of the Whole 30 but the girls started school and this went to they wayside.

If you don’t know what Whole 30 is- basically it is a “diet” that helps you reset your body by eating whole foods. Here is the website to find out more of what you can or cannot have: Whole 30.

I’ve been wanting to start this for a while mainly because over the past almost two years I have been on a lot of hormones/fertility medicines that have caused weight gain and the over all feeling of CRAPTASTIC. I wanted something to truly strip the crap out of my body- both what I put into it by emotional eating during this hard time (yes, I am admitted that) and the medicines I have been on. I did a lot of research and this seemed like the best for what I wanted right now.

I will tell you upfront that it has been hard. Especially because, as I admitted, I am an emotional eater. It is embarrassing and humbling to admit that to the world, but it is true. This is probably the thing I am most ashamed of in my life, but transparency is what I always talk about so there it is. If you aren’t an emotional eater it is hard to understand and easy to judge. I will say this- the people I know who are this way don’t even realize they are doing it most of the time, it is as if they are on auto pilot and just snack on whatever crap is around.

ANYWAY. All that to say- I needed something strict and that would reset me. I needed something that would make me SO extremely conscious of what I’m putting into my mouth at all times.

Let us move on from that mess.

They key to Whole 30 truly is prepping for it. I researched and made a meal plan and tweaked it for about two weeks before we started. I’m going to show you some meals we have had and I’ll link recipes.

Note: I know a lot of people will notice that we eat on paper plates a lot. This is true. They are my fine china in this state of life that I am in called Young Children. This is my truth.

Breakfasts are all pretty much the same- eggs, fruit, avocado in rotation. Sometimes I eat just fruit if I’m not feeling the egg vibe but all but two mornings I’ve had eggs.IMG_3194 IMG_2939 IMG_2896 IMG_2925

Lunch is my hardest meal. My friend Erin is doing this with me and she agreed. I’m not a big salad person so I have to make sure I have leftovers or else I will just have grapes or something. WHICH IS NOT GOOD. I am telling you that I do this wrong so do not do this. The days that I don’t eat a good lunch are my hardest days. From now on I’m going to do much better about this because I know how hard it is to make it to dinner without it.

Dinners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This, in my opinion, is where this whole 30 thing shines. I have cooked like crazy and have been really enjoying that. I am looking forward to finding even more recipes. I wanted to keep everything simple at first because I knew it would be so hard. I needed to be guaranteed good food in order to get through my withdrawals from sugar and coke and dairy and CRAP.

Night One: Taco Salad Рhomemade taco seasoning with ground beef, guacamole and cilantro. I forgot to pick up a compliant salsa/make one and that would have definitely made this meal better.IMG_2916Night Two : Chicken, broccoli, sautéed fresh green beans (olive oil, onion powder, kosher salt, pepper)
IMG_3621 Night Three: Chicken, Cauliflower rice (click for recipe– this is so good I promise), roasted sweet potatoes.

(I have never liked sweet potatoes until I roasted them and GAME CHANGER. Cube them, toss in olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and roast for 40 minutes-ish at 425.)IMG_2943Day 4 ¬†we went out to eat and I got plain BBQ and it was dry and gross and that is all I have to say about that. HA! We last minute decided to go and it was just not good. Especially when the table next to us had a huge plate of BBQ nachos and Rory said, “Don’t even look over there.”

Day 5 : Steak, leftover green beans, cauliflower and broccoli.

IMG_3141Day 6: We had an event at church and they provided Honey Baked Ham. So I brought grapes and had that for dinner and then came home and scrambled an egg. This is why you always have grapes or something in your purse! I also went to a movie last weekend and brought grapes with me to curb my craving for chocolate and a coke.
IMG_3662Day 7: Leftover steak saut√©ed with shrimp with a roasted potato with ghee and S&P. This was¬†just ok. Basically I ran out of veggies and hadn’t had a chance to go to store.IMG_3786

Day 8: Leftovers.

Day 9: Pulled pork and sweet potatoes. IMG_3805

Today is day 10 and I’m heading to the grocery to pick up more veggies!

This is what I will say.

Day 2-4 were extremely hard for me. The coke addiction is REAL and coming off of that and sugar in general is hard.

Monday I had a moment where I was so thankful I was doing this because when I dropped the girls off to school all I wanted was a GIANT coke and a chicken biscuit from CFA or a donut. Again- that was my first thought because I’m an emotional eater and all I wanted to do was get that coke and cry into it.

I have made it 10 days and I can honestly say I can tell a difference. I am sleeping SO MUCH BETTER. I don’t quite have the most energy built back up during the day but I’m certainly not as sluggish in the afternoon like before. I am much less bloated and not having tummy troubles like before. The sugar cravings are going away- I do crave something more than water to drink but it isn’t as bad as the first few days. I am really feeling very good- and mostly because I am just proud I am sticking with it and haven’t cheated.

One more thing because I’ve been asked this a lot- yes, my entire family is doing it…. mostly.

Let me be clear on this- MAMA ONLY COOKS ONE MEAL, OKAY?!

I am not cooking something for me and then doing something else for everyone else. OH HECK NO HONEY. So the girls are eating what we eat and are 100% okay with that because 1) they don’t know any different 2) the food is freaking delicious. So far I haven’t had any dud meals that I have cooked. My girls have gobbled it up and asked for seconds.

Rory is a huge dairy eater. But I’m only allowing her to have it with breakfast with her gluten free cereal. Sometimes kids need a reset too! They haven’t complained at all. Winning!

Andy is doing it too and he is having a harder time than me and the girls because he really hates veggies. Bless. At one point he was actually YELLING at me (yes, Andy the one who never speaks) because he was so hangry and wanted a coke so bad. HA. I just stood there trying to stifle my giggle. Bless his heart. He is feeling better too and I can for sure see a difference in him.

Our motto right now is this:im_sorry_for_what_i_said_when_i_was_hungry_t_shirt_textual_tees_grande

On Saturday we went for a hike and I couldn’t believe how good I felt doing it this time. It was hard because I’m out of shape but I enjoyed every second pushing my body unlike the last time we went when I brought a coke for lunch. ¬†I AM TELLING YOU IT WAS PITIFUL UP IN HERE.

Hope you enjoyed this update. The rest won’t be so long- I just had a lot to say about the first 10 days.

The main thing I am focussing on is that if I can do this extremely strict diet for 30 days then I can surely count calories and eat mostly whole foods with the occasional dessert or grain or whatever after. We need a lifestyle change and this has really motivated me.

I am dang proud of myself for sticking with this the past 10 days. It is hard but not impossible.

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.


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!


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.


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 end of summer


Not only is this the last week of summer, but it is also our first week of Whole 30.

It is a bittersweet time.

And by bittersweet I definitely mean there is no sweet to it because that is forbidden for the next 30 days.


I do not want the summer to end. It has been the most fun ever. Me and my girls have become such a tight little trio. We have thoroughly enjoyed sleep this summer (all but one week of random sleep regression for Rory) – sleeping for EIGHT SOLID HOURS or more each night. Yesterday she even slept 8:30pm-9:30am. I never ever ever ever thought I would see the day! More days than not we have slept in until 7:30/8am! I mean! For rest time almost every day we would pile into my bed and watch 3-10 episodes of Good Luck Charlie or some other show together. (One of my biggest mom accomplishments will always be teaching them how to binge on netflix the summer of 2016.)

The past two weeks I’ve realized that it is getting to be time to go back to school because the girls have been fighting about every.single.thing. And then tattling.





At the beginning of the summer I would tell them during their few quarrels that they only had one sister and they needed to treat each other better YADA YADA YADA.

Now it goes something like this:

“Girls. I could care less. If you want to fight like trashy girls GO RIGHT AHEAD but I do not want to hear about it. And if you pick a fight and then get hurt SORRY FOR YA.”

I’m such a caring mother, yes?

But even with all the fighting I am still not wanting summer to be over yet.

Needless to say, I am freaking doomed come Friday and Monday when the girls go to school. DOOMED.

I’ve been crying over the dumbest things.

Andy is totally loving this phase in my life.

I know it has been a harder transition for me because I truly thought I would have another baby or at least be pregnant by the time I sent Ryder to Kindergarten. When we found out we were pregnant in January I was delighted at the perfect timing because the due date would have been Sept 3. But here I am, with an empty womb and soon-to-be empty house for most of the day. It really has been tough to keep myself together, to be honest.

The one thing I can say is that even in this time of sorrow for me this year I’ve learned to cherish time more. It has changed my parenting significantly. I used to be much more selfish and always “need” breaks from the girls. I used to complain more about how hard it was to have two so close together. I used to lose my cool at home way too often when things seemed out of control. I used to be on my phone all day and never put it down.

Now we snuggle so much more. I read more books at bedtime and go all out with the silly voices and dramatic tones. We color more together. We play more games. We dance all the time- even in public. I cook more meals for my family. I sing more songs. I watch endless “fashion shows” and “rockstar shows” and “gymnastic shows” and clap like they just won a gold medal.

I’m proud of the mom I have become. I’m proud that I’ve worked hard on my family and fought for the important things and time together. I’m proud that I’ve fought off bitterness this year- which hasn’t been an easy feat. God has 100% carried me through this and I’m so thankful He always loves me enough to send the right people and nudges in my life to do better.

The summer of 2016 has been so good to me. I hope the girls always remember it as an amazing summer too. I’m already planning our road trip for next summer and can’t wait.

For the rest of this week we will be by the pool, going for pedicures, and binging on the last season of Good Luck Charlie.

Hope you had as great of a summer as I did, friends.


Family Beach Trip 2016

I am still in a complete vacation hangover mode today and I don’t know if I (or my house) will ever fully recover.

We did things differently this year for our beach trip- we went with friends and we went somewhere we had never been before. Both were great decisions and we had a stinkin’ blast.

It seemed like it took us a sweet forever to decide on a place to stay that met everyone’s requirements (and by everyone I mean the men) but somehow we found a place in Indian Pass, Florida. Now, let me just tell you- I booked the place and there is nothing more nerve wracking than that when you have two families depending on it being a great place. So when I got there and the house was amazing and the beach was even better I almost sobbed with relief.

Honestly, I hesitate to even tell anyone how amazing this beach/area is because it is such ¬†gem and I don’t want it spoiled by tons of people coming and making it exactly what we all wanted to get away from.

In short, it was absolute paradise in Indian Pass, FL. There was zero cell service and approximately 4 families total on the beach the entire week. IT DOES NOT GET BETTER THAN THAT, Y’ALL. Sam and Andy fished the entire week and I feel like I’ve never seen Andy so happy and relaxed on a vacation EVER. Like, ever ever ever. The seashells were huge and we brought home 20 or so full sand dollars (for which Rory has big craft plans with). We saw sting rays, sharks, and even a bear.IMG_2178 IMG_1648 IMG_1774 IMG_1672 IMG_1691

Katie has a 5 month old and I realized how easy it is for Andy and I now that we have “big kids”. I actually got to read a book and lay out and just watch my people play while relaxing. Katie- you will get there soon! Even dinners were not nearly as bad as I envisioned. Mostly because of the perfectly timed “sure honey you can play on my phone”. Works like a charm.


The week was spent with mornings at the beach, then a swim in the pool, and a rest before dinner. We ate so much seafood and shrimp that by the time we left Andy declared he didn’t want to see a shrimp again for a long time. Ha!

We also did several attempts at beach pictures and honestly I don’t even know where to begin on the disaster of these things. I have a whole blog post about it coming soon. That is how passionate I am about this.

So here are some random beach pictures that are cute-ish…

IMG_0723 IMG_0715 IMG_0737 IMG_7938 IMG_1872 IMG_1871 IMG_1870

But my favorite pictures from the beach are the ones of the kids actually playing and having a great time. Watching them and Andy at the beach having fun is my happy place.

IMG_1642IMG_2181 IMG_1657 IMG_1780 IMG_1910 IMG_2018 IMG_2021 IMG_2011 IMG_2051 IMG_2162 IMG_2139 IMG_2176 IMG_2182IMG_1783

We had an amazing week and can’t wait to go back!

IMG_2217 IMG_2262 IMG_2252 IMG_2220 IMG_2179 IMG_1886 IMG_1929 IMG_1673 IMG_1679

And yes, we did get one good family picture on the beach. But LITERALLY just one.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset


a letter to Ryder on her 5th birthday.

My precious Ryder,


I know each letter starts the same- I simply cannot believe you are five. I know it won’t be long before I am writing you a letter on your 18th birthday and then I will surely be sobbing.

It is so true what they say- the days are long but the years are short. I remember when you were a baby and you screamed and cried all day and I thought I AM NEVER GOING TO MAKE IT. But guess what? I did and you are the most precious child of life and hardly ever cry anymore. (Thank goodness! hehe) Well, that is unless you are forced to be outside in the grass where it is touching your feet….IMG_0655

And by precious I mean that you are absolutely the sweetest, most tender hearted, loving STINKER of all time. You are the biggest aggravator I have ever known just short of your Papa. You drive all of us absolutely crazy with your aggravating ways but you also make us laugh more than anything on earth. It is your life goal to make others laugh. I love this about you. IMG_0638

Your oh-so-southern accent is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Your dad and I laugh all day every day over it. You have a flare for the dramatics and love to tell stories (a quality you most certainly got from me, ha!) and I could listen to you for hours. And I do listen for hours because, well, YOU NEVER STOP TALKING.

You are also so kind to others- even though you do have a mean streak. Whenever someone is hurt or crying you are the first to try and comfort. Yesterday you were talking about all the things you were going to buy with your birthday money and Rory got a little sad because she didn’t have any money and you whispered, “Rory, I will give you ten of my dollars so you can get something little too!” So, so sweet.¬†IMG_0639

Even though you are so sweet, you also are not a door mat to be walked over. You are fiercely loyal and will be the first one to defend your sister or friends. You stand up for yourself which I am thankful for because I never had that courage as a child. Kids like to pick on you a little because you are so small but they quickly realize that is not going to fly with Ryder Harris.

I have also never seen a child more content than you. You can go to the store and go in the toy aisle and look at everything for hours and never ask to buy anything. You are so thankful for anything you get- I mean I could get you a stick and you would be overjoyed! ha! When you opened your presents this morning you had tears in your eyes because you were so excited. You gave me a million kisses and have thanked me over and over again. I hope you never lose your sense of contentment. It is probably your very best quality.

IMG_0635This year has been such a wonderful year. I loved having you in the afternoons all to myself. We napped, played, ran errands, and I just had the best time. I’m so glad I got that one-on-one time with you before you started Kindergarten.

Ryder, you are such a joy to me. You light up every room you walk into. You are the life of the party, the one with the best imagination, the miracle child that is so strong and brave. You face each day with joy and excitement. It is rare to find you grumpy. You always have the biggest smile on your face. Your laugh is so infectious and one of the best sounds I have ever heard. IMG_0637

Oh, Ryder. This year I have seen so many friends and acquaintances  lose their babies. Each time I remember how close I was to losing you and the thought crushes me. I cannot even imagine life without you and your joyful spirit. You are truly a miracle and blessing from God. I will never get over how thankful I am that you were healed and are here with me after 5 years.

Always remember that God is good all the time. He has proved that over and over again through your life and I’m so thankful. I love picking you up from Sunday School and hearing all about your Bible lesson. You soak in every single word with wonder and joy. I can tell you are going to be my child that doesn’t question as much because you just have faith. You believe truth and embrace it. I cannot wait for the day you accept Jesus into your heart. It is something I pray for every day.

Ryder Amelia, these five years with you (plus one more with Rory) have been the absolute best, hardest, most wonderful years of my life. You make each day more joyful and bright. There isn’t a single person like you- God made you perfectly wonderful. I am so thankful He chose me to be your mama. I have no greater joy than that.IMG_0640

I love you more than any words could ever convey. Or as you say- “I love you more than anything you say plus 100 to Jesus and back!”

Love you baby girl,



First Annual Summer Road Trip

If you would have told me two years ago that I would be able to hop in the car with the girls by myself and drive 5 hours and survive that- I would have laughed in your dang face.

I cannot believe how much easier and more fun each summer is getting. Not that I don’t miss my girls being little, but this is a brand new level of awesome when it comes to parenting.

First stop- Starkville, MS:

When we lived in Starkville as newlyweds, we joined a Sunday School class at First Baptist Starkville – the Newlywed Class to be exact. We met friends that were in the same stage of life (poor, struggling) and clung to each other for encouragement. We have all went our separate ways but kept in touch all these years later. A few months ago my friend Kristen, who now lives in Pennsylvania, told me that their family would be in Starkville for Memorial weekend. So we sent out a group message on facebook to see who all could come and wouldn’t you believe that most were able to make it! So we had ourselves a reunion on Friday night.

Y’all. There are just some people that no matter how long you are away from them when you are back together you realize I FREAKING MISS THESE PEOPLE AND LOVE THEM SOMETHING FIERCE. I was overwhelmed with the way I adore these people several times and even had some tears over it. We sat and talked and laughed until I literally hurt. Our time in Starkville was so sort but so sweet. I cannot wait until next time!IMG_8311 IMG_8268 IMG_8171 IMG_8193 IMG_8201 IMG_8235 IMG_8239 IMG_8241

Second Stop- Pleasant Ridge:

After our potluck reunion, the girls and I loaded back in the car and drove to Pleasant Ridge. My parents have a “little house” (as Ryder calls it) on the land my mom grew up on. When I found out they were going to be spending Memorial Weekend there I just had to go with the girls! To be honest, I didn’t know how Ryder would do for several days in the “crunchy” but they both had an absolute blast. We just sat around “the camp”, talked, ate, talked some more, rode in the ranger around the farm, swam, played in the mud, and took naps. It was the absolute best time.

IMG_8314 IMG_0002 IMG_0026 IMG_0035 IMG_0037IMG_8316IMG_8444IMG_8445IMG_0055

I miss the unplugged, “crunchy” life already!

Third stop- Huntsville, AL:

During the weekend Andy called me and told me our air was out. AGAIN. So I decided to extend our trip one more day because mama can’t handle no hot house, ok? To get home I have to drive through Huntsville and my cousin Brad and his wife Beth live there. They recently moved into a new house and they have a neighborhood pool so- SOLD. We stopped in for the night on Monday and slept like babies. Well, not my babies because they never slept. Anyway. They have such a beautiful home and it was such a nice way to spend our last night on the road trip!

IMG_0062 IMG_0064

Stop 3.5 – Scottsboro, AL:

As we were driving home from Huntsville we were going through Scottsboro and I saw the sign for the Unclaimed Baggage store. I had no idea it was in Scottsboro so when I saw the sign I just had to go check it out! Andy and I have wanted to go for years and he was so jealous that I went. We didn’t have long because I wanted to get back home but it was amazing. The girls brought $10 of their own money on the trip and never spent it so I let them get whatever they wanted with the money. Obviously Ryder decided to choose the giant, creepy doll.¬†IMG_8384 IMG_0073

Stop Four- THE POOL: 

We literally rolled up into Cleveland, put our bathing suits on and grabbed some towels, then headed to the Y! It is finally open for the summer! We have spent every day this week there and it is going to be an awesome summer! I’m so glad we got to kick it off with an amazing road trip! Me and the girls had so much fun and I cannot wait to keep this tradition of doing road trips during Andy’s outage each year together.

Rory practiced all weekend for her big swim test. She had to swim the length of the lap lanes and then tread water for 60 seconds without stopping. Girlfriend was determined and rocked the test! She immediately went to the diving board and did a flip off of it. SISTER GIRL HAS NO FEAR. I’m so excited for the best summer yet!

IMG_0088 IMG_0084FullSizeRender (5)

Goodbye, Kindergarten!

I am pretty sure it was five minutes ago when I was writing a letter to Rory on her first day of Kindergarten…. and here we are going into 1st grade.

I thought I would just post a few pictures of her Kindergarten graduation. The end of the school year was strange for a lot of reasons- mostly because Rory got sick and¬†wasn’t able to do field day or anything like that. So it kind of just ended in a majorly anti-climactic way. But! She sure was so stinking cute at her graduation!

13241190_10102219322172636_1839930972126678976_n 13177587_10102219322162656_3061600222373093273_n 13254301_10102219322377226_426439017238330108_n 13241201_10102219322422136_35732920056268577_n 13239256_10102219322282416_178177784982109480_n 13221091_10102219322287406_5823653797119054482_n 13220816_10102219322247486_5580522036101211197_n 13241196_10102219322237506_2922752050326190454_n 13227060_10102219322387206_1407614994257326223_n

The Friday after graduation Rory came home and told me she was tired and wanted a nap.


So Saturday morning she woke up with a high fever and I took her to the doctor where they diagnosed her with the strep and the flu. Then on Sunday she woke up with a deep barky cough and we realized she had croup on top of it. This was by far the sickest little Rory has ever been. She literally did not move out of my bed for 4 days. It was pitiful. We did a lot of steam showers and oils were EVERYWHERE trying to get her better.IMG_9726 IMG_9809

Then right as Rory was feeling better Ryder started a fever and wouldn’t you know she got the strep throat too. So we started summer with a BANG, right?!

To add insult to injury, Andy started his outage (shitdown as I affectionately call it) during all of this and well, I ALMOST HAD A MENTAL BREAKDOWN at one point. Here are some of the memes I saved to my phone during that time-

IMG_9625 IMG_9626 IMG_9628 IMG_9630 IMG_9658 IMG_9713 IMG_9727IMG_9807 IMG_9814

And also, I got so bored I took to taking pictures of myself and sending them to my friends so they would feel sorry for me-IMG_9801 IMG_9799

You can tell that it was a fragile time for me. Rory even told me in the nicest way possible that it was time for me to take a shower. Bless it. Girlfriend went and staged an intervention when I needed it the most.

Thankfully we all were perked up and were ready to roll by Friday for our first annual girls summer roadtrip. I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow. #staytuned #isthatnotsoannoying


a letter to Mrs. Janice on the last day of PreK.

Mrs. Janice,


I typed your name and tears of thankfulness and love are already flowing down my cheeks. I have dreaded this day for so long. The last day of PreK for Ryder. I cannot believe it is here.

You know I wouldn’t be so sad if it weren’t for the fact that the preschool were closing. I mean, I would definitely be sad that we wouldn’t see you next year all the time, but this has such a gut-wrenching finality to it that is so hard to bear.

Today I just want to tell you how much you have meant to me, and I am 1000% sure what you have meant to other moms and dads in Cleveland.

When we found out we were moving to Cleveland, I got on my face and begged God to show me where to send Rory to PreK. She had been torn down and beaten up at another preschool and so had I. I was so tired and weary. I knew that I needed to pray for direction on where to send her in a town where we knew no one. There is not a single doubt in my mind that God led me straight to Weekday because He wanted you as Rory’s teacher.

I want you to know that you completely changed our lives, Janice. Your unconditional love towards Rory and encouragement brought my girl back to life. You put her spunk back in her. I will never be able to thank you enough for encouraging her to be Rory and not some other version of herself. I sent her to school every day with you knowing that she would be loved, hugged, laughed at/with, and shown compassion to. I can’t tell you how many happy tears I have cried over the last two years because I knew my babies were loved so well.

Rory went to Kindergarten with a fierceness and a confidence that would not have happened without your love on her.

Thank you for changing Rory’s life.

The best part is that I also got to send my baby to you. I will never forget Ryder counting down the days until she got in your class.  I was counting down the days too. I knew she would be so well loved and encouraged.

Now. We both know Ryder needs a little kick in her pants encouragement to actually do her work, unlike Rory. Thank you for having so much patience with her and encouraging her. The other day we were working on Ryder’s letters and sounds and she told me, “Mama, you are not as nice and calm as Mrs. Janice is when she works with me.” I got a good laugh out of how much truth was in that statement. Thank you for teaching her and encouraging her.

She has also grown in confidence and matured so much under your care. Ryder will go to Kindergarten with confidence and sass because of you.

Thank you for loving me, too. You’ve seen my faults and seen me in some dark times the past two years. Thank you for your love and encouragement with my miscarriage. It meant the world to me.

Janice, I want you to know on this last day that you are a world changer. I know that your job  might seem so small some days and that it seems silly to think of yourself as a world changer. But you are.

You changed my world and the world of two little girls. You gave all of us exactly what we needed the past two years- love. I cannot think of another person on earth as loving as you. You have loved us so well.

I know that I am not alone in thinking this. Several of the moms from your class and I have talked about how devastated we are that the school is closing and that you won’t be there anymore. It is so important that you know that because we don’t want you to think we don’t care or that we don’t feel outraged/sad/disappointed in this decision to close the school. There are too many amazing teachers there to be able to understand why the school has to close. I hate there isn’t better closure for all of us, but especially you and the staff at school.

I just want to make sure you know on this last day that the school closing as no reflection on you.

You are an absolutely light and joy in this community and world. You have made my days brighter and you have certainly made my girls’ days brighter.

I am eternally grateful to you for loving my children and loving me so well these last two years. I am praying that God shows you exactly what your next step should be. I know your days changing the lives of parents and children are not over.

The Harris girls love you so very much, Janice. Don’t ever forget it.

First Baptist Weekday has been such a blessing to my family. It is a sad mistake that they are closing it. I am praying blessings over each teacher because they deserve better and so many students need to be blessed by them like I have been. Rory and Ryder had such a wonderful time there and have made such great friends! Thank you for the last two years and what a difference you have made over the decades you were open.image2 image1 image3

Oh, Ryder. I cannot believe how much you have grown this year!