just happy to be alive

I feel the need to start off this blog post by saying….

I just absolutely adore going into bathrooms around the house every single day and finding a huge log of sh crap in the toilets.

IT NEVER FAILS, PEOPLE. I just walked into the “powder room” downstairs and there it was. A log so big I gasped because I felt like maybe Ryder was lying somewhere in the house in pain because there is just no way that came out of that tiny girl without causing damage.

Then I came upstairs to work on the computer and ran into the girls’ bathroom and gasped again because there was another giant log sitting in the toilet.

NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I SAY IT, MY PRECIOUS CHILDREN WHO ARE “LADIES” NEVER, EVER, EVER FLUSH THE DANG TOILET.

I just cannot understand it. I’m guessing they are just so impressed with the size of their dumps they feel the need to bless me with the knowledge of it too?????

Moving on.

I’m assuming I’ve lost all readers by now. If not, I will post some cute pictures of my naughty children to get the image of crap sitting in the toilet waiting to be flushed out of your heads.

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Since school started in August I feel as though I haven’t had a single moment to catch up with life. Our weeks are busy with school and soccer and church and our weekends are full of soccer, church, and other fun activities that are always going on. Fall is so busy with festivals and parties and hootenanny and I love every second of the fall fun.

Saturday we had a game at 9:00am and it was so stinking cold. I think because it was the first real cool snap of the season it made it even colder because we just aren’t used to that nonsense yet. Only 5 players came to the game and we play 4 players at all times so you can imagine that it was tough on the girls because they basically played the entire game. They still did so good and had a blast. Ryder was FOR SURE ready for it to be over about 5 minutes into the game though, ha!

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This would be Rory giving Ryder a pep talk… approximately 100 of these took place.

This Saturday will be the last game and I’m honestly so sad the season is ending. We have enjoyed Upward Soccer so very much and can’t wait to do it again next year.

After the soccer game we went straight to Aldi to grocery shop because we literally had NOTHING. Our cupboard was bare. We had plans to go to a pumpkin patch, an apple festival, a birthday party, a football watching party, and another birthday party……

Well. Once the grocery shopping was done we got home and the girls immediately put their warm, comfy pjs on and I took that as a sign to do the same. So I texted all the people I needed to and said, “I’m so sorry but I just can’t. I cannot even do anything but lounge in my pjs today. We are wiped and we just can’t.”

It was pretty much the best decision I’ve made in the past month. So Saturday we stayed in our pjs (and the girls also played dress up a time or two) all day. We watched movies and played games and *gasp* played with our toys. I mean, WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT?! We also cooked and baked and the girls were the perfect helpers!IMG_7507

Staying home for a day was so terribly needed.

Also, I took a four hour nap. HALLELUJAH AND AMEN.

Sunday was a really, busy day though! We went to church and our sweet Rory girl sang in church. She was so dang cute up there in the choir loft with the other kids. Let me tell you something- there is absolutely NOTHING on earth more precious than seeing your child worshipping the Lord. I know I sound like a granny when I say that but I don’t even care. At one point she even raised her hand for a second because she was so into it. Rest assured, I cried my eyes out watching her sing with all her heart.

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Rory is second row in the very middle.

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Sunday night we had a Sunday School pumpkin carving party. I gotta say, y’all, I stinking love our SS class. There is nothing quite like having people in the same stages of life with you encouraging you and making fun of you when you need it. It took a while to find the class but I’m so glad we held out and waited until we found the perfect fit.

We all four had a blast and the pumpkins never looked better. These people take it seriously and bring drills and the like. Gone are the days of a dull kitchen knife, I will never carve a pumpkin the same again!

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I mean, Ryder takes eatin’ seriously and there is nothing more serious than the first bite of a s’mores.

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Unfortunately I have had a migraine this week that just won’t quit. In fact, I’ve had this stupid headache for two weeks- some days are just a nagging, dull headache while others have me physically ill and unable to get out of the bed. There is nothing worse than a migraine, y’all. I have a new appreciation for my mom each time I get one (not that often) because my mom suffered years and years with migraines and still took care of us.

Yesterday I let the kids dress themselves because my head was killing me and we were running late. Bless it.

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Today I was awoken at 5:07 am by a little squirt bounding into my room with much gusto declaring, “I AM JUST HAPPY TO BE ALIVE, MAMA!”

Okay. Good for you. GO BACK TO BED.

Now, obviously that didn’t happen because Ryder was so excited for her school day and couldn’t possibly go back to sleep. She was rushing Rory and Andy out the door by 6:30… and hour too early. Today was Pumpkin Patch Day at her school and I got to go and be with her for it which was so much fun. We absolutely love her school and are so sad that this is the last year they will be a school. I’m talking TEARS HAVE BEEN SHED. Ryder’s teacher is the same one Rory had and she has been such a light to my girls and has made such a lasting impact on our family.

We took a hayride and Ryder played games and got her face painted.

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Mrs. Janice leading the prayer. Gah, y’all- I just teared up again looking at this picture.

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Now, I would like to show you the following images to let you know just how serious Ryder is when getting her face painted. We were all cracking up because she kept giving the lady a side eye like, “Woman if you mess up I will CUT YOU.” IMG_7843 IMG_7842 IMG_7839

Oh, Ryder. Her faces are priceless and always make my day.

I’m so glad we took that break this past Saturday because our weekends and weeks are CRAZY from now until Christmas. I mean, I am already exhausted just thinking about it.

Happy Wednesday!

 

like a fog horn to my soul; a post brought to you at 3:34am

Do you ever wonder, “what the heck was I thinking?!!!” 

Because it is currently 3:34 and my childrens are awake and acting like they have slept 20 straight hours thanks to my stupidity at dinner and allowing the smallest amount of caffeine ever.

And of course, neither of them could have just nicely crawled into our bed and snuggled up preciously while whispering, “I love you mom, you are the most beautiful and delightful woman in all the land.”

OH NO. They have to wake me with such a startle it’s uncertain I’ll ever be able to sleep again.

First Ryder decided to YELL AS LOUD AS SHE COULD right in my face to wake me -“HEY MAMA IS IT MORNING YET?!” 

It was like a fog horn to my soul at 2:20am.

Then after finally getting her back to bed and falling pleasantly back to sleep, Rory decides to do what she does best and scare the life out of me.

This particular time she decides to stand in the hall outside of our bedroom and whisper, “hellooooo anyone awake??????” Of course I thought I was hearing things and tried to brush it off. Then she decides to move to the end of the bed and stare creepily while continuing to whisper until I feel her presence. Which also means until I am scared out of my dang mind.

I’ve come to realize that I’m truly afraid to close my eyes sometimes because of my own children. I mean, at any second they will be staring at me until I wake up over the side of the bed. Or better yet, they will blow in my face until I start throwing punches.

Rory’s sleep walking isn’t helping matters seeing as I find her in random places staring off like the girl on The Ring. 

After the stair incident it took me a solid week to be able to sleep. True story right there.

In other news, yesterday Rory had her first ever day on purple which is the best behavior color you can get on. Her teacher brought her out to the car to tell me and all three of us had a dance party right there in the carpool line. 

To celebrate we took her to eat Mecican food (cheese dip as her meal, of course) and invited some friends to come celebrate with us. Rory declared it the Best Purple Day Ever. 

 We are also taking her to the jump park this weekend sometime because she’s earned enough “points” with good behavior to go!

Speaking of earning, we have started a chore chart of sorts and for every thing they do without complaining they get paid. Rory is extremely motivated by money so she has been a cleaning fool. She has been cleaning her room, the upstairs hallway and bathroom, dusting the entire house, and helping with laundry. Last week she earned $3 and this week she has been cleaning without me even reminding her to do so and doing extra chores. You better believe she isn’t forgetting either because while trying to get her back to sleep tonight she said, “hey y’all better not forget to pay me – you owe me about $12 at this point.” I believe we may have created a monster.

Ryder is hit or miss on this- she has a hard time not going to her room to “clean” but instead getting wrapped up in her own world and playing instead. Then by the time she realizes she has to actually clean she is so tired from playing she ends up having a meltdown and therefore losing her chance at money for that day. Bless.

Last week was fall break and we worked it out so perfectly that I’m going to try and plan it this way every year. My parents came down Sunday through Wednesday and Andys parents came Thursday through Sunday. It was the perfect way for the girls to spend fall break.

The Friday before fall break I was at Rory’s school when she came over to me and told me she tooted but a little poop came out. BLESS. There is nothing worse than sharting at school. I didn’t think anything of it and she acted fine so we went on with our day. That night she ate 4 pieces of pizza, which if you know Rory you know that is hands down the most she’s ever eaten at one meal. Well around 2am we wake up to the news that she had thrown up. She ended up throwing up twice in 24 hours. I’m still uncertain as to whether it was a stomach bug or what because no one else got it and she seemed perfectly fine the entire time. HOWEVER I was still a complete basket case because I knew my parents were coming and I was absolutely devestated thinking they wouldn’t be able to come. Luckily everyone else stayed well and she was perfectly fine. 

We had a great time going to the aquarium and to the Red Clay park. The girls had about 5 million tea parties and we played Head Bandz until we were out of tears from laughing so hard at Ryder and Rory playing the game.  

    
    
   
Andy and I even snuck in a date night while they were here. 

 Then on Thursday Andy’s parents came and the girls were surprised again. 

(The key to grandparent visits is to not tell them they are coming and let the door bell surprise them. There isn’t anything better than seeing them shocked that grandparents are at their door.)

Friday morning I drove to Jackson and spent some time with Telena and her family before going to a surprise birthday party for my friend Katie. 

Friday night was the party and it was so much fun catching up with old friends from high school and getting to know new friends. We rode to Memphis in a party bus which was so fun and had an amazing dinner at the Majestic Grille. 

 Saturday morning I woke up way too early and got on the road so I would be back home in time to get the girls ready for soccer. SEVEN hours later I made it just in time to watch 5 whole minutes of their game. It was the worst travel day EVER and I am so glad I was alone. Ha!

We went to dinner with Andy’s family after the game and strolled around the mall on Saturday. 

Then I went to bed at approximately 8:02. It had been too long of a 24 hours for me to function like a normal human being.

Andy’s parents headed out Sunday morning. I’m so thankful they came to help with the kids Friday so I could go to the party. The girls had a blast with both grandparents and they miss them so much already.

You should know that the entire family took 3 hour naps on Sunday and it delighted me so much I almost cried. There is nothing more glorious than a Sunday afternoon nap. Can I get an amen?!

Well. Now that I’ve bored you with the longest recap ever, I shall go. It is now 4:44 and Andy is snoring so loud he may rewake the girls and I may have to hurt him a little. 

Happy Tuesday! I’m praying I can find time to take a nap today!  

   


Hahahahahahahahahaha. Yeah right
. Like those stinkers would ever let that happen.

life updates: diy haircuts, boyfriend dilemmas, and new jobs

It has been a while since I did an overall life update here on the ol’ blog. It seems like any time I do it is to announce we are moving, ha! No worries, we are not moving!

I have already let you know that Rory has done a turnaround at school and is doing so well. We are still struggling some with the idea of “best friends” and that is a hard thing to teach and learn. She wants everyone to be her “best” friend and I’m trying to explain that she just needs to be friends with everyone. I can tell already how mean girls can be and there is one little girl in particular who is making her feel very insecure. I HATE this, but hope that she will learn that we should love everyone but choose our friends wisely. Even if that means she has to learn the hard way.

She also decided to cut her hair while at school. Have I told y’all this? The day of her class pictures I straightened her hair- well apparently it was falling in her face while she was trying to do her work so she just cut it off. All the way to the scalp. Here is a picture I took over the weekend. You can see the chunk at the very front.

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This is proof that once a stinker, always a stinker. And Rory sure is a stinker!

Ryder is blossoming at school this year. She is such a mess and so dramatic. I have no idea where she gets it from.

Today I volunteered at her school and finally met her “boyfriend” Ethan. You know- the one she came home declaring was her boyfriend and when I told her she couldn’t have a boyfriend because she was too young she packed her bags and declared she was going to live with grandparents. I am so looking forward to teenage years.

Well, we got into the car and I was asking her about school and she said very dramatically, “Momma, I have a problem!!!!!!”

Me: What is it?!

Ryder: Well see I have a school boyfriend, Ethan, and a church boyfriend, Tucker. And I just love them both SO MUCH and want them both to be my boyfriends but YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED?! I just saw them BOTH at my school and that means they are gonna know I’m both of thems girlfriend! THEY ARE GONNA BE SO MAD AT ME, MOMMA!

……….

Ryder Harris, age 4. Already playing the boys and doubling up on the boyfriends.

She is my sister’s child. (If you know Telena you will chuckle because you know how true this is.)

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Again, teenage years are going to be so much fun.

 

I’m amazed at how different this season of life is having an elementary kid and a kid in full time (half day) PreK. Andy drives right by both schools and drop off time is just the time he goes to work so he has been taking the girls to school. I get up and get everyone ready and fed and then I get to stay home for 5 hours each morning. Let me tell you, our house has never been so clean. It is so strange to have all that time each day to myself. I can’t imagine next year when they are both in school full time.

Andy is absolutely loving his job. It is hard and he has more responsibility than ever, but he truly loves it. You have no idea what a relief this is to me. When we lived in Savannah it was really hard mostly because Andy’s work life was so hard. He never felt like he belonged and never felt respected there. He always had to watch his back and they pinned employees against each other in that company.

The company he works for now is so different from that mentality and he feels very much so supported and respected. He is so much more fun at home because he isn’t as stressed. His workload is more, but it is peaceful and enjoyable. I’m one happy wife.

Deer season just started too and that has made him a happy camper as well. Rory will be going with him this year quite a bit and they are both so excited about that. Ryder has gone to the lease some to “help” too, but she has already declared herself “over it”.

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Speaking of over it…..

We are in full swing of Upward Soccer. Ryder told us at the last game that her favorite part was sitting out. I mean, this is exactly how she looks every time she gets to sit out and take a break. Bless it.

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Y’all, life is really good right now. My girls are thriving and loving school. My husband is so happy at his job. I’ve found a new job that fits into my schedule and lifestyle. Things are just really good.

Now if only Ryder could decide between boyfriends everything would be perfect. 😉

Happy Wednesday!

the fight just isn’t cookie cutter

Do you ever wonder how we became so cookie cutter?

Lately in my struggle to fight for Rory, I have found myself desperately wanting to put her in a box of “this is how it is going to go”. Me, the person who prays so hard to never have her put into a box…. I’m the very one trying to do it.

Rory has been counting down to the day she went to Kindergarten for what seems like years now. She was so ready and so eager to get there that it drove us nuts all summer, ha!

Then a funny thing happened. Kindergarten started and the first week was amazing. And thennnnnnnnn, well we all know how fast that went downhill.

As we have already discussed, Rory is the definition of strong willed. In fact, when you google “strong willed”, I am certain that her face will pop up.

Rory struggled so hard for a few weeks. She had so little self control and so much strong will. That is not a good combo. It leads to things like, oh I don’t know, gluing your neighbor’s hand to the desk. Or cutting their paper. Or getting into a fist fight on the playground. Just hypotheticals, of course….

Life for those weeks was not fun. She would have a terrible day at school and since I am her mother, I disciplined her when she got home. We were both frustrated and agitated and feeling like failures.

It all came to a head one day, as things spiraling out of control seem to do, and I just broke down. I was so weary and burdened by parenting my precious girl. I didn’t know what to do. I cried so many tears I didn’t think I had anymore in me.

Because I can tend to be strong willed and stubborn too, it took me a long time to figure out what was happening. When I realized what I was doing it knocked the breath out of me. I was trying so hard to put her in the box.

I was desperate to fix all the problems by making her be that kid that sits in her chair and does all her work and never says a word.

I mean, can you imagine a world where Rory Harris didn’t have her spunky personality? The thought alone causes a giant lump in my throat.

Do you know what would be more devastating than some hard days with bad colors on a chart?

A world without Rory exactly how God made her- strong willed, hilarious, unique, fabulous, and absolutely stunning inside and out.IMG_5446

I’m so ashamed of myself- what an epic parenting fail. I spent weeks torturing Rory and myself while I was trying to enforce the worlds’ view of “normal kid behavior” on her.

So here is what happened that has changed everything:

1- I apologized. I got on my knees in front of Rory and told her that I was so sorry for not trying harder to understand what was going on at school. I apologized for not showing her enough love and for being too harsh. I asked her to forgive me. And then we prayed together and asked God to forgive us both.

2- I talked to Rory’s teacher as a mom desperate to help my kid. Not in the defensive way most parents go at teachers. I just flat out said, “I know my kid is a great kid and I expect more out of her.” Because I do not want to put Rory in a box, but if I don’t discipline her and let her know that I love her too much to let her act the way she was acting I will be putting her in another kind of box- the box that labels her forever as a problem child whose mother won’t step in for her. I am so incredibly thankful because Rory’s teacher has not once told me she was a bad kid. She has encouraged me and Rory. She, like me, expects more out of Rory because we know she is a good kid. She is committed to letting Rory’s personality shine but also directing her to make the right choices. Again, I am so incredibly thankful for her teacher. God answered my desperate pleas to place Rory with a teacher who would love her and encourage her.

3- For the most part, I let the discipline at school be enough. If she had an especially bad day she would write a letter to apologize to her teacher and lose TV. But that is as far as I would go. I realized that Rory’s spirit was being crushed by me because I was berating her about her behavior when she got home. I trust her teacher and respect her so much after speaking with her so I trust her discipline to be enough to help Rory realize bad behavior is not okay. Now. The next thing I’m going to tell you isn’t for everyone- but I know my child and know that this was completely needed- I told them to paddle her. Rory, her teacher, and I talked and we explained to her that they had permission to paddle her if she needed it. Rory’s eyes grew so wide I thought they were going to pop out of her head. The knowledge they have my permission alone has made Rory turn a complete 180 at school. They have never come close to needing to paddle her, but they have my permission to do so and Rory knows it. *Again, I know this is not the path everyone agrees with and I whole heartedly believe this is a child by child decision.*

4- Prayer. I cannot stress to you enough that this is the most important and crucial part of the equation. My biggest failure in all of this is that I didn’t have the wisdom to start this on day 1. Sure, we said short “bless this day” prayers before school. Sure, I prayed over her and her school the first day where she could hear it. But that wasn’t good enough. So now, each and every morning Rory sits in my lap in the living room and we pray. I snuggle her up and kiss her face until she rolls her eyes and then I put my hand over her heart and start to pray. First I pray something like this- “God bless this day. Help Rory to have a wonderful day today. Lord, we know that Rory is such a great kid. We are so thankful that you created Rory and gave her to us. She is so precious to us. God, we are so thankful that you have given us another day. We pray that we will use it well and show others love and kindness. Lord, control our hands and our mouths today. We are so thankful that the Bible promises that you will help us and we are praying that you will help us today to make great choices. Please bless our teachers today and help them to have a great day. We love you and praise you for giving us another day. Amen.” Then Rory says her prayer. It varies every day but she always, always asks God to help her have a good day and to help her make good choices. Since we have been starting the day off like this, we are all so incredibly blessed by it throughout the day. Our hearts are lighter because the burden of carrying the behavior is off our shoulders. We start the day fresh and confident that we aren’t alone in our struggles. Again, I cannot stress to you enough how this is the most vital change I have made to help Rory and her confidence. She has to know that we all struggle and all fall short but God is always here to love us and help us. If I do nothing else, I have to at least teach her that.

The thing I’ve been asking myself the most over the last few weeks is this – when did the fight for our kids and our families become so cookie cutter?

I want more than anything for Rory to be strong, independent, and confident in herself because of the way God made her. But how could I ever expect those things to be instilled in her if I’m trying to make her into a cookie cutter child? She needs to know that we mess up and we ask forgiveness and we move on. She knows that consequences for poor behavior are going to be hard and that we expect more from her.

She has to know that we love her too much to let her keep sinning and keep making bad choices. If we don’t teach her this now, when will we? This is the most crucial time in parenting. We have to show her how much we love her and how unconditional that love is. We have to show her that it is okay to mess up but that we are not going to stop her from having consequences. We have to teach her how to apologize and how to forgive by always being willing to do so ourselves.

I’ve said this a million times, but I will never, ever stop fighting for Rory. I will never stop fighting for Ryder. I will never stop fighting for my marriage and for Andy. I will fight until I die for their hearts and I pray that I’m never cookie cutter about it again.

Let us start fighting for our children’s hearts instead of fighting for their behavior. The heart is so much more important and the heart will lead the behavior in the right way.

the squirrel went to church….

So yesterday I got Ryder from school and she tells me this elaborate story about how a squirrel jumped on her back.

Considering the fact that the day before she told me that Miss Janice wasn’t there at school and they just did school alone and Ryder taught the class all day, I felt this was for sure a lie.

I mean. A squirrel jumped on your back? Yeah right.

Well about 30 minutes later I get a text from her teacher and she said, “crazy squirrel really did jump on Ryder’s back”. I literally could not stop laughing. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?!

I’ve had a pretty sad week. Sometimes thinking so much about Ryder’s start to life is still so hard for me. And then it was grandparents day and that is always such a sad day for me because I miss mine so much. I hate that Rory and Ryder never met my Grandmother and Grandaddy because I know they would have eaten them up. I can see my Granddaddy throwing his head back in laughter at them if he were here.

So the squirrel came at just the right time because one of my favorite memories is watching the Ray Stevens VHS with my Granddaddy every single time (multiple times) I went to their house.

If watching that video doesn’t perk you up, I don’t know what will. It certainly helped perk me up.

You should know I’m watching this laughing out loud. It never gets old. I will be showing this to my girls as soon as they get home today.

In other news, I want to give a small update and let y’all know that Rory and school are meshing much better these days. I’ll write a post on this later, but I’ve had a lot of questions about it so wanted to let you know its getting better!

This past weekend was the girls’ first soccer game! They were so sweet cheering each other on. I love how encouraging they are to each other- it is one of my favorite things.

Both girls played so good- Rory is a little powerhouse when she wants to be and Ryder is hilarious to watch.

You see, bless it, she is quite clumsy. She tripped so many times I couldn’t keep count. She also has her head in the clouds and we would have to yell at her to remember she was playing soccer, ha! When she is paying attention she really is quite good. Andy and I were shocked the first practice. She gets overwhelmed in the games because there are so many going after the same ball, but she gets in there and tries hard.

Their team is a bunch of rascals, to be honest. I feel bad for the coach who is a friend of ours because he has his hands full this year. Hopefully they will get it together and each week will be better.

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Nope. The ball is to your right, sweetpea.
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That booty pop tho.
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Get it, girl!
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Prayer time before the game. So very precious. Look how tiny Ryder is.

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I’m so impressed with Upward (this is our first experience with it) and the way 1st baptist puts it on.

Oh, and also, Ryder’s legs did indeed work the entire time. However, every time she came off the field for a break she would get all excited and say, “IS IT OVER?! IS IT TIME FOR SNACK?!!!!!” And each time we said no she would say, “awwwww man.” hahaha! Bless it.

But seriously- who would have ever thought 4 years ago that the struggling baby would be able to run and play soccer? Oh I am so thankful.

This morning Rory and I were praying before school. It was her turn to pray and she said the sweetest prayer:

“Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for everything you’ve given us. Watch over us. God thank you for Ryder’s heart and for giving me such a great sister. Help us both to have good days today.

*long pause*

And Lord, Help these awful toots go away because I sure don’t want to be pooting all day at school.”

After the prayer she says to me, “You know Mom, we can ask Jesus for anything. Nothing is too little or too big so I’m sure he can take the toots away.”

HA HA HA. Amen, sister!

Happy Thursday!

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Ryder’s 4th Heart-iversary

The funny thing about traumatic events in your life is that sometimes the years go by and you feel numb to it, and then some years you can’t escape going down the rabbit hole and having some serious meltdowns.

This year, meltdowns.

You see, this is the first year I’ve had the facebook “on this day” memories thing and time hop. So every day I’m flooded with the memories of what went down with Ryder and how critical the situation was and how desperate I was for a miracle to avoid the surgery.

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More than that, I am just once again completely overwhelmed with gratitude for my friends. I was planning to screen shot all of the messages I got asking for prayers for Ryder to post here but there was so many I couldn’t possibly do that. I had people from all over the country praying for my precious Ryder.

My friends and family rescued me from drowning during that time in my life. I felt sure I would never, ever see the other end of this constant health battle with Ryder. My sister called and told me to take Ryder to the cardiologist early- she literally saved her life and mine doing that.

When I started to doubt and sink, a friend would send me a verse or pray over me. So many times they watched Rory for me. They fed us, cleaned our house, and poured life into us when we felt we couldn’t fight anymore. They breathed life into me and stepped in to make sure my family was taken care of when I couldn’t do more than just try to get Ryder to eat a few ounces in a day.

Andy stepped in like a rock and took care of things I didn’t even know he knew how to do! I never worried about Rory’s well being because between Andy and my friends I knew she was having the time of her life and was well taken care of. He kept going to work for long hours and then would drive to Dallas to stay the night. He never complained and I know he was just as terrified and helpless as I was.

My mom came and stayed for longer than she needed to and left an important job behind to care for Rory and help Andy and I. She cleaned my house and fed everyone and made sure I didn’t have to think twice about anything but Ryder. I will never, ever be able to thank her enough for this.

Andy’s parents and my mom and dad all came for the surgery and waited for us. We laughed and cried and all of them being there gave us such an overwhelming peace for all those hours of surgery.

Basically, today I am just thankful. So unbelievably thankful.

The thing I’ve come to realize is that all of those friends and family members and random strangers who prayed so hard for a miracle in Ryder became Jesus to us in the flesh. He used each of you to breathe for us when we couldn’t anymore. He used you to hold our heads above the water.

So, thank you my beautiful friends. 

Thank you for stepping in for me when I didn’t even know I needed help. Thank you for being patient through all my tears. Thank you for listening to my darkest fears. Thank you for holding my hand and praying for my child’s life. Thank you for showing others what it is like to have Christians come together for good and pray with one another- what a witness you were to so many!

Thank you for loving me through the hardest time of my life. I will never, ever get over that. You saved me in so many ways when I could not possibly see any light in the darkness.

If I could hug each of you and step in and be the friend you were to me I would in a heartbeat. I can only hope I am half the friend, sister, daughter, mother that you all were to me.

You guys changed my life and impacted me more than you will ever know.

And look at the miracle girl you all prayed so hard for. She’s beautiful, kind, and hilarious. She is still always, always smiling. She is a product of the power of prayer and I hope none of you will never forget your part in her life. I sure know I won’t.

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We love you so much and are so thankful for all of you. We wouldn’t be where we are without you.

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“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 IMG_5963

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the little weekend getaway

This past weekend Andy’s parents came in town and we took the opportunity to get away. We realized we hadn’t had a weekend away since last November! Crazy!

We couldn’t decide where to go at first, but knew we needed to be close since we were only going overnight. We have been to Gatlinburg so much lately and Knoxville seemed too close for a getaway, so we decided on Atlanta. I swear, every time I go to Atlanta I forget how much I love it. You hear so many negative things about it I feel, but seriously it is such a fun city and has everything you can want or need.

We were clearly sad to be leaving our children...
We were clearly sad to be leaving our children…

We left Saturday morning and went straight to Cheesecake Factory for lunch. Andy’s mom gave Andy a gift card for his birthday so the first meal was free for us, bonus! We hadn’t been to CF before and were pleasantly surprised! We walked around the mall for a bit and enjoyed getting to browse without yelling, “Don’t touch that!” one million trillion times.

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Andy’s birthday was last week and he had two requests for his birthday – 1) do an Escape Room and 2) eat at an all-you-can-eat-meat place.

So off we went to Mission: Escape Atlanta. We bought it online and reserved a time. There were 10 people in our group…. to be honest I was really nervous about this. I thought I would have no clue (literally) about how to escape and solve the clues. My plan was to rely on Andy’s engineer brain and just follow him around.

Turns out, I freaking loved it! I think staying in the background and observing and then using common sense is the key to success. They said the room had a 20% success rate so I was pretty proud our group got out! It was so much fun!

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The escape room was across from IKEA so, OBVI, we went there afterward. And obvi I couldn’t find what I wanted. Boo. Honestly, we were so tired from walking around all day that IKEA was kind of a nightmare idea that day- there were so many people there and it just wasn’t as enjoyable as it usually is. Oh well!

We got on Hotwire and booked a downtown hotel and ended up with the Hyatt. We spent $100 and got a top floor room with a view for an extra $10. Best $10 I have ever spent!

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the glowy thing on the left is the elevator…. they are fast and amazing and scary.

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IMG_5135We took a nap at 5:00pm because we are rebels and had no children to worry about!

Then we headed to Andy’s birthday dinner at Chama Guacha. He enjoyed it very much and I enjoyed eating dinner alone with my husband with no one complaining about their food or asking how many more bites they had left before ever touching their plate.

IMG_5053IMG_5059After dinner we rolled our stuffed selves next door to a fancy schmancy movie theatre with comfy recliner seats and a full restaurant. Because we didn’t have to share, we obviously got some dessert. I got a milkshake and, y’all, best milkshake of my life. We watched The Gift and I spent the majority of the movie covering my eyes because I hate anything remotely scary.

We then rolled ourselves back to the hotel and crashed so hard it wasn’t even funny. We slept until almost 10 and IT WAS GLORIOUS.

On our way home we stopped at the Calhoun Outlet Mall and without realizing it I tried on 230923 items of clothing that all looked like this:

IMG_5092That is when it hit me that we are finally in my favorite season- FOOTBALL SEASON.

Oh, State. Don’t you see how committed to you I am? Can you please try not to break my heart so bad this year? Can we please keep our dignity and at least beat Ole Miss this year?! Either way, I will be decked out in Maroon and White for the next six months constantly. Thank goodness Maroon is my color. 😉

So, basically we had the best time ever this weekend. Oh how we needed a getaway.

And in case you were worried about the kids….. they cried for a solid hour because they thought they were having “babysitters” for TWO nights instead of one.

Basically, they missed us none.

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Fixer Friday? : Simple fixes and Kindergarten woes

Y’all, this has been A WEEK. I haven’t even blogged because I kept writing this beautiful blog in my head and well, the ending hasn’t quite happened beautifully yet.

The truth is, we have had a hard week. Rory has a lot to learn about self control and not needing to get vengeance in every situation.

For example: When someone is on your side of the table tapping and getting on your nerves it is not okay to make it stop by gluing his hand to his side of the table.

Also, if someone is hitting you over and over again we should surely go tell the teacher instead of giving them black eye.

Don’t get me wrong, I very much so want both my girls to be strong, independent women who take care of themselves and don’t want them to be picked on because they are timid. BUT… but…. we need some self control up in here. People get on your nerves and make you crazy. That does not mean every single person who bothers you needs to be glued.

So basically this week I’ve been pouring wisdom (ha) into her and praying with her and over her so we can have some better days at school. We have also had some hard consequences like zero tv or screen time and one night of no soccer. I cried just as many tears as she did, but things are looking up. Not perfect, but who/what is?

It is only three weeks in but I’mm already so impressed with Rory’s teacher because while she has high expectations for her students (which I prayed for!) and yet she also knows kids are kids and they mess up. She expects a lot but doesn’t expect perfection. I think that is such a great trait in a Kindergarten teacher. Also, she gives grace. She writes me notes saying, “we will keep working with her and encouraging her because she is a great kid!” Do you even know how much that means to me?!

I haven’t done any major “fixer” to the house this week because of all of that and because my in-laws are coming in town tonight! So basically I’ve just been cleaning and making sure the house is just ready and comfortable for company.

I thought I would share with you this weird thing I was telling you about in our living room. For some reason it was painted the same color as the walls and looked strange. So I slapped on a few coats of shiny white paint and now it looks like it fits in with all the rest of the trim and molding!

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The only “major” project I worked was organizing my laundry room because- Y’ALL- it has been a hot mess.

IMG_4504Every day it was making me more of a wreck and I was avoiding laundry at all costs because it was overwhelming me so much to even go in there. So one day I just kinda lost it and tackled this room.

The first thing I did was get every single thing on the floor and on the washer and put it outside the laundry room. Then I swept, mopped and cleaned off the washer/dryer. I needed to see the room clean before adding anything back in it.

I got all my cleaning supplies and put them into this cart from IKEA that I love so much. Now I can wheel it all over the house and it always has all the supplies I need. Winning!

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I love this cart in here because it fits perfectly tucked away next to the dryer. I put the things I didn’t need into the cabinets that I sadly cannot reach. #shortpeopleproblems

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On the left side of the washer/dryer is a card table and chairs. We had them in the basement but I wanted them closer for easy access. IMG_4505I have been a washing fool since getting this done. Sometimes you just need a clean slate to help you breathe a little better! I do SO much laundry because, hello, have you smelled paper mill clothes?! So having a clean laundry room is essential to my mental health. Ha!

So that’s it. Just cleaning and trying not to lose my mind.

PS: I have lost it, who am I kidding?!

Happy Fixer Friday!

 

 

 

 

Fixer Friday : Bathroom Cabinets Edition

When we lived in Savannah I started on a bathroom re-do project but never got completely done. I was so terrified to paint the bathroom cabinets that I left them be the light wood color I hated and resented overtime I looked at them.

Our home now has those same cabinets and I’ve stared at them with disdain since we moved in May. After redoing the china cabinet last week, I decided WHAT THE HECK, LETS DO THIS THANG.IMG_4528

So, quite literally, I woke up and decided to do it on Tuesday.

My first step was to go on Pinterest and look at some bathrooms that were the size of mine and that I thought, you know, I wouldn’t mind looking at that every day. After seeing MANY white cabinets or black or dark stains, I typed in “blue bathroom cabinets” in the search bar. That is when I saw this picture and immediately knew I needed to do a blueish greenish color on my bathroom cabinets.

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After I made that decision I went into the bathroom to look at the tile to make sure it would match and low and behold- IT WAS MEANT TO BE. Not too matchy but in the same family of color. Yes.IMG_4538

I got my trusty sander and went to town on the cabinets. They had a protective coat so I made sure to knock all that off. Then I took the drawers out and the doors off. All the hardware was placed in a baggy PER DOOR. I only had two doors so it wasn’t a big deal, but I can see how confusing and jumbled things could be if you took them off and put them in a pile. You want to be sure you separate them out per door.

I headed to Lowe’s to grab some paint. It took me a while to find the color I wanted. Everything seemed a little too blue or a little too green. Finally I settled on Valspar 5002-4B La Fonda Villa Fountain in a Satin finish. One reason I chose this color was because it is a National Trust for Historic Preservation color and in my experience they have always turned out great. I feel if it has that title you really can’t go wrong. Here is an online swatch of it but it clearly isn’t the same as in person or on a surface.2a45c69ba43b1d953f9ece4433089345

I went and grabbed Ryder from school and headed home to paint!

Here are the cabinets before I started:

IMG_4527 IMG_4528 IMG_4526After sanding:

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The first coat when on pretty patchy and thin so I was very nervous thinking, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!” (I have tried rotating this picture a million times but IT IS NOT ROTATING. Sigh.)IMG_4543Luckily, it didn’t stay that way! I painted three solid coats on every surface of the cabinets and that seemed like the perfect amount for them. I painted the doors on the ground and then carefully inserted the drawers and painted the fronts of them. (AGAIN, WON’T ROTATE, KILL ME NOW.)

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Right at the end of this project I may or may not have had a moment of clumsiness and well…. this is what happens.

IMG_4551Because it is a bathroom and the surfaces will get wet, I HAD to put on a couple of coats of polyurethane. I did two coats on the sink cabinets and three on the tub cabinets. *I first let the cabinets dry for 24 hours before applying polyurethane.

I truly cannot believe what a difference just the cabinets make. I plan to paint the walls a light grey and have some storage solutions and pretty things to go up on the wall. Hopefully I will get that done this weekend and be able to show you the finished master next week!

This project cost me $35 dollars: I bought the paint ($18-20), a brush and tarp to lay down because I was out. I should have skipped buying the brush because I bought a “cabinet roller” from Lowe’s thinking that would save time. Turns out, in my opinion, paint does not go on well with those. So I scrapped that idea quickly and got my trusty ol’ brush out. So the project could have cost me only $25.

As far as time frame goes…. y’all, I decided to do this at 8:00am, researched on pinterest until probably 1o:00am, sanded and cleaned every surface and taped off edges, went to lowe’s, picked Ryder up at 12:30, came home and painted the first coat (always takes the longest), picked Rory up from school at 2:30, finished and had the cabinets back together by the time Andy got home from work at 5:30. So half a day for a major bathroom change! Side note: I didn’t inform Andy I was doing this project so he came home to a surprise! ha!

I mean…. TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS AND HALF A DAY FOR NEW CABINETS. You cannot beat that! I am so glad I stepped out of that fear/comfort zone and went for it. I think it makes the bathroom a million times better already! Can’t wait to show you the finished room!

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Apparently I had painters tape over a spot and well, that will need some touch up paint!

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I hope you enjoyed this Fixer Friday! I would love to see your fixer so use the #fixerfriday hashtag and I will be searching for yours!

Selfishly I am loving this new series on the blog because it has gotten me so inspired to go ahead with the projects I’ve had in my mind for the house. It is amazing what a can of paint and branching out of the box can do!

 

(I also linked this post up with The Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday – I LOVE reading this blog and especially browsing the links on Friday!)

 

breakfast ain’t free, baby.

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

This week, not so much.

For starters, let us talk about carpool.

Also known as the bane of my existence.

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

Yesterday Ryder had a dentist appointment …..

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

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

IMG_4569 IMG_4573Back to the story…

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

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

^ that was random.

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

Welllllllll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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