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!

 

 

 

Fixer Fridays : China Cabinet Edition

I’m excited to start a new series on the blog today called “Fixer Fridays”.

Here’s the deal. I love to fix things up. Give me the nastiest piece of furniture and I will find a way for it to be revived. Show me a house that looks like a dump and I don’t see the bad, I see the good.

When Andy and I were looking for houses I really, REALLY, really wanted a fixer upper. We looked at a couple of “fixers” and I loved all of them. Unfortunately, I am also very practical and knew that with Andy’s work schedule and our budget currently it just wasn’t in the cards for me to get that fixer. So now my plan is to keep at it and eventually buy a cute little fixer that I can transform and then rent out. Compromise.

There are so many reasons why I love our new house, one of them being that there are some definite fixer things in the house. Our kitchen isn’t my favorite. Definitely functional and great bones, but the aesthetics and layout aren’t my favorite. There are a few other things with cosmetic changes coming their way.

Today I am going to show you the first furniture fixer I have done since moving to Cleveland. One issue with the kitchen is the lack of storage. I needed a place to hide small appliances and also something pretty in the room. When I lived in Savannah a precious lady sold me this china cabinet for $35. And it is the best $35 I’ve ever spent probably.

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The first step in redoing furniture is cleaning it. I always get a swiffer duster and dust the piece of furniture. Then I go in with a broom and clean the bottom of it to be sure there are no bugs. (I once bought a piece infested with spiders and I can’t even tell you what kind of nightmare that was.)

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The next step is sanding. I hate to sand, but you just gotta do it. I get my electric sander and buff all the “shine” off the piece of furniture. 99% of the time I don’t need to do more than a very light sanding to rough up the piece so the paint with grab onto it better. Once you are done sanding, take that duster you used earlier and get all the extra dirt the sander kicks up off of the furniture.

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Now it is time to paint! Tape off anything you don’t want paint on and get to it! I personally always use a brush to paint, but some use small rollers. The style I usually paint my pieces is an antique look where it isn’t perfect and looks aged so the brush works better with this technique. On this piece I did three coats, but most of the time two is enough. The paint I used was paint and primer together – Behr from Home Depot. I don’t know the color, but it is just white. I’ve used this quart of paint on 5 projects now. FIVE! IMG_4125 IMG_4188

After the paint dries it is time to rough that bad boy up! My favorite part of the process is this part. Sometimes I will look at a piece of furniture freshly painted and think, “oh man…. is this gonna work?!” because I HATE the way it looks sometimes before I rough it up.

To rough up the edges and give it the antique look I take a piece of sand paper and rub it on all the edges that would naturally wear down- like the corners and edges of the furniture. Some furniture and looks you want to achieve require the use of stain. I just rub the stain onto the furniture along the edges and then rub off with a clean rag until the desired amount is on the piece. The piece I’m showing you today I didn’t feel the need to use stain. Next time I do I will document that part and show you!

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Once you’ve sanded it the edges and make it your desired amount of “dirty”, you are done! Again, some pieces you may want to put some stain on the edges. If it is a piece of furniture you will be eating on you’ll need to polyurethane. I did my dining room table and added stain and polyurethane and that post can be found here.

So here is the piece before:

FullSizeRenderAnd after:

IMG_4291It took me about 3 days from start to finish but I didn’t work in long time frames. If I would have had 4 hours without interruption I could have done it all in that time.

I hope you enjoyed this Fixer Friday and that you are inspired to buy something ugly and make it beautiful!

IMG_4259 IMG_4262 FullSizeRender IMG_4268 IMG_4260I’m so glad to be able to have something to hide ugly small appliances and also display my beautiful china that Andy’s mom gave to me!

I made a tiny video of the living, dining, and kitchen today. It was pouring down rain so sorry about the lighting!

 

Happy Fixer Friday!

 

 

 

“Yep, got played by a 4 year old.”

Since Rory’s school is starting later than normal the first week and she actually had the day off today for staggered enrollment, Andy took Ryder to school yesterday.

Mainly because Rory was still asleep at 7:20 which was shocking enough but then she ended up sleeping until 8:37. DID YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY?! YES YOU DID. I’m telling you. It is a miracle.

At 8:10 I got a text from Andy that read, “Ryder won’t let go of me and is screaming that she wants to go home.”

I immediately called him and told him to throw her at a teacher and run. He then says he feels bad. I then say get over it. My love language is not mercy sometimes.

He called me back to tell me that she screamed and kicked and that he sat down with her for TWENTY MINUTES to try and calm her down.

I was secretly giggling on the other end because I knew what was happening here.

Just to be sure, I sent a text to her teacher to ask how Ryder was.

Here is the conversation we had:

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I don’t think I stopped laughing for a good thirty minutes. “Yep got played by a four year old,” will be my favorite saying from now on.

Poor Andy. He just didn’t know how to be swift and efficient at the drop off. I mean, I basically open the door kick her forward and run outta there.

Kidding! I give her a hug before kicking her in the school. I’m not a savage, gah.

This just goes to prove that daddies are truly suckers when it comes to their little girls.

And that moms who are desperate for the tiny amount of time alone while their 4 year olds are at school  are vicious creatures who need coffee and quiet.

CAN I GET AN AMEN?!

—-

All kidding aside, it has been a hard week for my Ryder. Monday after school I had to take her to get her blood drawn. If you’ve been reading here a while you know just how big of a task this is. It took 45 minutes to get the amount of blood needed because her blood doesn’t flow well. (I liken it to pouring the last drop of syrup or molasses out of the container.)IMG_4066

Ryder has had some pretty bad thyroid numbers for a year now. She didn’t gain any weight this year and has such terrible spells of drowsiness and feeling lethargic and her hair hasn’t grown much either. So HOPEFULLY this was the last blood draw for a while and it will give us the answers we need to start her on some meds and lifestyle changes to help with the issue.

Holding her down for 45 minutes while she sobbed was incredibly hard for me. It is torture to both of us. I told the doctor that he would need to do everything he could this time because we weren’t doing that again for a while. She’s had a lot of blood work done over this last year and it is now to the point where we need a break. 45 minutes is an eternity to a kid. And though you all know I try my hardest to be positive and encouraging- sometimes I just can’t be. It sucked so bad. The worst part to me was that the nurses (and I always LOVE nurses and think they are the greatest people on the planet) had the nerve to yell at her and at me because they were having a hard time getting the blood. As if we wanted to make it take longer.

We walked out, both sobbing and clinging to each other, and Ryder looked at me with those gorgeous green eyes filled with tears and said, “Momma, please please don’t make me do that again.”

Ugh, I just started crying again just thinking about it.

Today we dropped Rory off for her first day at Kindergarten with her whole class. She will go every day now and is so excited. Ryder, on the other hand, realized that Rory would be away all day and she had a breakdown. I failed to talk about it more with her and I feel terrible about it. She had to be pried off of Rory finger by finger and it was the sweetest, saddest thing I’ve ever seen. They truly are the very best of friends.

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Rory goes to Kindergarten.

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

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Rory is a Kindergartner.

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

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Rory,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are so right, Rory, you got this.

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

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

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

To the moon and back,

Mom

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#TBT: trip to the donut shop. (alt title: pregnant cravings were fierce)

Andy’s been without a car all week and today as I was driving home from dropping him off at work I started to literally laugh out loud at the memory of another time Andy was without a car.

Or actually I was without a car.

So here is a little Throwback Thursday story for you on this dreary Thursday.

Let me set the scene for you:

I was INSANELY pregnant with Rory. Like almost 8 months pregnant.

We lived in Pineville, Louisiana in the cutest little house you ever did see. I’m not even kidding. I still miss that tiny house all the time. It was our first bought home and we were madly in love with it.

For some reason or another we were down one car, so Andy just took the car to work because I had no job and we were actually already starting to pack for our move to Texas. So it was just me and my perfect house and I had no need for a car at all.

Except then I did.

You see, I rarely had a craving for anything other than watermelon when I was pregnant with Rory. I literally ate like 4 whole watermelons a week. Sometimes I would even sprinkle chocolate chips on my watermelon because I was a rebel like that.

I never ate meat. That is just a side note.

On this particular morning I was watching TV and a commercial came on.

A Dunkin’ Donuts commercial, to be exact.

I went into full anxiety attack, y’all.

I mean I legit went full on YOU BETTER GET ME A DONUT NOW OR I WILL MURDER SOMEONE mode.

The problem was that I didn’t have a car. And Andy couldn’t just leave work to get me a donut.

So I came up with a plan.

I found my favorite purse for traveling. Filled it with my phone and a water. Through it across my chest.

AND OFF I WENT.

We lived close to downtown Pineville so I knew it was like no big deal to walk to this amazing old donut shop just two roads over.

I mean, I had walked for hours in NYC every time I went so COME ON this would be a breeze.

…….

….

…………

Well.

Turns out the half mile max I thought it was turned out to be a leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeettle more than what my pregnant brain remembered.

You see.

It was actually almost 3 miles to the donut shop.

THREE MILES. 8 MONTHS PREGNANT.

When I finally got to the donut place I literally practically fell into the store. There were only approximately 2380230923 old men sitting there staring at me like I had gone mental.

The lady behind the counter rushed over to me and started fanning me.

Then she said, “Honey, are you okay? Do you have a husband? PLEASE TELL ME SOMEONE DID NOT ABANDON YOU AND YOU’VE BEEN WALKING FOR HOURS.”

I mean, she was ready for a TV drama to play out.

I told her that I had a craving and no car so I decided to walk. She asked where I lived. I told her. SHE STARTED HOWLING WITH LAUGHTER because she knew just how crazy it was.

So she brought me two chocolate donuts with sprinkles and a large chocolate milk just like I had been so desperately craving.

It was the absolute best meal I have ever eaten in my life.

I sat there for over an hour dreading the walk back to our house. Finally, I got up the nerve to go. The lady gave me her number in case I couldn’t make it. I will be forever thankful of that sweet woman for making me feel a little less crazy by telling me some stories of her own cravings while I ate those donuts.

I proceeded to walk home. It took FREAKING FOREVER to get home. Three people stopped to see if I needed a ride.

Before getting home I had only thrown up 7 times. I lost my precious donuts and all the dignity I had left (which was .1%).

I remember telling people that I knew about my adventure and all of them looked at me like a crazy person and laughed their heads off.

I walked 6 miles total for a craving.

WHO DOES THAT?!

In closing, I would like you all to know that Rory is still madly in love with chocolate donuts with sprinkles.

As she better be. I mean. The things I do for her!

Happy Throwback Thursday!

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summer is coming to an end.

If you would have told me a few years ago that I would get to the point where I could say that we have truly had the best summer ever, I would have laughed in your face. I mean, I can’t believe how fast time has gone now that I’m in this stage. I spent several summers inside with babies thinking that summer would never end. I mean I HATED summers. Last summer was fun, but this summer…… it was amazing.

Last week was our last official week of summer because today Ryder started PreK! Can you even believe that little baby who had to overcome so much is now a thriving PreK girl?! I can’t either. There were times I really didn’t think we would ever get here.11796458_10101829522154996_7770302727723680_n

The girls went to camp last week which was basically HEAVEN to me because I got to have four full days at home alone. I mean, that is a true vacation to a mama!

I’m going to be real honest with you people……

4 out of 4 days I took a nap.

A long, delicious nap.

OH YES I DID, SISTERS.

I did make myself do one productive thing each day. Just so I didn’t have to feel guilty.

The big thing I did though was closet purge! And I mean I got rid of more than half my clothes.

Before

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After- the giveaway pile.
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AND IT FEELS MARVELOUS.

I tried on every single item of clothing I own. If I didn’t LOVE it immediately I took it off and put it in a pile. I feel so much better about life right now and it is so much easier to pick what I’m going to wear each day!

I also made Andy do the same thing because, bless his heart, he has a hoarding problem.IMG_3398

He was thrilled.

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We also spent the week playing outside at night and having family game nights. Rory, Andy, and I take the game very seriously.IMG_3409

Clearly Ryder is serious about it too.IMG_3401

This weekend we went to Splash Country for our last big summer adventure.

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It was so crowded but we still had so much fun.

After our day at the water park, we went to the outlet mall to find some shoes for the girls. I thought this would be an easy task because clearly I am naive but OH NO. Honestly, I will just tell you that I didn’t think the girls could spend the entire day at the water park and then be able to shop for several hours but they did and only twice did Ryder tell us her legs couldn’t work anymore. That is a successful shopping trip if I ever heard of one.

The girls got new shoes and new jackets and a few clothes. They also entertained themselves and a whole lot of people that passed the window by pretending they were mannequins. It was hysterical.IMG_3537
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We went to approximately 47 shoe stores before heading to our last stop and finally finding the shoes that 1)fit – apparently every girl is in a size 12 because they were no where to be found and 2) met all the children’s requirements – weren’t too stiff, weren’t too soft, weren’t too pink, weren’t green, weren’t too girly but NOT boy-y at all.

I needed a strong drink by the time shoe shopping was over.

I meant a strong coffee, mother.

On our way out of Sevierville we stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat (it was 9pm and we were insanely delirious). All of a sudden Rory pulls out some of those try on hose/socks and puts them on her head. We, and about 10 surrounding tables, got a kick out of her and Ryder’s faces in them. Again, we were delirious and just cracked up until I couldn’t stop crying. It was just too much for me.IMG_3566 IMG_3569

I’m so sad to see our amazing summer come to an end, but I’m also so ready for the schedule and steadiness that comes with the school year. Rory and I have the week together while Ryder is at school and both of us are so excited for some one on one time.IMG_3665

use this for something great

About a week and a half ago, an event happened that left me devastated and feeling hopeless. I won’t get into the details because 1) it isn’t important to anyone else and 2) I want to protect people that I love (and myself)- just know that I’m not being dramatic when I say this is one of the hardest things I’ve been through.

It took a week of tears and fear and complete hopelessness to get me to breathe properly again.

And a week to open my Bible.

I don’t know why it took so long. Maybe I wanted to continue to wallow in my pain. Part of me was wishing I wasn’t a Christian so I didn’t feel so devastated and that would make things easier for me. So picking up my Bible seemed like an assault to my wounded pride.

When I finally picked it up, I opened it and decided to turn to 1 Thessalonians. I have no idea why and it sounds like a cliche, but it just happened that I turned there and wanted to just read a minute without actively pursuing comfort. Again, I wasn’t ready for that yet.

I read the entire book – just numb to most of the words, but it was when I came to a certain verse that I realized why 1 Thessalonians had been chosen for me –

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

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(source)

I have made that my mantra, my cry to God this week.

I will rejoice even if it hurts because the Bible tells me I have hope in Christ. That this circumstance would be hopeless if I didn’t know Him, but I do know Him and He loves me and cares for me and is hurting with me.

I will pray continuously because the Bible calls me to do this even when I don’t want to. Sometimes my prayer is, “God, please.” That is it. Sometimes that is all I can muster. Mostly, though, my prayer is that God will use this for something great. Praying that is what helps me to hurt less. If I can have the hope that this will be used for something amazing it hurts just a little less.

I will give thanks in this circumstance. I will give thanks for this event in my life because I know it can help me to be the person God wants for me. It will help me to be more compassionate towards others. It will help me to be less callous to things that are clearly not right. It certainly has helped me see the sin in my own life. I will be a better mother, friend, and wife when I get to the other side of this. I will give thanks because God chose for me to have to go through this storm because He wants better for me and wants my life to mirror Him more than it currently does.

I feel like a wreck right now. One minute I’m the same person and I forget. The next minute I find myself unable to get out of bed. Luckily for me, I have two precious girls that need me and love me unconditionally and that helps me so much. Seeing their smiling faces helps the worst days seem like they aren’t so bad.

I am determined to let God do something amazing with this time in my life. He already has opened my wounded heart up and poured Himself into me. I’m honestly looking forward to the growth I know I will experience and seeing the other side of this thing.

God has always been faithful to me, and I will be faithful to Him. Even if it hurts right now, I know He will use this for something great.

where did the summer go? and a creepy child story

We have had one of those weeks where some days seemed long but now it is Friday and I don’t even know where the days have gone to.

Y’all.

Summer is almost over.

How did it happen so quickly?! Where did the summer go?!

I mean I literally cannot believe it is coming to an end. It has been the most fun summer ever. I need about 3 more weeks of pool time.

Next week the girls will be going to “camp” at church during the day. I won’t even know what to do with myself.

And then the next week is Ryder’s first week of PreK and then the next is Rory’s first week of Kindergarten.

MY BABIES ARE GROWING UP AND I CAN’T HANDLE IT RIGHT NOW.

In other news, I need a hobby.

Moving on!

When we last left off at my parents’ house last week I told you all about the fun we had. Well it got even better on Friday because my sister, Tasha, and her boys came in and we got to spend the day with them. It was way too short and I wish I could have seen them longer but I’m glad for the time we did have!

282 281 280Clayton and his wrestling moves. Ryder giggled the entire time, ha!

We spent last weekend with Andy’s family at the river. The girls had the time of their lives. Rory tubed by herself and Ryder tubed with anyone she could. The best part was spending time with Andy’s sister and her babies! The girls couldn’t get enough of Emma and Zoe!

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hehehehehehehehe
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The ride home was amazing. They slept for a while which never happens. They didn’t want to watch a movie. They never asked for a snack or drink. They never asked for a bathroom break. It was amazing.714

Tuesday we went school shopping! We had the most fun. My little cuties were so excited and loved every second of picking out things. Rory found the most perfect folder for herself. 008She’s a stinker alright.

This is the part of the post where I tell you a creepy kid story.

The other night I was painting something in my living room –

(This is what I was painting. Why they painted it the same as the wall color I will never know.)026

 

After I got done I started up the stairs to turn the girls’ lights off.

As I head up the stairs I put my phone light up the stairs to see and when I looked up with the light I saw it….

A child standing at the top of the stairs staring down.

It was Rory, of course, BUT STILL. I was not prepared for that.

I ended up falling/sliding down 1/4th of the stairs and laying there trying to just breathe.

I mean. THAT CRAP SCARED ME.

I say to Rory, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! YOU SCARED THE LIFE OUT OF ME CHILD!!!!!!!!!” (While holding my heart. Naturally.)

She says, “I can’t find Ryder, Mom. I just can’t find her.”

Me: Rory, she is in her bed.

Rory: *Still standing there all creepily* I just can’t find her, Mom.”

Bless it. She never even woke up.

I want you to know I didn’t sleep that night. I mean, I know it is my child, but there is nothing worse than getting scared out of your mind by a creepy little girl staring down the stairs. IT WAS THE WORST.

This morning I found her like this.088 089

Apparently sleep walking is our next adventure into the no sleep world.

Fun!

to grandparents’ house we go!

Monday morning we woke up bright and early to head to Mimi and Papa’s house for the week! I’ve been planning all year to spend a week in West TN with my parents so the girls could enjoy them during the summer time when work isn’t quite as busy for them. (My mom will laugh at this because lord knows that woman is always busy at work, bless her.)

You should know that Rory woke up and got dressed to hit the road in an interesting manner….IMG_2301

Her explanation for such a wardrobe was that she could ride all day to Mimi and Papa’s house and then take off her shorts and top shirt and “VOILA! I WILL BE READY FOR BED WITHOUT ANY WORK!” That’s my girl.

Monday and Tuesday were spent in the pool with Telena and Jacks. Jacy and Josh graced us with their presence a few times too. The girls have had the absolute best time with Jacy and Jacks this week. Mainly because Jacy loves to get them all dolled up with makeup and dresses and even a sparkly tattoo or two… or twenty. IMG_2381

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Oh, Ryder.

I also spent time with my sister in law and nieces on Monday afternoon and OH MY WORD THOSE GIRLS ARE SO CHUBBY AND CUTE. No joke I couldn’t even handle myself with them.

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You should know that every single time I come to my parents’ house – WITHOUT FAIL – they end up having a big storm roll through and the power is out for extended periods of time. I realize that it sounds like a personal problem because seriously it happens every time which therefore means I am obviously bad luck.

Like we didn’t already know this.

So Tuesday night a gigantic storm rolled in suddenly and out the power went for 6+++ hours. I’m not exactly what time in the night it came back on but I do know that it wasn’t before I hit the pillow like a wrecking ball.

So to entertain ourselves in the darkness we did a few things.

1- We took the inaugural stroll around the block to assess the damage. In my parents’ neighborhood this is a big deal, y’all. Half the neighborhood comes outside and joins in and it is a wonderful time had by all.

I personally like to call it the old folks/nosy neighbor parade but I will admit that I do quite enjoy this tradition.

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Lookie there- even the dog and my neck rolls joined in.

Step 2- Must make a faux campfire and sing loudly for all to hear in hopes the entire neighborhood will need to stick their fingers in their ears.IMG_2403Step 3- Must have glow stick to do a light magic show with before bedtime.

IMG_2434I quite realize my photography skills are POPPIN’ these days.

This is where I interrupt this program to tell you something downright TERRIFYING.

Wednesday morning Rory came in looking……… different.

As in girlfriend had stuffed her shirt.

I say to her, “Rory what is going on in your shirt?!” She nonchalant says to me, “Oh nothing, I was just itching.”

So I quiz her again and say that I know she can’t be “itching” because her shirt is soft and not scratchy at all.

I say, “Rory, we don’t put toilet paper in our shirts to make it bigger there.”

Rory: But I needed my “muscles” to be bigger!

Me: Rory, take that toilet paper out you do not need bigger “muscles”.

Rory: *insert eye roll* I JUST FEEL LIKE A WOMAN, MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *stomp uggggghhhhhhh stomp stomp stomp flush*

I CANNOT EVEN RIGHT NOW WITH THIS MESS.

On Wednesday I went to my friend Katy’s house and we got to sit and talk and just chill because our children are each other’s play date soul mates. I don’t say that lightly either. Every time we have gotten together they play and play and not once have they ever had a fight. It is blissful. The girls were super heroes saving the world from monsters and also attended a royal ball where they danced their butts off.IMG_2485 IMG_2478

Wednesday night I got to go eat with some of my favorite friends- Jinny, Alexis, and Emily. We laughed until my face seriously hurt and man, if that isn’t a sign of great friends I don’t know what is. I also almost peed my pants when we took approximately twelve hours trying to take a selfie.IMG_2490 IMG_2493

After dinner I met Katy and some friends for a late movie.

And then I crashed hardcore because mama can’t stay up that late anymore.

Thursday we spent the morning at the pool with friends (failed to get a pic) and the afternoon at Telena’s. It was such a wonderful and quiet day.

Last night we sat outside and enjoyed the swings because swinging at Papa’s is our very favorite thing to do. IMG_2351 IMG_2356

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Today is our last day at Mimi and Papa’s. I am so thankful we got this week to spend with them and we are excited to spend a long weekend with Andy’s family at the river. On to the next adventure!

Four. (A letter to Ryder on her 4th birthday.)

Better late than never, right?!

My precious Ryder,

You are now FOUR! You have been four for over a week but it still seems so surreal.

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Every year I have written your birthday post and have sobbed because we had made it through many obstacles. This year I am certain to cry tears of joy and thankfulness because it has been such a quiet year. A beautifully, quiet year.

As I sit here thinking of what to write to you, a ginormous and goofy grin spreads across my face because you are just so hilarious and silly and precious. I have so many words and yet none seem adequate.

Ryder, you give me so much unimaginable joy. There is no other word to describe you more than joyful. You always have a smile on your face and are always ready to make someone else smile too. Even when you are hurt you quickly start to smile. I thought I knew what joy was before I had you, but I surely did not because you have given me the perfect example of what the word means. I hope you never lose that joy.

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You are so joyful, but you are also very intuitive to what other people are feeling. You are the very first person to try to make someone feel better. When Rory is in danger (usually on purpose ha!), you are her alarm and her encourager to do the right thing. If I’m ever down, you will come and rub my back and make me smile. This trait is one of my favorite things about you. It is irreplaceable in our home- we needed you and your intuitive spirit in our family.

Goodness knows that you are also hilarious. Rory has a very dry sense of humor that keeps us in stitches, but you are just downright silly. You are constantly making all of us laugh with your silly antics and hilarious faces.

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Speaking of faces…. Girlfriend. No one has to guess what you are thinking. You are so insanely expressive and never hide how you feel. Sometimes that gets me into all kinds of embarrassing situations in public, but it is also something everyone that knows you loves. It is hilarious to watch you watching something. We can see ALL THE FEELS YOU HAVE all over your face.

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You are so dramatic that it keeps us in stitches. But you aren’t dramatic in a drama queen way- but in your expressions and the way you talk. Everything you tell us requires BIG HAND GESTURES AND DRAMATIC VOICE INFLECTIONS. You also have a wild and vivid imagination. You love to play by yourself and create a big dramatic world in your bedroom with your toys. Sometimes I sneak and sit and watch you without you knowing because it is the funniest and cutest thing to watch.

I have so many things that I say are my favorite thing about you because everything is my favorite, but the thing that truly is my favorite is how content you are. I could give you dirt and you would think it was the best day of your life. You are so abundantly thankful and content with everything. When we ask you what you want for your birthday you say, “Anything that you get me.” I MEAN COME ON. I literally think you’re my saving grace sometimes because of how content and thankful you are. I absolutely love this the most about you.

Though you aren’t sure of yourself often and struggle with anxiety over things (heights, darkness, failing at something), you are such an encourager to others. You are Rory’s biggest cheerleader. You are constantly encouraging her and cheering her on at everything she does. You encourage your dad and I too and there are so many times that I’m so thankful for your little encouragement throughout the day. You have no idea how much it means to all of us.

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Ryder, I want you to know just how special you are to me. Your smile has gotten us through some of the hardest times in our lives. You should know that not a single day goes by that I don’t look at you and see your beautiful scar and thank God for saving you. I don’t ever want to dwell on the pain of the past, but I also want you to know that I could never forget because we saw so many miracles performed with you. Most of all, your life reflects grace in every aspect. You have no idea how thankful I am that this year was a year of no health scares and stillness. I feel like I got to enjoy you without worry for the first time in your life and that is one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given.

Oh, Ryder, I also want you to know that you are strong, smart, and oh so kind. You can do anything that you set your mind and heart to. I hope I can continue to encourage you to try because sometimes just trying is so hard for you. I hope I never skip out on teaching you how important it is to sometimes fail so we can be better the next time. It is so okay for you to fail. We all do, especially me. But if we don’t try and try again we will never know our potential. You have the potential to do anything you want to. Even if you don’t always believe in yourself, I promise you I will never stop believing in you.

You are my little sunshine and I thank God for you every single day. Your life has taught me more than I ever thought imaginable.

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Love you to the moon and the heavens and back my precious one,

Mom

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FOUR YEAR STATS:

– 27 lbs

– size 3t (sometimes you wear 2 t and sometimes 4t – you have such long legs but are skinny so sizing is a struggle!)

– size 6ish shoe

– Favorite Foods: sausage, waffles, peanut butter crackers, oatmeal, brussel sprouts, CHICKEN, cooked onions, okra, corn, strawberries – you are such an amazing eater and a true lover of food, your dad and I always joke that you didn’t get enough food the first year or two so now you are trying to make up for it!

– you love to play by yourself but you also love playing board games and puzzles with the family

– you love to sing and are quite dramatic when doing so

– favorite movie : Ice Age, Despicable Me, anything that gets you laughing… and of course Frozen – you aren’t a big tv watcher

– you LOVE to read books, sometimes I will find you HOURS after bedtime still reading to your barbies or stuffed animals