April 30, 2013


Well, I've been reunited with my kids and husband.  Reunited and it feels so good!  (Ha, sorry, couldn't resist.)

 Oh, and the dog...

I've also been reunited with reality.  And with my diet.

We had a great time and I'm back at work today, trying to catch up.  

Surprisingly, the world didn't end with all of us out of the office for 3 days.

And, I'm pretty proud of the hubby.  He braved a day trip with 2 kids, a big stroller, and no nap (for the little one, not him, ha!).  He was a trooper but I think has a much greater respect for Moms!

I'll do my best to try and blog about the trip at some point this week....


April 25, 2013


Ah, for the next 4-5 days, I'll be super busy.

Busy with no cell phone.  No kids.  No hubby.  No worries.

Today, everyone at my office and I set sail on the Carnival Elation.  (Pretty nice bonus huh?  I love my job!)

And no worries, this ship has not had any problems, so far!

 Wow, I can't wait to spend 5 days here. 

On Saturday, I'll be doing a little of this.

And seeing a little of this (hopefully)!

I haven't been on a cruise since my honeymoon almost 11 years ago.  I hate to leave my kids and the hubby behind but I know they will survive for a few days without me.  The thing I'm most excited about?  Turning off my phone for 4 days.  And reading a book.  Or two!

Have fun without me!

And if you plan to burglarize my house while I'm gone, don't worry.  The hubby and our ferocious beast will be at home.

April 23, 2013

A Struggle

Y'all know I'm all about keeping it real?  Well, today I'm struggling.  I'm trying to learn how to deal with a few situations with grace.  Yes, mine are minor compared to what others are going through.  I wasn't in Boston and didn't know anyone (thankfully) who was harmed.  Or that worked or lived by the plant in West, TX.

I know my struggles are minor.  But, they are my own.  I confront them on a daily, almost hourly basis.  It's part of life.

Man, it helps to write about them.

Big Sister and I did a quick promo piece for my Sunday School class. We are currently studying Raising Boys and Girls.  I am really enjoying this study and learning a ton. (You are welcome to join if you want, 9:45 on Sundays!)

In the promo, I made a statement that parenting is exhausting.  There has never been a more true statement. 

At least not today.

This parenting stuff never gets easier.  The more parents I talk to, the more I feel hopeless sometimes.  

I know it will all get better but in this very moment, it's frustrating.  And disheartening.  And I wish I could say I was soooo over it.  That would be a lie.

I feel like I should just lower my expectations. I feel like I already have realistic expectations so I don't want to lower them any.  That's not the answer.

That would be an easy way out though!

I think the root of my problem is getting over what others think.  I've always been pretty self-conscience and I think it's continued on into my parenting.

I have to be ok with the fact that my kid is not perfect.  I expect her to act a certain way, do certain things.  Be respectful.  Be kind.  You know, things any parents wants of their children.

When things sometimes go south, I tend to worry more about what other parents or teachers will think of me when my child acts a certain way or does something in particular.  

I'm sick with worry sometimes that I think I lose sight of what we are working on.  I lose sight of the fact that she is 6.  I lose sight of the fact that this is just a phase (hopefully).

And, though I feel we may never get out of this phase, I know we will.  Eventually.  Then we'll be on to something else.

This Mama just has to learn how to deal with these things.

It's not easy.  I know I'm a work in progress too.

Life is way too precious to be filled with worry.  Especially worry of what others will think of you.  How can I teach my kids not to worry about that when I'm ridden with it?

This verse keeps coming to my mind.  I've read it many times this month while doing my daily devotionals.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:6-7

Man, that's powerful.  And way easier said than done.

I'm working on it.

Thanks for letting me lay it all (or most of it) out there.

April 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Hayes

Today is Earth Day.  It's also an extra special day.

It's Hayes' 6th birthday!!!!!!!!  I love that Big Sister has a cousin so close in age.  Those 2 fight like brother and sister but they would do anything for each other.  

Happy Birthday Hayes!  You are the sweetest and kindest 6 year old I know.  You are competitive and fun loving and boy, do you love construction!  I think you could name every single piece of equipment on Earth!

I'm so glad you got to spend the weekend at one of your (and mine!) favorite places!

 Borrowed pics from Tony and Holly's FB.
You are so sweet to my girls!  Well, Baby Sister especially.  I'm hoping that you get to be a Big Brother of a little sister come September!  If not, we already know you are the best Big Brother to a brother!

I can't wait to continue watching you grow up and become the gentleman you are well on your way to becoming!

We love you always!  And yes, you will get a present from the Kiss Monster!  All because you have one cool Aunt.  And I don't mean that Jojo!

April 18, 2013

20 Months

Baby Sister is 20 months old today.

Seriously, when did this happen???

Diaper - We have moved up the size 5, although I still have a few size 4 I'm using up sporadically.

Weight -  We had our 18 month check up (late, I know) March 25th. She weighed 27.2 pounds (75th percentile) and was 34 inches tall (90th percentile).  The Dr said as she was coming in the door, "Gosh, you've got another tall girl!"  Yep, we grow them tall apparently.

She also has terrible white coat syndrome ever since our trip to the ER back in Feb.  As soon as the nurse called us back and we went thru the door, she lost it.  Poor thing HATES nurses now. Sorry nurse friends.  She didn't mind our Dr. but she doesn't wear a white coat!  I'm hoping she overcomes this soon.  Since we are done (I hope) with shots for a while, I'm hoping that helps too.

Clothes - Now that the weather is warming up (some) I'm able to use some of the more 'summery' 18 month clothes. Most of them are getting too short though.  I'm just thankful for hand-me-downs!

Sleep - Sleep is pretty good (knock on wood) right now.  Bedtime has been pushed back on most nights to 8:00, but if she's tired (and you know it!), it goes back to 7:30ish.  She usually wakes up around 7 am.  She naps better for me than the babysitter. I guess there is less going on at our house. She will nap for 2 hours at home but maybe an hour to hour and half at the sitter's house.

Teeth -  She has 4 on top, 4 on bottom and 4 molars.  Her eye teeth are finally breaking through her gums.  Yes, all 4.  Well, mostly the 2 on the bottom but the top 2 aren't far behind.

Activities - She can point to all of her body parts.  Her sister LOVES to ask her where everything is and gets tickled when asking where her 'piggies' are!  They are too fun to watch together, most of the time.  Other times, they fight like sisters.  Or just siblings in general.  You know, nobody wants a toy until the other one all of the sudden wants to play with it.

Sweet Big Sister, sometimes


Wanting her sister's drink

She still adores her Big Sister.  There is a new baby at the sitter's named Cash (one of my best friend's son) and she is enamored with him. She always wants to kiss on him and love on him.  She's surprisingly gentle with him. One day she got mad at me as we left the sitter's.  I was helping carry Cash to his car, then put her in my car, and she was furious that she wasn't going with Cash or that he wasn't coming with us!

Soooo sweet.  I'm hoping she still like that when our new niece or nephew arrives in Sept!  That's right, my brother and his sweet wife are expecting #3!  We are all super excited.  I had a feeling for a while that this was coming and my brother called on April Fool's (no joke!) to tell me I was right!

Baby Sister loves music, just like her big sister.  She was humming in the bathtub the other night. I realized she was humming 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' so I started singing it and she joined right in!  Although, you couldn't really understand her, you knew that she knew the words.  She also knows the 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' and it's toooo cute!

She still loves people.  Most of the time.  She loves to wave Hi and Bye to everyone.  She is not a big fan of me leaving her in the church nursery.  Well, only in the baby room.  Has nothing to do with the teachers.  She just hates that 'baby room' and wants to be with the older kids.

Eating - She still doesn't eat much but I talked to our Dr. about it at our last appointment and she told me not to worry about it too much since she's in the 75 percentile for her weight right now.  So we'll keep trying new things and make sure we always have a large supply of goldfish to eat (that's her go to food).

I can't believe my sweet baby will be 2 in a matter of 4 months!  We are planning a beach trip this year to celebrate.  Her birthday is the Sat. before her sister starts 1st grade (wait, what??) so we will spend a week at the beach, relaxing with no schedules, no parties, nothing! At least for a week!

April 15, 2013

Wild Friday Nights

I don't know what you all do on your Friday nights but it gets wild at our house.  Well, extra wild when Daddy is home.  

Last Friday, after a LOUD jam session, swing session, and bike/car/scooter session, it was bath time and bed time.  If you get to 8:00 on a Friday night, it gets UGLY.

The oldest is so worn out from the school week that she turns into a personality that I prefer NEVER to see again.  

Yet, almost every Friday night, she rears her head.  

I know I know. You'd think I had learned.  Nope, we do it to ourselves.  

I remember as a kid always wanting to stay up late on Fridays knowing you could sleep in on Saturdays.

Not my kids.  They need to be in bed NO LATER than 8:00 PM on Friday nights.  

If not, all hell breaks loose.  Yep, I said it.

ROUGH times y'all!

I know this is just another season and I'm trying to enjoy it, but MAN, some nights I just want to go sit outside and read a book while they put themselves in the bed.

The same aforementioned Friday night, hubby bathed the youngest while the oldest bathed herself. Mama cleaned the kitchen and got a load of laundry ready.  Daddy handled most of the bedtime ritual.

Then he proceeded to tell me how I should discipline differently.


Then he also told me that he felt for me having to deal with those 2 wild children every night.  I told him that I liked cleaning while he put them in the bed. I got the easy end of that deal.

Granted, it's not that rough every night.  Well, the hours of 7 -8 pm are pretty rough but I know it's short lived and they are tired and I'm ready for some mindless TV.  But we have a routine and we usually stick to that.  Just some days are better than others.

You can relate right?  If not, I don't want to hear it.  Thanks!

This was the conversation between me and Big Sister Friday night while laying in her bed.

Her: "No fair." (We hear this OFTEN so I don't even know what was not fair this time.)

Me: "Life is not fair.  We are supposed to guide you and direct you and lead you int he way you are supposed to go. It's our job."

Her: " No it's not! You're just supposed to be bossy!"

There you have it.  Parenting from a 6 year old's perspective. 

Good times people.  I had to look away to smile and keep from BUSTING out laughing.

Maybe one day I'll write a book about these moments...

April 13, 2013

Cruisin' Outfits

I'm headed on a cruise in 2 weeks!  I'm super excited.  Everyone is my office is going for a 4 day cruise.

I've been thinking about what to wear on this cruise.  I made the statement to my hubby the other night that I can't pack while he's asleep (he goes to bed at 7 or 8 when he's on days, which he is for the rest of April, thank ya Jesus!).

Our commentary went like this:
Me, "I can't pack if you go to bed at 8 and are asleep."
Him, "What are you packing for?"
Me, "My cruise!"
Him, "When is it? Next weekend?"
Me, "No."
Him, "The next weekend?"
Me, "Yes."
Him, "2 weeks! You don't think you are going to need any of those clothes between now and then?"
Me, "Um, no. I have to see what all I have so I will know if I need to go buy anything."
Him, "You don't need to buy anything."
Me, "Yeah I could really use some new capri pants."
Him, "What's wrong with the ones you have on?"
Me, "Hello, these are grandma (no offense to you grandmas out there) pants. Ones that you wear to lounge in or paint in"
Him, "That's all you need to wear on this cruise."

(He also told me I needed to leave my rings at home since me and rings and bodies of water don't mix.
Man, you lose one and you never hear the end of it.
He told me I should wear fake ones instead.  How nice.)

Seriously, he knows nothing about clothes. He wears the same 5 pair of pants and shirts to work every day.  He has a few nice shirts for church and t-shirts.  

Oh to be so simple.

I mean, I haven't even pulled out all my swim stuff to make sure it all fits since LAST summer.

So, this weekend I'm going to try and go through the closet and decide on what I want to wear, to see what I need to by.

Wish me luck.

April 12, 2013

My new favorite!

I read about this recipe on Big Mama's blog and knew I HAD to try it. 
(She got the recipe from Sean's (the Bachelor) sister.  She has a blog but I'm not a fan because she makes her life look soooo cookie cutter perfect that it's annoying to me.  Sorry!)

I mean, God made cinnamon just for me. It's my love language.

I had all the ingredients at home the day I read her post and went to make it after kids went to bed. Lo and behold, this wife of almost 11 years does not own a BUNDT pan.  

So after a quick trip to get one, I made this cake full of deliciousness that also serves as breakfast for the kiddo who has testing all week at school.  She loves it too.  She is my child most of the time.

CAKE for breakfast!  And dessert.  And...

And yes, I realize it's on a Christmas platter (isn't it pretty though??).  That is apparently the only one I could find (fast enough) to place it on so I could tear into it as soon as possible.

Let me warn you.  If you are a cinnamon, or all around delicious freak, this one is dangerous. I don't have much will power but I've had to MAKE myself walk away from this one.  I was planning to bring it to work for everyone to try but I'm selfish and kept it at home.  I made it on a Monday night and as of this morning, it's gone.  And that's with just me and the oldest kid eating it!  BAD, I know.

So here is the recipe.  Don't say you weren't warned.

Cinnamon Bundt Cake

Shopping List

1 box of white cake mix
2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup veggie oil
1 1/4 cups water
4 eggs

4 tablespoons cinnamon (divided)  
(I didn't divide mine, just spooned out what was necessary when time cause I'm lazy like that, you are welcome)
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease (I use Pam) a 10 inch bundt pan

In mixing bowl, combine cake mix, puddings, oil, water, eggs, and 2 tablespoons cinnamon with electric mixer. Pour half of the batter into your prepared bundt pan.  In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons cinnamon.  Sprinkle (I poured instead of sprinkled so it left a nice brown gooey layer) brown sugar mixture over cake batter in pan.  Pour remaining cake batter on top of brown sugar mixture.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cake rest on counter in pan 10 minutes. (Note to self here: Let us cool on COUNTER, not on top of stove with hot oven below, takes longer to cool, thus increasing risk of sticking to pan). Then, invert cake onto serving plate to finish cooling.

In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and milk to form a glaze.  Add more powdered sugar if it's too runny and more milk if it's too thick.  Drizzle glaze over cooled cake. (I made too much of this but that's totally ok!) 

When you slice into this cake, there is that brown sugar and cinnamon center that will make your heart happy.  Forget popping open a can of refrigerated cinnamon rolls, you need to make this bundt cake instead.

I told my hubby one night that I wanted to eat the whole cake. He kindly (laughed) and asked if I wanted him to start the treadmill and just eat it on there!  I resisted the urge. It was not easy! 

April 11, 2013

Third Day, again

I'm so thankful I have thoughtful family and friends.  Every Christmas, my sister in law gives each of us (well, each family, not each one individual) a calendar with pictures of the kids.  One of our favorite gifts each year.

Well, this past Christmas, mine and the hubby's calendar had a bit extra paper clipped to April.  

My brother and sister in law gave us tickets to see my all-time favorite band!


This was my (I think) 4th time to see them.  We were first introduced to them in high school when my hubby's (then boyfriend) church youth group went to Atlantafest at Six Flags in Atlanta.  We absolutely fell in love with their music and just how different and unique the lead singer's (Mac Powell) voice is.

Then, when I was pregnant with Big Sister, my brother and sis in law (see a trend?  I like it!) gave the hubby tickets to the Third Day concert in Jackson.

About 2 years ago, Third Day was coming back to Jackson but I couldn't find anyone to go with me, so I didn't buy any tickets.

Lo and behold, a lady I had been teaching youth Sunday School with had VIP tickets for her and her fiance and son.  Well, I was headed to soccer practice for the kiddo and got a phone call from this friend.  Her fiance had a terrible migraine and couldn't go to the concert and she wanted to know it I could take his place.

YES PLEASE.  Luckily, the hubby was on days so he could handle the kiddo at practice. He was not pleased I was going without him though.  

And yes, I was pregnant with Baby Sister.  So I've seen Third Day twice in concert while pregnant.  And no, I'm not with child now.

Needless to say, I was THRILLED at getting to see Third Day again.

We waited and waited and finally April 4th came along!  My awesome Mom came to my house to watch my kiddos and off we went.

We left a little early to beat the traffic and grab some dinner.  Yes, we had a date night on a Thursday night.  (Which is really not all that unusual given the hubby's work schedule.)

After a quick bite at Outback, we headed over to beautiful Broadmoor Baptist Church is Madison.  We found our seats pretty quick and they were perfect.  Well, almost.  Front and center would have been perfect but these were straight up center so they were pretty awesome.  And they were free so I'm not complaining!  Except for the kid behind us that kept kicking our seat.  Incessantly.  And Mom was too busy on her phone to say or do anything.  So we just kept standing up.  At one point the kids yelled, "Ok everybody, let's sit down now so I can see."  Glad he wasn't my kid!

 Right behind the sound booth. 

We were both tweeting. ha!  

Side note: Mac and I were tweeting like we were soo BFF's last night and yesterday. At least that's what I tell myself.  He replied to at least 4 of my tweets to him.  I may or may not be slightly obsessive...

First out was Josh Wilson.  He's an amazing musician and I was surprised at how talented he was.  It was just him and 2 guitars and a pedal.  I learned a few things about how these pedals work.  (Yeah, I'm NOT the musical one in the family. I will stick to promoting them!)

Sorry my pics are terrible.

After Josh finished, Third Day's bass player, Tai Anderson, came out and talked and then introduced Colton Dixon.  You might remember him as the 'rooster' spiky haired guy from American Idol last season (I remember him best for his rendition of Lifehouse's 'You're All I Want,' which he sang last night).  He's a rocker, that's for sure. And the young girls there were SQUEALING for him.  Like he was a Christian Bieber (but with his pants pulled up).

 He's such a great piano player!

After Colton sang (his sister joined him for one song), they had the people raising money for Haitian kids speak. Followed by a set change.

Then it was time for my boys to play!  Every member of Third Day is so talented!  Every note that comes out of Mac's mouth is spot on, except when he disses on my Bulldogs.  No Roll Tide here Mac!

 My FAV of the night. I don't even remember what song they were singing.

 In the middle, they kind of played an acoustic set with the piano.  This was awesome.

After the played for an hour and half or so, of course, they came back for an encore.  They sang 2 more songs and it was over.

I ran into my friend Julie and her husband Josh as we were leaving. Mac stayed down by the stage for a few pictures so of course, I went down.  I was so close that I could talk to him and I told him he wasn't going to be able to come back to Mississippi if he kept making fun of my Bulldogs! (See we are BFFs, minus the fact that he bleeds crimson tide)  I wasn't able to get a picture with him as they were ushering us outside to see Josh and Colton.  But I did steal a few pics of others with him just to prove how close I was!  Man, next time...

All in all, it was one awesome date night.  Thank you so much to Tony and Holly!  I can't wait to see them again.  They are coming to Monroe April 18th if anybody wants to go.  Just let me know and I'm in!

April 10, 2013


I love Easter.  It's always been one of my favorite holidays because we get to see some family and friends that we only see at Easter and funerals.  It's sad but we are working on getting together more often.  Anna, Mother's Day weekend???

But the main reason I love the holiday is what it's all about.  The real reason we celebrate Easter.  The fact that our Savior let His Son die for all of us.  Man, that's HUGE.  The older I get and now with my kids, I realize just how big of a sacrifice that was.  The ultimate sacrifice.  I'm not sure how I would handle God telling me to sacrifice one of my girls.  Yet, He know all along how it would end.  And for all of that, I am thankful.  I love teaching my girls about that kind of unselfish love.

Here are the before church pictures.  I bought these dresses back in the summer and I LOVE them.  Big Sister's is pretty big so I'm hoping she can wear it a while. Thanks Mom for hemming it!

 No honey, don't choke your sister for pictures sake!

I love this one. Pure elation at I have no idea what!

Before the girls got all dressed up, they came to see what the Easter bunny brought.  The oldest kind of figured out about the true Easter bunny this year. All on her own.  I'm totally ok with that.  Easter is not about the bunny.  We'll handle Santa when he comes. I'm pretty sure she's going to get that one soon too.  She's smart.

We don't go overboard like all these pictures you see everywhere.  My rule is that if it doesn't fit in the basket, you don't get it.  The girls got books and bubble wands and chocolate crosses (that Big Sister picked out, yep, that's how you find out about the bunny, take them Easter shopping with you, hey, don't judge, I didn't have a choice. Ok, that was a really long run-on and I'm going to just go with it. Lisa, sorry.).  They also got some candy and Baby Sister got a Mickey and Minnie fork and spoon.

Then we headed to church.  We had a nice homemade breakfast while getting to fellowship with friends. Thanks Holly for the extra set of hands!

I'm sure the Easter message was the same and was fantastic. I didn't hear it as I was in the nursery.  I'm ok with that too since I get to hear our preacher's sermons all the time and most that come on Easter don't come to church any other time.  (Which I don't get but that's another post for another day.)

After church, we headed to my parents' house.  (Well, one kid rode with my parents and the other rode with my bro and sis in law.  I went to Walgreen's but that's nether here nor there.)

Before I got there, my sis in law snapped a few ADORABLE pics of all the kids (before the other 2 'cousins' got there).

 My FAV!

We ate pretty quick and then Mom tried to get Baby Sister to sleep while Dad and Tony hid Easter eggs.  We were trying to hurry since it was about to rain.  After all the eggs were hidden, we released the hounds!  Ok, the kids.  They are SERIOUS about their egg hunting.  Well, the older two are.  Really it's all about the competition with each other.  They really should be brother and sister!

 Off to the races!


 Sweet Whitt just took his time.

I think this may be one of my ALL-time favorite pictures.  My dad and Whitt hunting for eggs. Sooooo sweet.

After the last (we think) egg was found, it started to rain so we went inside to check our loot!  Those kids racked up. Note to self, less candy next year.

A little while later (and many a storm and LOUD claps of thunder) the rest of the crew arrived.  By then I had put down my camera since Baby Sister was awake and we all know all she wants is to be OUTSIDE.  We moved the cars out from the garage so the kids could still play outside.  That didn't last long as the rain had about stopped and they all announced they had more clothes to change into if they got dirty.  Yes, all of them.  Which they did.

A few went fishing and a few stayed behind to chat.  I don't have a single pictures because we were having too much fun crying from laughing.  Sometimes it's the same stories over and over but it's still fun to sit around and laugh about the crazy things Larry and Jerry (and Dale) can get into.  Oh and there are always stories of Deanna and Doug, whom we miss terribly.  We know they are in Heaven telling some BIG fish stories!

It got hot too so we all had some popsicles at some point.

We had a GREAT Easter with family friends.  I hate I missed celebrating with the other side of our family but we won't miss it next year! It's hard to split time with families and you are in the same town!