Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Taylor, 27, Arkansas

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year when Kelly over at Kelly's Korner hosts her Singles Day. As many of you who follow Kelly and read her updates on the 12 couples know, it was [seven] years ago when I met my man this way. So I'm always encouraging my single friends to JUST LOOK!! You never know!

Recently I wrote about our trip back to Arkansas and mentioned my long time friend Natalie Jo. She is one of those friends that I don't get to see very often, but when I do get to see her it is like no time ever passed. Well, Nat has a little sister that we absolutely adore (we being everyone Nat has ever been friends with). Today I wanted to write about Taylor!

Taylor is stunning, super down to earth, and just downright fun to be with! She loves to be outside enjoying life. Whether it is hiking, sports or concerts at the AMP, you can usually find her hanging with her friends doing life right. Beautiful doesn't do her justice. She is gorgeous in the city or the country, on the inside and the outside.

Taylor (left) and her sister Natalie
She also loves sports (woo pig sooie!) and tailgating with her friends. She's a true SEC girl and always looks like a million bucks, especially at football games. She does love the Razorbacks, but for the right guy she might buy two TVs. Maybe. 😉 Taylor also likes to travel and loves spending time with her perfect little niece Crawford.

Taylor and Crawford ready to call those Hogs!

Hanging at a Razorback game with fam

She works as a special education teacher at an elementary school in Northwest Arkansas. She has a heart for others, and you can't help but have a good time when you are with her!

Taylor has a certain set of standards for a guy she's interested in. You have to love dogs and kids. You need a sense of humor. And you can't wear screen tees. Ever. 😀 (Seriously though.)

Taylor is open to meeting guys from various places. She is hilarious and so much fun! If you know someone who may be interested in getting to know her, leave a comment!

Be blessed,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Momcation and Goodbyes

Oh, sweet week you are going so fast. Last Friday I met my parents in Frisco where I dropped the kids off to them for eight solid days. Blessed freedom! DFW is halfway between us and my parents--5 hours of driving for each of us. Needless to say it was another 5 AM start for my clan.

Let me explain what a trip like that looks like for us. I get up at 4:30 and get us all out the door by 5 so that I can count on 3 hours of sleep from the backseat. Then about 8 when the rugrats wake up and decide that even though we are on the road they still would like breakfast, I like to find a small grocery store. This time we were at a gas station. It worked but not quite as well.

Once I have them both in the store with both backpacks full of the day's supplies on my shoulder, I start with little sister. I get her diaper changed, put clothes on, the whole works. Then I change Henry. This is tricky, because I have to keep AnnLouise off the floor of the bathroom while I do this. Of course she can't stand yet, so I put down her pajamas I had just taken off and try to get her to sit still while I work with Henry. She continually tries to crawl off her pj's, and I just have to reset every 10 seconds or so.

I brush both of their teeth. (To be honest I'm not totally sure how that should be worded to make it sound correct. They both have lots of teeth. I'm not saying that each have one tooth. I get these Arkansas jokes enough I try to get ahead of the game.) That's really fun and interesting in a gas station bathroom. It feels super clean too.

Then I have to weigh my options: do I hold AnnLouise while I pee or do I hold my pee for 2+ more hours until we get to Frisco? This time I chose to hold my pee.

After all are changed and clean and almost dirty again from crawling around on the bathroom floor, we go out to find something fairly fresh for breakfast. This is why I like a small grocery store better. In a grocery store I can put the kids in the cart and shop for breakfast. In a gas station I have to carry AnnLouise, hold Henry's hand, carry both backpacks, and somehow juggle breakfast in there too. Needless to say I got Henry a banana and chocolate milk, AnnLouise had oatmeal in a reusable pouch I had made that morning at home, and much like my restroom pit stop I decided I didn't have enough hands to get myself breakfast that morning.

Back in the car the kids eat while I wonder if this trip is worth the eight days of freedom. It is.

Once everyone is back in their seat, I take off only to realize Henry wasn't buckled in his carseat. Brakes. I get him buckled in and try to find somewhere to drive through and get breakfast for myself. I try Dairy Queen. It isn't open. I end up waiting until we meet at IKEA because I am certain of one thing and one thing only: Swedish meatballs.

We met at IKEA mainly so we could eat but also so I could pick up a new desk we had been eyeballing for a few months. I could go crazy in IKEA. That's probably the purpose of their setup. When I walk around the showroom and see these small rooms arranged with such efficiency, I start planning out whole houses of tiny rooms and what IKEA furniture I want. Well, until we put a piece or two together at home...then I forget how much I want all those kitchen cabinets.

After my shopping spree, I had a 5 hour drive home by myself. I don't know if I've ever spent 5 hours by myself since we had Henry. Y'all. Do this. Take a 5 hour drive. Don't turn the radio on. Listen to podcasts the whole time. Stop and eat Taco Bell. Go inside to use the bathroom just because you can. Stare. Blink if you want. When the first podcast is over, turn on 4 more. If they're about The Bachelor, even better. (Okay, side note, the Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous podcast is actually really, really good...if you're a Bachelor fan. If you're not, maybe Dave Ramsey is another solid choice for you. I used to listen to The Art of Simple, but I do not know what she has done in 2018. Momma doesn't like it.)

I got home, and we immediately turned on the Olympics and started putting together my new desk. We got it finished in 2 hours which is perhaps an IKEA record. But we were too tired to put everything up, so it just sat there all weekend as we kept saying, "We'll pick it up tomorrow."

It eventually came together.

When the kids are gone, we like to go out to eat simply because we can. We don't have to worry if we packed 7 boxes of Cheerios just to go to Chili's, you know? Saturday night we went to see 1517 to Paris. unprofessional review is that it is pretty good. The acting could've been better (not the 3 guys..they did just fine. It was the actual actors that were pretty bad.). The storyline, however, was interesting to me. Cash thought it was slow, but it was a good 90 minute movie to go watch.

On Wednesday I had finally cleaned up my act and got busy. I picked up the house and made dinner (almost from scratch) for my boo on Valentine's Day. Of all the going out to eat we've done this week, I can still say my favorite is when we stay in. I made a 3 course meal that was on the table when he walked in the door that evening. I am a huge fan of charcuterie, so any excuse to have it on the table is a winning day in my book.

Course 1: charcuterie with balsamic vinegar and honey
(also, note the savings of at least $5 with a handwritten card)

Course 2: simple pork loin with fresh asparagus

Course 3: dessert cream cheese ball
*Note: Cash thinks it is hilarious when I blog about food because I've only been cooking for 2 1/2 years. But I felt this was a huge feat, so here you go.

It has been a relaxing week around here. No stress. Nowhere I had to be. No one to demand I cook breakfast. After a week of it, though, I am starting to get a little bored. But just a little. (It has been nice to look at my husband and be like...oh yeah, you're pretty cute. If I had to choose again, I would totally choose to marry you.)

The rugrats are having a big time in Arkansas. They love the farm and playing outside as much as they can. Henry especially loves Bumpy. He tries to imitate him every chance he gets. And man. They say you marry a man like your dad, but no one ever warned me my son would be just like him too. So that's fun.

Henry doing whatever Bumpy does.
feeding {some} of the animals
Next week is our baby's first birthday. Bittersweet. Bitter because she's my baby, and it went just like *that*. Sweet because she's my baby, and it went just like *that*. That first year is rough, man. I literally do not think I will shed a tear when I put up the bottles for the last time or when I get the grassy drying rack off my counter. I had those on my counter for a year, down for 3 months, and now back up for another year. Bye, Felicia.

So here's to all the goodbyes:
Goodbye to pureed baby food that I can't buy at a restaurant.
Goodbye to the bottles and the cleaning brushes and the wayyyy too expensive formula.
Goodbye to the crawling phase where everything looks like it is candy, including but not limited to fuzz under the dishwasher.
Goodbye to the playmats that are so worn out they bundle up and suck your child into a blackhole.
Goodbye to the unnecessary crib shoes.
And, sadly, goodbye to the coos and the long naps and the sweet nature of a baby looking at her momma.

Goodbye to my little baby who was never supposed to be here but fought so hard to make it to this big world, and hello to the little girl who is now fighting so hard to keep up physically. Goodbye to the blood tests where she doesn't know it's coming, and hello to tears when we walk in the doors. Goodbye to our laughing off of a stranger saying how cute her belly is, and hello to the awkward moments when it's not just baby fat anymore. Goodbye to the mom who was young and innocent and naïve to the world, and hello to the mom who is learning how to show her kids it is okay to cry or keep it together or jump or fall...but you better always laugh too, because by goodness we used to change clothes in a gas station bathroom on a road trip while Sissy crawled all over the floor and Momma doused everyone in Thieves afterward. Life goes on, and we better laugh at it or those years won't seem so short or fun after all.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Sorry, Kids

In two weeks we will be celebrating in big style the birth of our wee one. One whole year of loving on this miracle of ours, and I can hardly believe it. It is no denying we have learned our way through life with Prune Belly Syndrome, but as I begin to reflect on this year I have realized I learned so much more than a rare condition. I have learned life with 2 kids under 2. So here is what the first year of *almost* Irish twins has looked like from my seat:

the poop threshold

The poop threshold. Ahh. Some of you moms are nodding your head as you read this. And some of you are going back to see if you read that right. What is the poop threshold? For us this is our back door. We will be ready to leave (maybe even a few minutes early so Mom can stop and get Starbucks), yet when my kids cross the threshold of our back door they poop. Both of them. Without fail. Every. Single. Time.

So. Back in we go to change little sister only for big brother to think he knows how to do it himself. And then Mom slips and falls while running into his bathroom. She soon discovers it was his poop he smeared on the floor that she fell on. 

So. In goes everyone into the bathtub. (Baby girl has to take a bath too, because I'm only running bathwater one time today.) Mom calms down a little bit with the smell of that lavender baby shampoo. All get washed up, redressed, and out the door no more than 30 minutes late.

literally, about 5 seconds later I bet he pooped
like brother, like sister

AnnLouise (Scout...what are we calling her? A year later we still don't know.) is nearly 1 year old. She thinks she can do what her brother can do. Naturally. She loves hammering on his tool bench, driving trucks over your feet, and riding 4wheelers. My mom gave her a very sentimental doll for Christmas handmade by my old Amish friend I used to hang out with in Arkansas. So thoughtful. I could've cried. Yeah, AnnLouise has driven trucks over that poor doll, but though I try my best she has yet to care if that little thing is covered up with her matching blanket.

Friday night family movie & popcorn
driving Sister around

monogrammed clothes

These are super popular...for the first baby. When Henry was born, I wanted everything monogrammed. He always looked so cute, and his 4 generation pictures were perfect with his monogrammed onesie. 

Pullin 4 generations
Little sister came along, and she has everything monogrammed too. It is just kind of weird on her to say HVP and be in blue. She rocks it though.

(We won't talk about the 4 generations pictures with AnnLouise. Oops. It slipped my mind. Then my grandpa died. I'm kind of regretting not getting on those pictures now. I'm mom failing the mess out of this first year.)

We're no longer 5 minutes late everywhere we go!

Nope. We're not 5 minutes late everywhere we go anymore. It is more like 30 minutes. On a good day. (See "the poop threshold" above.) I don't even apologize anymore. Those words are lost on my friends and folks at church. They don't believe I'm sorry. Mostly because I'm not. I can't be sorry that much of every day and still have any self-confidence left.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Henry is at that ripe age that he likes to run away. He's not yet packing his bag and purposely wanting to leave his parents' house. He just runs away from me without consideration of any consequence from either me or the outside world. He literally believes the world is his playground.

Last week I was going to ENSURE they didn't get out of the house while I took a shower. It was one of those days. I didn't feel well. Cash was busy at work. It was Tuesday, and we don't go to MDO until Wednesdays. Henry had already tried the runaway method that morning. All the things.

But I was leading Bible study that night at church and had to get in the shower so they wouldn't kick me out when I got there. To keep the kids from running out the door when I was in my 45 second cold shower, I locked both my bathroom door and my bedroom door and kept them in the bathroom with me. I was pretty impressed with myself as I washed my hair for the first time in a few days week. 

Well, until I peeked out the shower and saw 4 tiny hands having the time of their lives swirling around in my toilet. Four tiny hands and my towel. 

So. Into the shower we all went. The rest is history. 

sorry, kids

All this to say, I'm sorry, kids.

The family that has it all together. All on the same page at the same time. Obviously.
Mom is sorry she doesn't make the cute Mickey Mouse pancakes like your dad does on Saturday mornings. I'm sorry I simply give you oatmeal and a banana every day.

Mom is sorry that your closet on Pinterest looks better than in real life. The good news is Mimi brings new clothes over fairly often. (Thanks, Mimi.)

Mom is sorry that she has semi-lied about why we go to church. It is very true I take you to church because we all need to love Jesus more. It is also very true, and I'm sorry I never told you, that Mom will give more than 10% to the church to keep the nursery open.

Mom is sorry she has a mere 3 episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse recorded and pretends like it is a new one every time she wants to sit down and taste the bottom part of her coffee.

Your dad thinks I should apologize for not giving you actual medicine and pouring essential oils all over you instead. I don't know I'm sorry about that. Give Mom a little bit of a break.

Mom is sorry that she wears high-waisted mom jeans and cut bangs and has the Armada and not the Infiniti. I know I'm not cool. But, really, something you need to know now is that Mom was never that cool. So you were kind of setup to have an uncool mom to begin with. (You can mourn with your dad. He was tricked too.) And before you think it is all okay because mom jeans are popular, let me admit something: I wear them for the comfort. I tuck my t-shirts in too because I just like it like that. And gosh, I know wearing tennis shoes with straight leg pants is not going to win any fashion awards, but I have to chase you both a lot. Right now it is not about thriving. It is about surviving. And let me tell you two something, your mom is surviving comfortably.

Scout & Mommy

Mom is sorry that she kisses you all the time. My older friends say this goes so fast. I had a dream one night that Henry was 18, and I woke up scared that it really had gone as fast as they said it would. I love you little things. You are a lot of work. I only have one year down with the two of you, so I know I will learn even more. But my goodness. If you could know how much I love you, you wouldn't squirm away from me when I kiss your face 57 times. 

I probably have a lot more I could apologize to y'all for, but you are 1 and 2 and there are a lot more things in life I'll do wrong. Undoubtedly, I will embarrass you at Kindergarten drop off when I cry, the night your prom date comes by the house and I take 384 pictures (and will be posting them to Instagram even though it will be irrelevant by then), the day we move you into your dorm and I call the Hogs even if you don't go to the U of A. (But you will.) There will be lots in life I do wrong, but probably a thing or two I do right too. So give your ol' mom a break. And, seriously, quit playing in the toilet. I could really embarrass you one day with those pictures.