Tuesday Thoughts

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Just some of my ramblings on this Tuesday... things I want to look back and remember.

1— 48 hrs without a phone is something I never want to have happen again. My phone that was less than a year old completely died Saturday evening. I'm talking it wasn't even the battery, just a hardware issue and there was no fixing it. Of course this would happen when we are out of town, and in the most inconvenient time. It also happened on the very last day of it's warranty. Coincidence? I think not. Being without my phone was hard. Not because of social media, but it's really the only way I can communicate with anyone since we do not have a home phone. It's crazy how I've (we've) become dependent on a cell phone in the past ten years. So after almost two hours at the Apple store, I now have a new phone. And thank goodness for iCloud, because everything was restored and I didn't lose not a video, picture or text. Also, thankful for friends who let you drop your girls off at their house so you don't have to say "DON'T TOUCH THAT" 500 times in the store. I couldn't be happier to have access to the world again.

2 — Ganny and Papa summer camp happened last week. This is the second time we've let them go without us to their house. Both times they've had a ball. Of course, they stayed busy going to the pool, splash pad, MAEX, and playing outside. Plus, I think all the clothes I sent stayed cleaned because they lived in their Cinderella and Snow White princess dresses all week... when they weren't in their swimsuits, of course.

3 — No more diapers for Lenny! Which means no more diapers in the house! Can I get a Hallelujah? Can I get an Amen? We've known she was getting ready for the past few months, and the week before they went to Ganny and Papas house I started letting her wear panties. Well, two weeks later and she's done with the diapers. And doing really good. We've only seen a few accidents, and those are few and far between. Another season is over and it just shows us how quickly these girls are growing up. Which is exciting and sad all at the same time.  

4 — Date your spouse has always been a phrase I've seen or heard, but we really took it heart and applied it last week while the girls were at Ganny and Papas. Four straight nights of dates for us, which might be more than we've had since Avery was born. It was so nice to be able to enjoy time with just the two of us. Did we miss the girls, of course we did. But we've also missed time with just the two of us alone. We cooked together and watched a movie at home, went out to eat and saw a movie in the theater, ordered take out and watched another movie at home, and then finished up our week of dates with a dinner date. While we know it seems like a long time before we will be empty nesters, we also know that it will happened sooner than later and we want to make sure we know how to be alone together and enjoy our time together now and when that time comes.

5 — Summer days are here. I'm talking the sticky hot humid days of Alabama summer. If I had to sum up a word for summer, I'd replace it with S W E A T. In other words, sweat season is here. And I don't like it. I wasn't one of those who complained when it was in the 20s and 30s this past winter. Nope, I was the one loving every minute of it. The only thing that makes summer bearable is pool days. Maybe it's because we can't tell if it's sweat or water from the pool. HA! So if you are looking for us this summer, just head to our neighborhood pool. That's where you'll find us!

The Desires of My Heart

Saturday, May 12, 2018

As a little girl a long, long time ago I would play with my baby dolls and pretend I was their mother. As a teenager (only a few years ago, wink) I would babysit babies and children from our church. I learned changing poopy diapers was, well gross and that kids have a mine of their own and can’t always be easily persuaded to watch something other than cartoons on tv. As a young adult I watched friends get married and have children of their own. I treated their children like they were my own, spoiling them and loving them. As a thirty something year old wife, I lost our first child at eleven weeks. After months of trying after our loss, I wondered if I would ever have a child of my own. I prayed and begged God to give me a second chance at being a mom. 

Then one day I had a feeling I needed to take a test so I took two. Both were positive. The only thing I could do was cry and shout praises and thanks because I knew it was God who had blessed us with the hope another child. A child we both knew we longed for and already loved. 

She was born nine months later and changed my world. Suddenly my wants and desires were centered around her. I never wanted to put her down. I never wanted to leave her. I wanted to give her the world. And at the time that meant any and everything from Target and Toys R Us. She was her daddy’s girl and her mamas world! She still is. She’s now a little girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, who loves her mommy and daddy, and also her little sister. 

Getting pregnant the third time was much easier than the second time. It happened so fast and we were now going to have two girls fifteen months apart! Some say because we got pregnant so close together that we made Avery grow up faster than she needed to. Maybe yes, but also no. God knew she needed a little sister, and he knew we needed another little girl, but this time a feisty and spunky little squirt. She completed our family. She also changed our world because now we have two little girls that are Daddy’s girls and their mamas world. 

Being a mom hasn’t been the easiest job I’ve ever had. It’s tough, y’all! It’s a blessing for sure. It’s questioning everyday if you are raising them the way you should. It’s learning that Gods grace is enough for you, and that we should show grace to them. It’s trying. It’s rewarding! It’s laughing at their funny dances and silly sayings. It’s worrying everyday if you are enough. It’s loving them more than you love yourself - ten times more! 

I am their mother, mama, mom. I’m the only mom they have (whether they like it or not). I’m doing the best I can at making decisions that are best for them, and for us as a family. I know we only get one shot at raising them right. I pray that even though my parenting ways may differ from other moms that my way is best for us and them. I pray I’m not screwing up their childhood. I pray they know how much I love them, always. 

It was the desire of my heart to be a mom. And my dreams are now my reality. Everyday is a blessing with them. And everyday I thank the good Lord above for making me their mama. 

This Mother’s Day we know a few who are waiting for their turn to be a mom. Terry and I know how it feels to long for a baby, and it can be just as hard on the husband as it is for the wife. We pray their wait isn’t long. We hope this next year brings tears of joy for Mother’s Day! 

For all the moms of preschoolers, we just have to keep telling ourselves that we are enough. We are enough as a mom and a wife! And that the terrible twos, threenager, and fournado years won’t last forever. 

Strawberry Lemonade Pie

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

It's H O T in the South y'all. I'm talking Spring completely skipped right over us. And if we weren't already a glutton for punishment, we went to the strawberry patch to pick us a batch of strawberries earlier this week. I'm not sure I even made it to the passenger side of the vehicle to get the girls out before I was doing some major glistening sweatin'. But our sweet friends asked us to go and we were excited because this would be our first time pickin' strawberries.

The patch we went to was about a forty-five minute drive from our house. It didn't take us long to pick our buckets full. We were worried they wouldn't have many left — wrong! They had so many ripe strawberries that we didn't even go all the way down our two rows before filling up four buckets.

Avery kept telling me on the way to the field that she couldn't wait to make a strawberry cake. And seeing as how I've never made anything with strawberries in it, I had no clue how many strawberries it would take. Needless to say, four buckets = strawberries running out our ears. So we have been sharing a couple of buckets with our neighbors and friends since I found out most recipes only call for a cup or less. Whoops!

Did I mention that it's H O T? And I'm not about to turn that oven on to make it even hotter in here. (Y'all I'm sure our sweet neighbor is reading this and laughing. She knows to wear a sweater to our house because I like it freezing in here!) Since I didn't want to turn the oven on I got to thinking about a good way we could use the strawberries. Smoothies. Yes. But Avery really wanted to "bake" something. So I thought about the very first recipe my mom taught me — Lemon Ice Box Pie. It's the first thing she let me make on my own to carry to church and other functions when I was in high school. I thought incorporating the strawberries in that recipe might be a fun idea. And, well, it was perfect!

1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 1/2 cups of pureed strawberries
1 14 oz. of sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz. tub of cool whip (thawed)
1 graham cracker ready crust

Combine lemon juice, strawberry puree and sweetened condensed milk and whisk together until blended. Add the entire tub of cool whip folding it in with the previous ingredients. Pour into the graham cracker crust and let it set in the fridge for three to four hours. When serving, garish with more strawberry puree and/or lemon zest.

This is the perfect cool treat for these crazy summer days!

The closing of another chapter...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Libraries are filled with books written about people's lives — their childhood, school age, college days, adulthood, marriage, parenthood, and so on. If our family had a book, this last chapter would have been called "It's Hard to Say Goodbye"! 

Last year during Avy and Lenny's school year, we met a family who had kids in the same classes as ours. Our kids were instant friends, but us moms didn't really get introduced until a few months later. It wasn't until after Christmas that our (the moms) friendship really took off! We realized we had more in common that we could have ever imagined. And my girls loved their mom, and her kids loved me. We started taking zoo trips together, and even had a few playdates mixed in before school ended. Of course, a few weeks before school ended she dropped a bomb on me. Her husband had been promoted and was being transferred to a new location. Crushed. Knowing our our kids loved each other, we knew this was going to be hard on all of us. 

So we made a vow to do as much together as humanly possible this summer to get the most out of their last days here in Bham. And we did just that. From the zoo to the children's museum, to playdates and lunch dates, from swimming lessons and swimming playtime, and yes, even soccer dates — we had the best summer together. And then first of August came and we had to say goodbye. 

I don't think it hit our kids when they left, but it's been a little over a week and they keep asking where Becca and Stephen are. Hurts this mama's heart, but I'm so thankful for social media and phone calls so we can keep in touch. Such a fun and memorable summer with the Reyes family. So thankful He made our paths cross, even if it was only for a short amount of time. We are praying for their new journey in Florida, and planning a visit with them soon! 

Laguna Key 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017

When summer begins we see all our friends heading to the beach, but our beach vacation is always towards the end of the summer before school starts back. Sometimes I see their pictures and get a little jealous, and then I remember we will be at the beach soon enough. The summer always seems to pass by quickly!

We normally stay in Peridio Key, but this year Terry's parents opted for a bigger place — a beach house in Laguna Key. It was huge — six bedrooms, four and a half baths, and the kitchen was any cooks dream! The girls had plenty of room to run, and that's important for toddlers.

We couldn't check in until later in the afternoon, but we left out early, like seven a.m. early. The interstate starts backing up around eight a.m. where we live and it stays that way until mid afternoon. Well, we have two toddlers and one is potty trained and you do NOT want to be in the car all day long. Terry and I agree that sitting still on the interstate is the devil! So when we arrived at the beach at lunch we planned a fun afternoon to tire them out before we could check into the beach house. We ate lunch, played in the sand, watched boats going in and out of the harbor, and went to a splash pad before getting back in the vehicle so they could get in a nap before meeting up with the rest of the family.

Once we got settled in and halfway unpacked, we ate dinner at the beach house — Janino's Pizza. It was also Terry's birthday so we celebrated with a little cake, too. The girls went out with the cousins and their dads for a late night swim and then we got settled in for the night so we could start off our first full day ready to go!

We love being at the beach, but we aren't the kind of people who sit on the beach all day and cool off in the ocean. No, we would be those people who love to spend the morning at the pool, and then enjoy a relaxing afternoon before getting ready to go out to eat for dinner. I could sit and watch the waves all day everyday, but I like to do that from a window or balcony. We do love to walk on the beach after dinner, but not every night.

Sunday morning, we got up and headed out for the pool. It was a beautiful morning, but we didn't stay out long. Terry and I scheduled a beach session with a photographer we know from our hometown for late that afternoon and we wanted our girls to get a nap so they would be in a good mood. (We haven't gotten our pictures back, yet, but I'll share them once we get them in!) We left out for our beach session and met up with the rest of the family at Shipps Harbor Grill, which happens to be all of our family's favorites restaurant at the beach. Those gouda mashed potatoes are to die for! It was also my mother-in-law's birthday, so we celebrated back at the beach house with an ice cream cake.

Monday looked like a rainy morning, so just the girls ventured out to see what we could get into. We had plans to visit the outlet mall, but decided since it was so close to lunch to dine in at Lulu's instead. Avery and Hannah built a sand castle while we waited for our food, which is always good. There weren't many boats out to watch pass by, but we saw a few and a tons of birds! After lunch we ended back up at the splash pad. My girls thought this was the best thing ever!

For dinner we went to another favorite, Cotton's. They have a delicious filet, and the girls love their virgin banana "icee's" while the adults like the non virgin ones!

Once we got back from dinner, the girls wanted to go for a night time swim. I decided I wanted to walk out on the pier to capture that evenings sunset. Well, the sign on the pier says "Alligators on site, please be careful" and of course, who would have guessed that I'd actually see one on my way out! I called Terry, Hannah, and no one answered. So I called my sister-in-law, Cathy, and she answered and said they were coming out. I mainly wanted someone to stay and watch it while I went further out. I didn't want to come back and not know where it was. Well, while I was out taking the sunset pictures my brother-in-law watched the alligator eat a duck! We didn't see him (or her) the rest of the trip, but once was all I needed to know that we needed to be careful!

It was back to the pool the next morning for more sun and fun. And after lunch, we all headed out on the pier (yes where the alligator was) to do some fishing. Jellyfish were everywhere and they actually caught some fish, though none were kept.

That evening for dinner we went to Nolan's! This was my first time to dine there, and it was delicious.  Everyone ordered something different and everyone was happy with their meals. It's a little fancy for the beach, but perfect for a night out for celebrating!

This was my brother-in-laws last night to be with us on vacation so we went back out on the pier to take some family pictures of he and his family, and of the grand girls with their grandparents. While I am a photographer and love to take pictures, it is a pain in the rear end to set up and take pictures of yourself with your family. Which is why Terry and I paid to have our family pictures taken by someone else. But Hannah did manage to get one good one of our family that evening. I told the others I would take their photos if that's what they wanted. We're at the beach, so it's either sand and wind, or on the pier with wind. So they chose on the pier. Either way you're going to have wind. So all pictures have that wind blown look, cause that's the way all beach pictures are.

Wednesday was another pool morning before the rain set in for the day. When we went out to Gibley's for dinner and came home to a gorgeous rainbow!

Thursday was our last morning at the pool. We made the most of it and stayed out there until we were too hungry to swim and sun. We came back in to get ready for dinner. We tried three different places but all their wait times were crazy long, so we ended up at a new to us place closer to the beach house. Oddly enough it was called The Beach House. It was a fun place and we really liked the food. Terry said it was so good he could eat there again the next night. Ha!

That night we took the girls out on the beach for a walk and to see the sun set. It was a gorgeous night, and they loved the little waves crashing at their feet. This was the first time Little Bit actually liked the sand! She liked it so much she didn't want to leave it!

Friday! If you ask the girls what their favorite part of the beach way... they say they loved Friday more than any other day at the beach. Why? Because we went to The Track. They got to ride swings, the carousel, the train, and some spinner thing! If it wasn't so dang hot, we probably would have stayed there all day long! But we ended up running over to the outlet mall and then back to the beach house to get ready for dinner. But don't worry, after dinner we went back to The Track to finish using all our points. I promise you Little Bit rode the carousel ten times back to back. The guy running it didn't even make her get off! Ha! Dinner was at Mikee's and it was delicious! We tried a lot of things on the starter menu in addition to our main course meals. We've eaten there before and it was ever bit as good as we remembered.

No one likes to leave vacation, but our girls really didn't want to leave. Well, they really just wanted us to take them back to The Track again. While it was good to get away, it's always great to get back home. But we made a few stops on our way home. We shopped at Bass Pro and we stopped to get some ice cream at Durbin Farms. Traffic was a nightmare the closer we got home, so we took the backroads and made it home before dark!

Another beach trip is in the books. And we have a whole year to rest up and get prepared for our next beach adventure! I'm so thankful we had a week with Terry even though there were work phone calls here and there. But I'm thankful we made memories together for our little family that our girls will never forget!

July Happenings

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

If you blinked, you missed July. Or at least that's how it seemed to be for us. It was so crazy, I didn't even have a chance to blog about our adventures. So today I'm going to give you a glimpse at our crazy, fun month of July. We just got back from our beach vacation, and I'll give y'all a look at our beach days in a separate post soon!

4th of July at the lake

We love our annual lake time with our family at Logan Martin Lake. This year, we celebrated the 4th a few days early on July 1st. Terry's family made the drive over that morning and went with us to celebrate! It was a great day to spend time with family, and catch up! The weather was so nice until 6 o'clock and then the storms started rolling in. We had to get back home to get the girls a bath and put them to bed so we missed the wonderful firework show that Shannon puts on every year. Completely bummed about it, but we go to see it on facebook the next morning thanks to his wife, Susan!

Hannah came to visit

Our oldest niece, Hannah, came to stay with us for a couple of weeks in July. We were excited to have her with us, and our girls especially loved her visit. They LOVE Hann, and enjoyed every minute of our adventures while she was with us. She's a great babysitter, and we took full advantage of her being here and had some quality time just the hubs and I, twice! We went swimming, a lot! We shopped, a lot! All fun things that we girls enjoy. When we had to take her home both girls were crying because she wasn't in the car with us. We look forward to her visit next summer, and maybe we can talk her sister in to coming with her, too.

Avery's bountiful garden

Papa and Avery planted her garden late this year, and it's proven to be her best garden yet! She has three different kinds of tomatoes, two different kinds of peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, corn, and squash! We've been handing out tomatoes to all our neighbors because they are so plentiful! I think it's slowly starting to dry up, so we will have to clean out the beds and get them ready for next summer.

Avery plays soccer shots

Last spring at Avery's school they offered soccer shots and she was crushed that we didn't allow her play. When a friend told me they were having it this summer, I jumped online to sign her up. Of course, I didn't think about it being 100 degrees outside with mosquitoes, gnats, and it taking place around dinnertime. Even though her face is solid red, she's having a ball. We have a few more classes left this summer and then it's over. I'm so glad she's having a wonderful time, and learning soccer and life lessons, too! Coach Addison and Coach Ali have been great with her, and I know she's going to miss them!

Unka B & MarMar visit

My brother and sister-in-law live in D.C. and we really only get to see them twice a year, three times if we are lucky! We try to facetime with them once a week, but it's just not the same as them being here with us. We've promised we will try to go visit them next year, we just haven't decided exactly when that will be. They came for a quick visit in July, and the girls had a ball. And, Unka B and MarMar might have spoiled them in the 24 hrs they were here. December can't get here soon enough so we can spend time with them again!

Pool days

Our pool opened up the first weekend of May and even though we are in the south, it was still freezing until the end of June. We finally were able to get in without shaking to death, and the girls LOVE to be in the water. So we've been at the pool at least two or three days a week this July. Our babies have the cutest little tan lines and are swimming so good. Practice makes perfect, right? We can't wait to spend the rest of August at the pool!

And that was our July in a nutshell. The last week and a half of July was spent at the beach. I'll have that post coming up next. 

How was your July? Our summer is flying by, but it sure is fun!


Red, White & Blue Oreos

Friday, June 30, 2017

We have our annual Fourth of July at the lake this weekend and I always try to bring something that's homemade to the event. This week while I was scrolling through Pinterest, I found vanilla covered oreos with multi-colored sprinkles. So, the thought crossed my mind about making them red, white and blue. And y'all, it was so easy and they are perfect for all the little fingers that will be grabbing them off the dessert table.

These are so easy to make, and my little Chefs enjoyed helping make these, too! And they have two thumbs up from them, too! Get your littles in the kitchen and have some fun making these. I found the red, white and blue sprinkles at Michaels, but I'm sure you can get them at any grocery store or craft store. 

We used three packages of the Oreos, a full bottle of all the sprinkles, and two candiquik melts. Just follow the directions on the package of the candiquik, dip half of the oreo in, and then dip in a plate of sprinkles. We let them dry on some parchment paper before putting them in a container to take with us to the lake. Seriously, y'all, it's so easy.

Y'all have a safe and Happy Fourth of July!!
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