Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Me and my Guitar

So, I'm about to embark on a journey that is terrifying me.  The decision to do this has literally kept me up at nights.  I'm super nervous and am almost convinced I will fail miserably.  It has been a dream of mine for quite sometime and if I can succeed, it would really be an accomplishment.  You're going to think I'm nuts when I tell you, but here it goes...I'm starting guitar lessons.

I know, it doesn't sound like much, but to me it's super scary.  I really like to do things that I know I will do well at.  That's pretty much been my M.O. my whole life.  If there's a chance I won't get it, I don't even try.  

I spent YEARS taking piano as a kid, and for some reason, it just didn't take with me.  It was like my brain would just not work.  I mean, I can sit down and play stuff, but it's never come easy.  My little brother on the other hand picked it up and ran with it.  He's an amazing piano player...I mean really, really accomplished.  Our piano teacher also taught voice, and my lessons went from piano to voice and I never looked back.  I regret not being a good pianist all the time.  I really hope my girls are interested in it.

Although, I'm quite certain that my dream of being a folksy country singer sitting on a stool playing ballads on my guitar will not be realized, I'm hopeful my new dream of playing worship songs for my family, just might.  Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Doctor, Doctor Give Me the News

All I can say is, I'm sure glad Mark came to help me with the doctor's appointments today because it would have been pretty nuts without him.  Monroe started out doing great and actually acting very grown up.  I was feeling pretty hopeful.  Well, until we were called back into the exam room...then all craziness broke loose.  She was terrified!  There were tons of tears and that was even before the doctor came in!  Everything from the eye test to getting weighed was an ordeal.  They also gave me 10 pages of paperwork to fill out (I'm not even exaggerating here), which I do not understand AT ALL.  When exactly do they expect you to fill it out?  They also wanted me to perform all of these activities with the girls to see if they were progressing developmentally.  It was pretty intense...pretty intense, indeed.  Like I said, thank goodness for Mark.  He was my knight in shining armor yielding a pen and willing to fill in social security numbers and insurance information.

Rosie finally relaxed after watching the doctor examine Kiki.  I've said it before, but I really love their pediatrician.  She's very good with kiddos and her easy demeanor won her over.  Whew! In fact, when the doctor walked out, Rosie said, "What a nice little doctor."

Rosie weighs 33 pounds (73rd percentile) and is 38 1/4 inches tall (64th percentile).  Kiki weights 18.7 lbs (6th percentile) and is 30 1/2 inches tall (80th percentile).   Developmentally they are both doing awesome.  That is always a big relief.  I also got all of my questions answered.  She confirmed that Rosie's personality is one that may take longer to potty train.  She said not to stress; that it will come.  Kiki had to get four shots, which was a bummer.  You should have seen the death looks she was giving the nurse after that.  It was pretty hilarious.  Rosie dodged a bullet on the shots front and walked away with just a flu mist.  We were all happy about that one.  

So anyway, I'm so glad to know they are healthy little ladies, but I'm also relieved to have that whole experience behind me...until next time:).

Monday, August 27, 2012

Best Day Ever

So, remember a few months ago when that crazy hail storm ravaged our neighborhood?  Our roof and our siding took the brunt of it, and we knew we would need to replace them both.  Well, it was finally time to start the "healing" last week.  On Thursday, the roofers started to work, and I realized quickly that naptime for the girls was not going to happen with the deafening noise.  Luckily, Maria came through in a pinch and we packed up and headed to the Nudd's house for the day.  I was so thankful because we all had a great time and the girls were able to sleep.

They promised to be all finished up by Thursday evening, but that didn't happen.  Luckily, we had big, fun plans for Friday morning.  We started out at the Nudd's for me to watch the kiddos while Maria went to a doctor's appointment.  Then we were all off to meet Jackie and the girls at Biltmore Park to celebrate Blythe's 4th birthday.

Talk about a great morning!  We ran by Barnes and Noble and then we were off to the "Treasure Store" a.k.a. Charming Charlie's to let the girls pick out their own special treasure.  They each decided on a precious tiara.  You should have seen those girls strutting out of that store wearing their new special treat.  You could tell they were feeling pretty snazzy.  Next we were off to O.P. Taylor's, a toy store, that the kids LOVED.  For lunch we went to Blythe's favorite restaurant, Brixx's Pizza and finished it off with ice cream from Cold Stone.  It was so fun.  We knew for sure it was a success when the girls all ran around screaming, "Best Day Ever!" at the top of their lungs.  I almost joined them, but I didn't think it would be quite as adorable.

It was almost 2pm by the time we finished up and I was just sure the roofers were all done and I could easily put the girls down for their nap.  When I pulled in and saw my unfinished roof and about 10 men lounging on my front lawn having a relaxing lunch break, my heart sank.  I hated to intrude upon the Nudd's again, so I decided to "rough it" and try to put the girls down, in spite of the racket.  Monroe and I laughed through the whole story I yelled read to her.  It was SOOO loud!  I have to say that I was completely astonished when both of the girls ended up falling asleep.  There was a brief intermission from the pounding when the torrential rains set in.  Normally, I love a good storm at nap time, but when your roof is off, it's not as relaxing.  Miraculously, we had no leaks and the girls slept!

We ended up getting an architectural roof, which I like 100 times better than our previous roof.  I'm glad it's all done.  Now to get the siding all fixed up.  Here's the roof "after" picture...

So, when I went out to take the "after" picture above, I found two different boxes on the doorstep.  We just love mail surprises around these parts!  The girls got the most adorable dresses from Auntie Kaylee and fam.  I just love them.  I've been stressing about finding fall/winter dresses and these are just perfect.

Monroe received her birthday package from Memaw, Papa and Grandma Murrill.  Everything in it was so special and wonderful, but by far her very favorite thing was this...

The most wonderful quilt that they made for Rosie.  She just loves it and so do I!  It's beautiful.  Thank you so much!

By the way, do you wonder why Rosie is often pictured sans clothes?  Well, she's very into dress-up right now and many pictures are taken in between her outfits.  I do dress her in a normal outfit everyday.  I promise!  I have the laundry to prove it:)

So Maria was headed to Chattanooga yesterday to go to her best friend Riley's wedding shower.  She hated to make the long trip alone, so I tagged along to keep her company.  It was a full day of driving, but we had a great time.  I was excited to meet Riley, because she and her (almost) hubby are moving here next week!  I love new friends:)

We made it back pretty late last night and I was amazed to learn that Kiki did perfectly fine without me...more specifically without breast milk.  That makes me feel a lot more confident that we are almost ready to bring my breast feeding days to a close...kind of bittersweet.  Mark was pretty worn out from his day of being a single parent, but he did an amazing job.  I was very impressed.

Tomorrow the girls have their 1 year/ 3 year doctor's appointments.  I'm excited to see how their growth is coming along and to get a few questions I have answered.  It should be fun...or really stressful, or both.  I'm keeping positive, though.  I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.  I'll leave you for now.  I've got dinner to make and some sweet little ladies to play with.    

The Big 3!

On Saturday, my first born celebrated her 3rd birthday!  Where does the time go?

Monroe's love language is balloons, so I decided to make her morning and decorated the hallway outside of her room for when she woke.  She was pretty excited!

Birthday morning surprise

After Sabbath School and Church, we headed home for lunch with friends and to celebrate the big three-year-old's mermaid birthday.  We had decided to just keep it simple and we figured that a small lunch with friends would be perfect.  The Nudd's and the Guyton's came over and we feasted on meatballs, mashed potatoes, fresh corn, salad and bread.  And by feasted, I mean we completely gorged ourselves.  At Rosie's request we had an ice cream station, with tons of different toppings (sprinkles, almonds, pecans, coconut, reese's cups, chocolate chips, oreos, cherries, whipped cream, magic shell and chocolate syrup).  I think the adults enjoyed it even more than the kids! Well, at least I did.

The Mermaid Table
I found those little fish plates on clearance for $1!  They were perfect.
The mini-mermaid table
 Rosie enjoying her ice cream
 Alli Girl
 Beautiful Blythe
 Did you know mermaids rode horses? 
 Gift Time! 
 The kiddos were too worked up to take pictures!  I could only get a few before they went nuts. 
The Little Mermaids!  Aren't they cute:) 
Kiki woke up a little late, but was rearing to party! 
What a little charmer!  So sweet! 
 Only three years old a few hours and already showing her sass! 
My sweet birthday girl! 

The kiddos spent the early afternoon playing, until it was very obvious that naps were in order.  Rosie was thrilled with the whole experience.  Later that evening we realized that we never got around to singing to her or having her blow out her candle!  A travesty indeed!  We ran out and picked up some cupcakes and made it happen.  She couldn't have had a better day. 

Happy Birthday, sweet Rosie!  We love you!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Baby BLUE!!!!

Well, it's been a while since I've blogged.  It seems like I've been really busy, but I can't quite put my finger on what exactly we've done.

I did do some MAJOR overhauling on the girls' rooms and closets.  I have a hard time with organizing their clothes because they are constantly growing and the seasons are constantly changing and it's all just too much for me.  I never have felt like I can keep it all together, until now...hopefully.  I spent hours sorting and organizing and I'm feeling much more on top of things now.  I took some pics of their closets when I was finished.   I'll have to take pictures again in a few days and see how long it's lasted.

Rosie's almost completed closet...I still need to hang a shelf on the left. 

Kiki's almost completed closet.  I still need to buy some baskets to fit in those cubes.  

So we have found what I think is the most beautiful place in North Carolina...Chimney Rock.  It truly is the the most gorgeous area.  Be warned, if you come a visit us, we are taking you there.  The little town is so quaint, there are great inns and resorts right on the river and all of this is set beside the mountains.  The first time we went we fell in love.  We have the Nudd's to thank for introducing us to this paradise a few weeks ago.  We had so much fun playing in the river with the kiddos, although we did feel a little rednecky.  We embraced it, though.  Some of us, more than others...ahem...Brandon.  That guy becomes "River Man" as soon as he steps foot in the water.  His demeanor and even his voice changes.  It's hilarious (and a little scary) to watch.

Well, anyway, so Mark and River Man were sliding down the rocks and my man ended up losing his wedding ring somewhere in that raging river.  The only problem is that he didn't realize it until we got back to the car.  This past Saturday afternoon, we decided to make a trip back to the river to find that missing ring.  Yes, I know that it was a next to impossible endeavor, but I've heard too many children's stories where they find the missing keys, etc. in the middle of the haystack, etc.  I had high hopes.  Sadly, it didn't happen, but not for lack of trying.  Oh, well.  I haven't given up, though.  I'll be back.

Tonight we attended the gender reveal party for my little brother Stephen and sis-in-law, Michelle's little person via the internet.  What did we do before video chatting?!  It was so exciting!  I was on Team Blue and Mark and the girls were Team Pink.  They had taken the sealed envelope with the gender inside to our favorite bakery in Tulsa and had them bake the color of the gender inside.  This is what we saw when they cut the cake...

I just knew it!  We've been needing another boy in the family!  Can't wait to meet him!

Okay, it's that time again...time to go to sleep.     I had no idea how much more tired I would be since Kiki started walking.  That kid wears me out.  Here are a few pictures from the last few days.    

 My little walker.  She's getting pretty fast! 
We rented the movie, "Babies" from the library because I just love it and wanted to watch it again.  I decided to let Rosie watch it with me and she was glued to it.  One of the babies was crying and I couldn't help but get a picture of Rosie's reaction.  
They love playing these days. 
 I went to get Kiki out of her crib after nap and this is what I found.  This girl knows how to make an outfit pop.  
 We found a new favorite veggie to grill...Cabbage!  It sounds weird but it was so good.  Just add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  You really need to try it to believe it's amazingness. 
 Corn Sharing 
Team Pink getting ready for the gender results tonight. 
My new Keens.  I never would have thought I would own a pair of these shoes, but with all of the hiking and river stuff we do, they were a must.  I LOVE them.  They are so comfortable.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Music to My Ears

EDIT:  I decided to add a few pictures to make this a little more interesting:)

Do you ever hear a song and it transports you right back to a different time in your life?  It happens to me all the time.  This week I heard a song and was taken right back to my high school graduation...the sights, the smells, the feelings...everything.   Music is so powerful!  It can completely affect your mood.  I mean who doesn't smile when "Party in the USA" comes on and I don't know about you, but I always get a lump in my throat when Sarah McLachlan's, "Angel" starts to play, although the horrifying ASPCA commercials might be to blame for that one.

A very unflattering high school graduation picture.  

When I think back to every major happening in my life, I can recall music that was kind of my theme song for that time, if you will.  Early on, there was a lot of Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.  (Yes, I had very sophisticated musical taste, even then.)  Sometimes the lyrics were really meaningful and I totally identified with them, and other times, it was just the way the song made me feel.  I mean who didn't couples' skate to "I'll Make Love to You" as a seventh grader and experience some intense feelings.  I sure did, even though I had not the faintest clue what "making love" meant.

That's the 7th grade me under those bangs:)  

The songs, "Let Him Fly" by the Dixie Chicks and "Against All Odds" by Phil Collins helped me through my freshman year of college when my long-distance, high school sweetheart chose another girl over me.  The songs didn't heal my broken heart or anything, but gave me an outlet.  I remember sitting in my dorm room, deep in the middle of an ugly cry, feeling like my whole world was falling apart, while I sobbed the lyrics, "how can I just let you walk away, let you leave without a trace" at the top of my lungs.  When it was over my heart was still breaking, but I sure felt a ton better.  By the way, aren't you relieved you weren't my college roommate...sorry, Pauline.

My wonderful roomie, Pauline.  Poor girl put up with a lot! 

When I think back to when Mark and I first started dating, I think of the song, "Heal The World" by Michael Jackson, and I smile.  It's the first song we bonded to.   Well, that and, "I Ain't Mad at Cha" by Tupac.  Our wedding song, a remix of the song, "Heaven" by Bryan Adams, will always be special to me and make me remember our younger years.  When we were newly married, Mark and I would always challenge each other to "rap-off's" to see who was the better rapper.  Okay, let's be real, neither one of us are very skilled rappers, but since there was never anyone there to judge, I always somehow ended up the winner.  So,  any Tupac song, Will Smith and "Waterfall's" by TLC take me back to that time.

Our first road trip together headed to Colorado.  
We connected when we figured out that we both loved MJ.  
Early in our marriage.  We look like pretty hardcore rappers, huh!

I've shared before that Mark and I had a rough time in our marriage a few years in.  There were times that I felt so overwhelmed, lost and alone.  I found peace in listening to Kirk Franklin.  It was a time of growth for me and really a spiritual reawakening.  His songs helped give me hope and pointed me closer to the only One who could heal our fragile marriage, Jesus Christ.  Music definitely was a lifeline to me then and I'm thankful that God sent me those songs to comfort me.  If you are needing some comfort, I would recommend Kirk Franklin's album, "Hero".  The songs, "Imagine Me" and "The Appeal" are still my go-to's.

This picture always makes me sad.  We were really struggling at this point.  I thank the Lord everyday for His healing in our marriage.

When pregnant with Rosie, the song, "Daughters" by John Mayer was pretty special and with Kiki, it was, the Glee Soundtracks...all of them.  Yes, I own them all...don't judge.

Pregnant with Rosie.  It was so fun being pregnant at the same time as my sis!

Pregnant with Kiki...Melissa wasn't pregnant this time around (obviously), but she was a huge support for me!

So, did this post have a point?  Not really, other than sometimes it's fun to think about where you've come from and where you are going and even to remember the music that was the soundtrack along the way.  What would be on your "Life Mix-Tape" if you could make one?  Just something to think about.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I'm really beat tonight.  Those Brazilians wore me and my buns OUT!  Zumba tonight didn't help either.  I could literally fall asleep on the couch right now, but I'm watching the Honey Boo Boo show and I can't stop my giggling.  That is one crazy hilarious family.

Today, we headed to the library with Maria and the kids for some new books and then on to the grocery store.  If you are a mom, you know how tiring grocery shopping with kiddos can be.  If you aren't a mom, I compel you to never take a stress free shopping trip for granted again.  Eat it up!  Enjoy every second!  Take your time down every aisle, soaking in the quiet, because once you have kids, it's gone.  I love every thing about having my babies.  They are absolutely wonderful, but I sure miss pre-kid shopping.

So Kiki is officially walking now.  I would say she walks 75-80% of the time and she just loves the independence.  Rosie is very intrigued by this new talent of Kiki's and enjoys dragging her all around the house at warp speeds.  Kiki seems to enjoy it, too, but for those of us watching, it's really quite frightening.  I know there are going to be lots of bumps and bruises in my future...well, more than there already are.

When I ran to Sam's yesterday, I was so excited to find something we haven't had since Chicago...Pretzel Rolls!  They are so good!  We used to get them at Trader Joe's, but sadly, we don't have one here, so the discovery at Sam's was really wonderful.  They are so great if you put them on the grill with butter and garlic.  They also make great sandwiches.  Do yourself a favor and pick some up if you can!

Okay, I better call it a night.  I'm getting the crafting itch again, but I haven't figured out what to make.  Maybe I'll spend a few hours minutes perusing Pinterest for some ideas.  Night!

Thoughts in my head this morning...

I'm very worried that I am going to have one kid breast feeding until she's 10 and another that wears diapers into her twenties.   I wish there was a simple way to figure out both of these dilemmas.  Kids really should come with owners' manuals.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Am I the only one mourning the loss of the Olympics?  I'm dying over here.  Mark is at his softball game, the girls are both sleeping and I need some inspirational television!  My only option is Bachelor Pad, and I can assure's not the least bit inspirational, even on a good day.  Ugh!  What's worse is the thought that the next Olympics are another two years away!  Kiki will be three by that time.  It seems like an eternity...tear.

I went back to Zumba tonight for the first time in a long time.  I haven't been able to go because Mark has had softball and to be honest, I needed a break.  I was getting pretty burned out.  Anyway, it was tough to be back, but I know I need to get back at it.  At least I've been diligent with my pilates.  I love that class and try never to miss.  Do you ever feel that you go through peaks and valleys with working out, or is it just me?  I did find a Brazilian butt lift workout online that I'm going to try tonight.  It looks pretty grueling, but who wouldn't want their butt lifted by Brazilians?  Well, when I put it that way...

I'm really excited because my parents are coming at the end of August!  It seems like forever since I've seen them and the girls are definitely needing some Nana and Papa time.  There's always a part of me that is sad because it really is hard being away from our families.  It was such a luxury when we were in Chicago and had Mike, Melissa and the boys just a few minutes away.  It really is a blessing if you have family close!  For those of you who do, consider yourselves very lucky.  I always hold out hope that one day we will be near family again.

Well, I've really been Debbie Downer this evening.  I apologize!  I wish I had some funny, interesting stories to share with you, but I really don't.  Today was a pretty uneventful day.  Well, Monroe did throw the mother of all tantrums, but I don't think you are interested in that story:)  So, I better run.  I've got some intense butt lifting to do.  Nighty Night!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Family Vacation

I'm already missing Charleston and we only got back last night.  We had so much fun.  I've decided it's important to take little family vacations, even if they are short.  

So, on the trip down on Friday I asked Mark where we would be staying.  That's when he let me in on a little secret he was keeping...he didn't know where.  Being the planner that I am, this wasn't the best news, but he continued to let me in on his logic.  He had done A LOT of research on the area and learned that if you went to the Visitor Center and let them make the reservation when you arrive, you could save bunches of money.  He had actually already made reservations at a place, but cancelled them because he felt confident in his plan.  This frightened me, especially with the PGA being just a few miles away.  I knew it might be tough to find a suite (we've decided that's the only way to travel with kids) with so many people in town for the event.  

As soon as we arrived, we made our way to the Visitor's Center to hopefully get a room.   Mark was nervous when they said there were no suites available because of the PGA, but he asked them to try the place he had cancelled the reservation earlier in the week.  Miraculously there was one available and we got it for almost $100 cheaper than what we would have paid.  Mark's research definitely paid off and we got a room in the historic district, walking distance from pretty much everything.  It was such a unique place to stay and we loved it. 

Rosie LOVES hotels and the fact that this one had a hospitality suite with lemonade and cookies really pleased her! 
Did I mention they had apples?  Kiki approved! 
Excited to have a place to stay! 
Our Inn...The building was originally a three-story stationers warehouse (circa 1901).  It was all very historic.
 Our room
 We loved the high ceilings...
 ...and the separate bedroom.

After getting settled, we decided to do a little tour of the city.  We loved the market!  It was so fun.  

Getting ready to hit the town.

After our walking tour, we came back to the hotel to relax a little.  It was SOOOO hot out and it really zapped the energy right out of us.  We ended up taking naps before we got ready for dinner. 

We checked out the rooftop view before heading to dinner.
Rosie was all ready for some food!

We found a cute little Italian place to eat and really enjoyed ourselves.  After dinner we walked around the city for hours.  It is the coolest place!  The houses are so amazing.  I loved the historical feel of it all.  There were signs on many of the houses telling about when they were built and what historical figure lived there.  All of the houses had courtyards in between them that were so awesome.  We've decided we would love to live there one day.  

I just loved the look of this one.
We met the sweetest couple and talked to them for quite awhile.  We took a picture for them and they offered to take one for us, too.  For some reason, he decided that he really liked the lamp because he captured more of that than us!  He actually took three pictures, and this was the best!  
The Ocean View 
Hanging with my girl.  Disclaimer...As proud as I would be to say I had that much junk in my trunk, I have to be honest and admit that the wind was actually blowing my dress:)

 Some of the cool houses
 There were a lot of beautiful churches. 

On Saturday, we woke up bright and early and headed right to the beach to spend the morning.  Rosie had been to the beach, but didn't really remember and this was Kiki's first time.  

She wore an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini! 
Getting used to the cool water with daddy.
 Close up
 I love this man!  Thanks for planning such a great trip, darlin'! 
 Hanging with mommy in the water.
 This face cracked me up! 
More of Mommy and Kiki 
My girls and Me
Rosie loved finding shells

 We all got in on the action.
 Our attempt at a self portrait.
 Sweet little face. 
 Beach Babe
 She decided she did not want to crawl on the sand and walked everywhere.  It was the most she had walked.  It was great practice! 
Our girlies 
They seemed to love the beach!

After the beach, we headed back to the hotel to get showers and pack up.  We then went on a search for some lunch.  We have a gift of finding great hole-in-the-wall Mexican food and it didn't fail us this time.  After lunch, we spent the afternoon driving all around the area looking at the scenery and the houses.  It was great.  We finished off the trip at a little old fashioned ice cream shop where we each  got a treat.  Then it was back on the road to head home.

We had such a great time and if you are looking for a fun vacation spot, I would definitely recommend Charleston.  It has great food, history, shopping, the beach and so much more.  We will definitely be back!