Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Favorites!

HAPPY FRIDAY! It's gorgeous weather over here and the sunshine just is good for my soul. Today, I'm linking up with one of my favs, Narci,who is a host for this linkup! Feel free to grab the graphic, and share your Favorites too!  Here we go! 

1) Essential Oils-Y'all, I waited long enough to join the party. After my 17th sinus infection last (just kidding, but really, I did have about 5), I told my friend Shannon I was ready to purchase a kit. I am still an INFANT with this stuff, but OMG, if anything, I'm obsessed with diffusing the oils.  They smell SO GOOD and just make me take a big deep breath. I LOVE diffusing first thing in the morning during my quiet time. 

And raise your hand if your allergies are in FULL rebellion right now. This week mine have been driving me crazy.  So I've been diffusing some stuff that's good for allergies and also using the Thieves on my feet! I'm proud to say I haven't been to the doctor yet, and usually by now, that was where I typcially ended up after a week of allergies.  So here's to this new remedy! If you are interested in them, I'm sure my friend Shannon would love to help! She's super knowledgable!

2)  It STORMED here a few days ago, so we were hunkered down inside for the morning. And I must say, it was SO nice that the weather kept us in. Our weekdays are usually filled up, so I loved having an excuse to just be inside and play with G.  He is totally smitten with "Mom and Dad's BIG BED", and he loves to gather books and toys on it and climb up the "Mountain of Pillows".  At one point, I really just thought "these are the days".  

3) We are OFFICIALLY starting potty training tomorrow; kicking the morning off with a "Potty Party". I've got the Three Day Method PDF. The potty, the fun underwear, the stickers, the superhero underpants books, the Lysol spray, and the rewards basket. It's all ready.  Am I? NO. I am absolutely terrified. Now, I'm setting the bar LOW so I'm happy with ANY results.  Even my doctor told me: "There is NO such thing as potty training in 3 days". But I'm taking this woman's method and just doing intensive potty training for 3 days.  Hopefully that will start to get his head wrapped around it and we can go from there. 

I will say I had a blast putting together his treasure box. Seriously, if this won't make him potty train, I don't know what will. I guess if anything he'll have a heck of an Easter Basket. ; )  

I appreciate all prayers and advice. : ) 

4)  The Mississippi State Ladies Basketball team is in the FINAL FOUR! And the tournament is happening in DALLAS! We headed down to "Tourney Town" this morning at the American AirlinesCenter and had a blast! There were all types of games, competitions, and we even got a picture with the National Championship trophy. 

Greyson's "Aunt Meggie" (my BFF) sent him the most darling shirt just in time. She does the CUTEST stuff and can customize anything! Check out her Etsy store here!

5) So here's a fun one. Last night was the "standing appointment" with my home group girls at our favorite little Italian restaurant. For some reason, I was talking about the movie "Dirty Dancin" and my girl Melissa said "I love how you just drop the "g" at the end of every word. And I was like: "Well, the movie is called Dirty DANCIN." And they died y'all. I had to take to Google after dinner. And Google proved me wrong.  Due to my Southern drawl, I thought it was officially "Dirty Dancin" ALL. MY. LIFE. Mind blown.  

There it is. Plain as day.
Hope everyone has a great Friday! 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure...

Happy Hump Day to you! In a quick Google search, I saw this image and had to use it.

I love Wednesdays because we have Bible Study...I love the study and Greyson loves the Children's Program. It's amazing. Today his teacher told me: "Today we talked about how God is in CONTROL. Even though we weren't."  She still had a toucan puppet on her arm and there were 13 screaming toddlers running around her, so I was like: I feel you sister.

Anyway, I've mentioned before that I've been writing a post once a month for one of my favorite Mommy resources, Collin County Moms Blog. They report on all the fun events in the area and hot mommy topics! I figured I'd share over here since not all of you are local! 

This month I was inspired by random things and thoughts I have as I grow older. 

You can read all about it here.
Last month I shared a story from years ago about a super awkward encounter with my husband's boss.  He made a few assumptions about my stay-at-home-mommyhood.

And you can read all about THAT fun time here.

And here's some bonus posts that I really enjoyed this month too!  

Hope y'all have a GREAT HUMP DAY and we're one day closer to FRIDAY! (Which really means nothing as a stay-at-home-mom anymore, except that DADDY will be home!!! YAY!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Many the Miles...When the Grandparents Live Far Away

This month Greyson and I headed to Mississippi for Spring Break! (Daddy had to stay behind for work.) While some were posting pictures in front of Magic Kingdom, we were cruising around on my in-laws ATV and my Dad’s tractor. You can read all about our Spring Break trip here.

Since Greyson is not in school or involved in extra-curricular(s) yet, we like to head to the Pine Belt and cash in on some good grandparent time when we can! I admit, it’s hard raising a child 9 hours away from any family. I realize this is mild compared to others and I’m SO fortunate that we can hop on a one hour flight and be in my hometown. (That airport has one gate by the way…the same people that check you in load the luggage and wave the cones. And probably even fix the plane.)

I’m ashamed to say that sometimes I even find myself a bit jealous of people who have family that live close!  It would be SO NICE to have our parents here…. on the tough days, the crazy busy days, or especially the days where I’m sick and just need to lay in bed! And ya know y’all?  Sometimes you just NEED YOUR MAMA. Nevertheless, God has placed us here in the Lone Star State (for lots of reasons I believe). And even though it would be optimal to live closer, (where our parents would happily help at the drop of a hat) I will say that there are some positive things about the grands living far away.  I hope this sheds a little light if there are many miles between you and your family.   

I asked both our families about some things they actually liked about living far from their little grandson cherub, and here’s what they said:

1       1) Time is intentional/they feel more focused: This was the number one answer for both. Since it isn’t routine that we see each other, and trips are usually so planned out, they say that ALL their attention can be focused on Greyson and just enjoying him.  There’s no “wasted time” because they know they can get back to their ordinary schedule/tasks/to-do lists after we are gone.  Each activity and just watching him do his thing is truly treasured time to them. They can solely focus on making memories.

      2) They love traveling to Texas and getting to see/do something new! Everybody loves a change of scenery, and DFW definitely does not disappoint.  Not only do they get to see Greyson in his own “stomping grounds”, but there’s just something for everyone here.  They’ve fallen in love with McKinney, the Stockyards, the Arboretum, the SHOPPING, and of course the FOOD.  I love it because it also makes our home feel like their home too.
3    3) They get to just be FUN. Since our visits are limited time frames, it’s truly all about them just having fun with Greyson.  And honestly, I just kinda let them do what they want. (They still go by a general schedule, because Greyson has proved even to them that he does best on it.) Other than that, they go for it.  Pudding for lunch, ice cream for dinner.  Running around in the rain. Going shirtless.  I mean, isn’t that part of the fun of being a grandparent? Honestly, watching them I think has made me even loosen up a bit. ; ) 

And here are some positives that I personally glean from the distance:

       1)  It’s a SUPER special treat and adventure each time we get to see them. Now, I’m not saying that it’s NOT special to see the grands if you live close.  In fact, I lived super close to both sets of mine and saw them multiple times a week, and it was always special.  BUT, there is something super fun about flying on an airplane to see them, and see them waiting at the end of the terminal, or standing out in the yard watching for them to pull up after waiting several hours!  The older Greyson gets, the more excited he is to see CC & Pop or Nona & Papa! He is just jittery with excitement; it’s like he knows a BIG adventure is in store! (Definitely a BIG SPOILING!)

      2)  I get some guilt-free time “off”:  I am definitely a benefactor of our visits, because both sets of our parents are ready to be 100% hands on and in charge. Of course they love me too, but let’s face it; the main attraction is the little mister.  So most of the time when they arrive (or we go there), they pretty much tell me to GO do what I need or WANT to do! I do the slow backwards walk out the door…..and then squeal out on 2 tires. ; )  And honestly, I think it’s really good to leave them alone with G and let bond on their own (without feeling like the rules mama is hovering over them.)

       3)  It’s grown my confidence.  Honestly, I didn’t think I could raise a child far away from my family. When the two weeks were over that my mom/mother-in-law stayed after Greyson was born, I CRIED A RIVER of tears. I was terrified. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, and even though my husband is an amazing support, he had a job to go to! But with each small success (and some amazing friends that were a great support system), I slowly, I realized I COULD do it.  And now it’s just the life we live, and we don’t know any different!

And finally, here are a few tips if you are far away from the family:
           1)  Talk up the next visit! You can start early with this to get your kids excited about seeing the grands! Make a countdown or signs, cards, etc, for when you pick them up at the airport! How fun!

           2) If you know you’ll be doing a specific activity when you visit the grands (zoo/aquarium,etc.) and you KNOW your kid will want to buy something, help them “raise money” for their trip.  This can be a learning experience for them!

      3) Always tentatively plan the next trip before you depart from each other! This is the only thing that comforts my mother-in-law with goodbyes! If she knows she’ll be seeing Greyson in say, 2 months, the time seems to be more tangible.  

I   I hope this helped some of you see the silver lining if you are too far from family! 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Favorites

HAPPY FRIDAY to you! As usual, I'm linking up with Narci for Friday Favorites! 
1) It was Western Wear week at school.  (Greyson goes Tuesday and Thursday.) Y'all know how much I love a theme! So this is like my love language. I didn't want to spend a fortune, because contrary to popular belief, Texans actually do not wear boots and cowboy hats every day.  So I hit up my favorite children's consignment store, Once Upon a Child, and sure enough they had exactly what I needed.  I scored some plaid shirts and Carhartt overalls.  I found a hat at Hobby Lobby, and hit the JACKPOT with this belt buckle for $1 on the clearance aisle.  He was the cutest little cowboy I ever did see. 

2) I spotted this blog post this week and it really spoke to me! It is titled: "What If All I want is a Mediocre Life?" I get sort of wrapped up sometimes in whether I'm supposed to be "doing more" or "want more" (purpose, that is) and I feel like society tells us we are supposed to.  Like, if we don't have these huge, dramatic dreams, we really just aren't achievers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

3) Our refrigerator kicked the bucket on Sunday and Lord have mercy, have I been taking my fridge for granted. (You can read about how I handled this monumental appliance breakdown here.) Therefore, eating and cooking meals has been super difficult, especially since J was out of town; even if I wanted to cook, there was NO PLACE for the leftovers!  So we've essentially been living on peanut butter jelly, chips, and squeezables. (IT DID NOT HELP that my hubby was in West Palm Beach and eating at all the FINE DINING establishments they have to offer.) By Wednesday, I was over it, and Greyson and I had a lunch date at Sugar and Spice, a little cafe I've been wanting to try.  It was delicious homemade deli food and a counter FULL of goodies. We had the best time and after a 25 minute debate, Greyson finally picked "the bunny cookie."

Maybe ONE day, I'll be having tea parties. This is it for now though.
4) Greyson and I finally made our first Texas Dirt Cheap run and had a big time. Again....I'm warning you-this is a place you will dig...but that's the fun of it! They had a ton of Target stock, so I picked up a Paw Patrol blanket (for $3), a Camelbak bottle, and some Sperry shoes for G ($4!). 

G was SUPER interested in this tiny Barbie doll car. 

And then he found the BIG WHEELS. This took some super negotiation to get out of the store without this thing.

5) In light of point #2 above, I started reading Jeanie Allen's Nothing to Prove this week. This is my first book of hers; I keep hearing about Restless, but the description of this one really grabbed me! It's SOOO GOOD Y'ALL. If you struggle with validation/performance, this book is for you! Check it out!

Hope everyone has a FABULOUS WEEKEND! 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

In a Funk

Sunday was just not the day I had envisioned.  Between the January stomach virus apocalypse, to February travel, to our Spring Break trip, I feel like we've missed a lot of church this year! I hate it, because we are in the middle of a great Exodus series and I just love seeing my people at church! 

THIS SUNDAY was finally a "normal" Sunday. We were all in town. We were healthy. We were awake on time. We even both had showers. Jeremie and I walked into the kitchen to start Lil G's breakfast and we opened the fridge.....and found darkness. Everything was home but the lights were not on.  Nor was the coolness. It had totally kicked the bucket during the night. So we immediately began Operation Ice Chest. Save everything that is worth saving. Jeremie did have to buy the large white one on the right, but I'm almost ashamed to say that the other three were actually in the garage. (Where one ice chests is good, 5 are better, right?) I will vouch that the football one belongs to our Michigan friends. (Funny thing is that a totally different Michigan friend made fun of it when I sent her this pic...#birdsofafeather)

Needless to say, this took a good while so we had to ditch our church efforts.  I was so disappointed. Realizing that there was no handy man available on a perfectly good Sunday, we decided to make the most of the beautiful weather and head to one of our favorite parks.  The problem was, Greyson wasn't feelin' it.  I guess he needed Jesus that day, because he was in total rebellion.

He completely despised everything on the {amazing} playground.  The ride around the lake in his red wagon (that HE insisted we bring) was not his fancy. The brand new little basketball that J bought him that morning (an EXACT replica of our neighbor's that he obsessed over the day before) was completely absurd to him.  Honestly, you KNOW I love my little cherub, but at one point, J and I looked at each other like:  "And WHY did we decide to become parents?" 

I couldn't even get a decent selfie to lie on social media and convince the world that we were soaking in the beauty of the day and the magic of quality time. 

We muscled through lunch at McAllisters because we didn't feel like diggin' through the ice we had just so carefully packed everything in to find lunch material.

About that time, we realized Greyson MIGHT NOT be demon possessed, but perhaps sick. Cause he was showing all the signs.  Sure enough when we got home, his temperature was 101.2. Sweet. Nobody was happy. We were all feeding off each others' irritability.

Please know that I KNOW these are first world problems. I am super grateful for my family and all that I have. But I don't think it's wrong to just be plain frustrated. In FACT, I really was thinking about the verses "Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds" (James 1:2) and "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17) Now, I realize that the biblical writers weren't writing about the normal frustrations of a day.  But I do think that how we repeatedly handle normal frustrations says something about what we think about God, and in turn, has eternal implications.

That being said...I DON'T HANDLE THEM WELL. Or on this day, I didn't. I tend to have a better "Jesus Take the Wheel" mind set when it's something BIG. Sickness. Loss of job. House fire. When I have absolutely NO control, I seem to hand it over (or UP I guess) more easily. In a day that just kinda "stunk", I showed no control over my mood, and instead, just decided on a bad one.

I let the funk seep into the next morning.  During my quiet time, I told God: "You know I have a bad attitude right now.  I'm in a funk.  I'm sorry.  So just please give me mercy and grace in this. Help me stop and just take hold of joy." 

And LISTEN to what one of the reference verses in my study was after that: "Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) 

Ummm...YES PLEASE. I'm sorry, but if that isn't the audible voice of God I don't know what is. I've read this verse a million times, and it's never hit me like this before.  I think I've sort of skimmed over the "receive mercy and find grace" portion, and gone straight to the "in times of need ".  Therefore, I've attributed this verse to traditional "prayer requests".  Now, of course we can approach the throne in any type of prayer request because God loves his people and he hears our prayers. But this verse is talking more about our weaknesses, our inner struggles. The previous verse says: "For we do not have a high priest {Jesus} who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin." When he walked the earth as a human, he experienced the BIG things. Bigger than we will ever imagine or endure. But he also endured all the little things. As a carpenter, I bet his tools broke mid-project. Ugh. I bet he made the wrong measurement a few times. I'll bet some people complained about his work and I bet some of his tasks felt super mundane sometimes.

And that is why He can offer mercy (freedom from judgement) and grace (undeserved kindness.) Because he understands. Because He loves us SO unconditionally that he desires to lavish us with mercy and grace even during times of "weaknesses".  And because there is no shame in bringing these things to Him, because He's already paid the price for our judgement. He is the only source that can pour out this type of love.  Humans would be all comparing who had the more "legitimate" weakness and telling each other to get over it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go pour fresh ice over our 72 ice chests.  If you're wondering the fridge IS FIXED. We just have to wait 24 hours for it to cool down enough to put anything back in. DUH.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Break 2017!

Whew.....we returned a week ago from our Spring Break Trip and still trying to get ourselves in gear.  Am I the only one that's STRUGGLIN' with the time change?!  I look up it's like 7:00 p.m.!!! And I'm all: "We need to MOVE IT PEOPLE! We've got dinner to eat, baths to take, toys to pick up, stories to read!" We often eat dinner peacefully after G goes to bed, but he's been going to bed so late that it's literally been like 9:30 before I've sat down to eat dinner.  Craziness.  

Anyway, without further's a recap of our fabulous Spring Break 2017. 

We left on an early flight from DFW.  Trying to wrangle a toddler in a airport is like trying to baptize a cat.  Hence the monkey leash. It is my friend. Judge. Judge away.  I'll ask you two questions though: 1) Do you have a toddler? 2) Have you seen Taken? No thank you, my friends. G can escape my eyesight in two shakes of a lambs tail. In the time it takes me to put my license back in my wallet, he could be halfway to the sky tram. 


Flying with a toddler is also like carrying a ticking time bomb, because any way you slice it, you are about 3 hours away from a complete four alarm meltdown. Any delays, malfunctions, or long lines on the tarmac is one step closer to a missed nap, lunchtime, or heaven forbid, a diaper situation. Praise all that is holy, our flight left on time with no issues!  

Greyson was a complete dream on the flight. Granted it was only one hour, but I was pretty proud of him.  I came in with guns blazing though. From experience, I've learned toddlers need something to distract them from the fact that they're confined to a small space.  So I hit up the Dollar Tree and Target $1 aisle and loaded up on cheap stickers, Hot Wheels and other goodies.  I put them in the small clear Christmas bags so they looked like "presents".  My plan was to have a new "present" every 15 minutes.  On this flight, I actually only used ONE of them! He enjoyed eating his snack on the tray too, so I just kept my little bag for the return flight. In which we used EVERY SINGLE PRESENT within 20 minutes. We can't fool them. They are SMARTER THAN US.


We arrived in Jackson, MS and I love that the first thing I saw was a Mississippi State add that said "Welcome to Our State". You go Dawgs. #alumni #hailstate


My friend Meg picked us up and we met my parents in Meridian to drop off Lil G.  (We were on our way to a girls weekend in Huntsville, AL.) 

I handed G to a very happy CC and Pop and me and Meg were like "Peace OUT". 

 My mom of course packed us care packages, so we talked non stop, ate chocolate, and drank sweet tea all the way to Huntsville. I have no idea what we talked about for 4 hours, but we NEVER. STOPPED. #winnersneverquit

This would be a Slim Jim from our care package. #momsgonewild
Meanwhile, my mom sent me this picture.

It was a miracle.  He made it all morning, through the flight and everything, and finally passed out on the way to their house. 
We arrived in Hunstville and met up with Mary, our third counterpart for dinner. I've been partying with these ladies since 2004. We've been through it ALL together.  All the things. We had a blast at dinner catching up. 

Meg and I stayed in a hotel, so we slept late, ate some free waffles, made a shopping run, and headed to watch Mary's little princess in her FIRST dance recital! Meg and I have boys, so the Monster Jam is more on our docket.  Being able to participate in something girly was so fun! Sweet Emmaline did so good! Meg and I danced along to "Uptown Funk" in the back like the two embarrassing Aunts we are. 

We had a cupcake party for her afterwards, complete with pink and white tutu toppers. 


Meanwhile, here's what MY child was doing...
Riding a pig. He stayed with my in-laws through the weekend and got to see his Cousin Judah! They owned the Zoo.

Doesn't J look just a tad bit like his Dad?! Crazy.

 We headed back to MS the next my ALL BOY little boy.  No more pink tutus. ; )

I LOVED the weekend with my girlfriends, but I don't stay away from G too much and I really missed him! I stayed with my in-laws the next couple of days, so I enjoyed getting to play "construction site" in their yard and getting to visit with them.

We headed to CC and Pop's for the next few days and it'd be an understatement to say he was completely spoiled. 

Ice cream is provided on demand.

Greyson even tried to convince CC to take him out in the rain.
I was a little spoiled myself, as I declared that Wednesday "Professional Development Day".  I had a haircut, did some shopping, and ate a meal at a nice restaurant by myself! You can read all about it here. ( need to plan your PDD now!)

The rest of the week we just relaxed and hung out with family! A trip to my grandparent's farm, and a ride on the four-wheeler, tractor, and dump truck is always in order. Seriously, my parent's place is like a little boy's amusement park.  

And what's a trip to MS without a little metal detecting.  My sister is relentless. She will be the one that makes it big in the family. For a lot of reasons. 
During nap time, I spent a couple of days cleaning out my childhood closet. My dear parents have let me hoard my stuff there long enough. The writing was on the wall. You're 32. Take your stuff. I admit, I actually enjoyed this activity.  I found some gems y'all. 

First up, my "pencil collection".  This was a thing, people. Look at all the shiny designs and fresh unused  erasers. I do remember the Lion King one being a PRIZE find. In the end, I had some laughs and said goodbye. #nopencilleftbehind 

Then of course, the pictures. They ranged from my chunky toddler pics, to my missing two front teeth, to the layered "Rachel" haircut, to the many many prom dresses. I love this one....I see a LOT of Lil G in this.  Look at those perfectly placed little hands. #rulesfollower

I even found one of my pageant crowns, the "Miss Hospitality" crown to be specific. And I just had to do a photo shoot in front of the unicorn poster that still adorns the inside of my closet door. I believe that was a 5th grade book fair find.

But the greatest find of ALL was my old diaries.  Y'all. I didn't realize I kept such a dedicated log of my fairly uneventful life. Apparently, I thought it was QUITE eventful, because there's even one diary (shaped like a piano if you will) that has a lock and I DO NOT HAVE THE KEY. They were hysterical. Hysterical. There was more teeny-bopper language and slang than a Babysitters Club book. I died. Apparently I was dying over my middle school boyfriend (whose name I will not divulge but the entire town of Petal could)  because an endless amount of entries were about him and how we were supposed to be together: 4-EVA. Yes. 

Our Auntie Amy came down a few days, because she loves my child as much as I do. And we enjoyed hitting the zoo again with her and CC. The train ride was a favorite. 


And so was this guy. 


This man was working on one of the zoo exhibits, shoveling some dirt into a wheelbarrow, which to G qualifies as a CONSTRUCTION SITE. Greyson could have watched this man all day. He ended up giving G a dollar to feed the animals so we had to get a picture. Friendly people like this just are the light of the world y'all. And here's our Taylor girl pic...isn't it only took 72 tries. You should see the outtakes.


After naptime, Greyson and CC made an little chocolate treat. 


We left on a SUPER EARLY flight to return home, which was awesome since the time changed that very night. Strugglin. 4:45 felt like 3:45. G was a pretty good flyer on the way back. He did go through my entire bag of tricks and request that we switch seats mid flight. Whoever made it mandatory to purchase an extra seat when they turn 2 knew what they were talking about. 

We missed "DADA" so much and were so happy to see him! I wish I would've taken a video when we got off the plane, because G ran all the way through the terminal and into baggage claim yelling: "DADA??? DADA???" It was adorable! 

And that was Spring Break 2017!  I don't need a wild time or fancy places. Just give me a couple grandmothers and some mornings to sleep in and I'm a happy camper. And I love watching all of our parents get to spend some time with G. Since we live far away, we don't get to see them as often as we like, so when we do, it's always a special treat and an adventure. 

I hope your Spring Break was amazing!