Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I Made Either the Dumbest or Smartest Decision...

...but my head is pounding and the ringing in my ears is too loud so I'm not sure which one it is.

Today, I decided to give up sugar, all forms, and soda.

See, here's the thing.  I've been eating mostly junk all summer.  At least.  But even last year, when I spent most of my days out of the house, I ate junk.  I packed a lunch, obviously.  However, the grocery stores were just kinda right there.  Selling fruit snacks and veggie straws and gluten-free bars.  

I've tried to do a kind of step down thing but I start to feel bad and I know some quick sugar will fix it and so I give in.  

Personality insight about myself, I'm an all or nothing girl.  

I'm either running like it's my job and pushing myself to the limits.  Or I'm sitting on the couch scanning Pinterest.

There's really no in between.

Thankfully, for me, I really enjoy exercise.  It's not a punishment to run.  I like a good sweat.  The way I feel AFTER the run, it's worth it.

The Celiac's keeps me in check with most of my favorite starches.  Eating a butter, garlicy, warm piece of bread?  Twelve hours of pain and days of recovery.  Otherwise, me and Little Debbie would be besties.  

I've known for months I needed to make a change.  But, getting to that point of actually doing it?  Not easy.  I've already given up bread, pasta, cakes, cookies and eating out in public without being a complete DIVA about my food.  

I hate being that girl.  

So to voluntarily give up anything else, that feels like too much.  

However.  Although.  

Chris loves to quote the the definition of insanity.  Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.  

My level of hunger had reached uncontrollable.  I was sitting and mindlessly eating just because I could.  I would fill up and then be hungry again in an hour.  I didn't need food.  My body was addicted to the sugar.  

So in my reset of my health, I have to make this change.  

I couldn't keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect to feel better.

I'm certain it won't be a forever change.  Just a time for me to get my system back under control.  Go back to eating real food and not sugary junk.  Even without Little Debbie as an option.  

Here's just the super funnest part:  I feel like crap.

I've figured out drinking massive amounts of water and putting salt on my food helps with the nausea.  So far though, nothing is helping the incredibly headache.  My joints ache.  And could fall asleep any minute.  

Whatever.  It's fine.  

I'm hopeful this won't last too long.  A couple of days.  I ran this morning and I have every intention of running tomorrow.  Because I do firmly...FIRMLY...believe exercise is healing.  I've out run too many colds to count.  Experience tells me, while it might not cure all the withdrawal symptoms, it just might help end them sooner or ease them enough to function.

Anyone out there have any experience with a sugar elimination diet?  I'm working with a low carb diet.  High fat, moderate protein, minimal carbs.  Yes, it's extreme but, like I said, I don't do anything half-way.  

Goodbye Cheerios and hello cheese.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Last Summer Hurrah...

Happy Monday, y'all!  Anyone do anything fun this weekend?  I mean other than my mom.  She ran almost 11 miles.  That's enough fun for just about all of us.  

I'm slowly working my way back up to a solid run pace.  This time around, I'm determined not to get used to the treadmill and it's steady, flat running space.  I mean, I LOVE it.  But if I'm gonna conquer the half again in February, I need to be able to run with some change in elevation.

My goal is a 10K at the end of October.  I've been getting in between 4 and 5 so far but I haven't been running all of that.  Mostly?  I'm walking UP hill and running DOWN hill or on flat ground.  I'll work up to running up hill.  I have to rebuild some quad strength first.  

Today I tackled a little over five.  Because it was only 70 degrees.  And that is blissful.  I'm hopeful running in slightly cooler temps will help me push through.  

And approximately none of that did anyone want to know.  

Sorry.

Okay, so Friday, the kids were out of school.  Teacher work day.  Although I hear it was region meetings and such instead of teachers being able to actually WORK in their classrooms.  I'm not positive, because I didn't look it up or anything, but based on the number of people at the Zoo on Friday, we were the only school system out.

The Zoo was basically empty.  Just toddlers and their mommas.  Which is totally fine with us.  We had a blast.

Our Zoo has a splash pad.  It's extra to go but it's totally worth it.  The Zoo was getting set up for their annual fundraiser that weekend so the kids' area and petting zoo were closed.  The kids were kinda bummed but the splash pad made up for it.

AK brought the camera she got for her birthday and took a zillion pictures.  She loves that thing.  And it was totally worth the five bucks from a trading site.  

Here she is holding her camera, ready to shoot!  Rhys, as always, needed a snack break all of ten minutes in.  We saw the gorilla and, more importantly, the baby gorilla, and he needed a break.  


Truth be told, we only walked the zoo for about an hour total.  We ate lunch at 10:50.  And that took some serious stalling tactics to make it that far.  They really just wanted to go to the splash pad.

So we did.





They played, ate, played, ate, played, and ate for three hours.  The water was cold, according to AK but considering it was 95 degrees and sunny, I gave her a big ole WHATEVER and kicked her back out into the water.  

Rhys complained about nothing.  Water play is his happy place.  

As for me, I managed to read half a book.  I drank and read and talked with AK and gave out snacks and read and drank.  Also, I sweated.  But I tried to take a walk through the water every 30 minutes or so just to cool off.  

Sadly, the splash pad closes this week.  Summer lasts all the way through September here. I wish all the pools and water parks were open past Labor Day but they close.  At least we were able to have one last water play day!  

Both kids promptly fell asleep in the car.  Rhys was out before I even made it to the interstate (about five minutes) and AK gave up about half way home.  It's a quick 25 minute drive.  Easy peasy.  I let them sleep another 30 minutes once we got home.  It's a rough job to read a book peacefully in the car, but someone has to do it.

Once they woke up, we had about 15 minutes before our friends from across the street came over.  Then they invited us over for pizza and movie night.  I was grateful for the nap since the kids didn't get in bed until 9 pm.  

I mean, really.  My kids are living the dream, y'all.  Zoo and splash pad.  Playtime with friends.  Pizza and movie night.  

Living. The. Dream.

However.  HOWEVER.  Saturday might have been the best day of them all.

The kids still got up before the sun.  Because God has a sense of humor. 

After my run, I took a shower and Chris left for his day of band.  But by 9:30 am, the kids were playing with the neighbor friends.  And they continued to play together until 6:30 pm.  

They went back and forth.  An hour here.  Two there.  They ate lunch there (Lunchables) and dinner here (hot dogs).  There was sidewalk chalk.  And coloring pages.  And swinging.  And OH MY HEAVENS.  We have hit the sweet spot of childhood.  They play.  I do laundry, craft and watch football.

It's BLISSFUL.

So while they were playing, I managed to do all my chores and make the third wreath for the door.  This one is fabric only, so here's hoping it doesn't melt.  

Fade, likely.  But watch as pieces slowly slide off?  Nope.


Neighborhood friends are THE BEST.

Until they get tired of each other.  Which I am certain will happen at some point.  But I'm praying not until after October.  When marching band stuff ends.  Cause this band widow thing is awesome when they have friends to entertain them!  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Gratitude Friday...

Welcome to the second week in a row for Gratitude Friday!

I feel like this a huge win for the week.  

It's not been a bad week.  It's been a good week, actually.  But I'm staring down the barrel of a three day weekend.  Band widow for two of those days, and I'm, well, SUPER EXCITED.

How quickly I forget how to do the awesome threesome!  

Sigh.

Last night, we attended our first Spirit Night at CFA for AK's elementary school.  She got to see her teacher and it might have been the highlight of her six long years.  Her teacher is a delight.  And she seems to get Aubrey Kate.  That's a good thing.  

I mentioned yesterday, the conversations AK and her sweet friend have while walking home from school are simply amazing.  I thought I'd share one of my favorites.

And recent.  Because they have so many, I forget quickly.

Apparently, in the walkers line at the end of the day Wednesday, a little boy who sits at AK's table kissed her on her head.  AK had tried to bribe him not to with her friendship bracelet.  She doesn't know a thing about boys.  Clearly.  He turned down the bribe and plopped a nice kiss on the side of her head.

(Yes.  We discussed louder protests.  Perhaps calling a teacher.  Yelling no.  Whatever it takes.  Except bribery.  That doesn't work.)

So our little friend, she starts telling AK that at her previous school she used to kiss boys all the time.

Of course, she told that story with a slight bit MORE drama than you are imagining.

At the end of this sweet kissing story, Aubrey Kate... well... her eyes roll up to the heavens and she started fanning herself with her hands while loudly proclaiming, "OH MY GOSH!"

Y'all.

She was mere moments away from needing the smelling salts.

Had she been wearing the good pearls, she'd have TOTALLY been clutching them.  
Aubrey Kate.  Six going on sixty.

Y'all should see her with her sweater wrapped around her shoulders and the top button buttoned.  It's everything a grandmother would love.

Here's the truth:  I love listened to these two little people everyday.  Love.  It.  

I thought, going into this season of having both kids at school for the first time, I would be scratching at the walls to be doing something...more.  

And some days, I am.  

(I've attempted to make a wreath that will NOT melt for my front door twice.  This week.)  

(That's not normal, y'all.)  

But for the most part, I am incredibly grateful I can be home to walk the kids to and from school.  Grateful I can hear their conversations.  Grateful I can pass along all the dramatic details to our sweet friend's momma.  Grateful the kids can play here while work-from-home parents wrap up their days in relative quiet.  Grateful for precious giggles as girls attempt to make friendship bracelets.  Grateful for princess dresses and half-eaten apples.  Grateful Rhys and I get some additional time together just the two of us cooking dinner while the girls cook up their own meals at Aubrey Kate's kitchen.  

Being a stay-at-home mom is not the easiest job.  It's certainly not the hardest.  There are a great many sacrifices.  But I'm not even trying to compare my stress level with a full-time or even part-time working mom.  I've done both of those.  They're the real deal hard.  My world is fairly simple at the moment.  

And I'm doing my best to stay in this season and enjoy every second of it.

Kinda like it's a warm sweater wrapped delicately around my shoulders.  Top button securely fastened.  Just as my sixty year old daughter would want.  


Thursday, September 22, 2016

School House Rock...

The kids have been in school for a month now.  I think we are settling in to a routine.  

Praise be.

So I the spirit of keeping the grandparents up to date on our little life, thought I'd give a little recap of school and how things have been going so far.  

First, we are super excited about being in this school system.  Having spent the last five years in quite the wealthy, white bubble, we were anxious to get into something more diverse.  Not sure I would have said that five or ten years ago.  And not because I was opposed to diversity.  More because you don't realize how much you will miss something until it's no longer there.  

Our school system is almost an even breakdown of 30% African American, 30% Hispanic and 30% white.  Our elementary school is a Title 1 school with 70% on free lunch program.

And yet, they are SUCCESSFUL.  

Actually, they are beyond successful.  They are KILLING. IT.  

During my half-marathon training runs, I listened to a "This American Life" episode titled, "The Problem We All Live With."  In it, the journalists and educators discussed the one successful tool for bridging the gap between poor and wealthy schools and success rates.  More specifically, between white and black.  And the one thing that has proven to work is the one thing we never talk about anymore.

Integration.

It was eye-opening.  

The entire episode made me a little uncomfortable.  Not because I disagreed but because the conversation had to be had at all.  But it does.  And it will continue to be a necessary narrative.  Perhaps more now than ever.

What we did not want for our children is for them to live in a bubble of wealth and people who look, think and act just like they do.  We wanted them to be in a classroom with people of all colors and all faiths and all cultures.  

Our world grows increasingly larger and simultaneously smaller.  My grandparents' world consisted of the people in their town.  Maybe their state.  Sometimes, their country.  My world was slightly larger.  I mean, I got my first email address in college.  So clearly, I was globally aware.  But my kids?  Their world will be enormous.  They will have unprecedented access to other cultures and viewpoints and faiths.  

Letting them figure out how to navigate those differences when they've spent a childhood void of any sort of cross-cultural, cross-racial exposure seems, at its best, naive, and at it's worst, fearful.

The good news?  God knew our hearts.  He knew the exact right school, exact right neighborhood, exact right street to put us on.  



Our neighborhood sits directly across the street from Aubrey Kate's elementary school.  So we walk.  Twice a day.  To and from.  Honestly, it feels so "Mayberry-esq" to me.  Like we're in a small town where everyone can walk everywhere.  It's about half a mile from our door to her school door.  That's two miles of walking a day.  But, heavens, we're doing it so slowly, it takes four miles worth of time.

Kindergartners are not known for their great sense of urgency.  

And AK, especially, has never been in a hurry to one single thing in her entire life.  



Rhys finds himself mostly unable to walk either to or from.  Sometimes he can manage to walk to but not from.  Other times not from but to.  So he rides in the stroller.  

Listen.  Don't judge me.  It's not the parenting hill I want to die on.  I'm not gonna push him into his first college lecture.  It's fine.

(And let's not forget he's four.  Two miles a day is a bit much for four year old legs.  No matter how much energy he has.  Plenty of full-grown adults don't walk two miles a day.)

(I'm not pointing fingers or naming names.  In case you're feeling all offended.)

One of AK's classmates lives across the street from us.  Those girls have become fast friends.  She walks with us to and from every day.  Listening to them talk is the MOST ADORABLE THING EVER.  I can't even stand some of their conversations.  



I've also met several other mommas in the neighborhood.  And a couple of grandparents.  We all walk at the same time.  Obviously.  I love getting to visit with them.  We're planning a breakfast one morning after we drop the kids off.  

Y'all.  Neighbors.  Real.  Actual.  Neighbors.  It's an answer to prayer.  

AK loves her teacher but, true to AK form, she doesn't enjoy all the kids who don't follow the rules.  Like last year, she simply cannot understand why kids talk during lunch instead of eat.  Or can't manage to obey the rules in art and so the class doesn't get to finish their projects.  I'm not entirely sure the teachers are guilt-tripping the whole class based on the behavior of a few but AK is feeling that unfairness strongly.

Bless her.  

The girl came into the world with a heighten sense of justice and injustice.  Not simply right and wrong.  More of an understanding of things not being equal.  She notices it everywhere.  I notice it no where.  Or at least a lot less than I realized.  Anyway, she has a hard time telling me about the unicorn project she was finally able to complete in art class because she has to...HAS TO...tell me why it took three weeks to finish it to start with.  Has to talk about the other kids taking too many bathroom breaks.  

She'll say, "Well, we have a situation with the bathroom and the overuse of the privilege."  

I feel like that's her teacher talking but good night, AK can totally say that all by herself.

And as expected, AK is struggling to connect with the other kids.  Her teacher thinks this is because she's done Kinder before and is more mature than the other kids.  

I don't.  

I know this to be the exact reason we had her repeat the year to start with.  The work is easy to her.  So she says.  She'll complain about working on her numbers because she already knows her numbers.  But working with sight words?  We're still not quite there.  However, since the work is not incredibly taxing or even new, she's able to just be her usual anxious self.  My fear was if the work was hard and she was anxious, she could easily fall behind.  

This way, she's only navigating adjusting to a bigger class size and kids not following the rules.  



On the other hand, there is Rhys.  

And he is nothing but joyful and excited and loving school.

Rhys is learning how to play well with others.  He has a class full of boys and, well, they play.  Hard.  He likes his teacher and he likes the other boys.  He's already declared one boy as his "best friend."  But he also comes home with a zillion tall tales about hitting and punching and being attacked by bears.  I can't tell what's true and what's not.  

Although, obviously he hasn't been attacked by a bear at his preschool.  

His imagination is so vibrant and he's definitely in the stage of telling stories.  Not because he means to be lying.  Just because he's imagining.  If there has been an issue, and there's only been one where he scratched his arm on a piece of equipment, his teacher tells me.  The rest, I have to listen and take with a grain of four year old salt.


Rhys' preschool is a new concept to us.  It's located inside a gymnastics building.  They have a classroom and the whole preschool setup.  But they believe (as do I), kids learn through play.  Most everything they learn is through a game of some sort.  And if for some reason, they are having a hard time sitting for story-time, the teacher simply takes a break and they all go run and climb and jump in the gym.  

It's like heaven in preschool form for our active little guy.  

Now, the teacher doesn't take any slack off the kiddos.  She runs a tight ship.  But she has a fantastic understanding of inattention, fidgeting, hyper-activity and general misbehavior as a motivation for change.  It's a developmental milestone.  Being able to sit for longer and longer periods of time.  Doing more writing and coloring.  

I remember when AK went from her three year old class to her four year old class.  She was MISERABLE.  And I genuinely believe it's because she was not yet ready for pre-K work.  She did not enjoy more writing and less free play.  She hated the additional structure to center time.  She spent the entire first semester crying almost every day after school.

When you know better, you do better.

I see those same tendencies in Rhys.  He JUST this summer decided coloring with a crayon was worthy of his time.  He loves it.  It's not his go to activity but he does enjoy doing it.  But no way he's ready to try writing his name.  Heck, he doesn't even know his letters and numbers.  

The other preschools in town were pretty set on making him go into the four year old pre-K class.  I could not imagine doing that again.  I'd already seen AK fight it.  And we thought she was ready.  We KNOW Rhys is not.  This preschool allows Rhys to be Rhys.  He's learning his letters, practicing his writing, coloring AND climbing a rope ladder.  

Rhys gets to just be a kid.  Sweaty, active, energetic KID.

Plus.  There's the additional benefit of the teacher being from the UK.  So she pronounced and recognized Rhys' name right away.  She actually said, "Oh!  The Welsh spelling of the name!  Brilliant!"

Listen.  You had me at "Welsh," Ms. Ally.

Just like AK's school, Rhys' preschool is a rainbow of colors and cultures.  I adore it. 

Other than school, both kids decided to take gymnastics this semester.  We love watching "American Ninja Warrior" in the summer.  I genuinely believe that motivated them to give gymnastics a try.  They take from the gym where Rhys goes to school.  That means we get a serious discount for his classes.  And overall, this is significantly cheaper than dance classes. 

AK isn't entirely sold.  She likes it okay.  She's declared the beam to be sooooo easy.  Although, she falls off.  Bars are her favorite.  Bless her, she's as limber as her parents.  Which is to say, not at all.  I never even learned how to do a cartwheel.  I'm hoping she at least learns that much.  It'll help her when she decides to go back to dance.  And I feel certain that will happen.  We just gave her the hard lecture about once she committed to doing gymnastics, she had to do it the entire semester.  

For his part, Rhys is IN LOVE with it.  He is just so darn good in class.  He follows directions and listens.  It's a thing of beauty.  I think once he gets a little older, I'll see about getting him into a more of a Ninja Warrior type class.  They have those now.  Complete with competitions in certain age groups.  He'll excel at this kind of stuff.  Being that he could dead climb the kitchen cabinets at 18 months old.  Obviously, he's part monkey.

The kids are mostly a delight.  Or a nightmare.  There's no in-between really.  They're either playing well or we're coloring together or even "cooking" together.  And life is so sweet.

Or, I'm a glorified umpire.  

Which is my least favorite title.  

We are excited around here, though.  I expect this to be just the best year.  Honestly.  

And you can be guaranteed lots of hilarious material from those walks to and from school.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

One Month In: The Latest House Tour...

So maybe this should say "Part 1" because there's no way I can cover the entire house in one post.  

Only because I really like the house and not in any way because our house is some sort of gigantic McMansion.  

It's not.

What it is, though, is ours.  And "ours" makes it my favorite.  

Some background on the house, we had all of about three days to sell our piece of paradise and buy our next place.  Paradise or not.  

Three days.

Thankfully, our place sold, twice, in that time frame.  

In the meantime, we saw almost every house in our price range.  21 houses.  

We like to think we're not overly picky.  And we're fast.  Our realtor, who got to spend some quality time with us for the second year in a row, thought we should only plan to see ten in a day.  Chris was all, call him back and tell him we'll see 15.  We're fast.

And we were.  

For the most part, we know what we need, what we can change, what we can't and what type of location.  This time, we really needed a yard.  We couldn't move back into the .13 acre yard we had.  And we knew we couldn't afford the third of an acre we were leaving.  A pool would have been wonderful but, more important, was a yard for the kids to run and play.

That's a tall order.

Most every house we saw either had a good house and no yard or a great yard and an unworkable house.  Or, as in the case of one place, a nice amount of both but some really questionable remodeling and HORRIBLE paint.  Those owners were under the false impression the work they'd done was AMAZING and priced it accordingly.  

Only not.

All that to say, the house we landed in was the best of the best out of those houses on the market during those three days.

How's that for a build up?

At this point, you're CRAZY excited to see what kind of hovel we are living in.

We love the house.  Truly.  It just needs and needed some elbow grease.  The house had been a rental property for years.  According to our neighbors, it's been a revolving door of people.  Lots of people equals some pretty nasty carpet, beaten up walls, general repairs for things like toilets and sinks.  Not to mention an over grown exterior.  

So, work.

Since we were working with a razor thin time frame, we didn't have time to do any of that before we moved in.  Ideally, painting and floors would have been done before we put all of our stuff inside.  BUT, we needed to be in the house so AK could start school.  We moved in on a Saturday and we walked her to school on Monday morning.

What we COULD do was some kitchen updates.  There's an entire post coming about the kitchen updates.  For now, we've done new counter tops, back splash and all new appliances.  

This time around, having Chris here to get the big items up on the walls has been the challenge.  With band camp and school starting, he's been a little busy.  He worked really hard on getting the garage set up too.  That's mostly done now too.

ANYWAY.  There's some background on our latest house.  We do really love it!  We miss our pool.  FOR SERIOUS.  But the trade off has been sweet neighbors to play with and more living space for us to hang out in.  

And our closets.  

They are things of beauty.

Okay, done with the talking.  On to the pictures!


Front door!  Yes, that's a fall wreath.  Because I'm hoping decorating for fall will remind the summer to kindly MOVE ON DOWN THE ROAD.  It was 100 degrees here today.  

Summer.  Leave already.

The poor front door needs a good paint job.  It's been beaten up something awful.  I tried cleaning it but that only made the nicks and scratches shinier.

Also, the front of our house gets afternoon sun.  Which is literally MELTING my wreaths.  I took this picture in the morning.  The wreath is now on my dining room table awaiting repair.  With what, I have no idea.  The heat is melting even super glue.  Any suggestions?


Walking in the door is the dining room.  Listen, we could open up our dining room table and seat twelve people.  And still have room.  It's, by far, our largest dining room.  

Also, I clearly was not kidding about decorating for fall.  It was the last box I unpacked.  And I did that Saturday night.  So instead of putting it away, I simply decorated.  Why not?


This is the entrance wall.  The piano is here.  It's that big black thing, in case you were wondering.  I painted the mirror this weekend.  I kinda love it.  I also kinda love the art work my kids contributed.  Precious littles.


Dining room wall.  Those shutters are the headboard Chris made out of the trash my friend grabbed off the side of the road for me.  They were poop green before.  Kinda like the current color of my dining room.  Who thought that color was a good idea?  Oh!  The medallion in the center is an antique.  I got it for ten bucks off a trading site.  It's falling apart.  Which clearly means I should hang it on the wall by a ribbon.


Right next to the front door is my desk.  It's that faint thing on the right of the picture.  That desk came out of a hotel room on Sea Island.  The original Cloister Hotel.  I dust it.  That's it.  I'm changing absolutely ZIPPO about that desk.  Ever.

I'm not horribly sentimental about STUFF but that desk?  It's going with me to The Home.

The back wall of the dining room is my favorite spot in the whole house.  The kitchen...well, really, the pantry...is much smaller than either of our houses in the north.  These southern metroplex builders put in just regular closet pantries.  Obviously, all my white serving pieces can't fit in a closet.  And really, they're better off being on display.  

That's my scrapbook cabinet.  I made the curtains for it for staging at the last house.  It hides all the various colors of the scrapbook.  




The shutters I got for free off a neighborhood trading site.  She'd intended to Pinterest them up but never got around to it and the husband made her get rid of them.  

He was crazy.

But I was thrilled.


Moving down the hall, this is my gallery wall.  I had to lay it out on the floor, send a picture for approval to my design whisperer, Tabitha, and then Chris spent the next FOUR HOURS getting it hung.  He like measures and stuff.  I would have just driven a whole bunch of nails in until I got it right.  He's a way better person than I am.


You'll notice the poop green stops with the dining room.  The rest of the house is khaki.  

Brown.

So 2001.

On to the great room.  





Have I ever told the story of this couch?  I used to have an old brown thing.  That I had because someone allowed me to select furniture at 25 years old.  And then Chris held me to that very poor decision for the next 15 years.  

Chris told me I could replace the big brown monstrosity if I found the one I wanted for $100 or less.  

I found one for $50.  I then bought a new slipcover off Ebay for $60.  So all total I went over by ten bucks.  

I think I win.

Although, really, don't we all win when bad decorating decisions are rectified?  

Yes.  Yes, we do.


There's not much to say.  Other than OPEN.  It's a large space and it's so open.  I adore that.  Plus, the fireplace.  It's a corner fireplace.  And I swoon every time I look at it.  Oh, here's what it looks like NOT decorated for fall...


I know.  It's kinda boring.  Thankfully, there's always something for which it can be decorated.  Fall turns into Christmas turns into Valentine's turns into Easter turns into Summer and that, thankfully, turns back into fall.  




I had to take those pictures after the sun set.  Those windows are FABULOUS.  So much amazing light pours into the room all day long.  But I haven't figured out how to take even really bad iPhone photos facing all that natural light.

We passed the kitchen to get to the great room.  This kitchen is very literally smack in the middle of the house.  The heart of the home.  Cute, huh?


New dishwasher, oven and microwave.  They're swanky.  


View into the kitchen.  It's really open.  There's no hiding the junk.  


Subway tile.  I LOVE IT.  


This is the view from my sink into the great room.  I can see straight out to the patio too.  Not that the kids are ever out there.  Because did I mention it was 100 degrees today?  It's a nice size patio and a nice backyard.  I'll post pictures of that once it's clean and not looking so much like Samford & Son's junk yard.

And so, thus, ends our tour for today.  Bedrooms will have to come in on Part 2.  

Friday, September 16, 2016

Gratitude Friday...

So, in case you don't want to look it up, I'll just go ahead and tell you, this is my first Gratitude Friday post since April 3rd.

Five and a half months.

Remember when I said these last months have been a little crazy?!?!

Clearly.

Also, my computer and my phone are still not playing well together.  Largely because it's not yet Sunday so Chris hasn't had time to fix whatever is not working.  

Possibly also he doesn't know they're not working because he hasn't read the blog.  Since April.  Like everyone else.  Because I haven't been posting and so why would anyone keep blindly checking a blog not being updated?  

Instead, I emailed myself pictures.  

Yes, from my phone.  Then opened them on the computer.  And saved them.

Sitting on the couch.  Two technologically advanced computers.  Right next to each other.  Unable to communicate.  

Where have we gone wrong?  

I decided to keep this list pretty simple this week.  Because there's no way for me to go back and list almost six months worth of stuff, I'll just start right here.

Nothing like the present.

Aubrey Kate begged...BEGGED Y'ALL...to sell a box of "World's Finest Chocolate" for her school.  They gave these kids the hard sell and my kid bought every rewarding word of it.  We committed to one box of thirty chocolate bars.  Her reward for selling one box would be a free ice cream at school.

As a family, we have managed to eat four bars ourselves.  That's eight dollars.  An ice cream sandwich at school probably cost way less.  By seven dollars.

But IT'S FINE.

The rest of the box, I suggested, we should take to Daddy's band rehearsal and sell to the band kids.  (Are they "kids" anymore?)  (What ARE college people called?)  

AK liked the idea.  

The call of free ice cream is loud, friends.  So.Loud. 

I bought a poster board and some stickers at the Dollar Store and let the kids decorate it for our upcoming sale.  

It was the best $2 I've ever spent.  

I added the word "CHOCOLATE" to the top.  After confirming how to spell the word "chocolate" so as to not have to blame the children for being poor spellers.  Mom owns that title.

Rhys enthusiastically agreed to wear his Mavericks tee-shirt.  AK refused her wear her pink Mavericks top with equal gusto.  Stinker.

So we loaded up the poster, the remaining chocolate bars, our yard sale bag of change and off we went!




This is the social media photo we I shared.  Aren't they just the cutest?

Obviously the only answer is YES.




But THIS is how Aubrey Kate looked most of the pictures.  She was happy.  Just not necessarily about having her photo taken.  Chris had to tickle her to get the smile in the previous picture.

I mean, for.the.love.  

Rhys, however...



He was FOR REALZ happy.  

It's an entire end zone of BLUE.  It's physically impossible for him to NOT be happy.

I took this one as my two men walked into the stadium for rehearsal...



STOP.  IT.

Look at Skillet carrying his little notebook just like Daddy's carrying his.  I die.  

Rhys walks with just as much force and determination as Chris.  

Plus the amount of "AWWWEEEE" from the band kids was epic.  And how could you not feel that way about Rhys?  

Although, I'm sure some of those were for AK.  She IS cute.  And she didn't frown the entire time.

We ended up selling all but six bars.  Considering we sprung this on college students who likely don't carry cash anymore than I do, I find this to be wildly successful.

Scrooge Daughter aside, I am grateful.  

Grateful for hungry college kids who buy chocolate from cute but total strangers just because.

Grateful for the Dollar Store and their plethora of cheap craft supplies.

Grateful for a precious elementary school and a PTA to sell chocolate for.

Grateful for crazy adorable kiddos who get excited and take off running when they see Daddy.

Grateful for the new job, complete with BLUE, and a group of fantastic college students who embraced not just Chris but all three of the rest of his blond, blue-eyed family.  

Grateful for the memories my kids created and will create in this new world.  A world, a space, a time where we are a FAMILY OF FOUR.  And not our Awesome Threesome.  A full family of four.  

After the years of waiting and hoping and praying for relief, we are here.  And I find my heart almost giddy at the joy of the timing.  Not when I wanted it.  Not when we begged for it.  But exactly the right moment.