Monday, September 29, 2014


You're the chip to my chocolate.
You're the berry to my blue.
You're the ground to my play.
You're the string to my shoe.

You're the bow to my rain.
You're the saw to my see.
You're the ball to my basket.
You're the cup to my tea.

You're the ship to my friend.
You're the case to my stair.
You're the shake to my milk.
You're the port to my air.

You're the shine to my sun.
You're the bone to my wish.
You're the hopper to my grass.
You're the gold to my fish.

You're the walk to my side.
You're the work to my art. 
You're the beam to my moon.
You're the beat to my heart. 

Happy One-Whole-Hand to the one who made me a Momma, my sunshine, my favorite little boy in the whole wide world.

With All My Heart, 


Friday, September 26, 2014

Five On Friday: Welcome, Fall! Edition


Once again, this has been a jam-packed week so I am so very happy to see Friday again. So. Here's my Friday Five:

I am so uber-super-duper proud of my Raleigh Jane. As I mentioned in a recent post, she started off strong when first going to preschool but has struggled the last couple weeks, becoming quite tearful (read: sob-filled) during drop-offs and for the first portion of the school day. But not this week. No siree Bob. She rocked it this week. Maybe it's because her Daddy helped with drop-offs. Maybe it's because she had a brand new Elsa doll hidden in her bookbag. Whatever it was? It made all the difference. I'm so proud of my girl for being brave even when she felt scared. 

So....this is a little crazy...but my littlest fella worked as a Buy Buy Baby model earlier this week! It all started when a friend of a friend, who models for a Charlotte-area modeling agency, sent out information that Buy Buy Baby was looking for models for an upcoming shoot. Well, my friend sent me the information, and at her recommendation, I submitted a few photos of Harrison to the agency. Well, lo and behold, Buy Buy Baby selected him! So, he and I traveled to High Point, North Carolina, one morning for the shoot, and he did GREAT!!! He slept the whole way there, and then I nursed him as soon as we arrived; so, he was full, rested, and happy as could be. He delivered smile after smile and giggle after giggle and just did such an awesome job. It'll be a few weeks before we find out if they end up selecting his photos (he modeled a diaper changing pad), but even if they don't, it made for a fun morning with my littlest guy! The photographer was so nice and sent me a few of his favorite shots. Although I'm not sure I'm allowed to share them publically, I can share a few he snapped of Harrison and me after the shoot was over. :) 

Oh, and side note: Later that day, I got my hair into the Fall spirit, with a glorious 2.5-hour solo trip to the salon. Good-bye Summer highlights (above). Hello Fall lowlights (below)!

And yes, I realized I look pissed. This was a I'm-tired-but-yes-sister-Jess-I'll-send-you-my-new-hair selfie.
[THREE].Anywho. Speaking of Harrision, my baby turned 5 months old yesterday. Noooo!!! Say it ain't so!!!! I just can't believe it. But y'all. As if it's possible, he steals more and more of my heart every day. My hub and I always say, "He's just happy to be here." As long as he's not sitting in the carpool line or restrained for too long in his carseat (this kiddo is a mover and a shaker! Loves to be moving!), he is just as happy as can be. 

Although I don't have official height/weight numbers since he won't go back to the pediatrician until next month, he is definitely outgrowing his clothes at lightening speed! He is also a good nurser and started solids over the last month, too, which he is rocking! Aside from prunes, he has loved every fruit and veggies we've offered (and seriously--who really enjoys prunes?!). Currently, he usually takes 3-4 naps per day: one/two cat-naps in the morning, a 1.5-2 hour nap in the afternoon, and a short cat nap before bedtime. He is in bed asleep at 8:00 pm every night after one last nursing session and then is up for the day 10 to 12 hours later. A little more on our little guy:

Yes, I realize it's still September. But. Halloween is right around the corner. One of the ways I help myself minimize my own stress is by trying to do things well in advance. It started in college, continued through grad school, and now dictates how I organize myself in adulthood. All that to say, my kiddos' Halloween costumes are ready already and hanging in their closets. I cannot WAIT to dress them up in their costumes! I've said many a time before, my favorite social media day is Halloween because there is just nothing cuter than kids in costumes. Just over a month to go...

Well, originally, we had big plans to take all three kiddos to the Clemson game tomorrow. But. Then, the game time was announced...7:00 pm (seriously?! A 1-2 Clemson team versus UNC?!). So. Those plans went right out the window. However, my hub is still going to head to Tiger Town with our almost-5-year-old, since this is Banks' weekend-before-his-birthday and all. 

Meanwhile, I'll hang back with my two youngins' and have lots of youngin' fun 'round these parts (not sure why this paragraph suddenly turned all country). We'll also be kicking off the weekend with a fun cookout with some neighborhood friends tonight and concluding it with a visit from my own Momma on Sunday (WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS TODAY!!! Happy Birthday to the greatest mama there is. Love you so much!!!). Yeehaw! 

Y'all have a good one, too, ya hear? :) 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


It's been a few months (and by few, I mean 7!) since I last wrote one of these bad boys. So. I figured it was high time for another. 

Currently, I am...

Loving...the beautiful Fall weather that joined us this week. Cliche? Yes. Beautiful? Absolutely. I just love this time of year, when it's not too hot and not too cold but juuuust right. For our family, this translates to outdoor playtime after naptime and a new Fall Bucket List full of loads of autumn-azing activities for us to do together (post on that coming soon...).

Reading...Am I Messing Up My Kids...And Other Questions Every Mom Asks by Lysa TerKeurst. I actually started this book as part of a 6-week Bible study on my own this summer but fell behind and just recently picked it back up so I could finish the series. Y'all. It is AWESOME. It's funny how God has a way of meeting you right where you are. I am taking so much from this book and have dog-eared so many pages I can't wait to re-read and then re-read again. I already have two more books in the wings waiting for me as soon as I finish this one that I can't wait to dive into!

Waiting for...really good health news for someone very, very close to my heart. And I would appreciate any extra prayers you could spare for both answers and successful treatment for this person. Thank you in advance. She means the world to me, and I am hoping for good news for her soon! <3

Excited about...the fun plans we have for the month of October! Every weekend is now officially full, including a Clemson weekend away with my hub and college BFF's, a visit from my newest niece (and her parents, too, of course!), a weekend away with my hub, and a neighborhood Halloween party, not to mention all the Halloween activities we'll be squeezing in. Whew! What.A.Month it's going to be!

Trying to...figure out a way to regularly exercise. Life has just been, well, busy since we added member #5 to our crew. I squeeze in workouts when I can, which often mean those things that incorporate my kids thanks to my traveling hub, but I am nowhere near where I want to be as far as a regular and consistent workout routine. One day...

Working on...Being okay with flaws. Both mine and others. I am not perfect. I should not expect myself to be. Others are not perfect. I should not expect them to be. It is a constant struggle, one that I've written about before and one that I'll write about again, soon. children. No, I mean really enjoying my children. Focusing on being in the here and now. Carving out time for them every day. Really, really enjoying them and their personalities and their ages and their awesomeness. 

Using...our family calendar, and my little planning notebook, more than ever these days! Between playdates and field trips and weekend plans and self-care and home needs and LIFE, these are busy times. And these days, if it's not written down, I won't remember it. So. I am regularly consulting our family calendar to remember what we have going on for the week and then using my little notebook to help organize what I'm going to accomplish for the week, down to the day. OCPD? Yes. But I just don't know any other way to try and stay on top of things! ahhh-mazing new perfume, Lollia Calm, that I picked up from one of my Mill favorites, Bloom Beauty Bar, just today. One of my sweet friends owns Bloom (located in Baxter for those of you mommas who are local and ready to treat yourself to some beauty awesomeness); so, I love not only to be able to smell goooood (finally! I've been looking for the perfect scent forever!) but also being able to support her business. And you should, too!

Planning...NOTHING and it feels so nice!!! Seriously. Because I have five siblings, and my hub as two, who are the prime ages for weddings and babies and showers oh my!, not to mention our own three children as well as our parents, dear friends, etc., who are also in need of showering/partying/spoiling, I feel like I have been planning a shower or party or something every month for the last year. Whew! Needless to say, I am so happy to report that I have no parties or showers to plan until January. Not that I mind it--I love throwing parties and showers! But man...I have to will be nice to have a little break. :) 

Singing...the songs from Frozen. You see, like every other mother of a young daughter on the planet, I have a little girl who loves Anna and Elsa and Olaf and all things Frozen. So, when we're cleaning or errand running or cooking dinner or doing our morning walks around the neighborhood, I will sometimes surprise my Rals by playing the tunes from her favorite movie. And then we sing as loud as we can. And honestly? I think we're pretty darn good! re-vamp my wardrobe. Although I did just unpack several bags of clothing I had stored away since I was pregnant this time last year and couldn't exactly fit in them, I haven't bought myself non-pregnancy clothes in two years. I think it's time I add a few fun pieces to my wardrobe now that my maternity days are over, amIright?! be a more patient momma. There's something my friend and fellow blogger, Amy, once wrote that has always stuck with me: I cannot control my children's actions but I can control how I react to their actions. I think I've made great strides in this area, but it is something that I continue to work on daily.

Listening older two children running around in the backyard with their Daddy, talking and laughing and chasing each other. The perfect soundtrack to close out my day. 

Wishing...that I would finally take the time to pursue publication for my idea. It's ready. And I always have great intentions of doing so, but then I get caught up in the moment and focus on playing with my kiddos or spending time with my hub or getting all the housework in order or something, letting it fall to the back burner. But one day...

Doing...consignment sale shopping for some staples for my babies' fall and winter wardrobes. Woot! There is a big one this week I've already visited once and will be re-visiting again when they re-stock in a couple days. 

Dreaming of...pursuing a crazy, and I mean cuh-ray-zee, dream next year or maybe the year after. This one is out there, but we shall see...any guesses??

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five on Friday: Family Five Edition

Whew! What.A.Week. Between school, multiple playdates, coffee with an old friend, a traveling hub, and the usual chaos that comes with our "new normal" of being a family o' five, it was a full but fun week! I thought I'd do a little something different for this "Five On Friday": a quick update on each of the five members of my little family. So...

My hub. God bless my hard-working hub, who has been putting in long hours since starting his new role with his new company several months ago, but who also always, ALWAYS carves out plenty of time for his family each and every day he is home. My hub is a very involved and present dad, one who knows how and when to put his work away when it comes to family time. He knows how important it is to spend quality time with his children and makes it a point to make each of his sons and daughter feel special, carving out individual time for them on a regular basis. It is very typical to find him wrestling with his oldest buddy before bedtime, telling his daughter every.single.morning that she is beautiful, and making his littlest guy giggle like no other. He is simply the best, and we adore him. 

New toy construction with Banks

Giggles with Harrison

School prep pep talks with Raleigh
Nightly wrestling session

Moi. Let's see. Well, if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, or follow me on Instagram, I think it's probably pretty clear that I very proud to be a Momma, one who is surrounded daily by my kiddos who teach me and challenge me and love me and improve me every single moment. I absolutely adore being a Momma to three children. I love their age differences (27 months between Banks and Raleigh; 27 months between Raleigh and Harrison!) because it allows me to tap into the different needs of my children in different ways. I also love that my hub and I moved to a new town two years ago knowing absolutely no one and have made many amazing, close friendships since that time. I love that I am able to find at least a little time to do some of the things I enjoy, namely writing, working out, and baking, on a fairly regular basis, even during this very busy and hands-on-mommahood season of life. I love that I am growing in my faith, in the company of an awesome church and LifeGroup. In short, despite some self-improvement goals I hope to focus on over the next year, I readily recognize that I am living a very happy and blessed life. And I am thankful every day for it.  

My heart. 
My soul.
My love.

You guys. I seriously could not be prouder of my oldest son. Banks is just turning out to be this amazing kid. One who is "extremely bright" (as his new teacher shared) but also well-mannered and sweet and kind. One who loves nothing more than playing with Transformers and bugs and race cars and sports figures but can also be found playing dolls with his sister, at her request. He loves all things sports and is, clearly, who his younger brother loves most in this world. And while my Banks certainly has a lot of energy, it's been nice to be able to help him expend some of that outdoors when the weather cooperates. He has always been an early riser, as in, sometimes awake before 6:00 am and always, ALWAYS, awake before 6:30 am. Further, from the time he wakes up, he is ready to go, go, go. Perhaps that's why he still naps some days--because his long and lean body (have I mentioned he's been in the 90+ percentile for height and weight since birth) just needs a break sometimes. :) I have no doubt that he will be a breeze next year when it comes to getting up and out the door in time for kindergarten. He is all boy, my Banks, my sunshine. And man. Do I love him.

Raleigh. Oh, Raleigh, Raleigh, Raleigh. I mean, first of all, I just adore this daughter of mine. She is smart and kind and nurturing and lovable, oh so lovable. Her golden ringlets halt strangers in their tracks, as they always stop to remark about her beautiful hair (and then I always wonder aloud where it came from. Not me! Not her Daddy!). I often stare at her and just thank the good Lord that she's mine. And she is a smart little thang, that's for sure--one who is well-spoken and thoughtful and observant. She is also a girly girl, one who loves jewelery and heels and princess dresses as well as having her nails and toes painted. But our Rals. Oh man, does she keep us on our toes. She knows exactly how to push just the right buttons to drive her big brother, and in turn, her Momma, nuts. She is extremely attuned to what she is/not supposed to do and has quite a bit of trouble with her "listening ears" these days. And also? Despite having a fabulous first couple days of preschool has now decided to regress, as in, they have had to pull her hysterical body out of my car the last three drop-offs. But y'all? I could not love this little girl, every single inch of her, any more if I tried.

My precious Harrison Robert. Oh good Lord. This kid just has me completely and totally wrapped around his bear-cub fingers. Despite our rough journey with dairy/soy intolerance and acid reflux the first couple months of his life, he has grown to become just the happiest, smiley-est, go-with-the-flow-est little boy. He nurses well (6 to 7 times a day), has had no problem adjusting to the taste/texture of solids since being introduced to them a few weeks ago, and is sleeping anywhere from 10 to 12 hours at night now. He'll take a paci in the car sometimes but is starting to suck his left thumb, just like his older brother did around this age. He does not particularly enjoy being in the car, I think mainly becomes he is a mover and a shaker these days, rolling all over the place and wanting to sit up rather than stay reclined. And while I think he is starting to look more like Raleigh did as a baby, I think many of his photos these days are the spitting image of mine when I was a wee one. I just love our Harrison with all my heart and wish time would seriously slooooow down--my last baby is growing too fast for my Momma heart!

And there you have it. A little mushy. A little braggy. But also, a little time stamp of how my family o' five is doing during this week in September 2014. And with that, have an awesome weekend. We have big plans for a little spa time with friends and consignment shopping for me as well as a bounce house birthday party and lots of football watching. That being said...Go Tigers! Beat the 'Noles!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

By The Numbers...Again...

...98...days until Christmas. That stresses me out. I have (small) lists started for Banks and Raleigh so far. Nothing for Harrison. Nothing. What in the world does the third-born child, and second boy, possibly need? I better start brainstorming.

...36...years my big brother turns today. As a child, he was quickly thrust into a role of responsibility when our dad unexpectedly passed away. I don't know where our family would be without him, and I am so lucky to have him. Love you, Dame!

...24...hours a day that I am thankful that my little family of five is complete since the arrival of our sweet Harrison 4.5 months ago. He just lights up our lives! Just having him here with us brings me to tears on a regular basis. I am just so very happy to have him in my life.

...17...days until I reunite with my college bff's and their hubbies for a Clemson game/weekend away. Woot! And then...just 3.5 months until we will be welcoming the new year together with all of our littles in tow. Yahoo!

...14...amazing ladies and fellas I am so happy and blessed to know through our LifeGroup. Just a couple more weeks 'til we resume our bi-monthly Bible study after a short summer hiatus. Can't wait to see them and their adorable kiddos regularly again! 

...12...days until my first-born turns 5. Wait...what?! No really. What?! 

...10...years of marriage my hub and I will finally officially celebrate during a weekend away, just the two of us (despite the actual milestone occurring several months ago), next month. We had to delay our getaway due to having a newborn at the time of our anniversary but are so excited to celebrate 10 years of a solid marriage together in just a few short weeks.

...12...hours Harrison is sleeping at night after a couple rough nights of helping him cry it out last week. It nearly broke my heart, but I am so grateful to have the strong and supportive hub that I do who was willing to talk me down at 4:00 am a couple nights in a row. The payoff has been great for our whole family!

...8...days until something wild and awesome happens for my littlest buddy. Stay tuned...

...5...number of Pumpkin Spice Lattes I've had over the last week. Helloooo Fall! Helloooo Starbucks!

...4...days until the next Clemson game. It's Clemson vs. FSU. At FSU. It's a big one. Go Tigers!

...3...days since I last attended Hip Hop Cardio with one of my Mill besties. It is the BEST stress reliever and such a great workout. Pump, pump, pump it up, right, Jenna?!

...2...months until my sister, Jessie, is due with the 4th and final cousin of the 2014 year. Boy or girl? What will she have? I have a very strong boy feeling (I hope so! My boys are outnumbered by all the girl cousins on "my" side of the family!), but I can also picture her having two little girls. So...who knows. I can't wait!

...0...number of potty accidents Raleigh had had over the few weeks! Can I say she's officially potty trained (all by herself) without jinxing it? Seriously. I am so proud of this beautiful, smart, head-strong, sweet little girl. Rock on, Rals.

Hope you're rockin' some awesome numbers, too, these days! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Splish, Splash: Banks' 5th Birthday Bash


There was an 80% change of rain. Eighty. Percent. 

Instead, do you know what happened at Banks' 5th Birthday Party? 


It was overcast all morning. Allll morning. Dark clouds. And then? Then the clock struck 2:00. And the sun came out. And stayed out. And I said...Thank you, Lord!! Because y'all? I prayed all week for good weather for Banks' party. I know that's silly. I know there are much more important things to pray for. But still. I asked for a little help from the Man upstairs. And he delivered. The weather was absolutely PERFECT. 

And now, without further review: Splish, Splash, Banks' 5th Birthday Bash!

The guest of honor.

The invitation.
I found these adorable invitations at Oriental Trading. Much different than anything I've done before but absolutely awesome for our pool/beach theme! And while I was able to hand-deliver all invitations to the party guests, the reviews of these invitations assure that they can also be mailed!

The set up. 
The venue was my neighborhood pool, which also has this big, awesome pavilion adjacent to it (and a playground right next to that). I set up the food and drink tables under it. 

The food table.
Because the party was from 2:00-4:00 pm, we provided some light snacks, candy, and cupcakes for the kiddos, all within the realm of the pool/beach theme, of course!

I got these adorable printables, including the banner, food labels, water bottle labels, and thank you notes (being mailed to you soon, sweet gift givers!) from etsy seller, Sprout My Party, who was awesome to work with!

One of my favorite parts of the party (duh!): the cupcakes! While I home-made the cupcakes and icing, the fondant toppers came from amazing etsy seller Harriet's House of Cakes

The drink/favor table. 
And for the drinks, we offered "Pool Water" as well as bottled water for the kiddos (and some summer beer for the adults, too). And for favors? Water guns and sunglasses, of course!

The party plan. 
First, the kiddos swam, swam, swam in the summer sun. 

Next, the birthday boy opened gifts and blew out the candle on his birthday party cupcake. 

Finally, the birthday buddy and friends logged in some time on the playground, which is adjacent to the pool. 

Without a doubt, I think it's safe to say we all had a BLAST welcoming in Banks' 5th birthday! And our little family can't wait to celebrate his actual birthday later this month with one more special outing planned. Happy (early!) Birthday, Banks!