9.11.2017

An Open Letter To The Parents in Houston and Florida

To all Parents in Houston and Florida


First just let me say your doing a great job. I can't even imagine being in your shoes. Having children watching your whole world be turned upside down and losing so much and having to stay brave for your kids. The unknown is scary but you can't be scared at least not on the outside.

I guess that is something we get when we become parents the ability to keep it together in front of them. To make them feel safe and secure even when we don't feel that way. To keep putting one foot in front of the other even when we feel like our shoes our made of lead and we are climbing the biggest mountain.

Also how brave are you? Having to make such difficult decisions at a moments notice. I mean the weight of that on someone is crazy but let me tell you this whatever you decided it was right. If you stayed, if you evacuated it was the right choice for you. Because you know your family best and you know to follow your gut no matter what.


I live in upstate NY and so my biggest weather problem is normally snow and we can shovel that. I have no idea what it must feel like to have to walk away from a home not sure what state you will find it in again. A few months back we lost power and it was still pretty cold out here (March is a touch and go month I mean it could still snow!) I had a 3 year old and 11 month old twins at the time and having to decide if we stick it out and bundle up or if go somewhere else. A family member who had a generator thankfully took our twins and we slept in our bed with our 3 year old using body heat and a million blankets and layers to stay warm in our house that got down to 48 degrees overnight. When we woke up the next morning we did not know when our power would be back and the estimates were saying not until the following day. I know the pressure I felt of making the best decision for our kids and us in that situation. And compared to what you have that is nothing.

What you are facing is so much bigger. Your house is damaged and you have everyone's safety in your hands. Power could be lost for weeks and your house well who knows yet or if your in Texas it is unlivable at this point. Memories are lost, everything you have worked for is gone and yet you have to keep going. You can't fall apart at least not in front of them.

So I guess I'm just here to say. Your doing a great job. I'm praying for you. Follow your gut and do what you feel best. It's easy for us who are hundreds of miles away to say I would just walk away I would evacuate but really we don't know. It's easy to pass judgement from where we sit. But there is no judgement from me.

You go parents and keep doing what YOU feel is best for you family and just know you have our prayers.


9.05.2017

August Debt Check in and September Goals

I'm going to do at least one post every month about last months progress and the next set of monthly goals. 


So August
Here were our goals


Complete Baby Step #1- Save $1,000.00

Hit Baby Step#2-Debt Snowball
Cut out a ton of extra fat from our budget (I'm looking at you storage unit full of junk and XM radio)
Get Term Life Insurance
Enjoy our last vacations until we are debt free (these were pre-planned and already paid for with CASH!)
Get Grayson ready for school
Organize our house


So the ones in Green are complete and blue are a work in progess

Lets break it down

We hustled and got that $1,000.00 emergency fun fast we pulled it out of the bank and have it on hand for real emergencies although I'm hoping we never have to touch it

Baby Step #2 is a work in progress and will be for a while but we successfully paid off $4,572.93!!! YUP!!! We are so excited for that number. Now this is an exceptional month because we sold some things and really moved our savings down to just our $1,000.00 emergency fund our goal for the months moving forward are between $2,000 and $3,000 a month

Cut out a ton of extra fat from our budget we did just that. We removed the line item in our budget for eating out we just stopped that all together and we also cleaned out our storage unit and cancelled my xm radio. Those alone have given us an extra $210 in our budget a month which we are loving

Get Term Life we have done everything on our end now we are in the approval step where we have done our medical exam and submitted our applications so now we just wait

We enjoyed our last vacations but I'm already cooking up a way that we can do our camping trip next year because the kids just love it so much and so I have a couple things I'm planning on selling to fully cash fund that next summer

Grayson is ready for school and has his first day (with parent drop off no bus yet!) tomorrow so thankful his supply list was only glue sticks and tissues

Organize our house well that is a work in progress because it seems like we have so much to do but we got the basement cleaned out yesterday and go that ready use as more storage


Onto September Goals


Close Pool and get ready for winter
Complete out Will
Start Financial Peace University
Work on Baby Step#2
Halloween Costumes for kiddos
Keep working on organizing house

8.29.2017

8 years.....

Eight Years 


I was getting up and ready to head to the salon to get my hair done and it was pouring down rain. 
I was not phased by it at all I was just so happy to be marrying my best friend

Back then (and still today) I was just in awe that he chose me. He was (and still is) more than I could have ever dreamed of.

I always think of what our pastor said during our pre-marital counseling, she told us that she was praying about our marriage and she just kept coming back to that we were written in heaven to be together.

That sticks with us so much and has been the foundation for our marriage.


It hasn't always been perfect and it I know that rough roads lie ahead because that's life but we have a good foundation one that can withstand all the storms


8 years ago we were two young kids getting married and now today we have three kids of our own.


We have endured countless sleepless nights together, blowouts that need a hazmat team, teething of 3 children (still in the midst of that) potty training (still more on the horizon) house repairs, new cars, debt, losing loved ones, 3 pregnancies, one miscarriage, friendships coming and going, vacations and hard decision but through it all we have remained the constant. 

Our love is strong enough and it wins always.


8.28.2017

Total Money Makeover took our communication to the next level

So I read The Total Money Makeover about 3 years ago but I could not get my husband to read it.
I kind of tried to do it myself and guess what that is a huge burden for one person to take on. He was on board with paying off debt but he wasn't so on board with the whole rice and beans approach.

So it didn't work very long and we both got back to our spending ways.


Then in the midst of a heated disagreement spurred by money talks I asking him to please get Audible and listen to Dave Ramsey. He did and that changed everything not just financially but with out relationship.

We have always been communicators. Michael and I both talk to each other about everything. We always discussed purchases but it was a "hey there is this great deal so I bought xyz" kind of thing. He hardly ever looked at our account and I paid all the bills. I would print out a budget I did once a month and then he would look it over tell me it looked good and then it would go in the drawer never to be seen again.

We would spend 10,15,20 on drive thru coffee or a pizza for dinner. I added it up one month and we spend over $75.00 on drive thru coffee runs I mean that is just insane but neither one of us was concerned enough about debt and our budget we were just half way budgeting.

I felt so much pressure to make it every month and I started to feel isolated when it came to finances. So while he our marriage was good and we were happy I knew we needed to work on this area specifically.
We thought we were good at communication but we never communicated properly about money! Which by the way is one of the major reasons people get divorced and should be something constantly discussed.


So once he read the Total Money Makeover we had a real talk about our finances. We put blame and shame aside. You see I have always felt guilty about being the only one with student loans but we are a team and we both take responsibility for our debt. Our money is one and our debt is one. There is no separation.

I mean we talk daily about our budget, projected debt payoff, which money is going where, life insurance, long term disability insurance and the man himself Dave Ramsey.

We both listen to the pod casts daily and Michael loves to YouTube debt free screams, which something that is now on our bucket list!

We are on the same page and when I went to pay bills this month. I smiled, like a big cheesy smile because there was no stress at all. We had already budgeted everything and if something came up we had made the necessary adjustments.

We are less stressed and it shows even our kids can tell. I'm not trying to juggle the accounts and squirming when Michael talks about buying something. We are so in sync with this debt payoff and it is so wonderful.

We are starting FPU in 2 weeks and I can't wait to watch our marriage get even stronger. There is nothing like working on a goal with your spouse. Plus it helps that we are both competitive and have hopes to kill out two year projection of being debt free. But I think it goes deeper than that we are changing our family and it's future and that is just something that makes both of our hearts so full.

8.22.2017

This that and camping

Last week we went on a family vacation and went camping. Well glamping I guess. We went to JellyStone in Java NY and rented a cabin. It was a blast. It was my brother and sister in law with my niece and nephew and my parents along with us and the kiddos. So that is 6 adults and 5 kids in a two bedroom cabin. It was tight quarters but man was it a blast. There is so much for the kids to do all right at the campground and our cabin was in the best location a short walk to the lake and pool and right next to the activity center.

The kids made shirts played candy bar bingo, played put put, went fishing, canoeing, built sandcastles, and swam every single day. We went Sunday through Wednesday and it was the perfect amount of time.

Michael and I actually left with the twins on Tuesday night because we had pretty important doctors appointment for Charlotte on Wednesday and we just wanted her to have a good nights sleep in her own bed the night before.


Speaking of the doctors Charlotte has been having some tummy problems and going to the bathroom and we have tried everything our pediatrician has suggested and nothing has worked and so we were referred to a GI specialist. We love the specialist who told us this is no uncommon and that hopefully in a few steps we can get it resolved but we are also checking for anything that could be causing the constipation and stomach problems.

Let me tell you getting a 15 month old to have blood drawn was pure torture. She screamed the whole time and I had to hold her super super tight because she kept trying to rip the needle out. However I'm glad we are testing for anything underlying condition.


We are rolling along with our debt. I have a post coming up tomorrow about how our marriage has changed from this already. I'm planning to do monthly posts about what we have paid off and if we have had any set backs (praying for none!) and any non debt victories!


I have developed a huge iced coffee addiction or maybe it's just coffee but I have been having 2-3 a day. Why are they so good? I love them best from home and I just use my creamer in them no sugar and they are everything right now.


Michael and I are counting down the days until we have two whole night of being kid free. We are going just a few hours away and have plans to do nothing. We just want to relax and be able to finish a sentence the first time instead of starting it 67 times lol.



8.09.2017

Workin' It Wednesday-Back to School

So this year is my first year with a kiddo going to school

My sweet Grayson is starting Pre-K in our school district!

This is a huge change for us since he has always gone to a daycare right down the road from my work and for the last year 3 days a week he has been in a nursery school setting at that same daycare.

Now he will be in our school district and he will be riding the bus and going half days 5 days a week. 

Our school has a trickle in approach to school so that kids can ease into the process

So school starts Wednesday September 6th and each child is given one day that they will go that week. Grayson was picked for Wednesday so he will only go one day that week on Wednesday and we have to bring him and drop him off. 

Then on Monday September 11th he will start his first full week and riding the bus. 

I took half a day for both days because well I have to be there.


This is our first going to school and since he goes half days in the afternoon I'm not sure if we will have too many traditions start quite yet however we have a few in mind


We will be going supply shopping for him sometime in the next week, it's a small list but we still want to have him have that experience.


He does not need clothes (cousin hand-me downs for the win!) BUT could use a new pair of sneakers so we will be taking him shoe shopping! So excited for that!

Overall we are just praying for a smooth transition and that he will do good in this new setting and schedule.





8.08.2017

Debt Snowball AGAIN

I come here today to hang my head in shame a little bit

3 years ago I declared that we were getting out of debt. I had just read Total Money Makeover and was so ready to get out of debt.

We did awesome, we saved $1,000 and fast and then we got to work on our smallest debt. We paid it off in about 5 months and then we stopped.

Like hardcore just stopped. Why? I could give you a million reasons

I self medicated by shopping a little bit after my miscarriage and we justified a weekend trip to Toronto even though we didn't have a budget because it was our anniversary.

Then September came and we were pregnant with twins. We were faced with a ton of financial decisions and we made some moves out of fear (I'm looking at you mini van) and our own pressure.

We had a real come to Jesus moment when Michael went to his new schedule and our daycare bill was about twice our mortgage. 

My husband hates to read. But I needed him to read this book! So I found Audible downloaded it on his phone and he "read" Total Money Makeover in one day and that was it. We were hardcore on the road to becoming debt free.

Our total debt as of August 1st 2017 was 66,000.00 That consists mostly of student loans and some credit card debt. Our goal is 24 months. Seems crazy but we have a hardcore plan and I truly think it will be less. My guess is around 20-22 months.


I will update at the first of every month what we have paid off.
Plus what our monthly goals are outside of debt

This month it is
Complete Baby Step #1- Save $1,000.00
Hit Baby Step#2-Debt Snowball
Cut out a ton of extra fat from our budget (I'm looking at you storage unit full of junk and XM radio)
Get Term Life Insurance
Enjoy our last vacations until we are debt free (these were pre-planned and already paid for with CASH!)
Get Grayson ready for school
Organize our house


I strongly encourage you to look into this book
It has been such an awakening for us

I have a whole other post on the affect it has already had on our marriage and me as a person

Plus now with Audible there is no excuse not to get this information!!! My husband has listened to it twice already it's that addicting!

8.07.2017

Charlotte and Marshall- 15 month update

Oh babies 15 months does not seem possible 

I feel like 12 to 15 months has been such a huge change


Ladies first as always

Charlotte,
Sissy girl you are just so amazing. But frustrating. When I came to write this update all I thought was when will you start sleeping through the night? We have started some horrible sleep habits with you and soon ( I dread) we will have to break those. You still have to be swaddled to fall asleep and you still have to be rocked ugh putting you to bed takes a good half an hour. And then your up multiple times a night and usually (read: always) end up in our bed. You are the most fitful sleeper ever. But gosh do we love you. We will figure this sleep thing out soon. Until then coffee and under eye concealer work wonders for your sleep issue side affects



You are walking all over the place and the new baby walk is my favorite belly out and wobbly. You live up to the hype of red hair because your personality is feisty and opinionated. You know who you like and don't like and you let it be known. If you don't want someone holding you you scream and wriggle until they put you down and then waddle over to a safe person usually me. You rule over your brothers and if they don't give into you well you pull their hair so we have been working very hard on being nice giving hugs and not always getting what we want.

You are a good eater you still prefer meat and veggies to carbs (so not my child) you gobble up meatballs and sausage. Eggs top your list too. Lima beans and green beans are your favorite. You like warm food over cold food so lunch meat is not your favorite unless I heat it up first. You still drink milk 3 times a day and you do okay with it. You love water and drink first thing when waking up. You got put on a stool softener and so now every morning on your way into school you get a small amount of milk to get that in your system although it's so not helping. So we will see what comes from that whole situation

Grayson is your favorite person on this planet. When you two see each other for the first time you wrap your arms around his neck or waist and just squeeze with the biggest smile on your face. He can get you to smile and calm down better than anyone and you listen when he tells you not to throw your food on the floor. You live for bath time will stop dead in your tracks for the movie Trolls and always booty shake to the hot dog song. You love Marshall and the two of you babble back and forth all day. You have become quite the mama's girl over the last few weeks. You reach for me over everyone and you hate to be taken from me. If I'm in the room you need to be next to me. Often times you like to just climb up on the couch and sit so our legs touch because you just like to be next to me. That warms my heart baby girl. Boys are always so on the go but you my sweet girl love to just be with me and sit on my lap or hold my hand next to me on the couch. You greet me at the gate when I come home and I love it you scream with your hands in the air like your squeezing lemons until I pick you up and then you lay your head on my shoulder. I dream of that moment all day when I'm at work because it does wonders for my heart



You have 9 teeth with 5 more coming in. Sweet baby Jesus hold me because your miserable when teething and you drool like crazy. Your still in 12 month clothing purely for length because your waist is still in a 6/9 month. You have the curliest craziest red hair and these crystal blue eyes. Heart breaker for sure. You say ball mama dada bubba hi and more. And you babble all the live long day I swear you say I love you but in baby gibberish. You will walk right up to us and just start talking and pointing it sounds like jdkjaldjlakjf  but you get such a serious look on your face when we don't respond your really trying to tell us something.

Your nicknames are pretty much the same Sissy is the front runner but Sis comes out a ton as does Charpa Narper (that one is all your daddy) Char Char, Charliper dooos (we are crazy) and Peanut.



We love you sweet girl and you bring us so much happiness. You hang with your brothers and walk around with a purse on your shoulder while rocking a baby and then you walk up to one of them and grab the truck out of their hand and rip their hair out all while wearing your brothers baseball hat. Balance. I can't wait to watch you grow my love. I'm nothing but honored to be your Mommy.Love you Sweet Sissy Girl!




Marshall
Don't tell the others Marsh but your my favorite. You are still a rockstar sleeper. 11-12 hours every night and 3 hour nap everyday. You wake up happy 95% of the time and the other 5% you just need a little bit of cuddles and your fine. Actually now that I'm thinking of it your only cranky when you wake up and don't see Grayson. Again he is your favorite person. You just love him but you will always always hug mama first.



You have been walking since you were 11 months old and so well you run everywhere now. Grayson walks you into daycare for me and you hold hands and it is just the sweetest thing I have ever seen. You think your carseat is acid and arch your back all the time. You get attached pretty quickly to people and are the best snuggler. However you always know mommy or daddy which we love. But if the person who is holding you leaves you cry you just love big. You give the best hugs and picked up on the whole be nice super quick. You hug and then lay your head on whoever is by you when you hear be nice. You also have a nice patting thing that you do it is really sweet.

Your language is bursting in baby gibberish. However you understand ev.ery.th.ing we say. I can hand you a roll of paper towels from the back room and say "bring it to daddy marshall" and you walk it right to the kitchen gate where daddy is waiting for it. You hand me diapers, shoes, toys, odd bits you find anywhere and shove your sussy (paci) in my mouth 98098 times a day. You can say mama, dada, ball, bubba, uh oh, and you sake your head no and yes when we say those words to you



You are the climber and if the gate to the stairs is left open you are up them in the blink of an eye. Just last week daddy lost you in the house because he left the gate open and you were upstairs just walking from room to room. You love to climb on the furniture and just a few days ago mastered getting down safely instead of you know a nose dive off.

Again Grayson is your most favorite person. You just want to be near him and if he leaves a room your done and melt into a puddle on the floor. He has already taught you how to vroom a car and so anytime you see one you squat down and vroo vroo that puppy everywhere.  You are a dancer. I mean you hear ever a little bit of music and you start to dance. You spin around hands in the hair and booty drop. Saturday mornings we put on CMT just so you can dance with Grayson. It is so sweet.



Your a great eater. You eat everything. You love carbs like your mama and if we give you something like pasta and meatballs you eat the pasta first and then work on the meatballs. You still only have 5 teeth and you struggle big time when you teeth. Your in size 18 month clothing because you are so solid. Your feet are like little bricks. You weigh a full 4 pounds more than you sister my chunky baby. You have the best blue eyes and the best blonde hair. It lays so nice and grows so fast. And when it gets long enough it starts to curl in the back.You go this week for your second hair cut and while I hate to cut it because it's so awesome it is constantly in your eyes.

Your nicknames are Marsh Marsh, Marshy, Marshy Moo, Brubba, and Nugget.

You are my goofy kid and my sweet one. You have the best dimple smile and the sweetest little lips I just love you. I'm so blessed God chose me to be your Mama. Love you Marshy Boy!


7.11.2017

Three Things

This has been floating around and I kind of love the idea of a quick little catch up on everyone.
So here are three things right now about us.


Grayson

1- He has been taking skating lessons for about 4 months and he finished his third session. He started with a basic learning to skate and now he has moved to the learn to skate for hockey. He loves it so much! He goes Monday nights with just Michael and so they get some sweet one on one time. He starts his fourth session on Monday.



2-He starts Pre-K in September in our school district (as opposed to continuing on at the daycare). He is excited to ride the bus and only have to be at school half a day ha! We went to orientaion and he loved the bus plus when we went for his screening test the teacher told me that he could probably skip pre-k because he already knows so much but that she will start working with him on sight words early on and she is so excited to have him in her classroom this fall! We are so proud of him and the daycare he goes to because they really do such a great job of working with the kids.

3- He loves sports. He can tell you the rules of football basketball and hockey. He really wants to play t-ball but we are holding off one year until he is 5. He asks almost daily if  can swim and so I think swim lessons are on our future this summer. He just loves to play sports and be outside. 


Charlotte

1- Is a Daddy's girl and loves every minute of it. She knows how to get him and she does it multiple times a day. I often wake up to her in our bed because she just seemed like she needed a cuddle in the middle of the night (insert rolling eyes here)

2- She can hang with her brothers. So her brothers love to wrestle and she will watch it all from the sidelines until they are both on the ground and then she will run over and belly flop on both of them. It's the funniest thing ever.


3-She is such a crazy sleeper.  Some nights she sleep right through other nights she is up multiple times a night ugh! Could be something to do with the 4 teeth she is getting at once but still. Drives me crazy.




Marshall

1- He is the funniest walker ever. He walks like Frankenstein mixed with a penguin if that makes sense. He waddles like a penguin but takes big steps with his arms out like Frankenstein. 

2- Still a rock star sleeper. Still wakes up happy. Still drools and soaks his shirt 3 times a day. Still eats anything you put in front of him even if you can tell he doesn't like it he still shovels it in.

3- Got his first haircut and blew me out of the water with how good he did. He already needs another one and it's only been 5 weeks. He has so much hair!





Michael & I

1- We both are loving our new schedules. It is so nice that we have a whole day off together now (Sunday) and that I have a permanent 3 day weekend

2- We have planned our anniversary trip and while it is not what we originally had planned we are so excited to get away for to nights at the end of August just the two of us

3- We are currently battling over re-doing the living room. I want to paint it he doesn't want to spend the money.

I went through my phone to get a recent picture and we have none so this will have to do.

6.19.2017

Coffee Chit Chat

If we were going to share a cup of coffee here are a few things I would tell you

This is my favorite mug it is 24oz and was $5 all the heart eyes for this mug!


I love coffee but I love it with a little too much creamer so I limit myself to one cup a day. Also I'm probably drinking cold coffee while trying to fold laundry because I always have all the laundry. 




Our weather has been crazy. We went from 50's to bam 80's & 90's. This weekend was unbearably hot and both of the babies screamed when I put them in the baby pool so there's that. However fat baby legs in shorts and dresses are enough to do me in I love them.



I started my new schedule at work today. I'm going to a four day work week and so yeah I'm excited. I get Friday's off so I have nice lovely 3 day weekends all the time. Plus saving that day of not having the kids in daycare (come September) will be huge.



Grayson had a weird 24 hour bug and then of course Michael caught it because that's what those two do. It was a fever and chills for the first 12 then a quick throw up then exhaustion then fine. It was crazy and I was so thankful my dad could go and pick up Grayson from school on Friday and keep him overnight so that he could get undivided attention.


So about a month ago for the first time ever I met Michael's biological father. It was crazy. After 20 years Michael saw his father again and met his brother for the first time. It was a surreal experience and the plan is to see them all again this weekend for a cookout so they can meet the kiddos.


Grayson had his Nursery School Graduation this Friday and I'm excited/sad. He's getting so big so fast but man do I love him at this age. He's so cool and fun and still (over a year later) the sweetest big brother there ever was.

It only took me 14 months but the twins room is finally to how I like it. It might be my favorite room in the house right now because it is the most organized! Love having all the storage for them with the two new dressers and finally hung up some of our new family pictures. 


I stayed up way to late with Michael last night watching The Town. I'm exhausted today and so maybe I will bend my own rules of just one cup. Just for today.



Happy Monday

6.13.2017

SHOW AND TELL TUESDAY-ALL ABOARD THE STRUGGLE BUS

Linking up with Andrea today to talk about some struggles

I'm about to let you know how crazy my brain really is and how I struggle through this thing called parenthood and marriage and oh ya know just day to day life



Being a working mom

And all the working Mom's said Amen. I mean really. I love my job I love working outside the home we need me to work outside the home but man some days it is hard. I love my babies. I love being home with them and not having to put on make up everyday. I get overwhelmed with the laundry that piles up (that's a whole struggle on it's own because man we live out of baskets a ton) my house that's not perfect and the small sand castle that is on the floor of my bathroom because I keep getting distracted on my way to get the dust buster. I feel bad that sometimes my kid listens to his teacher at daycare better than me or that my sweet baby girl willingly goes to her teacher when I drop her off in the morning. That pulls at my heart strings like no ones business. But then I pick them up and they have done crafts (really cool hard ones) and they have eaten two new foods (Marshall and Charlotte not Grayson ha!) Those are things that if they were home with me everyday would not happen because I don't have the patience to finger paint with one year old's and I like to serve a variety of cheese and fruit and PB&J.
I read on a blog once that you can be a great employee, a great wife, a great mom but your not going to be great at all of those on the same day and that is so so true!


Being a horrible wife

Okay that's a little over the top but really I'm not always great at being a wife. My kids pull at me and I answer. And then by the time they are in my bed man am I spent. I have very little left to give and some days I'm super selfish and keep that little bit to myself. But I need to be better about this because that man is amazing. He doesn't ask for much he serves our family so so good and he works his tail off to support us. Most days he is exhausted too and so we both look at each other and say "Today was hard but I still love you so much can we just lay here and watch a crap tv show" 9 times out of 10 we are on the same page. But we need to put some more into our marriage. We have a trip planned and we have a few date nights on the calendar. He is the first person I snip at when I'm overwhelmed but he is also the first person to forgive me for the snip and try and help me out of that hole. Our journal that we write love notes back in forth to each other has helped us so much. It's nice to see it in front of you and sometimes on my darkest marriage days I read back through those and it pulls me out. 


Equal time with my kids

Man is this hard. I feel like a broken record but twins are a total game changer. I feel like Grayson gets short changed because I can't always go outside because it's almost the babies nap time or lunch time or one of them just pooped you know a million things. But then the babies well they are never apart. In the last year they have been separated maybe 5 times and I try not to think of them as a package deal but most times they are. I feel like they all need some undivided attention but with the ages of the twins it's hard to do that. Michael and I have been discussing this a lot lately mostly for Grayson because he is more aware and we are working on some solutions for this. 


Me time
Wait what? I'm the worst at this. I pass up a pedicure because I have already been gone from the house for work that day. I pass going for a walk alone because Grayson and Marshall want to come. But sometimes I need it. So I need to work on filling my cup too. You know that whole think that everyone says you can't pour from an empty one well I try to a lot and often it ends in tears from all parties. 


Some smaller struggles

Not eating dessert every night because my thighs really don't need it but my heart says enjoy the darn ice cream

Living our of laundry baskets

Relaxing vs. crossing something off the never ending to do list

Can I really go one more day without washing my hair?


Happy Tuesday!

6.07.2017

It's all down hill from here

Well it happened. On Friday I turned the big three-oh.  THIRTY

I remember being a kid and thinking how old my mother seemed at 32. Well folks now I'm there only thing is my kid things I'm 9746. Should probably get to working on the whole age thing with him. 


I had the best birthday weekend. Normally I don't take a whole weekend but it just kind of worked out that way this year. 

Friday (my actual birthday) Michael and I both took the day off. We dropped the nuggets off at daycare and headed to breakfast. We went to Tim Horton's got a breakfast sandwich and some coffee and just enjoyed our breakfast. 

Then we headed to do some birthday shopping for me. We hit up Target first and got some good deals. I of course could not resist some cute clothes for the kiddos and we needed diapers so we grabbed those too. But it was so nice to not have to worry about rushing back to the kids or having to go before a meltdown started. We just walked the isle's and looked at whatever we wanted. I cannot tell you the last time we did that.

We left Target and headed to the Christmas Tree Shops. I got a giant coffee mug and some sand buckets for the kids for my mom's house. It was a quick stop but that coffee mug made it worth it.


We headed to lunch at my favorite place for chicken tenders. Tully's. It is a local chain, there are 5 in total 3 local and 2 in Syracuse. Funny enough Michael knows the owner because they used to play pool together in Syracuse. We decided to eat at the bar because it was empty and we love eating at the bar. A plate of loaded fries later and an order of Tully's tenders and we were off to the mall.

I needed some new bra's because things have finally settled after having the twins and they have settled way south so I needed some help in that department. 


We then went to get me a new set of kicks. I got the best sneakers. They felt awesome from the time I put them on and I'm in love with them. We were shopped out and I had blown through my birthday budget. So we found a parking spot in the shade locked the doors and took a half an hour nap in the car (!!!) #parentsoftwinsthatareteething

We then headed to pick up our nuggets and grab a pizza for dinner. My parents and sister came over for cake then we crashed into bed. 

Saturday I had my second micro-derm facial and then I swung by to get steaks for dinner that night. After nap my sweet mom and aunt each came and took a baby and Aunt Halli had already grabbed Grayson to take him and Brayden to the Star Wars baseball game. So that left Michael and I with a stretch of 24 hours kid free!!!! This was the first time that we have been home together without kids since the babies were born. We got a ton of yard work done and then had a wonderful steak dinner and watched the two movies!!! The Bourne Identity and Good Will Hunting. Michael was stunned that I had not ever watched Good Will Hunting. 

We slept in!!! We slept through the night without having to wake up to kids!! We only slept in until 6:45 because when your a parent you cannot sleep past 7 I'm convinced of it!

Sunday we got up and watched another movie (Bourne Supremacy) while we ate breakfast then got to work on putting together the second dresser for the twins room. I got that all organized and now 16 months after they were born the nursery is done ha! We watched another movie (Bourne Ultimatum) and then got ready for my birthday dinner. We met my family for dinner at our local Italian place and had a wonderful meal. We got home put the nuggets to bed and then crashed. 


It was such a good weekend. I had the best birthday. And now it's all downhill from here right? I'm kidding my 20's were great. I'm really excited for what my 30's hold. 

5.22.2017

Confessions



I hate our highchairs. I just bought two of the ones that strap to the  chairs and they will be eating off of those from now on because cleaning up the ones we have now are awful they have too many places food can get into and our sweet Charlotte makes sure that she rubs her dinner over every single inch of her highchair. I spent 45 mins cleaning the chairs last night and it drove me insane.


Still have no idea when I mopped all the floors at the same time. However my dining room floor and kitchen floor are spotless I have to mop them daily because of all the food my kids think is fun to throw on the floor.


My bathroom floor is clean too because every night they think it's Sea world and splash half the water out of the tub. I come out of there soaked too. Now as I'm typing this I need to get some more bath towels because I'm still trying to dry off my one year old's with baby towels. Ha!


We lived out of baskets for like 2 weeks. So I already failed on that new years resolution. Oops. See my Aunt and Mom anytime they watch the kids and the kids go to sleep they wash and dry and fold my laundry. Well that's all well and good until I have 6 loads of laundry to put away and no time to do it. Hey at least the laundry is clean.


Speaking of laundry is it just me or do you have to re organized the drawers every time you put laundry away? It took me an hour just to put away the kids clothes. I had to go through rotate the clothes pull out things that don't fit anymore and then put everything away. My husband says this is just me because I'm crazy but I have to do it. I cannot just throw the clothes in the drawer.


I had to order new dressers for the twins room. I have been shoving and stacking and rolling their clothes for the last few months now but with summer on the way I do not have enough room for all their clothes in their bedroom. Because one day it's 80 and the next it's 47 so I need some winter clothes and spring clothes. We have just been using the changing table/dresser combo that has 3 (tiny)drawers and two cabinets (that each have two shelves) and some fabric baskets in a bookshelf but it just does not cut it anymore . That is what i used to use for just Grayson so trying to do that for two babies is a little hard. So we have two new dressers coming (from Ikea so you know they have to be put together) and hopefully this will help with the mess of their room. Because right now I have all their summer clothes in laundry baskets and that is just a pain trying to find anything in.


I have given up on Grayson eating new foods. The doctor told me to back off so we have and we are much happier at dinner time. That kids still does not like to eat meat and would chose peanut butter over anything else.



Charlotte is still in a infant car seat but I really need to get on changing that out. See I just don't know how I would get them all into daycare with the bags. Marshall is walking but not to the point where he will walk in himself and Charlotte is still not walking so I have to carry her. Ugh I guess I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and do it. There goes the easy part of having someone strapped into a seat and not being mobile.


Michael really needs a new vehicle however we are running that puppy into the ground. Seriously right now he has both of the backseat doors ratcheted strapped closed because the latches are broken. We are getting the one fixed so that he can still have Grayson in it but we are trying so hard to just get through the summer with the vehicle. I just really don't want another car payment right now so we will see how that goes. Fingers crossed the floor doesn't fall out of it or else he will be Barney Rubbling that puppy to work.


I did make Grayson his first dentist appointment on a day when Michael is off so that he can take him.  I just really have no desire to take him to that appointment I think he will be fine but you never know.


Plus I have to take Charlotte to the eye doctor because her eye is pulling in on the left side and has been since she was about 6 months old and we waited to see if it would correct on it's own but it hasn't and so we are having it looked at to see what's going on. I'm secretly nervous about this but praying that it's nothing or something that a little patching can't fix.


5.19.2017

Looking back on a twin pregnancy

Now that I'm a year (plus) past my twin pregnancy it's strange to look back on


I mean I carried around two babies in my belly for 35 weeks.
And those two babies equaled 13.5 pounds. Yeah let that sink in. Plus they were 19 inches each. I mean that's a lot of baby in one stomach. 

Talk about stretching 


I was huge. 

I have found out (after the fact) that they called me torpedo at work because that's what looked like was coming out of my stomach

Looking back man how did I do that?

I can remember now feeling like my stomach was going to rip right open or that I was going to stand up once and my water would break.


Getting off the couch was something I had to mentally prepare for. At the end I was getting up to use the bathroom every hour. Sleep happened in increments of a few hours. I watched more Nick at Nite than anyone should plus all 8 season of Sister Wives because they were on TLC GO


Eating was a chore because I would be starving have a bowl of cereal and then within 3 bites feel like I couldn't take one more bite. I would crave pizza get it home have half a slice then be done then an hour later have the other half. I was eating every two ish hours because I just had no space.

Showering was awful and I would almost always skip the hair wash for a quick body wash and back on the couch. I'm telling you the last 4 weeks were hard but really the last 2 about did me in. 

When the doctor took me out of work, told me I couldn't drive, and said no more picking up Grayson or going up and down the stairs I burst into tears. But I had to promise those things or else he was going to keep me in the hospital until delivery and that was not an option. 

And even a year after I'm still dealing with some medical issues from it. I have a pretty serious case of Diastasis Recti. Which is separation of my stomach muscles which other than still making me look about 5 months pregnant (yup got asked when I was due the other day at the grocery store so that was a great hit for my self esteem) it is super painful. Right now I'm hovering around a 3.5 finger gap I was a 5 plus right after having them so it's slowly improving. My back is so weak that by then end of baths it's falling asleep and I have to go into stretches to make it stop seizing up. 

I guess all this to say is twin pregnancy is not easy. And a year later neither is twin parenting. It's a whole other level of crazy. It's worth it so so worth it but that doesn't mean it was hard.

And to the people that tell me I chose it (because a mom at daycare told me it was my choice to have twins) our twins were a gift from God. I was not on fertility medicine. It was the biggest shock of my life that I was pregnant with twins. But now could not imagine life without them.

I asked my husband if I complained a ton and he said no only the last day I was pregnant because I was in labor and they kept trying to stop it and I looked at him and said I need to not be pregnant anymore because they feel like they are trying to crawl out. I guess when I was in it I just focused on them and forged ahead. Even though putting on shoes felt like I was running a marathon.

5.04.2017

Two different babies

Comparison is the thief of joy.


How true is that?

Just this last week someone tried to steal my joy as a mother.

The questions I was asked was "How worried are you that Charlotte isn't walking yet like her brother?"


I kindly smiled and said "not at all"

But then later that night when my house was quiet and I had time to let things creep into my mind I started over think the situation.


Marshall has been walking for about 3 weeks now. Straight up walking everywhere and trying (and sometimes successfully) to climb (ing) everything.

Charlotte is cruising along furniture using her little push toys to get everywhere but not independently walking.


Once that comment was made I started to wonder. Is she behind? Wait should I be worried? Is something wrong with her legs? 


And a million other ridiculous things that should have never come into my mind.

I closed my eyes and prayed for peace at that moment and asked for my joy back because guess what?

They are perfectly made as individuals and just because their way into this world was through sharing a womb which is a unique experience they are still two separate babies.

They will develop at different paces, heck they look different they are TWO DIFFERENT BABIES.

The one thing that is the same though

Our love for them is big and huge. We all love them something fierce and consider ourselves blessed to get to watch them grow.


And for the record Grayson didn't walk until 15 months and he is like the smartest 4 year old I know.

Happy Thursday

4.26.2017

Whats up Wednesday

Linking up with Shay today for What's Up Wednesday.

What we're eating this week.....

Monday -We had cereal because it's hockey night and I was knee deep in party prep and lost track of time so we had cereal and the kids had broccoli and cheese tots with a hard boiled egg and mac and cheese #momoftheyear

Tuesday- Fish tacos

Wednesday- Pasta with a beef and mushroom sauce

Thursday- left overs

Friday- Pizza night also know as the best night ever

Saturday- It's the babies birthday party so we will be having party food


What I'm reminiscing about.....

With my littlest loves turning one I have been all over memory lane.



You can see the letters I wrote to them here and here

What I'm loving.....

This weather. We have finally been having some nice days and so family walks have been on repeat around here. Makes me love my stroller even more because all three kids have a seat! Plus it's not wide.



What' we've been up to....

Birthday's birthday's and more birthday's. Seriously we have 9 birthday's in April so it's a busy month.



What I'm dreading.....

Marshall getting his first haircut. Ugh this boy hates to sit still so I'm just gearing up for a fight from him. But he needs one so bad because it just hangs in his eyes and he has a mullet in the back. It's bad. So Thursday I will be taking that nugget to get his first trim. Pray for me.



What I'm working on....

The twins birthday party is on Saturday so I have been pulling every thing together for that. We went with a luau theme and I'm so excited. 

What I'm excited about...

Michael and I just paid off a huge loan. Which is such a blessing and now we are on to the next one. We follow Dave Ramsey's plan and while we have had to take a break from the whole debt snowball (because having twins will do that to you) we are back on the train and picking up momentum

What I'm watching/reading...

Okay Grayson and I are obsessed with Moana. So it's pretty much on 24/7 at our house. But I am into the Real Housewives of Beverley Hills and NYC. I'm reading my Bible and a couple other books when I get a chance.


What I'm listening to....

The Trolls soundtrack on repeat. It's free on my Amazon Prime so we jam out to that all the time 


What I'm wearing....

Flip flops because the weather is warmer


What I'm doing this weekend....

Cooking 20 pounds of pulled pork. Going to Art Night at the kids' school. Saturday I have a spa appointment that I got when I had the babies that I have to use by the end of April nothing like waiting until the last minute and then we have the babies party. 

What I"m looking forward to next month....

May is just as busy as April so there is a ton but Michael and I have a pretty special day that I'm really looking forward to in May


What else is new.....

Grayson got his packet for Pre-K yesterday.  My emotions are all over the place on this. But in looking over the paperwork it asked for Dental Health information and then I felt like a bad mom because he has never been to the dentist. Ooops. So that is on my list to do today. Make a dentist appointment.



And my favorite spring/summer shoe is of course the flip flop. Hands down if it didn't snow where I live I would only wear flip flops. 

4.21.2017

Dear Marshall

Dear Marshall,

Today you turn one
I mean tell me how that is possible.



I remember going into the hospital to have you wondering how on earth was I going to have two babies? How was I going to love two babies?

Then I heard the cries of two precious babies and bam I got two new hearts.

Sweet boy you have my heart. I always tell you and your siblings that I don't have just one heart I have a specific one for each of you. And that you and you alone get all the love that that heart has.

Well honey my heart for you is huge and filled with so much love.


You have come a long way since this day a year ago. You were born two minutes after your sister making you the baby of the family. You were 3 ounces smaller and smooshed in mama's belly. Aside from blood sugar issues that were quickly resolved after birth you were perfect. Blonde hair blue eyes and the best button nose.


You are the baby I didn't know I needed the one that God just knew I needed in my life and gave me despite my arguments for only have two kids. Now I can't imagine life without all of you.



You have changed so much since my last update on you. You went from the one who smiles at everyone to the one that reserves the smiles for those closest to him. You have kept your blue eyes and blonde hair and while it's crazy and long right now I kind of love it. You are pretty serious when entering new situations (like your big brother was and still is) and have to really observe everything.

You walk every where like you have just always walked and new this past week you climb!!!! Plus just last night you started opening our baby gates so we have to make sure we put the extra lock down because your always opening them and climbing the stairs or wandering into the kitchen and walking out with the dish towel and a kit kat bar.

Your big brother hung the moon and you just love him. You are the sweetest with your little sister because even when she steals your sussy you don't cry and you always try to give her your sussy if she is upset and can't find hers. Your big brother is chomping at the bit to be able to wrestle with you and I fear for that day because I can just see it now two boys wrestling all the live long day in my house.



Your my rock star sleeper. We sleep trained you back in December right after Christmas and that was the best thing ever. You only took two nights and now we just lay you in your crib awake but sleepy and you sleep a solid 11-12 hours a night. Don't tell the others but this makes you my favorite child (just kidding kind of because sleep is the like gold) You only had a rough sleep bought when your top two teeth were coming in and that caused you to spike a fever of 103 off an on for two days and to sleep like crap but once it broke through you were golden.

You transitioned to milk pretty easily although if it's too cold your not a fan. You have really up'd your eating came in the last few weeks and you just shovel it all in. Carbs are your favorite and I get it because yum, but really you eat it all.


Your no much of a talker yet but you have the yelling thing down. When you get super excited you let your a yell or squeal to let everyone know. You clap and wave goodbye. You chew on everything and you still have the best dimples with a scrunched nose smile. You can drop it like its hot any time a beat comes on. It is so hardcore while boy dancing that it is funny.



You are my random snuggler. You will be playing and then just come up and lay your head down on me for a few snuggles and then right back to playing. I hope you never out grow that.

Your nicknames are all over the place we mostly call you Bubba or Marshy. Marsh Man comes up quite often and Grayson always calls you Marsh Marsh. When people see you for the first time they always say you look like me and your big brother and well handsome boy we take that as a compliment.




You have the biggest hands and feet and I have a feeling your are going to be a big big boy. You are about 3 pounds more than our sister and an inch and a half taller. Slowly moving into 18 month clothing just in time for summer. We have to put you in 4 diapers at night so that you wont leak.

I just love you so so much. This year was amazing with you. To watch your grow to get be be your mom all of it was great. And while the sleepless nights are hard I'm glad we went through them mostly so I can appreciated the long nights of sleep you give me now.

Marshall Thomas Joseph Smith you are the best caboose to our family. We love you big and with all that we have. We are so blessed to get to have you in our lives every gosh darn day and we wouldn't trade it for anything.

Love Mama.


Dear Charlotte

Dear Charlotte

You are one!



Let me just tell you that was the fastest year of my life. 

I remember going into the hospital in labor and just praying over and over again for healthy babies. Less than 24 hours after walking into that hospital you were here and so beautiful.

You were born a mere two minutes before your baby brother and the second I heard you cry the tears came.

I remember seeing you and thinking how you looked just like your big brother. My heart was so full. You were the baby I prayed and prayed for. I always had a gut feeling I would be a boy mom and I was more than okay with it but really when I found out I was having a girl I cried. I had this desire to do all the girly things with a little sidekick and I didn't even know it. But you know who did? God and he gave me that blessing.



You came out 3 ounces larger than your brother at birth but that didn't last long. From very early on formula was not something that got you excited. You could take it or leave it and often we would have to fight with you to get you to eat.


You have had red hair since you were born and while the first few days I thought it was blonde looking back it's always been red. You have the sweetest blue eyes that have stuck around and they make you one of the rarest combinations in the world of having red hair and blue eyes.



You are the spitting image of your father. But your personality is all me. This is something I have struggled with because man are we both stubborn. You are my baby that knows how to get what she wants when she wants it and most of it is done with a smile and snuggles.

You could crawl for months however chose to just do it at almost 11 months old. Now you are starting to free stand and will walk when holding onto things. I'm just letting you find your own way with all of it. I have to admit it is hard to not compare you to your brother but I'm working on it.

You still eat all the things but now, you prefer meat. You know what you like and prefer lots of texture in a meal so if we give you lets say eggs and guacamole nope your not happy you want something crunchy too. Plus like your mama you like a little something sweet at the end of a meal for now that has just been some graham crackers because we reserve all sweets for the first birthday. So brace yourself sweet little one you get cake tonight! The transition to milk has been a weird one for you. You will drink it warmed up and in a bottle but no other way, because well your Charlotte. However you will drink water from your sippy cup all day long.



Your favorite thing is picking up any thing clothing related and putting it on your neck like a scarf. It's the funniest thing. Your second favorite thing is when you big brother picks you up and carries you around under your arm pits. You smile and kick your legs like crazy and when he sets you down you point to him for more.

Your sleeping is awful. You are up more times in the night than I care to count and more often than I would like to admit you end up in bed with us. Your smart so I'm certain that is why you wake up so that you can come in and get extra snuggles because you fall right back to sleep once you are nestled between us.



Your personality is infectious. You love to smile and you wave at everyone. You clap your hands and if anyone asks how big you are your hand shoot as high as you can get them above your head. You love to dance and kick your feet and bop your head any change you get. The Hot Dog song is one of your favorites and you point and grunt at the TV when it comes on.

You have a few small words. Mama Dada Baba but your not really associating them with anything but boy do you babble those all day long.

You are so petite. Coming in at around 17 pounds you have the smallest little waist that would still fit in 9 months but since you have some long legs you need 12 months.

You are sassy and you are a force to reckoned with. If you want a toy a one of your brothers has it you will pull on it until they give up. Your still not the biggest fan of your little brother touching you because your drama but you are starting to interact with each other more. You love to be in the jumper still and will jump happily for at least half an hour which gives me time to get laundry done because trying to do that with you is impossible you rip it apart faster than I can fold it.


I love you baby girl. I'm so blessed that I get to have you in my life as my daughter. Your sweet and I just love to snuggle you. There have been ups and downs and you hands down give me a run for my money more than the other two but I wouldn't change a thing. You help me grow as a mom and a person and for that I will be forever grateful.

Charlotte Carol Halli Smith you are such a blessing to our family. My love for you will never change. We love you big and hard because your just that amazing. Getting to be your Mom is one of my greatest blessings.

Love Mama





3.30.2017

Answered Prayers

I think it is an awesome day when you can see a prayer answered. 


For the last 7.5 years Michael and I have had zero days off together.

His schedule was Wednesday through Sunday 
Mine was Monday through Friday


Once we had children we realized the blessing it was that he had those two days off so that our babies could stay home with him and saved all that money on daycare. 

Once the twins came it became apparent how much we needed some consistent family time. And some consistent adult time. We needed a date night and bad. Only problem was one of us always had to work the next day and our bed time is pretty early like 9 at night. And very few people can handle the bed time routine (it's not called power hour for nothing) so we went without.


At the beginning of this year I started a prayer journal. I started writing in it pretty often. One of my first entries was guidance from God about Michael's job. He had an offer from another company that was offering him Sunday's off and while he didn't want to leave his current job it was something we needed to consider.

We decided to pray about it and see what doors opened.

Yesterday after 7.5 years of working the weekends Michael was notified that his company was making changes and his new days off would not be Sunday and Monday.

SUNDAY and MONDAY

To say we are thrilled is an understatement. I'm beyond excited to have a family day every.single.week. 

This is such a blessing.

This morning while I was getting dressed I looked in my prayer journal and saw my entry about Michael's job and wrote next to it "answered by God's grace and in His time"

It a reminder for me that prayer works and God is so so good. 


Happy Thursday!

3.24.2017

Friday Favorites

TGIF

Linking up with Andrea


I'm so thankful it's Friday we have had a few crazy weeks between losing power, the whole house getting the flu and then the big fourth birthday I'm ready to get my house in order and put away all the laundry


Here are a few things I'm loving this week


One 
This blender bottle. I take some vitamins and I have the hardest time remembering them in the morning well this bottle has a pill section on the bottom of it so I just pack them all in there at night and bam I have them for the next morning at work

BlenderBottle ProStak System with 22-Ounce Bottle and Twist n' Lock Storage, Pebble Grey



Two
The babies are obsessed with these right now. They make for an easy something to throw on their tray for lunch or dinner. They just gobble them up


Three
Grayson got Trolls for his birthday and we watched it together it's so so cute. The music is pretty great and it's just a sweet movie. 
Product Details

Four
I'm in full on first birthday party planning mode for the twins. How are they going to be one? We are doing a luau theme because believe it or not it's harder to come up with a gender neutral theme. Once invitations go out (this weekend) I will share the invite. I worked with an awesome shop on Etsy and I can't wait to show you the final product.



Five
These St. Paddy's day picture of the kiddos. Sissy and Grayson smile big Marshall looks like he has rocks in his mouth. Ha! But his cheeks though



Six
I'm so far ahead of the game this year and I'm already done with Easter baskets. All the praise hands. We don't do candy in the baskets because the Grandmas usually take care of that so this year we gave each one a puzzle, a book, and a pair of PJ's. Plus a small treat. Puffs for the babies and a chocolate hockey puck for Grayson. I have them all put into the buckets too and they are hidden in my closet ready to go! Well one part of my life is in order Ha!


Happy Friday!