Saturday, May 17, 2014

Rainy Saturday.

I saw "Moms' Night Out" this past week - it is so good, because it is so true. I laughed. I cried. I laughed until I cried. It was encouraging & comforting & just what I needed. See, I'm raising myself. Prater Ellis is me, in toddler form. And it can be exhausting (I feel like I should take this opportunity to apologize to anyone I've ever come in contact with). She is so lovely & has so many wonderful qualities - she's kind & caring, a born leader & servant, outgoing & compassionate, sympathetic & sensitive. But bless her, she is also a roaring lion - she's stubborn & wild, loud & obnoxious, prideful & defensive... We are either having a lot of fun... Or we aren't. There's very little middle ground. But we are learning... together. I'm learning patience & understanding & grace & FOR THE LOVE, my Daddy's never-ending plea for me to PICK MY BATTLES! The movie was a great reminder than I am not only good enough, but I have been ORDAINED to carry out this mission of shaping & molding these little people that He has entrusted me with. Wow. That just gets me fired up & ready to tackle the job, even when I've heard Mama 18,000 times in one day or I've been touched so much that I just want to sit in a dark room by myself.

I just ordered this shirt! A FB friend posted a picture of herself wearing it & I've been in love ever since. I love that it says "makes her arms strong" - to myself, I take note often that my arms are almost always filled with babies. 9 times out of 10, I have both babies, one in each arm. When Prater was a baby, I was careful to not hold her too much, afraid that I'd spoil her or make her only want me... These babies, they're Mama's girls & since I know that this season will soon pass, I am soaking up every whimper for me to take them from whoever else is holding them. Truth be told, it's total chaos trying to play with/hold both of them at the same time - they either want to assault the other or don't want to be touched by the other but my heart just swells when I see them together & to be 'covered up' by their goodness. Two babies. And of course, I still love when my big girl lets me hold her. She is so independent & grown - it's a rarity so when she asks & I can, I do. I'm excited to have a new shirt to wear to Zumba!

Speaking of Zumba, I am officially down 50 pounds since Daddy passed away almost 4 years ago. I remembering weighing myself the month that he died & being MORTIFIED & feeling so hopeless that I'd ever be any smaller. I was so unhealthy. So miserable. So depressed. I'm not perfect by ANY means nor will I ever wear a bikini again but I'm pretty thankful for the life change that I've experienced physically. It's refreshing to feel up to being active with my family, to feel comfortable in the way that my body looks in clothes, to see the scale & the sizes drop. I'd still like to lose another 20 to 30 pounds - I think it's obtainable once the babies wean & I'm not afraid of compromising my supply for them. I've decided that once I meet my ultimate goal, I am going to reveal my starting weight. This might sound stupid or silly but I was (am?) very ashamed of how much I let myself go after getting married, through college, & during Daddy's cancer journey & I feel like doing so would be somewhat of a healing experience for me, regaining that power & confidence over that struggle. Plus, I really hope that it can be an encouragement to others. I never thought that I could lose the weight. I was contemplating if I could qualify for weight loss surgery. I literally thought that I would gain 10 pounds a year, based on my history, until I eventually died. As someone who can look at something & gain 5 pounds, someone who didn't care what she put in to her body or that was semi-knowingly making decisions to make herself further miserable, something to wrap it all up in a pretty bow once I've reached a goal that I believed I could never accomplish... Well, it would be pretty amazing.

We've gone thru a bit of a budget bootcamp in our household lately - it feels so nice to regroup, establish new goals, & start moving towards them actively. We're looking to pay off Aaron's truck in the coming months & have big plans for revamping our budget after. It makes me all sorts of excited & helps to keep me accountable & motivated. Our ultimate goals are to be completely or as close to debt free as possible so that we can spend our lives & money enjoying one another & helping others while not worrying about that pesky 'root of all evil'.

In our budget bootcamp discussion we discussed spending a lot of time at our land this summer. We stocked our pond for Aaron's birthday, we have the horses there, we have 17 acres to ride the 4-wheeler on, we have a grill, & we have countless projects to keep us busy. We spent the day there yesterday with one of our best friends - we shot guns, along with everything else I mentioned above. It was a near perfect day. While we were there, we burned a brush pile & I organized the back of our barn & our tack room - it felt so good to do some manual labor & accomplish something there! I've pretty much been pregnant or caring for infants since we bought the property so I haven't gotten to enjoy it as much as I'd like. We're looking to do some major work there this year - building a workshop, new fences, etc. - I can't wait to see that place come to life with a little work. Our place.

I cannot believe that the babies will be one in a little over two months. This year has absolutely flashed by. I have their party planned in my head & on paper but have yet to do anything tangible. I think it's a mixture of being in denial & being lazy. We hosted a big first birthday party for Prater, it was wonderful! But then last year we did a small, family only party... Let me tell you, I love a beautiful party as much as the next person, but that small party was awesome! So much so that I think my inner being is trying to wait it out to see if my better judgement gets the best of me & I decide to do a very small scaled version of the party that I want to give them...

This is a whole lotta first world problems. I'm so sad that I currently don't have the brain cells, or truthfully - the emotional capacity - to write the types of posts that I used to... I miss writing on that level of sensitivity & emotion & it was truly beyond therapeutic for me. There just truly isn't enough time in the day. I am considering submitting an article to a locally produced magazine for their next edition.

I'm most likely going to get a minivan soon. I don't want to talk about it.

We've got lots of fun things on the calendar - I'm excited that the babies are getting bigger & that it's getting warmer (contrary to today's temperature - 56*, what the what?) & we can start getting out more!

I can't believe that my Daddy would have been 57 on the 23rd... It so weird to think of him aging & as a grandfather. There are days that are still so hard in missing him.

I do believe that I've cleared my head enough for one sitting... Happy Saturday, y'all!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Memory.

I want to make note of something that happened Sunday morning so that I will hopefully never forget it...

When I was checking the girls in to Journey at church, Aaron had to leave to get ready to play the third service... Prater wanted to go with her Daddy, I told her that he had to go play his guitar. She said "I wanna watch my Daddy play his guitar."

So, I let her. I took her to 'big' church to watch Aaron play with plans to take her back to her classroom when Worship ended. We sat on the front row so that she could watch her Daddy. When he took the stage, she beamed & the first song they played, it's one of her favorites & she danced & smiled & sang along...

The second song, a slower pace, her Daddy raised his hand in Worship, which makes me tingle.

I look down & I see my precious, sweet baby raising her hand & swaying.

I cried. And tingled.

Did she know what she was doing? Maybe not. Does she know why some raise their hands in honor of worship? No. But it was such a pure moment of her mimicking her Daddy's leadership. His spiritual leadership.

I will never forget the first time that I saw my Daddy raise his hand in Worship at church. I was 13 or so & in that moment, he was just so confident in his worship.

I cried. And tingled.

That moment spoke to me then & continues to speak to me to this day.

Just like I pray that her moments with her Daddy - the man with the most influence on her life - always speak to her.

My girl & me singing & dancing to 'Mighty Warrior' on the way home from Aunt Jenny's.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throw Up.

Basically, all I am capable of posting at this point is throw up. Random, brain dump, throw up. Apparently I no longer have the brain cells that it would take to write flowing paragraphs.


I've been trying to update my iPhone for a week, it processes for 30 minutes & then errors without an explanation. I hate to see that little icon on my settings app, I want to update because I want it gone. I'm sure this explains so much about me, but I don't have the time, nor the energy, to analyze it all. I just need to call the Apple people, tell them that I don't understand the electronics & have them take care of it for me. But again, time & energy. I understand that this screams FIRST WORLD PROBLEM. I'm just trying to clear some room in my noggin here.

I feel like Prater Ellis & I have had a break through recently & all of our lives are SO much better for it. She's my child - stubborn & hard headed & impatient & determined & strong-willed & mature & sensitive... I both LOVE & HATE these traits, in the both of us. But, I've really done & continue to do some soul searching & praying & not that it's perfect but OH, it's so much better than the tantrum-filled days that we were experiencing. We're both learning patience & obedience - it's been so refreshing to have fun with her again. Motherhood is so challenging. But observing PE, her anger & her joy, her love languages... It has been so rewarding to help her, & me both really, live fulfilled days lately. This may not make sense to anyone else but that's okay, I just wanted to document where we are.

We've implemented a little reward system in to our routine - if PE works with me throughout the day - listening, using her words, being kind, being patient, being understanding - she gets a sticker on that day & when she builds up 7, she gets to pick a prize... Tonight she got to pick her first prize, the stick she pulled said 'Trip to Store', so when her Daddy comes home from work tomorrow, he's taking her to the store for her to pick out a prize. (Which, if I know her, will be a $1 tube of lipgloss from the Dollar Store.)

I've issued myself a little challenge. I want to lose 15 pounds before the twins' 1st birthday in July. I can do it. I just have to find the motivation. I've wanted to try Stitch Fix for months but hate to spend money on clothes when I have plans to lose some weight that *should* knock me down in to a smaller size. So, I've promised myself a Stitch Fix styling once I lose these 15 pounds. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.

I'm going to try Zumba on Tuesday night. I am legitimately afraid that I'm going to pass out. Ever since I broke my nose in high school, I just don't get optimum intake with breathing thru my nose... Yeah.

Prater Ellis has taken to wanting to go spend the day playing at my Aunt Jenny's house. Which my Aunt Jenny LOVES. Both of them were asking today so we have plans for me to drop PE off for a full day of play next week... I'm already making a list of errands to run sans Toddler. I love when people come up to me & the twins & say 'oh, you have your hands full...' Actually, this is calm. I usually have a 2 year old with me as well.

The babies are SO CLOSE to crawling. I really don't think that things will be much different than they are now - they're all over the place as it is. They can turn & roll & sit & stand... These babies. They are truly an answer to my wildest dreams & I absolutely adore every waking moment with them but let me tell you.... 2 babies ain't no joke. I was rubbing my upper arm the other night, thought I had a growth or a knot... It's a muscle. I've never had one there before.

My mind is RUNNING with ideas for once this weather perks up! With my sensitive skin, I've never been so excited to GET OUTSIDE & do stuff! We spent the day out, the first time we've went out all week - we all had a pep in our step! I think this cooped up winter has just about done us all in!

Speaking of being up & at 'em. I've enrolled PE in a Moms Morning Out Program for this coming school year. She thrives in these environments & I really think that we each need some time away from one another, plus it'll be nice to have some 1-on-2 time with the twins also. I'm already having anxiety about having to be somewhere, on time, 2 mornings out of the week. It just isn't my gift. In all of my anal organized perfectionism, being on time just didn't make the cut. It used to annoy me but after years & years of caring way too much about what tardiness says about me - I've just learned to accept it. I try. I do get up HOURS before I need to be somewhere - it just never fails that someone will need to nurse or throw up or need to potty or a dog will chase a chicken or... Who am I kidding, I wasn't on time before kids either. It just isn't my gift.

I'm in the beginning stages of planning both the twinks & PE's birthday parties. We've decided to host a big party for their first birthday, like we did for Prater, & then tone it down after that. Prater's second birthday party last year was AMAZING - it really made me rethink a big party because man, pizza & cookie cake was so relaxing but I want to do this for them. And, overall, it is fun for me.

Aaron & I are going to get a couples' massage for our anniversary. We love them. It was our wedding gift to one another so it's fun to relive that every year. Every night before we fall asleep we say, 'I can't wait until our massage.' We're pitiful.

We have some fun things planned for this coming weekend that I'm excited about - we're going to a Farm Day event, planning to take the girls to a Drive Thru Safari, & Aaron's even offered me a treat to myself... I think I may go eat by myself (one of my favorite things to do) & get a pedicure.

Okay, I'm out. I've really tried going to SLEEP at a decent hour - I always feel SO MUCH BETTER when I do. And my tiny bosses will be up & at em' in 9 hours so...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Springing Forward.

I just need to throw up some words. Here we go:

This weather & time change is GIVING ME LIFE! I usually love winter - I enjoy the cold & the layers of clothes but FOR THE LOVE, I am so over the sickness & keeping these kids inside & away from people. I feel like we will hit the ground running once it warms up for good - I'm anxiously awaiting Zoo trips & picnics in the park & splash pad fun... The timing will be perfect because the babies will be old enough to join in!

I randomly weighed myself yesterday - I've lost 5 pounds - lowest number I've seen on the scale since... High school maybe? I think that my body was much slimmer looking right before I got pregnant with the twins though - their pregnancy wrecked my body (obviously I would do it all over again, I'm just stating facts). My hips still ache daily & things just do not fit like they once did - with the warmer weather coming along & the twinkies getting closer to being a year old (WHAT?!), I'm also anxious to get back in to a running routine. I hope to shed another 15 pounds to reach my first "big" weight loss goal. After that I'll reevaluate & see if I wanna try for another 15 that'll put me at that special height/weight number that we all compare ourselves to. More than anything I'm just looking forward to having more energy & feeling better physically from the exercise!

As we are nearing 3 years old, the tantrums are in full swing. I'm not being overly dramatic when I say that I'm certain they will be the death of me. This mess is hard core. I want so badly to nurture her spirit & not squash it but I also don't want my toddler throwing herself on the floor when she's told 'no' or when it's bedtime - when she's clearly just mad that she isn't getting her way or wants to stay up late even though she's beyond tired. Oh, she tries my patience & my grace-giving desire. But then she does things like introduce her baby sisters by saying "This is Giles, this is Hat-hat. Yes, they're twins." (because we haven't been asked that often or anything...) & we laugh & melt at her charm. I know that I say it all the time but DANG, PARENTING IS HARD! And then I look at the twins & it scares me that we have to do this all again. Times two.

This weekend was fabulous. The weather was great & our schedule was relatively free. We just piddled & played & enjoyed ourselves. It was so lovely, so much so that I'm sad to see it end. I have deviated from my goal for the year of letting go & creating quiet some... & have suffered because of it. In those moments, I've become ill & overwhelmed & overly tired & scattered. But I've regrouped & reassured myself in the reasons that I set that goal & am I'm feeling much better. I'm loving saying 'no' & 'yes'. No - to things that will stretch me too thin or overwhelm me or wreck my girls' routines - all recipes for disaster. And yes - to my family, to my husband. I'm learning that while we thrive in an organized environment, it doesn't have to be absolutely spotless 24-7. That we can wear laundry out of clothes baskets every once in a while because it isn't the end of the world that I didn't put them away fresh out of the dryer. And that we can eat grilled hotdogs with homemade fries for supper once every two weeks because I don't have to spend 30 minutes in the kitchen on a healthy & carefully thought out meal every night. While the people pleaser in me hates to tell people that I love no, even when I know I'd enjoy myself, I am LOVING the freedom of no in this season. And because I'm a woman who care entirely too much about what people think, being real here, I struggle with people wondering if I can't "handle it all" I'm saying no - but in this season of easily overly tired babies, babies who only want to nurse from their Mama & not from bottles, toddlers who NEED afternoon naps, & for the sake of my tired body & nerves needing quietness, craving it - it's my reality. And I'm enjoying it.

I booked a cabin in the mountains for our first vacation as a family for this coming fall & I am so flipping excited! We haven't been on a vacation, well since our honeymoon technically. We've been on a few overnight trips, we've been very blessed to travel with Aaron's work to Destin, we've been on a few short trips with other family members but just us, for an extended period of time... It's been almost 6 years. We chose Pigeon Forge because it isn't too long of a drive for the girls, it has something for everyone, & we love the mountains. Aaron's excited to go fishing in the creek that our cabin overlooks, we plan to take the girls to the Aquarium, & I'm just excited to getaway with my people!

I am excited about some financial decisions we are making this year - it's nothing earth shattering but we are really trying to focus on being good stewards with what we're blessed with. I'm excited for what this all means for our family! I love money management & it excites me to have goals!

I'm also excited about Easter - it always just makes me happy. It's so cheerful & uplifting. The little girls & I haven't been to church since Thanksgiving. After their bout with RSV, it's just been too much of a risk during this cold & flu season. I am planning on Easter being our first Sunday back & am literally counting down the Sundays! I'm also excited because I snatched all of the girls matching Easter dresses last year on massive sale so I don't have to worry about trying to go shopping now. I'm just going to wear something that I already have with a cardigan that belonged to my Nanny - growing up Easter dress shopping was a BIG deal for my Nanny & my Mom, I always LOVED going shopping with them for a special dress! I can't wait to be back at church, worshipping with my church family, it's been a LONG winter.

The other day I was thinking about the girls' 6th month pictures, I'm taking a special prop that is connected to my Paw Paw Prater & started to tell Aaron "we'll have to be sure..." & was going to finish the sentence with "get Daddy a framed picture of that." It amazes me that my mind somehow still doesn't fully comprehend that he's gone. That he's been gone for almost 4 years. I can't even.

My babies will be 1 in 4 months. Prater will be 3 in 6 months. Tear. Yes, their parties are already planned.

Speaking of birthdays, Elijah Banx turns 10 this year! Shut up! I'm thinking that I may plan a silly something so that the girls can celebrate him - I cannot believe it's been 10 years since Aaron, Daddy, & I picked him up in Mississippi.

Welp, I could really go on & on but, I mean, look at all of this nonsense above - bless. I suppose I'll head to bed, all of my people have been asleep for hours while I caught up DVR & enjoyed a little blog therapy. If it's pretty in the morning, I've got plans for getting out of this house & getting moving!

*Let the record show, I usually proofread my posts before posting them - ain't nobody got time for that - I apologize for misspellings & grammatical errors.*

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sundrop High Brain Dump.

Aaron & Prater brought a 'treat' home for me when they went to check on the horses earlier, a Sundrop that I didn't have time to drink until everyone went to bed & now I'm wide awake... Thus, a brain dump:

• I feel bad for not updating my blog more often but honestly, it's a mixture of not having the time & just not having much to say most days. We have a pretty strict routine with the occasional play or lunch date so I feel like there just isn't much to say. I love blogging & recording our memories & while I hope to pick up the pace, it's just not something I can commit to right now either. If that makes sense, at all? Whatever.

• This week has been a bit of a rough one - with Prater needing a cast because of an accident at a play date, the twins becoming a little sickly & getting their six month vaccinations, overspending on my grocery budget by A LOT, our Tennessee land taxes being due, & I am pretty sure that our dryer is trying to die... It's just a part of life & I am so beyond thankful that Prater's accident wasn't worse, that the twins are healthy overall, that we have groceries & money to buy them, that we have been blessed with our perfect piece of property, & that we have a savings account for emergencies like having to possibly buy a new dryer... but man, it makes me feel blah. Which then makes me mad because I don't want for my circumstances - all of which I can't control, except for the groceries maybe - to dictate my mood. I'm trying to remind myself of all of my blessings while also trying to give my worries to Him but the control freak in me is white knuckling this mess.

• I cannot wait to see how much we're getting back on our taxes - we never do anything with our return but I always love that boost to our savings account.

• I hate to 'wish my life away' but I will be so happy when this sick season passes - we've stayed fairly quarantined since Thanksgiving but I think I might've gotten a little loosey goosey lately (due to cabin fever) & now all three girls have snotty noses. For the love of all that is good, I hope their immune systems kick in & kick this junk to the curb. I sprayed every inch of this house with Lysol before bed tonight & sent all the girls to bed with a little medicine - hopefully they will all sleep well & wake up better tomorrow. I hate to be ugly, but I'm seriously going to have to start asking everyone to wash their hands & if they've been sick at all or around anyone sick before touching any of the girls. It's awful but I'm terrified of the little girls having to be hospitalized. Terrified.

• So far, I really feel like I am staying committed to my desire of letting go & creating calm for 2014. I've actually been pretty cut throat about it which isn't really how I roll - especially when it comes to people pleasing. That's the hardest part for me. It's a constant battle of feeling like I'm hurting someone's feelings when I don't immediately reply to a text or email or answer every call or say 'yes' to every request. But the important part is that I'm doing it, I am doing those things - not feeling obligated to anyone or anything other than my family of 5 which is exactly what I feel called to for this season of my life. That aspect has been SO rewarding - being present with them, putting them & their needs & wants first, seeing our routine & time together thrive - there's no question, for me, that I'm doing exactly what I need to do. Now if I can just stop overanalyzing how my doing this may make others feel... People pleasing is no joke. Generational curse, I tell you. I just always want for everyone around me to feel like they're important to me, because they are, but I have to be committed first to the 5 people who are the most important to me (that includes myself because if I'm not good, I'm no good to my family) & right now, that alone takes up about 18 hours of my day... & I'm sleeping the other 6 hours.

• I've been trying a ton of new, healthier recipes lately - Deceptively Delicious, Weight Watchers, Paleo, Clean Eating. We've been really pleased with almost all of them. I feel so much better, have much more energy, & feel better about what I'm feeding my family but HOLY COW - as I said before, the cost has been cray-cray. It makes me sad that, for the most part, to feed your family healthy choices costs SIGNIFICANTLY more than not.

• This stripe waffle cowl neck tee from Gap is probably my most favorite thing ever. I only paid $9 for mine. Boom.

• I think these little Kate Spade studs are precious. I really like Valentine's Day. We don't do anything spectacular - usually we leave each other little notes (which we do so throughout the year as well) & have a special dinner & dessert at home, which is just perfect for me. But I like that it's sweet & pink & girly & happy & not stressful like most holidays are. This year we are staying home, making a homemade pizza & I'm baking Aaron & Prater a surprise treat. I'm already looking forward to it. I also made the girls the cutest (& easiest/cheapest) Valentines to pass out to their friends at our MOMS group.

• I really wish it would snow. Like enough to keep Aaron home for a few days & so that Prater could build a snowman. Bless her heart, she's been asking to build one since we took her to see 'Frozen' at the movie theater & I just know a big snow would be MAGICAL for her.

• I've been decluttering again. It's a never ending thing for me - I love it! Organizing & getting rid of things that we don't use. There's actually cabinets in my kitchen with nothing in them - so freeing! I absolutely cannot wait until spring to do the same in my flower beds & on my porches. I love working in the yard in the afternoons, when it doesn't get dark until 9:00 - pulling weeds, planting flowers, sweeping sidewalks - it makes me happy.

I'm sure I could go on & on & on but I probably should attempt to calm my sugar high & get some rest in case Hatley wakes up in a few hours not being able to breathe like she did last night... I never thought I would say these words but I believe I'm adjusting to being able to function on less sleep. I'm sure that level of function is debatable, especially if you've tried to carry on an adult conversation with me lately but nevertheless... I'm functional. And really, that's all I can ask for with 3 under 3!

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sleepless Nights. Scary Dreams.

I can't sleep.

Friends who are walking through the last moments of their loved one's life tonight are heavily on my heart. I'm suffocating with sadness.

Images of me & Chelsea standing over Daddy, him being kept alive by a machine for just a few moments longer before I signed the paper. I look up & lock eyes with my Uncle Dickie. Him just standing there, so hopeless.

I know in that moment that he was feeling what I'm feeling now. And reliving his own nightmares from the long-nights of caring for my Pops, his Daddy, before he succumbed to the disease in his body.

It's horrible. It changes you. For the better. For the worse.

I know I've said it before & I know I'll say it again.

I hate cancer. So much.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Day In The Life.

Every now & then, I like to do an 'A Day In The Life' post where I document what our day has been like. I love to go back to the beginning of this blog & read posts from when we were planning our wedding, from our newlywed days when we'd spend the weekends working in our flower beds, walking thru chemo days with Daddy, Prater's pregnancy... It's a little glimpse of our life's seasons & I know I'll appreciate documenting some of these days & next year (& beyond) it'll be neat to look back on the season when we were trying to find our stride as a family of FIVE!

Prater is usually a really good sleeper but last night she woke up screaming twice - I think she was having nightmares. (What do little kids have nightmares about? It makes me so sad!) So I didn't sleep too great since I got up twice to go in to her room, comfort her, & restart her Praise Baby CD that we use as a little white noise (our next home will have bomb-sound proof walls).

The littlest ladies & I got up around our usual time of 9:00... I know. I don't have many vices but dang it, if we sleep until 9:00 every day until they all go to school - so be it! It makes us all happy! Since Prater didn't sleep well, she was still asleep so I moved these chicks in to my bathroom floor so they could practice their rolling (Hatley can do it all, Giles is still just rolling from belly to back) while I showered. I am so thankful that they are finally able to wear Prater's cloth diapers! I was so tired of buying so many diapers!

After my shower, we opened all of the blinds throughout the house & made the bed - those are some of my favorite chores, they just make everything seem so tidy & bright & airy & jump start my day.

A friend & her son were visiting us for lunch & a play date today so while my breakfast baked & the Twinkies jumped in their bouncers, I went ahead & prepared the foods for lunch that I had prepped during nap time yesterday. The more I can do ahead of time, during naps, while PE is asleep, the better! A 2 year old assistant isn't the most efficient & while I do let her help me a good bit, sometimes you just need to do things without a narrator or 'helper'.

I also checked on the chickens & bunny to make sure Aaron remembered to feed & water them. They are currently residing in our garage while this weather is crazy cold! I just cannot wait to sweep all of that hay out when they move back outside... Said no one ever.

Then it was time for these gals' breakfast - oatmeal mixed with avocado. As you can see, Hatley's isn't a fan of waiting her turn. This is typical Hatley - smiling or screaming.

And then this gal was up & at 'em... At 10:45.

Our friends showed up for lunch around 11, I didn't get any pictures because we were too busy catching up, eating, & refereeing our toddlers fighting over toys! The little gals slept thru most of their visit for their morning nap. When they left, Prater was MORE THAN READY for her nap & I had just enough time to take these four crazies out for some 'business' & fun before the littles were up for their lunch.

They had homemade sweet potato & spinach purée for lunch. I really do enjoy making their food, I always enjoyed doing it for Prater. Hatley is a savage when it comes to eating - homegirl LOVES food! They've both done so well starting some first foods! (Yes, they're both wearing 'Prater' bibs... Second & third kid probs.)

After I filled them up, we washed some dishes & talked some trash - they're actually both watching the crazy dogs wrestle. If those dogs aren't good for anything else, they're good for being kid entertainment.

I hadn't planned on giving them baths, but it was needed after lunch & since Prater was still asleep, we went ahead & had us some tub fun! Is there anything sweeter than clean babies? Nope!

After some more rolling around, these gals were ready for their afternoon nap. We use Prater's iPhone (her Aunt got a new one & gave Prater her old one... It has games & music on it & she can't mess it up!) to play music for them during their nap.

And so begins the mad dash to get some things accomplished while they're all napping! I usually use this time to do chores like cleaning or laundry or dishes but all of those things were caught up so I did stuff like run to the mailbox, eat a snack, look thru a magazine, update my planner, check email, cuddle with the doggies, & upload the twins' 3 month pictures to Facebook.

I love fun mail! Today, I got another Christmas card - I seriously don't know when I will take all of ours down, they make me too happy - & these ornaments that I ordered for all the girls with pictures of them & my Great Aunt Jenny - Prater has one for every year for her Christmas tree & I want to start the tradition for the littles too.

When PE woke up, we did some fun 'crafts' & 'cleaned' a bit... Then the babes woke up & it was time to start supper for everyone - thankfully I had leftovers from lunch so it was as easy as popping it in the microwave! PE's new favorite 'treat' is carrots & peanut butter, thanks to her Aunt Squeak!

Aaron usually gets home at 5:00 but tonight he had band practice at church so we watched Veggie Tales (check out the vultures, best floor cleaners) while we ate supper, just us gals!

(There's a good bit of nursing babies - still going well - & changing diapers & taking dogs outside intermittently throughout the day... There won't be pictures of any of those activities. You're welcome.)

This went on while I cleaned up the kitchen & dishes from supper - she's taking their picture while they're practicing rolling over.

I tried to keep them all up so that Aaron could see them when he got home but the babies just weren't having it - they were asleep by 8:00 & then PE & I played in her room until Aaron got home...

He had to return something for me at TJMaxx & brought these new foot lotions home as a treat. After he ate supper & we put PE to bed - tonight's prayer was "Dear Jesus, thank you for Giles, Hat Hat, Mama, Dada, Mommy, Daddy, Pay Pear. Amen." - we watched some DVR'd shows while he rubbed my feet & I ordered some fun leggings from Target with a gift card.

And now everyone is asleep except for me. I went ahead & got things together for the morning rush, as I like to call it. And I plan to answer a few emails & then GO TO SLEEP so that I can hopefully get a good nights sleep. I have plans for us to check out a local church gym that opens for the community to use their walking track tomorrow - we haven't been out of the house in days & I'd like to try to jog a little. I've also got to menu plan & make our grocery list for 2 weeks & that always requires a 'fresh' mind!

While things like the Target order & having a friend over for lunch isn't a daily deal, this is a pretty accurate description of our day-to-day routine right now. And while I am exhausted when my head hits the pillow, I truly wouldn't have it any other way. I am beyond thankful that I get to live this life with these people. I know that there are women who would love to stay home but can't, I know what it's like to dread going to work a job that you hate every day, I've been in the trenches of being stretched too thin & just existing... Miserably.

I am so thankful for this life that God has blessed me with over the past 3 years since accepting my life's calling, in this season, as a homemaker. And I am grateful in the confidence in knowing that I not only enjoy what I do every day, but I am good at it. And that is NOT me tooting some horn. This is me & God finding MY sweet spot in this world. This is me knowing how blessed I am because my every day wasn't always filled with joy & happiness & thankfulness.

Not every day is perfect, some days are rough & trying. Of course there are days that I question what I am doing. All of those things are apart of life. But more times that not, they are satisfying & fulfilling & accomplished - for myself & the 4 people I 'work' for.

And because this topic always makes me think of this quote:

Samantha Jones: "... I mean, how often are you happy?"
Charlotte York: "Every day."
Samantha Jones: "Every day?"
Charlotte York: "Well, not all day every day but yes, every day."