Me time

I’m an only child.  Different people have different opinions of this.  I can honestly say there were very few times I longed for a sibling.  We are a close family so I always had someone around to play with. Once I grew up I really liked having my own time and our little family unit of 3.

The bad part about being an only child is learning to live with people… like a husband and then add in 2 children… can we say adjustment period?  I mentioned in my Bible study the other night that I basically stole the joy of my whole first year of marriage longing for my own little apartment and city back.  Not that I didn’t want to be with my husband because I really did, but every 3 days or so I wanted to go back and live by myself for a few days.  When we got married I moved to a new city, started a new job and got a new house and husband.  There was a BIG part of me that felt like I had lost my whole identity.  I wanted the throw pillows to stay where they belonged on the couch, the bathroom to stay in order and I wanted to sit in a room by myself at the end of the day with a glass of wine and not have to speak to anyone for a little bit.

Once we discussed all this and learned one another’s boundaries things started falling into place.  THEN we decided to have a baby.  Did you know that babies take up a lot of time and space?  They are wonderful, but that whole dynamic of someone taking up my space was multiplied by about a thousand.  The thing with children is that they love you A LOT and it’s kind of hard to get them to leave you alone.  I never in my life thought I would meet someone who would enjoy sitting on the floor at my feet (or in my lap) while I go to the bathroom.  Then my only child brain said “let’s get this kid someone to play with!” Ha!  You all know the rest of the story.

I love my babies. I seriously would kill and die for them and would have to go into a padded room if something happened to either one of them.  That being said, I do wonder if only children are equipped to parent multiple children? Or if it is possible for us to do it as well as parents that come out of homes with siblings?  Thank goodness my husband had a brother so we don’t mess them up too bad!

Last weekend Amelia went out of town with my parents so it was just us and Annie.  Even with Annie being sick and fussy, I had it together all weekend.  We were even early to Sunday school (that NEVER happens!).  I looked down at myself and was taking a picture of the fact that my shoes, nails and necklace all matched.  I thought to myself “If I just had one kid, I could totally do this parenting gig much more effectively… which one would I choose?  Nicole shut up!  There is no way you could ever pick!”  Seriously, I’m not the only one that has two sided conversations with myself that I would never have with anyone else… right? right?  Then, on cue, Annie came up and grabbed my hand is if to say “it would be me Mama, of course it would be me.” HA!  It creeped me out a little.  I really think that child could have been reading my mind!


We had a great weekend with Annie, and her cold, and Amelia came back Sunday late afternoon.  Everything went downhill from there.  Turned out Annie had some kind of virus that infected her mouth and gums.  She wouldn’t put a thing in her mouth and she was miserable.  She cried and whined for 5 days straight.  And she wasn’t sleeping at night.  I was a tired Mama!  It got bad, I got in pretty bad shape.  Being a mom is so sacrificial.  And maybe it’s just me but I don’t quite have the spirit of Jesus.  I am a selfish, selfish human.  I do not mind caring for others and I love to help anyone out… just as long as I get a break and enough sleep.  By Wednesday I was furious at Annie for still being sick and feeling tremendous amounts of guilt about being mad at a precious baby girl who just didn’t feel good.  I had had enough and just needed an escape.  I felt like pulling a Ya-Ya and getting in my car and driving straight to the beach without telling anyone.

This weekend we were supposed to go to a wedding in SC for one of Ben’s college friends.  The girls were staying with my parents and we were going to have a night off.  A night off at a blacktie wedding meeting and greeting people I don’t really know.  Normally I jump at the chance to get dressed up for any occasion but not this weekend. I talked to my mom and my husband and we all decided I could just stay home.  Saturday he dropped the kids off and headed to SC by himself.

I have had over 24 hrs of time all by myself.  I have worked in the yard, cleaned the house, watched an obscene amount of trash reality tv and slept, A LOT!

20140223-080758.jpgThis is a relaxed girl!

We first drank this beer on our honeymoon in Barbados.  It is bottled there and not distributed to the US.  Friday the Cowboy found it in the liquor store!  Our life is far from that week in Barbados.  We have had a lot of changes, additions and subtractions.  Thankfully, we learn about ourselves and each other every day it seems.  This weekend was a reminder that I ADORE both of my children and husband.  I am not sure I could breathe without them.  I also learned that my only child spirit needs a little break every now and then.  All it takes is about 24 hours all by myself to get me back in shape and ready to face the world and love my life in it.  Hopefully we will remember this next time BEFORE I get too spent.

20140223-080955.jpgThis living room is clean and beautiful.  No one has messed with the throw pillows and I have loved it being this way.  While I am ready to see my family, I do wish I could train them not to touch anything!  Oh yeah, those are outside cats.  Don’t tell the boss they spent a lot of Saturday playing on the living room rug


Ice and Love

This post is a little old but since I found it saved in my drafts I will update, because it was really important and I should have finished!

There was a lot I didn’t love about Valentines week.  For starters, I am T-I-R-E-D of winter weather!  The girls were out of school 3 days again due to ice.  There is a reason we live in Georgia!  I do agree it is beautiful, but enough.  I swear, between all the early federal holidays and weather and colds we have been out of school more than in since the first of the year.

20140213-164054.jpgIt is beautiful isn’t it?

20140213-164106.jpgThe last round of winter weather the kitties were all about it.  This time they mainly stayed on their bed in front of the space heater.  I think they are over it too!

Thankfully by the end of the week it was in the 60’s and beautiful and Valentines!  I’m not a huge Valentines person at all.  Call me rouge but I’d rather buy flowers half price the next week.  I’m all for loving on people but not to benefit the retailers and their crazy price increases.  However, there are some cute things you can do with what you already have to show a little extra love… Like turning a can of cinnamon rolls into hearts.


Or planting some new blueberry bushes for your bride.

20140217-212332.jpgCan you see the difference in the weather from the top picture? This happened from Wednesday to Sunday.  Crazy, huh?

Also as a valentines gift to my inlaws, we offered to spend the night with Grandma.  My husband’s Grandmother has a mental illness that no longer allows her to live on her own so she lives with my mother and father in law.  I’m not sure if you have ever lived with someone after you’ve grown out of your “roommate years”. When I was pregnant with Annie we moved in with Grandma and Grandpa for 1 year and 2 months to help out and it was one of the hardest years of my life.  We learned so many things and there were a lot of moments I will cherish the rest of my life.  Even with all the good it’s just hard for grown ups who are established and used to living their own way to merge with another household.  Then add on a mental illness. So, while there is a lot of love and good days, my inlaws needed a break. Don’t we all?!  I don’t know about you but our parents do WAY too much for us.  There is no way we could ever repay any of them for the gifts they have given us but we do try to do what we can.  Providing them a date night was small for us and huge for them.

While that night was a gift to two other members of our family The Lord showed  an amazing reminder of His love to me through my husband.  That man drives me crazy!  It’s it funny that The Lord chose us to live together?  Sometimes I wonder if it’s to bring him laughter?!  Anyway, he came in Valentines night with Longhorns takeout, a pot of flowers for Grandma (even though we couldn’t get her to remember it was Valentines) and a bottle of wine and gelato for his bride.  Happy Happy Valentines day!   Later in the night I laid in the bedroom right off the living room trying to get Annie to sleep.  As I laid there I listened to my husband in a gentle and kind voice reassure his Grandmother of who he was, why she is where she is, remind her who her children are and who her husband was. He went over her husband’s life and death and reassured her that she would see him again in time.  He had to do this a few times because it was a lot to take in and she was completely confused.

At this phase of life The Cowboy and I are stressed more than not and are basically in a constant state of snippiness and frustration.  I don’t hear that gentle, kind voice of his as much as I did before we decided to birth 2 children in 2 and a half years. Did I mention he definitely doesn’t hear my love as much as he should?  But as I laid there on Valentines night I heard it.  I heard love and compassion and encouragement from my husband.  It was a situation that could have easily gotten old and frustrating really quickly, but he loved over and over.

It made me think about Jesus and how He could easily get frustrated and burnt out encouraging, reassuring and loving on us over and over and over again, but He doesn’t! He keeps a gentle voice and continues to push us along and hold us right where we are.  He reminds us of our history and reminds us that the battle is won and our day in heaven will be here before we know it.

So, we did gift another couple a great Valentines night away but the gift was all ours!  I’m so thankful for the love we have for each other! I’m more thankful for a greater love that shows us over and over again how to really love each other.  I’m also thankful that He said it loud enough for my ears to hear it!

20140217-212804.jpgThanks to naptimediaries for sharing this reminder

She Who Leaves A Trail of Glitter…

Every year I have this great idea of letting Amelia make homemade Valentines.  Last year she opted for a box of Veggietales and I was SO bummed.  This year she decided to make her own.  Princess and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle “for the boys” stickers, glitter hearts and her very own signature “Love Amelia”.  I thought about writing something like You Make My Heart Sparkle around the glitter heart but opted to leave it as her creation.  This was all so much fun!  She went shopping with me to pick out everything and couldn’t wait to get home to make them.  As it turns out, writing Love Amelia 15 times is not nearly as much fun as she thought it would be.

20140212-085109.jpgSo we moved onto stickers.  That whipped by in no time and then it was on to glitter

I can not adequately describe how much I do not like glitter.  I’m fine with glitter once it is stuck onto a craft with glue and I really like it when it’s in a container.  Although, the thought of it spilling makes me hyperventilate.  I’m the same way about play-dough.  No need for all those colorful balls of clay to be all over the place.  We got play-dough for Christmas because Amelia LOVES it and I have to practice grace every time we get it out.  I usually just leave the room until she is done and worry about the mess afterwards.  If I try and participate I am cleaning up the whole time.  I really can’t help it, it’s who I am.  ANYWAY… back to glitter.  I tried to be patient.  I about lost it once (ok, I had a small snap) and poured a glass of wine for the rest of the cards.  I really do hate I’m so uptight about things like this because the last thing I want to do is ruin a good time for the girls.  I’m working on it, slowly…

20140212-085117.jpgBut even though I LOVE hot pink, specs of it all over my breakfast table just do not go with my kitchen décor

20140212-085127.jpgThey are awfully cute though!

A friend and I sent selfies back and forth a pretty good bit. This is what I sent her describing how I felt about leading my child towards homemade glitter valentines over a box of Sophia the Princess cards

20140212-085134.jpgJust keeping it real

And the evening after our crafty afternoon, this was in my instagram feed…

20140212-085142.jpgThankful for reminders that my girls are only babies once.  I pray I never steal their joy!  Especially in the little moments that really don’t matter in the scheme of things but do mean the world to them. There is an old country song by Dan Seals I love called “Everything That Glitters (is not gold).  Well you know, sometimes it is!

Matthew 18:1-3  At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.


So Begins My 35th Year!

Happy Birthday to me!  Guess who was a bit of a grump on her birthday?  Annie woke up at 3ish and decided to party for about 45 mins.  At that point there was no going back to sleep.  I do not function well without enough sleep.  I typically do not feel older on my birthdays but yesterday kicked my tail!  Good news is that I had an amazing day and now I am fully rested and back to feeling 34 or 24, whatever.  (Definitely not 24!)

20140205-210747.jpgI started the morning out in The Word but Jesus was talking in Matthew about the end times and let’s just say He was not being encouraging.  And did I mention I was in a grumpy mood?  I gave up and enjoyed my donut and coffee.

20140205-210756.jpgI got to work and a sweet friend and co-worker surprised me with a heart-shaped biscuit from Chick-fil-a.  There isn’t much that says “Happy Birthday” like a buttery biscuit

20140205-210805.jpgYou know what does REALLY say “Happy Birthday”?  A beautiful friend sending you a text message of her singing Happy Birthday to you and not holding back!  Love that girl!

20140205-210816.jpg All I really wanted to do when I got home was crawl in the bed, but the cowboy had planned a surprise date night (babysitter and all).  I threw on a little more hairspray, lip gloss, changed my shirt and we were off. It was fun and relaxing and perfect.

20140205-210830.jpgYou know when you get something on your mind and you can’t get it off?  All I really wanted for my birthday was sea salt caramel gelato.  So, we had dessert on the road.  I will say we got a little lost trying to find a Publix near the restaurant.  The Cowboy drives a tractor MUCH better than a car and has terrible road rage frustration.  Just to be clear, he doesn’t make an exception for my birthday. I just sat there in my seat, eating my gelato like it was my birthday and I was all that mattered.

I’m not really sure where I thought I would be at the beginning of my 35th year, but I’m glad I’m here.  I’m not anywhere near where I want to be and for that I really am thankful, stressed at times, but thankful.  Thankful because it’s not over, there is room to grow and where I am now is a-ok with me.

A Two Year Old Twinkle

It’s a little late, but I wanted to post Annie’s perfect little birthday party.  In some ways I feel sad for poor second child.  For every party except this last one Amelia has had a precious invitation that was mailed out.  I do not do big birthday parties but even still, a cute invite was mailed.  Last year I did invitations for Annie and they did not mail one of them out.  BUT last year I was in a bad spot.  Had it not been for my mom, a party would not have even happened last year.  Side note: I just read that whole blog again.  Wow!  I do not regret writing one word.  I was in a bad place.  And while this 34th year of my life was far from perfect it was much better than my 33rd year.

And Annie, she is amazing!  She whines a lot and is kind of a bully to her sister and a busy busy bee, she is wonderful.  Sometimes wonderfully challenging but she is wonderful.  We have called poison control 3 times this year because she gets into and eats everything but we have laughed 3 times 3000 times.  Have I mentioned that she is the cutest thing God ever made?  Amelia is a pretty girl, beautiful, but Annie is just the cutest thing. Good thing too!  It’s saved her from big trouble many times!  She truly completes our family in so many ways.   One thing she does is walks around the house singing ALL THE TIME.  Most all of the time it is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  She was singing this song before she could really talk.  In fact she is singing it in her crib as I type.

So when it came time to plan her little birthday celebration there was no question on a theme!  At 10:30 the Saturday after her birthday we had family and a few friends we wish were family over and it was perfect!  We had a precious cake, Dora star cereal sausage stars and fruit.  The table was really really cute but I completely forgot to take a picture.  Why?  Because I ALWAYS underestimate how much time it takes to do things and I was still in my pajamas when guests started arriving. Oops!  Pictures were at the bottom of my list but I did get a few…

011Isn’t that a precious T

Twinkle Twinkle Cake?!

017At some point around Annie’s second birthday she became painfully bashful.  Hiding her face and tears everytime we sing.  This is totally against the rest of her personality!  I’m sure it will change by next year!

019The best family photo we got.  It’s kinda cute, right?

021I love how these sisters interact


043Grandma got Amelia a suitcase for her 2nd birthday too.  And we also had her second birthday in this house.  Making memories!

050This woman makes it happen!  And love her girls so much.  There is NO WAY I could make it without her.

058Her second dress of the celebration

060And the one that helped create and is helping raise these girls.  Annie is SUCH a daddy’s girl and I love it.  No doubt it gives me a little breather but I love seeing them interact with each other.  And… He is SO CUTE!

So, on the verge of my 34th year I declared that it would be a vast improvement from by 33rd year.  Here we are 1 day before I turn 35 and I can not wait to see what my 35th year holds.  I imagine a lot of excitement and I know a lot of joy.  Pure unwavering joy is my prayer.

Snow is Pretty But Enough of That!

This snow was fun.  A lot of fun.  And I suppose we all need a few days off and some time to run around acting silly and snuggling at home ALL DAY LONG!  Not to be a complete pessimist but we live in the south, one good day of snow every 3 years is perfectly adequate.  And it can wait until at least February.  We JUST got off Christmas break and MLK day and Presidents Day is right around the corner.  Let’s get back to school and to a routine!  But for real, look how pretty the Ponderosa looked…


Beautiful, right?  I was kind of in love!  It was much prettier coming up the drive because off my front porch it looked like this…


But in just a couple of months it will look like this…

springAnd I CAN NOT WAIT!   I have decided what to do to get me through winter.  I am planning the second annual Easter Egg Hunt on the Ponderosa.  While “the Ponderosa” has stuck, that whole Easter Egg hunt title is not so catchy.  Suggestions?  I love Easter.  Everything is blooming and beautiful.  And it is all about new beginnings (or those of you who have let your New Year resolutions fall through. Hand raised!)

But if it weren’t for snow, me and this fun girl would have no idea that old cookie sheets make terrible sleds!


Oh snow!  You are so much fun, but it’s time for a break… a break up

Snow on the Ponderosa

We have snow!  While I do not care at all for winter, if it is going to be cold it should at least be pretty and fun.  Today Amelia’s school closed around 9:30 and Annie’s at noon.   At the beginning of the day it was a lot of dramatics and exaggerations.  We got home and the roads were fine.  Ben came home a few hours later and it was rough.  Annie was down for her nap and I had a few things to get done.  Amelia pulled her bean bag over to the window and waited very patiently for snow.  It was very sweet watching her.  4 year olds are just like us.  There are things they want SO badly and they sit and wait and yearn.  I will say that this sweet girl spent her time in waiting MUCH more gracefully than her Mama does when in the same position.


Finally we had snow!  “It’s snowing, it’s snowing!  It’s really snowing!  I can’t believe it!”



Annie enjoyed the snow because she likes to mimic everything her big sister does.  Did she really enjoy it?  I don’t think so.  She was cold and kept taking off her gloves.  She did not argue to go inside (until she noticed her sister as outside still).  Amelia had to be bribed with hot chocolate to come in.  I didn’t fuss or push too hard because she was so excited and it was her first snow.  And it was so fun being a part of her excitement.


I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds because it is still snowing.  In the meantime I am sitting on the couch enjoying chocolates that Nana and Pa brought us back from Hawaii.  Sand, snow, what’s the difference???

20140128-202532.jpgMacadamia Kisses are the!

Sunday Funday

At some point this week I will post the pictures from Annie’s precious and perfect Twinkle Twinkle Party from this weekend.  We had a great time celebrating her with family and a few friends who we wish were family.  But right now I am pooped!

We had a great weekend with my parents that ended this morning.  After some great life lessons at church we came home and had lunch.  Big sister and I went outside to do some yard clean up while little sister napped and daddy put spaghetti in the crockpot for dinner (fantastic idea!)  Daddy went to the farm, Annie woke up and fast forward to 5:56… we have just come inside and finished baths.  What a wonderful, sunny, almost warm day.  We played and played and played and I am P-O-O-P-E-D!  Did I mention it was a great idea to put dinner in the crockpot at lunch time??

Here are some fun pictures of our fun afternoon


20140126-173800.jpgPlayhouse picnic

20140126-173808.jpgSomebody may need a haircut!

20140126-173816.jpg“Welcome to Amelia House”  While she still needs help spelling most words, it amazes me that I have a child that can write!

I still can’t believe that it may snow on Tuesday!  At least if it’s going to be freezing we should be rewarded with something to play in!  I’m just a tad over winter!  Good news, the Grammys and Downton Abbey are both on tonight!  How to decide????  A little of both!  Fab dresses and beautiful accents!

Warming Up The Inside

IT IS FREEZING OUTSIDE!  I DO NOT DO COLD WEATHER!  Winter blues are common in my world but this year has been exceptionally crappy.  Not that I’m in an exceptionally bad mood, but this has been a rough winter.  I’m not in a bad mood because sometimes it’s so craptastic it’s funny. Like frozen pipes.  Our pipes have frozen twice so far.  Luckily no bursts, but frozen water is not helpful (unless you are drinking sweet tea or a cocktail).  I have never lived anywhere that pipes freeze, but here I sit.  The cowboy explained to me tonight that we sit on a hill, on a crawlspace without insulated pipes.  We typically leave the water running when it’s cold but sometimes you go tee-tee, wash your hands and turn off the water.  Then you wake up in the morning and you have no water. Ugh! This morning I found out we had no water AFTER I had raw chicken on my hands.  I was putting chicken in a crockpot, I sliced my pinky on an onion and couldn’t make coffee because I had no water.  It was not my finest moment.

20140124-115029.jpgWhile I am very resourceful, I’d rather have running water than boiling ice to brush my teeth and wash my face.

To combat my winter blues I have been finishing my projects on the inside.  My plan for the hall bath (the girls bath) was to paint it neutral and use pink and green accents.  Once I told Amelia we were painting she was set on pink.  I will always remember the name of Amelia’s nursery color because Poetic Princess is such a fun name.  I went right into home depot and ordered a quart of our favorite Poetic Princess by Behr plus a little green spray paint to paint the light fixture and a mirror on clearence.  I think it turned out great!



And, did I mention my most favorite panels were sold out?  My Aunt and I went shopping to look for more and just couldn’t find anything. Tell my why big box stores do not carry any curtains longer than 84″.  I know the trend is to buy older houses and fix them up (at least in my circles anyway). Surely there are more people who are looking for long curtains that doesn’t want to blow their whole renovation budget on 2 window treatments?! Right?!  Anyway, she found these super long tablecloths and I thought they were really pretty.  They are still a little short, but I’m thinking about getting one more and cutting it to make a ruffle at the bottom.  And by that I mean, I will ask my mom to help me learn to use the sewing machine I’ve had for over a year.

20140123-214430.jpgDon’t you think these panels will make doing laundry in the dining room SO much prettier?  Since we have an eat in kitchen, that’s about all we do there.

If I have to stay inside a few more months, let’s at least pretty it up a little!

10 Day Cleanse Leaves Little Spark but Good Guts

We are grumpy grumps on the Ponderosa at the moment.  The man of the house has decided to start a diet (Cheers to New Years!).  To kick start his diet he ordered the Advocare 24 Day Challenge.  We have some great friends who believe in the product and I had already thought many times about doing the 10 day cleanse and I LOVE the Spark drink.  When he ordered the 24 I thought “what better time to do the cleanse, I can support the cowboy and clean my guts out.

It’s so funny how your mind works, just as soon as I ordered it I started stressing worrying about what kind of supplements, etc am I putting in my body.  I had already read, asked a ton of questions and felt completely comfortable with these products until it came time to ingest them.  Here’s the funny thing… I am the queen of McDonalds and 99 cent cheese burgers from Wendys.  Do you think I have thought once about what is in all of that processed greasy food?  Never!

So we are on day 5.  Days 3 and 4 were the worst.  I think weekends are much harder because there is no routine and by day 3 the newness is worn off and I was bored of the food I knew I could eat.  I should have spent more of my research time looking for recipes.  There are SO many things you can eat and I love veggies, I just didn’t prepare as good as I should have.  And I do not eat eggs.  That is a big bummer for this plan.  So far we have both done great.  No wine is killing me.  Not that I require it but I sure do enjoy it. Whining without wine is dreadful!  Also, being a grown up and having someone or something telling you that you can not have something you want will just aggravate the mess out of you!  It’s definitely more of a mental thing for me.  AND if I’m honest, I did cave and enjoy one powdered donut yesterday.  I couldn’t help it, it was screaming at me and now I feel so much better!

20140119-205003.jpgThis!  This is what’s working wonders in my guts.  And It was sitting next to the bible but I did scoot it over for this picture.  Because I think you totally need Jesus to get through these 10 days.  We have been short and grumpy with each other and the girls all weekend.  Good thing is that we are getting a lot of practice saying “I’m sorry” and learning about forgiveness. haha

20140119-205015.jpgLook at this pile!  It’s WAY bigger than me!

While some things have been going against us on the inside (the blinds are the wrong size, the curtain panels were sold out…) the outside progress is awesome!  We had so much done and it looks SO good.  I can’t wait for it to get a little warmer so I can plant my beds.  As with any house we still have a lot to do, but we got so much accomplished this week.  Hopefully by Easter, our bodies, minds and the ponderosa will look completely different!