Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Do I still have any loyal blog readers after my last post? haha

Back to our vacation update! After a day at Legoland, we spent the night with my uncle (technically 3rd, I think, cousin but we call him uncle) at his house in Orlando. The next morning, we popped out of bed ready for blue water, umbrella drinks and meals that I didn't have to cook.
Uncle Denny's pretty backyard swing... note Avery's shoes on the wrong feet... she would NOT let me fix them. Little Miss Independent.

I don't have any pictures of the 1st day because this day was overwhelming. Basically every passenger on the boat is on the lido deck, someone is constantly making announcements on the intercom, there are a lot of chimes and that darn muster drill is annoying albeit necessary. This day overwhelmed Parker who has some sensory issues. We started to wonder what the heck we did signing our family up to be stuck on a boat for 6 days.

After a nice dinner, we put the kids to bed at their usual time of 7:30. This was *key* to enjoying the rest of our vacation! They slept until 9:00am thanks to having an interior room with no light... it was glorious.

The kids woke up happy and we breathed a huge sigh of relief when we realized that they weren't so overwhelmed anymore. Our 1st day was at Freeport, Bahamas. So after a great night's sleep and a yummy breakfast, we got off the boat and got a cab to take us to a local beach. Much to our surprise, the water was COLD and it looked like it was going to storm but we enjoyed playing in the sand. Excursions to play at beaches were $60+ dollars a person... we paid $27 round trip for the 4 of us for a cab to a public beach with bathrooms, a restaurant and a nice bar. #winning

No filter! That was really how the sky looked!!
These piggies!!!! I love them!
The next day was Half Moon Cay. This was our favorite day! It was warmer and the island had lots for the kids to do!

They enjoyed the water slides and shallow, clear water. This island was super family friendly and I recommend booking a cruise that stops here if you have kids!

Each night was pretty much the same. We went back to the room at 4. The kids played legos, we rested a bit, showered and then were at dinner by 5:45. We loved our waitress, Yulia. Parker and Avery were great every night at dinner thanks to bread, crayons and random choreographed dances by the waiters. Shout out to Vitaly (yes, like in Madagascar 3) who taught Avery how to "get low" to the "apple bottoms jeans" song. Really proud mom moment when a 22 year old waiter tells you your 2 year old is a "sexy dancer!" We gave him slack and crossed our fingers that was a "lost in translation" moment! haha

The next day was spent at sea.  Unfortunately, Avery had a fever this day so after a few rounds of mini golf, she and Daniel retreated to the room for naps. Parker had a blast in kid's camp while mama laid out alone by the pool with an umbrella drink. It was nice!

We decided to forgo Nassau since we had been there before and just play on the lido deck while there were less people on the ship. We played on the water slide, ate our weight in frozen yogurt and watched silly contest by the pool. I got a massage while Daniel played mini golf with the kids then we met up to get ready for dinner.

Each night after dinner, we went straight back to the room and put the kids to bed. That just worked for us. They were tired and I think we had a more enjoyable cruise because we kept them on schedule. I had lots of movies and TV shoes on a hard drive that I watched on the laptop with head phones while the kids slept. The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood also happened to be on NBC one night so I spent 3 hours of my life being a little confused by that musical. Carrie Underwood is stunning and sings SO beautifully but it was just awkward in my opinion. PS- The hills are alive with the sound of music... not the forest.

Daniel played poker every night and boy are we glad he did! ;) He won double the amount of the cost of our cruise! Go Daniel! I didn't feel in the least bit slighted because I was not interested in this cruise's on board entertainment since it was geared more toward the 50+ crowd. (More on that in my next post Cruisin' with Kids) Keeping the kids on their schedule worked for us even if that meant turning in at 7:30!

We're still trying to explain to the kids that frozen yogurt is only breakfast food on cruises and that mama doesn't cook 4 and 5 course meals. They may have gotten a wee bit spoiled but that's what vacations are for, right?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holly Jolly Holiday for HIM

I'm going to interrupt my series on our cruise pictures, I know you're devastated, to discuss something way more exciting to most of you...unless you're my dad or mother-in-law... then you just need to quit reading right about now.....

Disclaimer: The following post is outside of the normal content of this blog but I felt inclined to share because it's important...and Biblical in the confines of marriage...and fun...and free. That said, if you're a prude... you won't like this post so come back tomorrow for cruise pictures! ;)

You see, Daniel and I don't exchange presents under the tree... well that's not true... it has been under the tree before but bare with me. We buy presents for the house that we need like vacuums, steam cleaners and Ninja blenders but we start using them the day we get them... ie... 2 days after cyber Monday.... shout out to Amazon Prime. That doesn't mean *NO* gifts; it just means we choose to spend $ on our children, things we need for the house and other people. I ALWAYS give Daniel Reese cups in the shape of Christmas trees in his stockings and he gives me... a Christmas hug aka nothing. My stocking is always so sad... hint hint.

Last year in mid December, my friend surprised me out of the blue with an email. I was hesitant to click on it because of my aforementioned issue with collecting a wide range of spyware. I'm a link clicker and I'm really trying to be better! Remember those free Starbucks links on facebook last winter? Scam. I learn the hard way...

Back to the email... it read "The 12 LAYS of Christmas." Little background on this friend... She is a Godly woman, bakes the most beautiful cakes, does lovely vinyl work, crafts with the best of them and is all around a Betty Homemaker so this email caught me off guard but perked my interest.

The premise is, for the 12 days before Christmas, you'll bless your husband with the present he REALLY wants...  once a day for 12 days in a row. No ladies, he does not in fact, want a polo shirt, or cologne, or a partridge in a pear tree... he wants YOU.... 12 times. I downloaded the flirty files and took them on a thumb drive to Staples to print out on pretty shiny cardstock. Little piece of advice: always fully read what you're printing out before asking someone else to do it for you to avoid any embarrassment. Side note: your hubby doesn't care if these are printed on shiny cardstock in color... black and white on flimsy paper is just fine. Once I reassured myself  "I'll never see the Staples print manager again. It's no big deal," I got to cutting them out. Each morning, I'd find a way to slip him the note so he had the whole day to think about it. I imagine he was super productive at work the 2nd half of December.

It was his favorite present... EVER.

So it's that time of the year again when all you ladies are in the line at Marshall's/Homegoods that wraps around to the back of the store to buy your polos and wallets. He doesn't want it or at least he wouldn't want it if he knew this was an option! Save yourself the time, $ and stress. I'm gonna make this simple for you.

Just Do It... and I don't mean go buy him Nike shoes.

I've scoured the internet for you and saved your computers from all sorts of viruses and spyware that attack you from googling phrases like "naughty days of Christmas," "12 lays of Christmas" and "sexy days of Christmas"... you.are.welcome.

Here are some fun links to different 12 lays of Christmas ideas.
Disclaimer: I did not make any of these on my own and I have NO idea what is on the rest of the sites but these particular links are PG to PG-13.  ;)

This one includes little gifts that go with each day:

This one also has little gifts that go along with each day and is cute enough to save and reuse next year!

If you don't like some of the poems or gifts in the previous 2, here are some poem options to create your own little coupons:

This one doesn't have any gifts or things you need. SCORE! She also has 2 years worth of poems so you can over achieve and do 24 lays of Christmas or just pick the ones you like the best:

This one is for the dating/engaged couples! You better not be doing this one if you're married... I'm just saying... he'll be disappointed:

 If you aren't comfortable with these little poems and ideas, create your own! He'd love it just as much, if not more, if it was original and from the heart!

You better hurry! If you start this Friday, the 13th!, you'll finish the 12 lays on Christmas Eve and as a bonus for you over achievers, some of those links also have a print out for Christmas Day. 

For anyone still reading but feel unsure about it, did you know there are 29ish (some were far reaching) scriptures in the Bible (according to my trusty friend, Google) dedicated to the topic of intimacy within marriage? 1st Corinthians 7:5 literally says "do not deprive each other."   So basically God wants you to give your husband the 12 lays of Christmas. (Dear theologians... I'm sure I took that out of context... feel free to not inform me. I like my version better.) 

What better way to bless your husband at Christmas than to take time during the craziness of the holiday for each other? You'll reduce holiday stress, set him up for smiles at all family functions and give him something to look forward to each day! Don't forget... it's also kinda like gifting your husband a present that's really for you too. I'm not sure if that's selfish of savvy but I'm going with the latter. 

Merry Kissmas and a very Happy (and potentially fertile for some of you) New Year!  ;)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Surprise! We went on a vacation!

Well hello again! Do you know what happens when you set your computer on the floor next to a bath tub to "play on facebook" while the kids bathe? Said children like to "swim" in the tub... they splash... and laptops don't enjoy water as much as toddlers do. It still works... except for the letters QWERTYUASDF.... just the top left side of the keyboard.... who needs those letters anyways? I emailed myself those letters from Daniel's computer so I could copy and paste them as needed but that's REALLY annoying. Like really...really... obnoxiously tedious. Lesson learned... keep electronics away from bath time.

Thankfully, my husband hoards computers so now that we're back from our vacation and settling back into our routine, he'll set one up for me with locks and limits like a child because I am the QUEEN of computer viruses and spyware... and run on sentences.

Due to my love of spyware and social media, the hubby made sure to remind me NOT to post that we were going on vacation because that's like saying "Hey y'all, come steal all my stuff.  I won't be home to stop you. Oh and by the way, the Christmas gifts are hidden in the guest room closet. Help yourself. Please feed the seahorses while you're here. Thanks! Love, The Wise Family"

So... surprise! We went on a vacation!

Last December, we planned a 6 day cruise to the Bahamas to unplug from technology and enjoy being together and unreachable from work, facebook and the 75 emails a day I've been getting since joining the HOA communications committee. Ok, so not 75... but too many...  We committed to 6 days as a family, unplugged, in a warm destination, with every meal prepared for us and umbrella drinks. *BLISS*

While on vacation, I took a whole 60 pictures... that's it.... and I wasn't in a single one of them. Photo fail? or Photo win? On one hand, I don't have many pictures to document our fun vacation. On the other hand, I was living in the moment instead of behind the lens. I lie... I took 1 picture of myself.
Those are my short, stubby toes in the sands of Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. My feet look like those of a 97 year old woman. Why are my feet so wrinkly?!

I digress. We went to Florida 2 days before our cruise so we could take the kids to Legoland. We thought Parker would LOVE it! Come to find out, he mostly just loved the exclusive Lego minifigures. Had we known that, we would have spent the $140 in tickets on lego ebay treasures and he would have been more than pleased. Unless your child is over 42 inches and can walk through a Lego store and not buy something without explosive tears.... don't waste your $.

They're marketing geniuses at Legoland, you see, so most rides exit through a themed store. The "Knights Kingdom" roller coaster ride either ends in tears from not buying the castle or you drop $89 on tiny plastic pieces that are suppose to form a castle except my child mixes his sets and can't build them alone so really they're just land mines that you'll eventually step on and curse yourself for purchasing. We managed to leave Legoland with only $24 in minifigures and $18 in stocking stuffers but we also left with Avery in tears because she was too short to ride everything except the carousel and cars.

While we DID have fun, all in all, I would not recommend Legoland unless you're already in the Orlando area and get majorly discounted tickets. Also, purchase parking online... it's discounted to only $12. UGH. Am I the only one who hates paying to park?!

Next up, cruise pictures! I also plan to do a "cruising with kids" post. We plan to cruise again soon and there are some things we learned this trip I'll definitely implement for the next one. My last name isn't "Wise" because I married into it... oh wait... it is ;)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

World Prematurity Day!

Today is World Prematurity Day... something I don't speak off too often because our NICU experience seems like SUCH a lifetime ago. It was an AWFUL and yet preciously sweet time when we clung to the Lord in complete desperation for the life of our premature son. I've written bits and pieces before about Parker's birth and what a miracle this little stud is but in case you're new here, I wanted to rewrite it. Every time I look at these pictures, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for my children... the children I statistically shouldn't have.

After my cancer, we were told I probably couldn't have children but if we wanted them, to not prevent them and hope for the best. We did a little more than that and prayed for children but in God's timing... which was sooner than we expected. 6 months after my last chemo, I was pregnant and I was ecstatic! We had no idea how far a long I was so based on ultrasound measurements they gave me a due date of May 5th (which ended up being Avery's birthday 2 years later!). 

I had an uneventful pregnancy and really enjoyed being pregnant other than the fact that my hair quit growing since I was too busy growing a baby. I was desperate for my hair to get out of that awkward "growing it back out" length. It was stuck. 

One night, I leashed the dogs up to take them for a walk when I saw out of the corner of my eye, my neighbor's dog charging at me. I scooped up my pug and was struck by the German Shepard. I screamed for Daniel and he came running. He kicked the dog off me but I had already fallen on my belly and was in a panic. I knew something wasn't right. 

We went to the hospital, where they patched up the back of my leg (which looked like hamburger meat) and kept me overnight to monitor me. I was spilling proteins, contracting and my heart rate was elevated. The next day, they sent me home but told me I better rest a lot and see the doctor every other day to be monitored. 

5 days later, I drove to the grand opening of Harris Teeter (because that's what you do in the suburbs!). I bought toilet paper and got a Starbucks but I could tell something was off. I had my blood pressure taken along with the 65+ Sun City senior crowd and the pharmacist wouldn't let me leave until I called my OB. Apparently it was bad... really bad. I felt like I had consumed 3 shots of espresso... except I hadn't. Of course, they told me to come RIGHT NOW... to which I replied "I'm going to go home, pack and bag, take a shower, shave my legs... and then I'll come." Vain? No Not me. 

Obviously, that didn't go over very well and so I drove my hairy legs and chipped toe nails to the hospital... with nothing except my wallet. Daniel was out of town and got that dreaded call. The "haul hiney home RIGHT NOW and abandon your co-worker in another city" call 'cause this baby's coming. We don't know whether the dog attack cause my pre-eclampsia or if I had it and we became aware then but either way, my blood pressure was too high and no amount of magnesium was keeping this baby in. I took steroid shots to develop Parker's lungs and I remember high risk doctors giving us statistics. I've never been so thankful to have been on too many drugs to really remember what they were but I was blissfully loopy because they weren't good. 

The next morning I woke up after a wonderful night's sleep on Ambien and said "is it normal to not be able to see anything?" Um. No. Doctors rushed around while I obliviously put on makeup for my pending c-section...'cause these pictures are going in the baby book! 

Parker was born 8 weeks too soon on March 21, 2009 via c-section weighing 3lbs 10oz. It was love at first sight.
 He was whisked away to the NICU and Daniel went with him. He filmed the doctors and nurses explain what each tube and wire was. At 14 minutes old, Parker quit breathing and we have the beginning of Parker being resuscitated on film. It's the worst home video... EVER. If "America's Most Horrifying Home Videos" was a show, we'd be millionaires.

I didn't get to see Parker for 3 days other than in pictures and videos. His doctors would come see me and I remember asking them if he would live. The answer to that should be "yes, of course" but words like "we don't know," "most likely" and "time will tell" are what I got. It was like a knife... I quit asking. 
He spent a few days on the ventilator until he got too frustrated with it and ripped it out.
He spent a while on the c-pap and under the glow worm lamp for jaundice. Parker was fed by TPN and given medicine every day to try to close his PDA. He dodged heart surgery by hours. HOURS. For the first few days, we could only lightly touch him until day 5. On day 5, a sweet nurse could see my desperation to hold my precious baby and she let me for 5 minutes. His stats actually improved during those 5 minutes. It was heaven on earth... even though I look greasy and tired. 
NICU really is a roller coaster. One day, he's doing great and we'd get to bring him home in the next week or so and then the next day, they think his bowels are dead and will need surgery and possibly be here for months. One day he's taking a bottle like a champ and the next day he was having brady's and forgetting to breathe. I don't think I've ever prayed so much and with such fervor.
I was discharged after 1 week and spent every single day driving to and from the NICU twice a day. Once during the day alone and once after dinner with Daniel. I quit taking any pain pills so I could drive to be with my baby. I didn't care how much it hurt. I sweat off my baby weight under those yellow itchy gowns. NICU moms can I get an amen?!
 I walked into his isolet one day and remember thinking how handsome he looked... it took a nurse pointing out that he was off c-pap and I could see his face! He wore the nasal cannula until he was discharged. He was 8 days old and 3lb 8oz in that picture. 
We became very close to our NICU nurses, particularly our primary day and night nurse. They humored my 3am "can I just talk to my baby?" calls. Most of the nurses were amazing and I can't say enough about how dedicated they are to their jobs. They are angels on Earth to NICU parents. An acquaintance of mine is a MUCH more eloquent writer than I'll ever be and was featured on the Huffington Post with her Dear NICU nurse post. Heather is a micro preemie mom who blogs at Team Hucks about their little fighter, Tucker. Make sure to swing by and tell her "hello!" They're in their 2nd year of isolation... a not so fun part of having a preemie... and I know she'd love some encouragement. Those days can be long and lonely!

Parker was classified as a "wimpy white boy." It's a real thing. They're just slower to do most things... like breathe, take bottles, etc. So we waited... and waited for him to just "get it." Not so unlike life with him now... it's all in HIS time. Once he "got it" he became an expert at eating and breathing and went from 3lbs 7oz at his smallest to 4lbs 10oz. 4 weeks after he as born, 8 weeks too soon, we strapped him into his gigantic car seat and brought him home.
I almost feel like I cheapen other people's NICU stories when ours was only 4 weeks. It's such a small blip of time in the grand scheme of things but each minute crawled by. We meet many parents whose babies were in the NICU for 6+ months and they were so encouraging to us and genuinely happy for us when we got to bring our son home, knowing full well they still had a long and uncertain road ahead.

Babies came and went in the NICU... and not all went home. I read many blogs about NICU babies and each time, I'm humbled by our outcome. We still struggle with some preemie related issues but in the grand scheme of things... it's nothing compared to what it could be. If I didn't tell you Parker was a preemie, you probably wouldn't know. 

So there you have it... our preemie story. Our 3lb 10oz "screamie preemie" who has made our lives fuller and richer than we ever thought imaginable.
"Every good and perfect gift comes from above" James 1:17

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I'm loving... {MY Christmas List Edition}

If you're anything like me, you started thinking about what you wanted to get your kids for Christmas sometime back in July. Santa is already done by November 5th because this mama just likes to enjoy the holidays... and have you ever seen the line at Marshall's/Homegoods from mid November-Christmas Eve?!?! Insanity.

One thing I'm not so good at is thinking about what I want for Christmas. I end up just saying "oh don't get me anything" or "whatever you think is cute" and then I end up with $200 in Starbucks gift cards and a $50 Victoria Secret gift card from my 86 year old grandfather because nothing says Merry Christmas like a lace thong from your Poppop. Don't get me wrong... I LOVE those Starbucks gift cards... all 15 of them because they are gone by March every year and yes... I really do get a VS GC almost every year from my Poppop but it's meant for "jammies"...so I'm told ;) ... I decided this year to be more intentional with my list.

But here's the thing about being an adult. When I want something, and I have the $ to buy it... I do. And I certainly don't want it wrapped under the tree .... because those magical elves who wrap the kid's presents and build trampolines do actually intend to sleep at least a few hours Christmas Eve! The point is, Christmas shopping for adults, or even making a list for yourself can be HARD!

I'm a pretty sensible Christmas gift kinda gal. Daniel and I usually just pick something we want for the house and gift that to each other. This year, we gifted ourselves our present(s) early because we actually needed it sooner than later. Get excited.... 1st on my "I'm loving for Christmas list" is....

1. The Dyson Animal:

How I have lived my adult life without this vacuum, I'm just not sure. I loved my robot vacuum... all 3 of them but that's the problem... I had 3 in 2 years. They just didn't hold up well. The Dyson is a beast but it works.... so much so that I gagged the 1st time I cleaned it. It's pricey but worth every penny!

Next, was a surprise from Daniel. I told him we needed to call a carpet cleaner.... cause we have toddlers and dogs and our poor carpet had seen better days. He told me he'd do some research and I planned to ask him about it a few days later. 2 days later, thanks to Amazon Prime, came this:

2. Bissell Big Green Cleaning Machine
Apparently, I am the new carpet cleaning company around here. It was one of those moments where I wasn't sure whether or not to be mad or ecstatic. I gave it a go before explaining that I meant more along the lines of "Stanley Steamer" ... and much to my surprise, this thing is AMAZING! It's so powerful, that I ended up having to use a GFI outlet with an extension cord because I blew the circuit... twice. My carpets look just a good as they did the last time we hired a professional company! It's pretty big and storing it is proving to be an interesting task but if you have kids or dogs, you'll save so much $ over time just owning your own steam cleaner and I HIGHLY recommend this one!

The rest of my list isn't big items like the ones above and I don't actually have them (hint hint) but you NEEDED to be informed of the awesomeness of those carpet products.

3. Hillsong United Zion Album
Confession. I own an iPod and an iPhone and I haven't got a single song on either unless you count the ABC song app. I'm a lover of CDs, Pandora and YouTube and I stream the Hillsong channel most of the day. This CD would make a nice addition to the swagger wagon's collection. If you haven't heard "Oceans" yet from this album, you MUST. Right Now. Be blessed.
Hillsong is coming to Greenville SC next Tuesday and I'm trying to make it work out. I want to go SO badly!

4. Anne Taylor Loft Boyfriend Cardigan
I wore this cardigan in mustard for our family photos and I LOVE it! It fits really cute and is a great fall staple piece to have in your wardrobe. I like the length and the material seems like it will hold up nicely. Good news! It's on sale for $25 right now! SO... I'm thinking I need it in another color.... or 5.

5. Starbucks {You are Here} Mugs
I've decided to streamline my coffee mugs for stacking purposes... and because these are darling and make me happy. I have Charlotte and North Carolina. I've requested NYC from my sister who lives there and Atlanta from my grandparents but since my parents are flight attendants, I think they need to start buying me Sbux mugs from cool cities, don't you?

6. Canvas Flats

I bought these Steve Madden camo Tom like shoes about 2 months ago. I wasn't sure what I would wear these with because I am NOT a country girl and would never wear camo but these have proved to be more of a neutral that jazz up jeans and a solid shirt. They're like butter on my feet and have become a "go to" preschool drop off/errand running shoe. I'd love another pair... that SPARKLE or have polka dots or are crocheted. I like a fun shoe.

7. Gift Cards
You really can't beat a gift card. I know it isn't as fun to gift but it sure is fun to receive! There are lots of cute Pinteresty ways to give a gift card. I personally like the mason jar of candy with the card hidden in it idea! :)

Here is my list of fun, not as common gift cards that I'd love and I bet you might too!
a. Hobby Lobby - this place is my weakness... I go in for $2.99 worth of grosgrain ribbon and $127 later, I have new mantle decor, a cake plate, polka dot fabric, glitter, wrapping paper and a sparkly singing Santa.
b. Canvas on Demand (or any other canvas place)
c. Groupon/Living Social - this is like cheating because you're getting a gift card for a discount site which means you're getting a more expensive gift than they would have given you in the 1st place!
d. Amazon - you can buy anything... and I mean anything on Amazon.
e. Etsy- Don't buy me an etsy gift card... I WILL spend it on hair bows for Avery... but you may like one for some handmade jewelry or a crocheted sweater for a pig... they probably sell one... that site has some wacky things
f. Nail salon gift card but for 2 people... it's way more fun to go with a friend and treat her too!

That's my list of things this mama's loving for Christmas present ideas. Next up... Christmas List Toy Edition!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mermaid Hair

When I was pregnant, I told Daniel that when Avery's head came out to please clip a bow into it. I wasn't kidding. Sadly, Avery was born via c section and Daniel wasn't even in the OR... so 8 hours later, after a brief stint in the Medical Intensive Care Unit ('cause I like to try to die when having babies... fun times) I finally got to see my sweet little red headed beauty. She was naked and bowless and I was pissed. How dare my baby go 8 hours without a bow and a something pink!?! I mean for heaven's sake, I brought 14 bows to the hospital. No lie... 14.

After a quick kiss, I slapped a bow on that wisp of red hair and we began our relationship as mother and daughter. I have to admit; however, that I've longed for her to have long mermaid hair. Like fire engine red, Ariel hair that I could curl and brush with a fork... well not really the fork part but you get it... long, red locks. 2 1/2 years later, Avery's rocking approximately 1-3 inches (depending on what part of her hair we're talking about) of fine, not so mermaid hair. I have to believe that Ariel also had no hair until she was 3 and then she woke up one day with that coif. It makes me feel better. It's coming... eventually... I believe in you pretty hair fairy!

Today, Avery was sitting still eating Lucky Charms... except the off brand... 'cause $4.99 for a box of the real stuff is a crime. Mom of the year, I know. Anyways, she was still and I was brushing her mullet hair and spraying it with my magic Sauve kids leave in conditioner that helps her hair not stand straight up like she put her finger in a light socket when I began to think that MAYBE ... just maybe... I could put it in pig tails. Get excited y'all because......

Naturally, I proceeded to follow her around the house taking pictures and posting them to instagram because THIS was a moment 2 1/2 years in the making! I know this is vain. Really, I do. But I was SO excited. I have had serious hair envy. Ask Tabitha, who texted me a picture at 3am of her newborn baby with more hair than my 10 month old had. I believe my text back was "screw you!" followed by "and congratulations! She's beautiful!" 

I'm aware that technically only half of her hair is in pig tails because the top is seriously maybe 1 inch and I can barely pry it off her scalp but let's just take a moment to celebrate because OMG she's precious!!! So here are 7 of the 60+ pictures I took of Avery on our walk today in pigtails.... covered in some delicious Red Bowl chicken and broccoli. Obviously, taking pictures BEFORE taking a 2 year old to eat Chinese food makes more sense but when your husband says "wanna go out to eat?" I hear "wanna not have to cook" and I jump in the van before he changes his mind.

The cutest thing you've ever seen, right?! I thought so. 

Now off to buy pigtail bows! HUZZAH!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hall Family Farms 2013

2 weeks before we went to NYC, we took the kids to visit Hall Family Farms, our favorite local pumpkin patch. This was the last day we had Liam but didn't know it at the time. These will always be special pictures for us even if we didn't get any amazing ones of him.

We love Hall Family Farms because they offer hayrides and free games in addition to the pumpkin patch and corn maize.

The kids enjoyed the wagon ride to the pumpkins! Parker and Avery searched for the perfect pumpkins while Liam chilled in the wagon.

It's been such a warm fall that the pumpkin patch ended up having to buy some pumpkins from the mountain to meet demand. Parker was the cutest pumpkin in the patch!
In additions to buying pumpkins, our little pumpkins enjoyed playing in the sandbox, doing the toddler maize, and riding the cozy coupes around the field :)

Nana came with us much to the delight to the kids! Parker and nana have a special relationship! 

FALL is my FAVORITE season so I try really hard to get to every major pumpkin patch in the area. So far, we've made it to 2 of the 3 major ones. One more to go and I just scored a Groupon for it! Woo Hoo! Happy Fall!

Daniel and Taylor Take NYC

This weekend, Daniel and I flew to NYC to visit my sister who lives in Brooklyn. It was the first time we've been away from the kids together for more than 1 night. They had a wonderful weekend with nana and poppi! I'm not sure they even missed us!

I've been to NYC before but Daniel had not. We took a cab from the airport to my sister's apartment which began our NYC cabbie experience. Who knew 1 way streets were just recommended? We finally made it to the general area where Kelly lives and we begged to just be dropped off on this corner RIGHT NOW!

We freshened up (which is humorous when you think about it because our next stop was... the subway) and headed to dinner in the East Village. We ate a yummy dinner at Yuca then met some of Kelly's friends at a bar. This is about the time that we realized we are OLD because by 11, I was about ready to curl up on the bar stool like a cat. Kelly hailed us a cab, the cabbie made a pizza stop for himself and ate it while driving us like Mario Andretti back to Kelly's apartment in Brooklyn. By 11:30, I was OUT!

The next morning, we were refreshed and ready to take in all the sites of the city! We grabbed some breakfast, some coffee and headed for the subway while supporting our Clemson Tigers!
1st we stopped at Grand Central Station. It is SO pretty! My camera wasn't on the right setting so I didn't get any usable pictures there. From Grand Central, we walked to Bryant Park. They were setting up an ice skating rink which will be beautiful at Christmas time! Confession: I got so excited because I recognized Bryant Park from an episode of Dateline with Chris Hanson where he interviewed a guy he found on Craigslist who will "make someone disappear"... so a hit man. Forget that Bryant Park is where fashion week used to be (according to my vast knowledge of fashion... ahem... Project Runway)...and how beautiful it was... OMG Chris Hanson! Dateline!

I really should have written down where all we walked but next we walked by Radio City Music Hall according to my pictures. We are big fans of America's Got Talent (and Heidi Klum!) so it was neat to see the building where that's filmed.
Next we saw Rockefeller Center. I loved watching the ice skaters and hearing all the different languages people spoke.
 We couldn't resist visiting the Lego store at Rockefeller Center. We bought Parker a Lego Batman keychain, Lego cup and minifigure ice cube tray which he LOVED! They also gave us a free Lego Iron Man poster which we lugged ALL OVER NYC and attempted to not crush.... we failed... but Parker was still THRILLED!
We visited 2 beautiful Catholic Churches and passed by FAO Schwartz on our way to Central Park. Kelly was the ultimate tour guide! At this point, I was regretting my choice of only bringing this one pair of boots on my trip. Now I understand the tennis shoes with panty hose and suit look.

Central Park was my FAVORITE part of our trip! It's SO pretty! The leaves are changing and I saw a few families taking family photos. We only saw a small amount of the park but I could have spent our whole trip exploring the park and zoo!
We stopped for a street pretzel before heading to the museum of natural history. You could spend HOURS here so if you ever go to NYC and you really want to visit this museum, allot at least half a day. We didn't have that much time so Kelly and I dragged Daniel through the museum and hit the highlights so we could get back outside! It was too nice to be inside looking at the evolution of man from apes etc... especially if you don't believe in all that crap. I did; however, enjoy the poisonous frog exhibition and watching my sister attempt to debate a curator over the age of the earth and how ridiculous it is to think that alligator anteater looking animals evolved into whales. It was also neat to see where "Night at the Museum" was filmed.... I did not; however, see Teddy Roosevelt or Sacagawea (yes I had to Google "Indian girl in Night at the Museum" for the spelling of that one!)
My pictures kinda stop here because we were TIRED and Daniel was officially done with photographing ourselves at every street corner :) He was a trooper, though!

We walked to Little Italy and ate then strolled through China town quickly because it is a pungent area of the city! Kelly hailed my poor feet a cab and I was happily in my PJs by 7pm, on the couch ready for the Clemson game. By 9, it was clear that my Tigers forgot to show up for that game and I passed out until 11 hours later. We woke up Sunday and toured my sister's area of Brooklyn where we got to see less touristy stuff. We "brunched" at Lokal and visited the Williamsburg Flea Market.
We began our "adventure" home by hailing a cab, only to have it blow a tire and then still charge us for the ride and leave us on the side of the road with our bags to find another cab. Thankfully, we did fairly quickly and made it to the airport without almost dying like our other cab rides! We were flying standby and all the flights to Charlotte filled up so we squeezed into the last 2 seats on a flight to DC in hopes of getting to Charlotte sometime Sunday! Once we got to DC, we ate the most glorious meal... Five Guys greasy burgers and fries. NYC has some great food but nothing beats the delicious grease of Five Guys. The gate agent told us that there was no way we were going to make the Charlotte flight because it also filled up, so we sat at that gate and ate while waiting for a Greenville SC flight. At least we would be closer to home, right?! God must have known how badly I wanted to get home to my babies because a family of 4 no showed and Daniel and I got on the last 2 seats on that flight too!

We really enjoyed visiting what seems like another country compared to where we live! MY sister loves it there and I can see why! It's so "her!" I understand why so many young single adults enjoy living there but other than the Upper West Side, I just don't think I could live there. I need trees, and backyards and a room for the kids trampoline! haha NYC is a great place to visit but I couldn't imagine raising a child there. Obviously, people do but I about had a heart attack each time I saw a child scootering by themselves down the street toward a busy intersection. I can see where summers in the parks would be fun but the winter months would be brutal! I loved seeing my sister and her city life but it reaffirmed my love of the suburbs with these 2!