May 31, 2013

Sixteen Years

We are currently watching more severe weather develop yet again so I thought I'd use my nervous energy to do a little blog post.

Sixteen years ago today I said "I do" to the love of my life.

Wedding Photo_2 Wedding Photo_1 Wedding Photo_3

We have weathered many, many storms throughout our marriage including 2 natural disasters, the loss of a parent and infertility. Everything we have faced we have faced together and it has only made us stronger.

I can't wait to see what the future holds for us as we recover hand in hand from this latest storm.

Happy anniversary, honey! I love you!

 

May 29, 2013

Humbled

So many things have been going through my head in the last week so this post will most likely be all over the place.

I am completely humbled by the generosity everyone has shown for my family. If you have given, please know that I am eternally grateful. Many times since last Monday I have dropped to my knees thanking God for all He has done in the midst of this disaster.


Tornado Damage 1st sight
This picture is what I saw when my sister and I first stepped out of the storm shelter. Honestly, I was surprised there were walls still standing. This isn't the first tornado I have experienced. We lost our house back in 1999 to what, at the time, was considered the worst tornado in history. Lucky me that I got to experience it's record breaker.

This tornado was very loud and seemed to move fairly slowly. We could hear things hitting the storm shelter door. It was a frightening experience but we were safe. My family was safe. Unfortunately, my sister and I both had major damage to our homes. Parts of her roof are either collapsed into the house or completely missing. Our house is still standing except for the man cave storage area above the garage. All of the girls' baby clothes and toys are gone and all of the paintings my husband did are gone. Both of our houses were full of debris (shattered glass, leaves, sticks, pieces of other peoples homes, etc), boards & shingles were stuck through the walls and the walls are covered in mud. The adjuster has been out and we are waiting to see if they will try to repair the damage or total it.

I don't know how I would be able to deal with all of this without my faith. I immediately saw God's hand on with the droves of people who came out to help us with clean up and the people who have sent us money and items such as diapers and wipes for the girls.

I still have people asking how they can help. I still feel awkward asking for help and saying hey, send me this but God is working on my heart to be more willing to let people help.

As of right now, I know we need basic things such as toilet paper, diapers, wipes, laundry detergent and fabric softener. Also, we are moving into an apartment this weekend so I will need to restock our groceries. Target and Walmart are the closest stores to us. Some have also sent gift cards to restaurants and that has been very helpful too since we are sorting through our things and signing up for assistance and taking care of all the things that go along with relocating and rebuilding so we don't have much time to plan or cook meals. We have access to most major chains.

Many of our things that people thought might be salvageable were thrown into boxes and sent to storage so I am unsure of what we truly need as far as things like clothes and such.

Here are sizes for TnT:
Diapers: 4 & 5
Clothes: 2T & 3T
Dresses: 2T
Shoes: 6 & 7


Again, thank you to everyone that has and is willing to help my little family. We are truly blessed to have so many people care about us. And trust me, we will definitely pay it forward.

God Bless!

May 16, 2013

Our First Vacation as a Family of Four

At the beginning of the year, I decided we WERE going to take a vacation. Our last vacation was just a few months before we started our first IVF cycle that resulted in our pregnancy with the girls.

While I hadn't really saved any money for a vacation, specifically the beach vacation I really wanted, we had enough to go on a weekend getaway to Dallas.

As soon as we decided where we were going, I began planning. Our vacations before the girls usually consisted of shopping and not really much site seeing. Since we now have TnT, site seeing was on the top of my list (although we managed to do a little shopping).

The places I chose to visit were the Dallas Zoo, the Dallas World Aquarium, and IKEA (see, I managed to slip in some shopping).

For us, it's only about a 3 hour drive so we decided to start at IKEA since it was pretty much on the way to our hotel. It was our first visit ever to an IKEA and holy moly I was in heaven! Tillie is so much like her momma. She just kept saying, "Whoa! Whoa!".

We ate lunch in the café. I had seen and heard a lot of people talk about it…specifically about the meatballs so that is what we had. I have to say I was a little underwhelmed by them. Honestly, I could have made it myself and have. They were nothing special in my opinion.

IKEA Collage

After IKEA, we headed to our hotel to check in and freshen up before dinner. The girls napped on the way to the hotel. Our room was perfect for our little family. We booked a suite so we had a living area and a separate bedroom. I was pleasantly surprised at how much space there was! There was plenty of room for both pack & plays next to our bed with plenty of walking room. Our room was also on the ground floor and opened up to the courtyard & pool area which was nice because we could let the girls run off some energy when needed.

Hotel Collage

We decided to head over to Grapevine and have dinner at the Rainforest Café. It never occurred to me that the girls might be frightened by some of the sights and sounds of the restaurant until some people had mentioned it. Thank goodness they loved it! They weren't even afraid of the gorillas during the "thunder storms"! Again, Tillie kept saying, "Whoa! Whoa!"

Rainforest Collage

The next day we went to the Dallas World Aquarium. It was a pretty neat place. We went on Friday hoping to miss the crowd but no such luck. Apparently it was field trip day. There were kids everywhere! The girls still enjoyed it though.

Dallas Aquarium Collage

That night we met Amanda and her family for dinner at my favorite Dallas Mexican restaurant, The Blue Goose. It was good to actually meet her in person! I'm not sure why we didn't take any pictures. I guess we were too busy talking.

On Saturday we took the girls to the Zoo. It was a beautiful day! We let the girls walk for a lot of it. It just made it easier for them to see most of the exhibits. They of course loved the sense of freedom.

Dallas Zoo Collage

Our last night we went back over to Grapevine and did a little shopping. Then we had dinner at another favorite restaurant of mine, Fuddruckers. We don't have them here so when I saw it, I insisted we eat there. So yummy!

It was a good vacation. The girls were great, other than Tensley refusing to sleep. We definitely learned a lot about traveling with kids. On our way home we were already planning our next vacation! We're thinking a beach vacation for next year.

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May 15, 2013

May Meal Plan: Weeks 3 & 4

Bi-Monthly Meal Planning

Hi! I'm a little behind this week due to our vacation and a lack of planning ahead on my part. I'm hoping to get caught up today.

I did pretty good on our vacation and only gained 1 lb. We did A LOT of walking though so I think that helped.

Now that we are back home, I've decided we are going to eat a little better so there's a lot more chicken in our menu this go round.

Sunday:  Vacation
Monday:  Fish Sticks / MacNCheese / Corn
Tuesday:  Grilled Roasted Garlic Chicken / Garlic Mashed Potatoes / Sautéed Zucchini
Wednesday:  Spanish Skillet Supper
Thursday:  Baked Parmesan Chicken w/marinara & spaghetti
Friday:  Grilled Ground Chicken Burgers / Sweet Potato Fries
Saturday:  Rock Star Hubby's Birthday! Eating Out

Sunday:  Pot Roast / Peas & Carrots / Mashed Potatoes
Monday:  Southwestern Chopped Salad
Tuesday:  Grilled BBQ Chicken / Baked Potato / Green Beans
Wednesday:  Taco Salad
Thursday:  BBQ Brisket Sandwiches / Fried Okra
Friday:  Beef Fajitas / Black Beans / Chips & Queso
Saturday:  Grilled Chicken Teriyaki kabobs / Fried Rice

Hope everyone has had a good week so far!

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May 6, 2013

Monday Madness

Life with twins is always a challenge and honestly, it's usually just complete chaos. If you are a mom of twins, don't let anyone tell you different.

This morning. Oh let me tell you about this morning.

This morning we started our day with our normal walking date. Today is a beautiful day so we decided to walk at a new park nearby. It went well. I think the girls loved the change of scenery….and we were outside.

After our walk I needed to run a few errands because we are taking a little vacation this week. Tensley was already getting sleepy since she, as usual, woke up at the butt crack of dawn. I always get a little worried when she gets tired because she becomes this crazy wild child that is hard to control.

Our first stop was the car wash. The girls had never been through the car wash so I was curious to see how they would handle it. (sorry for the crappy iPhone pictures).

Car Wash Car Wash Tillie

They were both wondering what the heck was going on and Tillie seemed a little concerned but both handled it very well. No crying whatsoever.

After the car wash, I drove next door to Qdoba. I normally don't take the girls into a restaurant by myself but I wanted tacos and it's Taco Monday at Qdoba so I thought, "I can do this!" and proceeded with my plan. I asked the girls if they were hungry and both got excited and exclaimed, "YEAH!"

I gathered all the necessary supplies…sippy cups, bibs, etc. and threw them in my purse so I didn't have to carry two bags and then got Tillie out. I chose Tillie first because I know she will stay with me and hold my hand. With Tensley, I have to carry her because she likes to take off. So we walk into Qdoba and thankfully, it's not busy at all. There's maybe 2 other customers in the entire restaurant so I put Tensley down and grip her hand tightly. We skip the big walk around and get straight to the order counter. While I'm trying to order, Tensley, despite my best efforts, gets out of my grip and takes off to the other side of the restaurant. I take off after her. Thank God there is no one else in line. I get us all back to the counter, tell the guy, who's patiently waiting on me, what I want on my tacos, order the girls a cheese quesadilla, then I go to pay.

While I'm trying to pay, Tensley, once again gets away from me so I throw my debit card at the poor guy at the cash register and take off after her again. This time I snatch her up and the guy offers to carry my order to the table (I wouldn't have even had to ask if I were at Chick-fil-A, just sayin.) We get to the table, which I strategically chose right next to the drink stand, and I set Tensley in a chair so I can grab high chairs. Then Tillie throws a fit because she wants to sit in a chair so I put her in the chair across from Tensley and go to grab 2 high chairs. I get Tensley contained in a high chair and of course, Tillie refuses to sit in the high chair. At this point I'm about ready to just give up. Then I spotted booster chairs next to the high chairs so I decide to try a booster. She. Ain't. havin' it. I set her in the booster chair anyway and push the whole chair up to the table so she can't escape. She cries. I ignore her and give them each a quesadilla. Tillie calms down and decides it's not so bad after all.

Booster Seat Tillie

I'm sweating….and starving at this point. I get our drinks and finally sit down to eat. Finally, it's quiet. I survived. Most importantly, the girls survived.

The grocery store was our next stop. All I had to do was pick up snacks. Easy peasy. And that's just how it worked out thanks to double carts (except when we thought Tillie lost her paci but then found it in the car). Thank goodness!

So now we are home, the girls are down for a nap and I'm sitting here trying to cool off by drinking some Peach Mango juice, to get my serving of fruits & veggies and maybe a little energy, but I'm secretly wishing it was laced with some sort of alcohol to help me forget the events of this morning.

My next outing will involve getting a, um, toddler leash for Tensley. I'm tired of chasing that girl!!

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May 1, 2013

Wednesday Randoms

I think we are all on the mend…again. I woke up feeling better today. I'm wondering if Tropicana FarmStand juice I drank within 24 hours had anything to do with it. The Peach Mango was SO yummy I couldn't stop drinking it! Have you tried it? I was not given any compensation for talking about this product, just fyi ;)

Peach Mango Juice

I've officially made the switch to my iced coffee. Although, our high for tomorrow is 47. This is crazy! It was 80 & I was wearing shorts today!

I've never dwelled on wanting my girls to stay babies but here lately I keep thinking they are growing up too fast! Just their attitude and mannerisms are too much!

I had a good coupon shopping week this week. I spent a total of $11.25. Many have asked how I do it. If you want to learn, you can check out my Not So Extreme Coupon Series. If you have any questions, feel free to email me!

April 29 Coupon Trip April 30 Coupon Trip

We are taking a weekend vacation this month. Since we don't have an Ikea, we are without a doubt making a stop there. I want to find some things for the girls play area. I don't care for our current toy storage. Anything else I should check out while I'm there?

I fell into peer pressure and downloaded Jon Acuff's new book START. I haven't finished it yet…I'm almost done with it but I've really liked it. I plan to go back through it and take some "action" steps. But not now, I'm too tired and headed to bed. :)

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