Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thursday Things

1) Mark has been in Minneapolis all week.  Normally, work travels take him away from Monday through Thursday so I just had in my head he'd be home tonight.  Nope.  Tomorrow night.  Wahhh-burger!

2) Karis likes a story every night before bed so I've taken to telling her where a certain freckle on her face came from.  "This is Eunice. She's from New Zealand.  She got on a boat and came all the way to Tennessee to land right there by your nose!"  So the other night she decided to tell me a story about my "red freckle" (acne scar) and how it came from the lines on my forehead to live on my cheek.  Nice.  Nice.

3) Has anyone heard Billy Currington's new album?  I "liked" one of his songs so now they've been playing on my Pandora almost constantly.  Is it just me, or does his new album have a completely different, more mature sound?  Way different than the days of sellin' turnips on a flatbed truck . . .

4) Speaking of music, ERIC CHURCH IS COMING TO THE MID-SOUTH.  I repeat, ERIC CHURCH IS COMING TO THE MID-SOUTH.  He will be here in February and I CANNOT WAIT.  I will be fangirling so hard.

5) Does it mean you're getting old if you get excited about a printer? Mark went and bought us one on Saturday and it's awesome.  I can print right from my phone!

6) I've been really bummed lately thinking about not spending Christmas with my kids this year.  I won't have them at all Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  They don't come back to me until the 26th.  Well, my wonderful, awesome, and amazing boyfriend cashed in his credit card points and got us tickets to the Bears game on Christmas Eve!  Tailgating and the game will surely help keep my mind off not being with my kids.  It'll mean Christmas in Chicago, too, and I'll finally get to attend his aunt's infamous party.  I'm looking forward to it!

7) I can't say enough about how much we LOVE the kids' new school.  Love it.  One of the best things?  All the activities they offer!  This week J started intramurals and two of them have glee club this afternoon.  October will bring Battle of the Books, Girls Club, Tech Club.  So fun!

8) Team Aniston FOREVER


9) Who watched This is Us Tuesday night?  So, yeah, loved it and was totally thrown for a loop at the end.  But here's what bothered me: if they are turning 36, they were not in second grade when the Challenger exploded!  I turned 36 in May and my butt was sitting on the carpet in Karen Newland's kindergarten class when the explosion occurred.  That's my first historical memory and, for whatever reason, it bothered me the writers/ editors couldn't get their dates right!

10) Story of my life!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Kindergarten 2.0: An Update

Deciding to hold K back in kindergarten was both a very easy and a very difficult decision.  (I know!)  On the one hand, I knew she wasn't ready for first grade.  Her teacher knew she wasn't ready for first grade.  She would be going to a new school where no other students would know she was repeating kindergarten.  But it was still a hard decision to make, almost like I was shaving a year off her life since she'll graduate high school when she's 19.  I don't know, it's hard to explain. 

Now we're more than halfway through the first quarter of school.  We had our first parent/ teacher conference last week.  And I thought it would be a good time to give an update.

So far, K is ROCKING THE HECK out of kindergarten 2.0!  She's ahead of her classmates on things like writing.  They have to copy a sentence from the board and then draw a picture to go along with it.  Karis is taking this one step forward and putting word bubbles over the heads of the people she draws and writing her "bubblegum words" in those bubbles.  She is doing MUCH better when it comes to reading.  In fact, her teacher told me that she fully expects K to be one of the best readers in the class by the time she goes to first grade.  That is AWESOME considering where she was with sight/ bubblegum words last school year.

The biggest improvement, though, is she is working independently.  This is HUGE and I'm so, so proud of her.  Last year, she was constantly getting "N's" (non-satisfactory) when it came to working independently and following directions. 

Academically, deciding on Kindergarten 2.0 was the best decision to make for my girl.  I'm 100% - 110%! - please with the decision.

The only drawback, though, is that she knows she's been held back and it's starting to bother her.  She questions while other six-year-olds are in first grade.  "I'll be seven on April 5th.  Can I go to first grade then?"  No one in her class knows she's held back and her teacher said there are other six-year-olds in her class.  I think this line of questioning probably comes from first graders she rides the bus with.  I just try my best to explain to her that we're doing what's best for her.  One day I hope she understands and will be thankful.

So that's where we are now.  Very pleased with the decision and loving, loving, loving our new school.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Football Filled Weekend

I downloaded iOS10 and now my blogger app won't work on my iPhone.  HOLY FRUSTRATING!  Every single picture I take is with my phone and uploading them on the blogger app makes things super easy.  Is anyone else having this problem?  It will seriously cut down on my blogging (or blogging with pictures) if I can't use the app on my phone.  And I'm not going to delete it and try to re-download because, apparently, it's not even available in the app store anymore?  Again - HOLY FRUSTRATING!

Enough about that, though, let's get on with the weekend!

It's mid-September which means all our weekends are going to be football-filled for the next few months.  This weekend was no exception and it started Friday  night . . . with football for the girls!

Friday was a teacher in-service so the kids had no school.  Every year on this day, our new school district does a cheer clinic for elementary aged girls.  They go and learn cheers and routines, have dinner with the cheerleaders, then perform in the first quarter at the high school game.  Of course, our girls were all about that and they.had.a.blast.

Some of the high school seniors get to paint their parking spots.  Kare Bear was so excited to see some WOO PIG SOIEEEEE!  The Girlchild took a pic with an Alabama one but I refuse to put that filth on my blog!


Girlchild was in her element -- this kid is all about the gymnastics and flips and dance.  Karis, on the other hand, well, she marches to the beat of her own drummer.  And most of us don't hear that drummer.  ;)

I was so proud of her though!  I was proud of both girls but especially Karis.  There's no way she would've done something like this a year ago.  Heck, there was no way I would have done something like this at her age! 

Saturday brought Memphis Tigers football.  I turned the TV on just as they were scanning the crowd and, literally, as soon as I turned the TV on I spotted Curtis.  Curtis is Russell's son and the kids absolutely adore him.  They were so excited to see him on TV!  He's the "I" of the Tiger (it's the thrill of the fight . . . )

Jaidan went to a birthday party Saturday afternoon.  I'm telling y'all . . . we eat, sleep, and breathe football during these months.  He actually wavered on whether or not he wanted to go to the party since he'd have to miss the first half of the Ole Miss/ Alabama game.  Let's just not talk about that game, okay?  I had such high hopes!  Such high hopes!

The Razorbacks took the field at 6:00 and we were pumped and ready and hoping, for once, not to have a heart attack game.


WISH GRANTED!

We beat Texas State 42-3 and J added another "W" to our calendar.


The Hogs are now 3-0 and ranked NUMBER 17 IN THE NATION, BABY!  We play A&M on Saturday and I'm both anxious for and scared of the game.  We haven't beat them since they joined the SEC and the last two meetings have gone into overtime.  If we can beat them, we'll likely go into the Alabama game - on our home field - undefeated and ranked in the top 10.  Whew.  No pressure or anything, boys!

There was no Bears football on Sunday (they played MNF) so we settled in to watch the Cowboys at noon then the Broncos/ Colts later.



I let the boys break out their "All Colts Grow up to be Broncos" shirts because, well, what better time?

Mark decided to rotisserie a bacon wrapped pork loin on the grill for dinner.  Y'all.  It was everything.

LOOK AT THAT!
 

Kyan ended the weekend the same way he ended last Sunday night . . . passed out on the couch by 7:00.  All that football watching and cheering can wear a boy out!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Arkansassy

What a great weekend -- especially if you happen to hail from the great state of Arkansas!  Last week we'll go in the books as one of the worst so the fantastic weekend was much appreciated.


My cuties like to wear their Razorback clothes on the Friday before game day. They just look too precious!

Friday morning, Mark texted and asked if I wanted to meet him for lunch. We settled on Soul Fish in midtown. I got there and he wasn't there (strange, he almost always beats me.) I went inside only to find out the restaurant was being remodeled and not open yet. Oops! I called Mark and his car had overheated (I swear, when it rains it pours!) I went over to where he was and we walked across the street to Bar Louie for lunch. Great choice -- the food was delicious, the place was quiet, and it was so nice to have one-on-one time with my guy during such a trying week. Oh, and his car is fine now -- a guy at work got the problem all figured out. 

Friday night, we swam, are leftovers for dinner, and went to bed early. That's rare for our Friday nights but had to save up all our energy because ...

ALL THE FOOTBALL! 

(Pig nose from Dolla Tree!)

So. 

Saturday. 

We did this to our living room:

Yes, that's three TV's showing three different games. Our friends don't refer to our house as the "pub and pool" for nothin'!


Kyan had a birthday party Saturday night. He was so excited (and even a little nervous!) and I was sooo happy. All the kids have fit seamlessly into their new school. I love that they're being invited to parties and such. 

While Kyan jumped at the trampoline park, the rest of us got about the serious business of ARKANSAS RAZORBACK FOOTBALL, BABY!


Y'all! That game! I can't even. 


We beat TCU - the #15 team in the nation - in their house. It was a double overtime barn burner and it was epic and awesome and WOO PIG SOIEE. 


J hasn't stopped talking about the blocked field goal. My boys were PUMPED!

Sunday was a big day for my favorite guy. Kickoff for the Chicago Bears! Cady, John, and Russell all came over. I woke up Sunday morning and felt like cooking. I made buffalo chicken dip and two varieties of sliders. 


Pepperjack chicken and salami Gouda with a sriracha mayo. The salami ones were the best sliders I've ever made!


The Bears started strong but ended up losing. And in my house that means ...


We switch the flags. Hogs fly high ... And are ranked #24 in the country!!!


We spent the rest of the day watching more football, swimming, football, football, football. This is what our Sundays will look like for the next few months - minus the swimming. 

I woke up Monday morning and learned Miss Arkansas had been crowned Miss America. Like I said, damn good weekend to be from Arkansas!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Forget Champagne. This Calls for Whiskey.

I was on a Designing Women binge a few weeks ago and the title of this post was a quote from Julia.  And, now, it perfectly sums up my week!  And I don't even LIKE whiskey (except for, you know, when I do and it's Fireball and any other cinnamon flavored stuff.) 
 
It has been, to put it mildly, A HELL OF A WEEK. 
 
I've been dealing with all the BS I posed about yesterday.  I'm having to manage my own emotions with being blindsided by this news as well as making sure my kids are okay (and they are.  They're rockstars.)  And, honestly, I also scared myself with just how furious and angry I was.  I've never been so angry in my life, y'all, the "mama bear" thing is real.  Mess with my kids emotions and that makes me want to light your testicles on fire.  In addition to all that, I had my first college exam in more years than I'd like to admit, an event at the kids' school, some behavior issues, and just dealing with normal parenting and adulting.  All that while, frankly, being emotionally exhausted.  Pass me the whiskey. 
 
Anyway, rather than whining on and carrying on (more) about my week, I thought I would share some good parts of it.
 
For starters . . . we love playing around with Snapchat filters!
 


My kids are actually the ones that got me back into Snapchat.  Their older sister uses it so sometimes when I take their pic, they'll order me, "put that on Snapchat!"  Kyan in particular likes snapping videos.  If you want to follow me over there, I'm bdubs1010.
 
Karis has show and tell every Wednesday and they're supposed to bring in something that starts with the letter they're studying.  This week was "G."  I wracked my brain and searched her room and we finally ended up settling on her Girl doll.  Ha!  So Harper London went to school with her Wednesday.  And since this was a last minute thing, we couldn't find her actual clothes.  Therefore she was STYLIN'!

I also want to mention that, so far, Karis is rocking Kindergarten 2.0!  Our only issue now is that she's realized she's a year older than some of her classmates and this bothers her.  She asks me a lot if she can go to second grade next school year.  It's a little heartbreaking but I know this is what's best for her.
 
Thursday was a big day for this guy:
 

NFL football was back with his Broncos!  He lives and breathes football.  I'm (obviously) more of a college fan but I'm the only one in my house who is.  And, really, I'm just excited to have football on four to five days a week!

Finally, the kid who used to hate, hate, hate having her picture taken . . . doesn't anymore!  She's always telling me to take her picture and then striking a pose.  I love it.

 

The lanyards both kids are wearing are prizes for selling City Saver books for their school.  Which brings me to another thing I love: our neighborhood.  The kids had a lot of success selling to people in our neighborhood, something that we didn't have at the old house.  In fact, Jaidan even said, "Wow!  The only person who ever bought from us at the old house was Ross's dad!"

Just a few more positives:

- I THINK I did fairly well on my exam yesterday.  It was all essay style which is good for the writer in me but also something entirely subjective to grade.
- The Oklahoma mother and daughter who married were NOT FROM ARKANSAS.  The only thing better would have been if they'd been from Alabama . . .
- Bret Bielema "crashing" fan tailgate after the game Saturday.  The guy can be kind of an asshole (my kind of asshole, though, the kind that trash talks) but how AWESOME to see him reaching out to fans like this!
- The other night, when we thought Ole Miss was going to beat FSU, we bit the bullet and purchased tickets to the Ole Miss/ Memphis game.  Mark has never been to Oxford so it's going to be awesome for him to experience the Grove.  We'll have back to back football weekends: this one and then Bears/ Colts the following week.

And then this.  I laughed.  And LOVED that UT beat Notre Overrated Dame!

Now if only my Razorbacks could do me a solid and pull out a win tomorrow . . .

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Relationships, Hard Stuff, and a Whole Load of BS

I posted this picture to Instagram the other night:


We had a great day Sunday, a great weekend. I was overwhelmed with just how damn lucky I am. Lucky I (finally) found this man who is so perfect for me. Lucky I get to love him and be loved by him. Lucky I get to experience this kind of love. And, most of all, so lucky for this life we have together and the message we're passing on to our children. Right now they think we're "gross" but I hope that one day they'll remember us dancing in the kitchen, holding hands on our evening walks, stealing kisses and think "it's out there, it exists. I want what they have."

That correlates heavily to the next part of this story ... A part I wasn't sure I wanted to share. But it's out in the open now and, the people I was most concerned with protecting, they know. Besides, writing has always been therapeutic for me. So here goes. 

I found out Monday evening that my ex-husband fathered a child while he and I were still married. I knew about the affair; I did not know about the child. 

Infidelity, for me, was more humiliating than devastating. I can admit it: I'm a prideful person. I hate to be seen as the victim, for people to feel sorry for me. Seriously, please don't feel the least bit sorry for me reading this post. Please. If I'm anything, it's resilient. 

More than humiliation, though, right now I'm feeling ANGER on behalf of my kids.  Probably the angriest I've ever been, ever in my life, about anything.  You see, I tried to protect them from the affair.  I didn't tell some of the people closest to me because I didn't want them to hate the father of my children.  I didn't want my kids to grow up thinking this was how relationships worked and how they went.  I didn't want my boys to think cheating was a way of life, something everyone did.  I didn't want my daughter to be mistrustful of men.  I wanted to protect them. 

I ranted all this to some friends - y'all, THANK GOD for friends - and they brought me back to the center, back to that picture I posted on Instagram the other night.  "Your current relationship will be the example they need in their life to show them what love is.  The best thing a parent can do is model good relationships . . . "

My current relationship.

The guy who hugs me and tells me he loves me every time he walks in the door.  The guy who I laugh with all.day.long.  The guy who sends me all his travel information and agendas and FaceTimes and texts me constantly while he's on business because he knows, even though I trust him 110%, I'm still emotionally fragile.  The guy who does that not because I demand it or even ask him to, but just because.  The guy I trust 110%.  The guy who is my rock and my safe place, who loves me totally and completely and without conditions.

That guy.

The one the kids see me interacting with every single day.  All those things . . . the "I love you's" and the laughing and the complete and total trust of each other, the children see it.  And I hope and pray as they grow older, THAT is what they will mirror. 

I was thankful for my man on Sunday night when I posted that picture and even more thankful for him - for his example, for the example of our relationship - over these emotionally exhausting past few days.

Now, if you'll excuse me I've got to go find my voodoo doll . . .

P.S. I'll probably think better about this post being published in the future but for right now?  Felt damn good to write it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

As for Me and My House, We Will CALL THE HOGS

Labor Day weekend is my very favorite weekend of the whole year and this year did not disappoint at all!

Friday night, we only had two kids so decided to go out to dinner (you'd be surprised, or perhaps not, how much more expensive AND stressful it is to take five kids out as opposed to one or two.) We tried Memphis Pizza Cafe and, wow, so good! We watched a little bit of football and were all in bed by 9:30. Much needed sleep to prepare for ...

THE FIRST COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURDAY OF THE YEAR!

I love college football. I love the rivalries. I love walking into Sam's in my razorback shirt and having three different people say, "go Hogs!" and "woo Pig!"

This year we decided to host a watch party as well as NFL fantasy draft. We did a taco bar -- I made chicken, beef, and shrimp taco meat -- and Kendra and Cady brought the fixins. 

(For whatever reason, I can't resize the pictures so it looks like you're going to get huge pics!)
 

And, of course, I made cake balls!


We had the best time! We had about 15 people over. We ate tacos, watched football, did the draft, and Mark's friend JR told the story of how they won a chicken wing eating contest at least five times.



Anthony fell asleep so, of course, I had to make him pay for that . . .
 


The Hogs won but, Lawd have mercy, it way too close.  And it's WAY too early in the season to have heart attack games.
 


We really had a fantastic time.  Friends, football, and food.  Life doesn't get much better!

Sunday was our last football-free Sunday for several months.  We decided to use the time wisely and head to the Delta Fair.  It was so.hot. but we had a blast.  The kids rode all the big thrill rides, we strolled through the craft area, visited the petting zoo, ate all the fried things . . . just did the fair thing! 
 


Monday, we spent our Labor Day mostly just being lazy.  Mark grilled, we swam, and just enjoyed having one more day off.  What an awesome weekend!
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