What We Wore Wednesday

Here we are again, to show you what we’ve been wearing lately.  We would love some comments and feedback from you all… what do you like?  Do you get any inspiration from these posts?  Do you own any of the same pieces?  Do you also do a lot of shopping at Target?  HA!

Rhonda-

This week, I feel like doing something a little different.  I am going to give some backstory or narrative behind the picture or items in the outfits.

The mess is my office was a result of Claudia’s gifts piling up and me crafting some wall decor for the room.  

Top: Mixtape. Jeans: Old Navy Rockstar, this style no longer available. Shoes: Target. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

I know, you can’t see much on this dress, but I’ve posted it before.  TBH, I only included these pictures because I rarely wear necklaces and I liked that my Grandma’s necklace that I only wear on holidays (Easter in this instance) is front and center.  Oh, and that LIP COLOR.  Swoon.

Dress: Mixtape. Earrings: Nickel & Suede. Necklaces: (top to bottom) FabFitFun Summer 2017 | Amazon | Family Heirloom.

So, I got dressed to run errands, then noticed when I went into my office to take a picture that my tee had a mustard stain.  Tied up the kimono to cover it.  Also, you will notice I wear Old Navy jeans a LOT and often they are no longer available.  That is because they last FOREVER and I wear them to death.

Tee: Target. Kimono: Hope’s, not currently available. Jeans: Old Navy, this style no longer available. Shoes: Target. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

 

Ashley –

Shirt: Old Stitch Fix Earrings: N&S Signature Gold

Sweat Shirt: Target (no longer available) Earrings: N&S Champagne Shimmer

Shirt: Walmart Earrings: N&S Leopard

And just like that, she is four

How has a year gone by since I got all emotional about Claudia turning three?   Somehow, it flew by and here we are.

I won’t go through all the history behind Claudia’s existence, as I did that last year.  Instead, let’s just look at who she is today.

  • She could literally play Barbies all day, with her tablet acting as the big screen TV.  Best of both worlds – screen time and imaginative play.
  • She loves junk food and healthy food equally.  Her ideal meal would probably be bacon, eggs, and pickles with a side of cupcake and sugary yogurt.
  • She’s the sassiest.  I know everyone calls their daughters sassy…but this girl is like nothing I have ever seen.  She is always rolling her eyes, prancing with her hands on her hips, or flipping her hair.  Her attitude scares me, but she got it from me so I choose to just believe it will cause her to be a strong woman someday – just like her mama.
  • She loves her brothers like crazy.  I know, I know.  All siblings love each other.  But this girl loves to hang out with them and tell them all her secrets – and they do the same with her.  I never knew siblings like this existed.
  • She is incredibly social with NO anxiety at all.  In that way, she is very different from me, and it’s a strength that I am so glad she has.
  • Despite the fact that her father and I have intentionally raised all our kids to ignore gender roles and stereotypes and go their own way, she chooses the route of pink-and-purple-glitter-and-crushes-and-dresses-thank-you-very-much.

Her party was supposed to be this past Saturday, on her birthday, but due to all the sickness in our home, we had to push it back by a week.  She is perfectly happy to drag her celebrations out, so no complaints from her!  We spent her birthday doing mom and daughter stuff, running errands, and eating cupcakes.  We will have a unicorn party in a few days to wrap up her celebration!  I can’t imagine life without her and, in some ways, I celebrate her every day.

 

 

 

(Tell Me Something) Good Friday

It’s Fri-Yay!  Good Friday, in particular.  Maybe for you, that means a sacred day, a day off work, or business as usual.  For us, it’s a lead-up to Easter (which, for the most part, is a celebration of spring around here and not a religious holiday).  We thought it would be fun today to bring you a list of good things about this time of year!*

*If you’re wondering what could possibly be bad about Spring, I present to you my friends Seasonal Allergies and Bugs, for starters*

1. Wardrobe updates.  This is the time of year when it’s necessary and more comfortable to sport shorter hemlines and sleeves, airy fabrics, and (mostly if you’re Rhonda) brighter patterns.  Who doesn’t love an excuse to go shopping?

2. Extended outdoors time.  With more daylight, we are transitioning into a time where kids can just run out alllll the pent-up energy on into the evening.  Parents everywhere, rejoice!  Entertainment now becomes less digital and, more importantly, less your responsibility.

3. Skin that is no longer translucent.  Now that people can be outside more frequently and for longer periods, the skin can gain a little color.  We aren’t talking Tanorexia here, but just a natural flush to the skin.  Amen.

4. Alll the blooming flowers. I just love seeing pretty flowers pop up randomly. Azaleas are one of my favorite to see come to life. These little pretties just consume and cover their bushes. How can you NOT smile when flowers start to bloom?

5. Sun dresses.  Goodbye pants and winter tights. HELLO easy breasy sun dresses. Who doesn’t love the ease of throwing on one piece of clothing that makes you look put together and is incredibly cool and comfortable? We love them for ourselves and for our little girls.

6. Sandal Life.  Searching around for matching pairs of socks is one of the biggest annoyances and bummers when you’re trying to get ready in the morning. Waking up on any given morning in the spring and knowing that the weather is going to be perfect for sandals is such a relief.

7. Beach Trips.  Any trip to the beach is something that we definitely look forward to during Spring. Spontaneous weekday trips to the beach for Ashley. Planned beach trips to Orange Beach, AL for Rhonda. We love it all. Beach Please.

8. Light and Fresh Foods.  While there’s never a bad time to eat a loaded-up salad or some grilled veggies, some of the healthiest and yummy foods are in heavy rotation for most people this time of year.  Grilling a juicy steak or burger and pairing with some fresh fruits and vegetables?  Don’t mind if we do!

9. Yes way, Rosè. Pink wine.  We’re here for it and we don’t even care if it’s Basic and cliché.  Sometimes, so are we.

What would make YOUR list?

When Loss finds you Unexpectedly

This morning I packed up cookies for my almost five year old to take to school so that he could share them with his classmates in celebration of his upcoming birthday that will occur while their school is on Spring Break next week.

This morning his dad and I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to get his almost five year old brain to wrap around the concept that yes today is not his birthday but he is just going to CELEBRATE it with his school friends. And yes we are STILL having a birthday party at the trampoline park, because he was very concerned about wanting them all to have fun.

This morning was full of conversations about celebrating his birth.

This morning – the very last thing I expected my mom to say when she called me while I sat in the Starbucks Drive thru lane was to tell me that my Pawpaw had passed away.

I never expected to be slapped in the face with a reminder of the fragility of life. I never expected to be mentally taken back to last Thursday when my own dad was in the ICU with a brain bleed facing possible surgery and being scared of all the worst possible outcomes.

I never expected after that and only a short week later that he’d be struggling with his  own recovery and then have the death of his father piled on top.

Things are still fresh and messy and complicated in my head – but I’m writing because that helps to sort things out.

I’m just thinking about how we can’t take for granted all the little moments that make up our lives. And we for sure can’t take for granted the ones we’ve chosen to spend those moments with.

I spent a lot of time today thinking about my Pawpaw and the moments that come to mind when I think of him.

My Pawpaw served and retired from the United States Air Force. When I think of a soldier, I think of him.

My Pawpaw was an extremely religious man. When I think of church on Sundays. When I think of long wooden pews and hymnals. When I think of the beginning of my childhood experiences with the community and extended family that belonging to a church brings, I think of him.

My Pawpaw used to do this thing where he’d threaten to ‘mute’ me with his TV remote, because I was a chatty kid – especially when he was trying to enjoy a show. When my kids are talking over my latest Netflix obsession, I think of my Pawpaw.

My Pawpaw was never afraid to try a new hobby. In my lifetime? He had horses, hunting dogs, several boats, scooters and then motorcycles, and always all kinds of new technology. When I think of jumping in head first into something you’re interested in, I think of my Pawpaw.

And then just a million other childhood memories, that flashed in my head throughout the day today.

So. Just love on your loved ones today. Be present in the moments that make up your life. Value the people that are there with you in those moments.

 

 

 

Life Lately

Hey hey! Every other Monday we spend a little time catching you guys up on what’s been going on in each of our lives.

Ashley –

Hmm… I always have to look back through the pictures I’ve taken and take a glance at the calendar to remember exactly what I’ve spent the past two weeks doing. LOL

We celebrated two birthdays: my brother’s on the 12th and mine on the 21st. Shane turned 25, and I turned 33. I actually can’t believe he is only 25, because I feel like he’s got his life together in ways that far surpass most people of his age…or even most people older than him. I’m a pretty proud big sister. 🙂 I mean, can I just take a few moments to brag on him? This kid went to college after high school, then immediately got a full time job wherein he has been incredibly successful. He’s already bought a house, and he is an amazing uncle to my kids. He is thoughtful and generous and always willing to help when you ask him to.  We just think he’s the best. 🙂

As for me? I mean…I’m a work in progress – I feel really good about 33 though. 🙂

Let’s seee what else? Coop has been doing great at school. We’ve been seeing some fluctuation in behavior according to the color chart that gets sent home each day in his folder but that’s normal. He just started learning how to write his last name and we are super impressed by his progress. 🙂

Sophie also likes to talk about ‘what color she got for the day’ – even though she’s not actually getting colors. She’s gotta do whatever big brother is doing..of course.

A major thing that happened last Thursday morning..my dad scared the crap out of all of us when he got dizzy and fell and hit the back of his head – ending up in the ICU.  🙁  He’s getting better now which is a major relief.

Anddd I got to see Rhonda this past Friday night. She was down on the coast for a hair color update…so we did our usual and spent Friday night at the Chill Bar in the IP Casino. It was so much fun!

Rhonda –

Like Ashley, I find myself on Life Lately days staring at my camera roll and trying to figure out just where the last 2 weeks went.

I tell you though, for the most part I have been soaking up life.  The weather has been great and, with the time change, the sunset sometimes doesn’t occur until Stuart is home to enjoy it with us.  It’s been lovely to check it out from the front porch.

The relaxing on the porch hasn’t been without work, though.  During the day, I’ve been busting my ass so that I can launch my boutique a week from today!

I got to have time with some of my best girlfriends in the last couple of weeks.  I had a Girls Night Out with my local besties.  We went to the Stockyards on a very stormy night and had a freaking blast.

This past weekend, I went on a super quick trip to Mississippi to get my hair done.  I squeezed in a night out with Ashley before hitting the road extremely sick.

I originally thought I was hungover, except I was hit with a fever, body aches, and extreme chest pain and congestion.  That made for a fun ride home!

What have y’all been up to?

Being Happy in Love

I will be the first person to stand up and give props to someone who is just ready to let go of a relationship. Any relationship. A relationship with a family member like your mother, father, brother, daughter, son, grandmother, etc. A relationship with your best friend that you’ve known since 1st grade. A relationship with a significant other. No person is bound to any relationship no matter what kind of promises you’ve made or contracts you’ve signed. If it’s time to go – even if for the simplest and simultaneously the most complex reason of you’re just not happy in that relationship anymore – you can go.

For me, leaving is the easiest thing. Running away is my instinct. Avoiding the conflict. Just waiting for it to all go away so I don’t have to deal. That comes naturally for me.

Staying. Fighting. Confronting the mess. Living in the muck and mire. Finding healing within all the hurt. Those things are incredibly hard.

Love is not something you fall into or out of. It’s not a hole you accidentally collapse into. Love is something you choose or choose not to do. It’s your choice. I live by that. I breathe by that. I tattooed that on my arm – but even I sometimes forget that.

I once saw this post by Word Porn on Facebook that said something along the lines of, “Great love is not found, it’s made.” And that just also really resonated with me because it’s basically another way of saying that love is something you do and make … not something you can catch or lose. 

I know and swear by the idea that no one can make me happy except for myself.

When you hear a couple who have been together for a long period of time reflect upon their relationship – you will inevitably hear them talk about bad times they’ve been through. They will tell you how things got incredibly tough. They may say that there were years of tough times. And honestly, I just always glazed over comments like that. I just didn’t understand why you would live and go through something .. some vague circumstance that was so awful for the two of you  – yet you stuck it out. You’re still together. And things are better.

I think it’s because so often when talking about a romantic partnership, you let the romance part get in the way of the partnership part which is actually more important and what gives your relationship longevity.

The thing is we give our friendships so much more grace. We have friends that we’ve known for 10 or more years wherein there were some extremely rough patches, but we can look back on that and laugh and smile about how we’ve grown together and we’re still here together …everyday…living in, nurturing, and growing our friendship.

The generations of people who are my age (early 30’s) and down are experiencing committed relationships in such a different way than our parents or even our older brothers and sisters. We move in together years before we are even ready to talk about marriage. We have kids without a thought to future commitment to each other. We quickly and often times without thought or foresight establish a bond to each other financially and emotionally with very little concern for where it’s all going.

We’ve also got access to pretty much anyone we could want to be with. Geography and travel time no longer stand in our way. The internet has put the world at our fingertips and allowed us to easily establish and grow relationships that span oceans, continents, and time zones. There are no limits.

So then what? What do you do when you’ve made these great leaps of faith just to be with this human being you felt you couldn’t live without? What do you do when you move in together after three months of dating, mainly because it was just the most logical and reasonable thing to do in the face of the money you were spending on an apartment you never stayed in anymore? What do you do when you find yourself married to someone just so that they can live where you live and you can be together? What do you when years have passed and now you’ve got this whole life and family together that just kind of happened along the way?

What do you do if you made one of those decisions, but now…now you’re not happy in love and you don’t know why?

You may have not made intentional plans for the way your relationship looks today.  You may not know what to do with each other so you lash out. You might just be tired and are searching for things that you think are making you happy.

Other people – other things – they will not make you happy. YOU have to decide to be happy in the place that you are standing. YOU have to do things to make yourself happy. Sometimes that’s as easy as changing your perspective…getting a different view…letting go.

But sometimes – it’s harder than that. Sometimes it’s realizing that you love your life and the people you share it with. The person you share it with…and knowing that they feel the same way. And then making yourself happy. Deciding to be happy. Moving past the hard stuff. Being hopeful of the future. Allowing yourself to see beyond all the ugly and hateful things. Choosing your words wisely. Speaking in love, not anger. Being kind.

Allow yourself to be happy. Stop exhausting yourself by searching for your happiness in other people. Acknowledging what’s standing right in front of you.

Just be happy. Intend to be happy in the everyday moments that make up your life. Nurture the partnerships you want to keep, and fit in as much romance as you can.

No one person can fulfill you forever and always. No one friend. No one significant other. You’ve got to admit and realize that before you can make yourself happy. Before you can be happy.  Before you can make great love. Before you can be happy IN love.

 

Eat Happy: Goat Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

 
Welcome back to our Tuesday post, where we share our experience with cooking through the best cookbook on earth: Eat Happy! If you missed the intro post you can click on over here to read that.

We are starting with the very first recipe and working our way all the way through to the end. We will not be sharing with you the actual recipes that we cook, because you should be buying the book to support the author.  However, we will be telling you about our experience with the process, as well as our opinion of the outcome.  Let’s do this.

I was really excited to do this recipe.  I love cheesy anything and love working with mini peppers.  I underestimated this simple little gem though.

As usual, I had grocery shopping misadventures when preparing for this recipe.  There were NO regular bags of mini peppers left like I usually buy.  There was ONE bag of organic, which doesn’t have as many peppers but I had to just roll with it.  It left me wondering though, what in the fuck is happening mid-March that everyone needs peppers?!

After a WalMart, a Target, and a local grocery store, I still couldn’t find the specific goat cheese the recipe requires.  I had to stop in the grocery store to look up what’s so special about that cheese.  I discovered that it’s made creamy like a spread, instead of crumbled like the one I could find.  I decided to just roll with it.

The cheese was a little difficult to get into the peppers and had just as much all over my countertop, but it was fine.  They smelled absolutely DIVINE while they were cooking!

I didn’t realize until I pulled them out of the oven that I forgot fresh herbs, so I foraged around in my spice cabinet and emerged with my finest dried parsley.

Absolutely could not stop eating these and had to force myself to save 3 for Stuart to try.  100% will be making these again…soon.

Life Lately

Welcome back to another review of what we’ve been up to.  Is the time change killing you today?  It’s a struggle over here for sure.

Let’s get on with it.

Rhonda-

Life has been pretty good to me lately.  I have been able to enjoy life a little more, while still accomplishing things.  I got to check a concert off my extensive with list when Stuart and I went to see Brett Young.  It was amazing. as I expected.

The weather has been really nice and warm (until a cold front came through yesterday) so we have spent a lot of time out front playing.  I decided to take advantage of all the time I was having to spend out there watching the kids and give our front porch a makeover.  I can’t wait to show y’all what I did.  I am almost finished and will do a post about it.

I was so excited to spend time with some of our favorite people this past weekend, when we went to Wyatt’s birthday party.  Wyatt’s family is our favorite and this was our first time to go out to their farm.

My outdoor lovers had a great time running around outside without fear of being hit by a car.  We drank a little (a lot) and just enjoyed the company of our besties.

Most excitingly, I got much closer to launching my new online boutique!  My inventory has started arriving and it’s been fun to dress myself from my own store!  Stay tuned for all the info on this new business for sure.

Ashley-

Hey y’all hey! What’s been going on in my neck of the woods? Not to much beyond just enjoying the everyday with my littles and family. Until recently, the weather has also been nice in South Mississippi – so we have been able to enjoy the outdoors a lot.

Work is work and school is school lately. I honestly am pretty boring this life lately post….sooo I’ll just leave you with some pictures and go with that!

Mommy and Sophie beach trip one day while Coop was at school. Don’t tell him we went. 😉

Oh you know, just a bad guy mask Coop developed himself. We live in a state of constant “gunfire” and having to come up with “missions” for him to accomplish.

That? Well that’s a little swimming pool made out of a fire pit with some bubbles for good measure. 😉

Chick – Fil – A with Grammy and Ppop!

Anddd one of the many playground park adventures these two take part in.

What have YOU guys been up to?

JUMP

Wise man Gavin DeGraw once said, “Sometimes the only way is jumping, I hope you’re not afraid of heights.”  It has stuck with me for the last fifteen years since the song “Meaning” came out.  It’s just true – you have to take a leap at times.

In the last couple of weeks, I have taken leap after leap after leap.  It’s scary, but it’s how I live my life in a way that I can be happy and not sit around wondering what could have happened.  Last week, I surprised Stuart by booking our wedding venue and today, I pulled the trigger on a new business.  It was extremely scary, but I know it’s the only way to feel like I am doing all I can.  I can’t say that something is my dream and then not take steps toward it.  It doesn’t work that way.

Dreams come true with a lot of hustle and heart, and those are two things I certainly have.  I look forward to telling you all about this new adventure… as soon as I can get my ex-husband to fix my technical difficulties, because that is not my strong suit!

When was the last time you did something extremely scary AND life-changing?

Wedding Planning: The Venue

When I last wrote a wedding planning post, we had only a date.  Then changed it – twice.  At some point, I even decided maybe I just didn’t need to get married at all.  You see, my crippling anxiety truly comes up with some idiotic problems sometimes.  Making decisions is really hard for me so sometimes I decide to just eliminate the process altogether.  That is what I did with wedding planning…just quit thinking about it.

One night, with drinks flowing, Stuart and I had a serious conversation that made me realize my hesitance to plan a wedding had led to him wondering if I wanted to be with him at all.  I quickly understood where he was coming from and immediately decided to plan a surprise for him.

Back in late summer of 2017, we had visited a craft brewery to check them out as a venue.  We loved the event coordinator, the atmosphere, the location, the aesthetics…it just felt right.  We didn’t book on the spot, but only because we wanted to make sure it was what we wanted.  Looking back, we probably should have just gone for it.

Since then, I changed the date several times and researched venues so much that I couldn’t remember a thing.  I created spreadsheets to track the information I got.  Then one day, in a moment of super appreciation for this man who puts up with me, I thought, I should just book the venue without telling him.  I told my closest friends and they all agreed that it would mean so much and, in the end, put me at ease to know that I at least have that much figured out.

As soon as I had the money together, I chose a date, paid the deposit on the brewery, signed the contract, and put together a card to tell Stuart.  I printed a portion of the contract and put it into a card.  I bought beers from the brewery for us to toast with.  When he got home and settled in, I gave him the card.  It took him a minute to process what was happening.  He was absolutely shocked and delighted.  We are now FULL SPEED planning this wedding, since it’s in November this year!

 

Next up, finalizing guest list, making wedding party official, and booking photography and catering!  I plan to update here along the way, because it should be interesting!