Monday, August 31, 2015

Kinley Colors


She's supposed to be my good baby. Caris is my mischievous one. But my first child to color furniture was Kinley. I never would have thought.

Avery loves to color. Like, for hours. Sit her down with a coloring book and a box of markers and we won't hear from her for 2-3 hours, with occasional requests for a drink. I'm serious.

Unfortunately, the twins think that coloring is like the unicorn of all activities. Whenever they get the chance they're like COLOR!!!!


In the mouth. With occasional good aim on paper. It definitely requires supervision.

When I got home from work the other day, our nanny was coloring with the kids and I started dinner while she was still there. When she left, I mommy-brained and forgot they were coloring.

When I looked up, Kinley was standing on a chair, booty up in the air, coloring on our kitchen chairs. I should have known...she was being quiet. Quiet = trouble

She had colored on EVERY CHAIR in the EXACT SAME SPOT.

Avery definitely has about 50 markers that are in this giant marker tower. <<<<----click here to see it And Kinley somehow got a hold of the ONLY black marker. And boy, did she go for it. The most shocking part was that Avery didn't tell me. She is definitely in the tattle tale phase with her sisters right now.

Kinley's sweet face when I told her "NO" and took her precious marker away.

I couldn't stay mad at her for long.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Stitch Fix Review - August 2015

Raise your hand if you have a hard time picking out fashion forward clothing! *raises hand*

Raise your hand if you have kids and hate standing in a dressing room with kids running around or screaming while you try on clothes quickly only to realize that they don't fit as well as you thought in the poorly lit store! *raises hand*

Raise your hand if you spend 8 dollars on clothing at the clearance racks in Target just because it's cheap? And then wear it once or twice and the neck stretches or it doesn't wash well or unravels! *raises hand*


I got down to a good post pregnancy weight and had found myself in a rut. I would find a shirt I liked at Target and buy it in 5 colors. I would troll the racks in TJ Maxx and buy things because they were a good deal, not because I liked them, or fit well, or were in "season". I was in a hurry and would grab something to try on, with all my kids with me, and get home and didn't fit as well as I thought. And I'm so lazy, I wouldn't return it.

VOILA! A whole closet of ill fitting, boring, nursing stretched out clothes.

Then, my friend suggested I try Stitch Fix. I'm hooked.

It's amazing.

You fill out a very detailed style profile about your self. BE HONEST. It's all about your sizes, your body type, selecting items and outfits that you like or don't like, and your body proportions (with questions like, "do you think you have broad shoulders, do you have wide hips, would you say that your torso is long, etc).

Then, you pick a date. And you can request certain things from your stylist in a personal note. You can ask for things like, "I'd really like a cardigan for fall that I can wear to work." Or "Can you include a little black dress because I am going to a bachelorette party this month?" I actually did that one and they sent me two dresses :)

They charge you a $20 "styling fee" and someone personally selects 5 items for you. If you keep 1 thing out of your box, the $20 is subtracted from your total. Then a box of goodies arrives on your doorstep. And it's like Christmas. The giddy anxiety of the surprise is amazing. Since I buy pretty basic items, some of the items your stylist sends will be out of your comfort zone. TRY ON EVERYTHING ANYWAY!

You open your box and see this:

Oh the possibilities! This is actually my 4th fix and my first 5/5, meaning I kept all 5 items in the box.

This is the wishbone fringe necklace:

This is my first pair of jeans in 4 fixes and Oh. My. Goodness. They fix amazing. Which is shocking because finding pants for a girl who is pear shaped is NOT easy. They're actually a little long, but since they're skinnies, I plan on tucking them into boots for fall and winter, and then rolling them boyfriend style, for the rest of summer. I also love that they're dark, because I can dress them up with heels.

This is the Pixley Edmund Chevron Print Henley knit top. I am obsessed. This is one of the softest shirts I've ever worn. And I love the detailing with the buttons on the sleeves. I have a long torso too, so this is a great length. With my new jeans (rolled) and a pair of sandals.

This is hands down my favorite thing that came in the box. It's a hoodie. But dressier. So I can wear it of the house and look super put together. In a hoodie. This is the Loveappella Evie Drawstring Funnel Neck Sweatshirt. And those are the same jeans tucked into my favorite grey boots.

I love wearing stripes. And this shirt is so cute. I was hesitant at first, because I refuse to wear a shirts that I can't wear a bra with straps. I put on a nude bra and crossed my fingers. SUCCESS! I can wear a nude bra and you can't see the straps through the lace detailing on the sleeves and across the back. This is the Market and Spruce Gillia Lace Detail knit top. And those are the same pants from this fix with wedges.

Here is a close up of the lace detailing. It's SO pretty.

The other thing I love is that my stylist sends a "styling card." It shows the versatility of different pieces in the box so that you can wear the item in different ways with items you might already have in your closet. Your stylist also writes you a note (top right box of the styling card in the picture) with suggestions and tips for styling your items. Which, for someone like me, who doesn't have a fashionable bone in their body, is a godsend.

So then you decide what you're keeping. If you keep all 5 items, you get a 25% discount on the total cost of the box. Minus the $20 styling fee. If you send it all back, they keep your $20 for shipping. So that sucks. Then you go to the Stitch Fix website and CHECK OUT. You fill out a questionnaire about the fit and style of everything inside so that they can consider that for your next box. Then you put the items you DON'T want into a bag with a prepaid label that came in your box. And drop it off at a UPS, USPS or Fed-Ex. DONE.

You can pick the frequency you receive your boxes. Some people get boxes every 2-3 weeks, every month, every other month or whatever. It's part of your styling profile and can change it at any time.

If you fall into any of the above categories, CLICK HERE and fill out a styling profile and see what you think!

I love my new items and while the prices are more than I would normally pay, I have SO much self control in Target over impulse purchases now. I can walk by and be like, "NOPE!! My box comes in two weeks, I don't need your clearance rack!" I've been able to seriously shut down impulse buying.

If you decide to try it, I'll get a referral credit to use towards an item in my next fix! Try it. Try it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

We Went on a Cruise - BY OURSELVES

Yep, you read that right. The last time Troy and I went on vacation by ourselves was in June of 2010. Troy had just come home from a deployment and we went on a 1 week all inclusive trip to Cancun. And then I got pregnant with Avery in the September.

And then we had a 5 year vacation drought. Which we FINALLY ended this year. Thank you Jesus. It was just so needed. I wish I could tell you that we partied hard. And stayed up all night. And acted like we were in college.

Lets play a game called truths and a lie. You guess which one is the lie.

1. We went to bed the first night at 8pm and slept a solid 14 hours.
2. We ordered room service for breakfast every day and hung out in our room like homebodies. Eating in bed. Reading. Dozing until 10am.
3. We napped almost every day for 2-3 hours.

If you guessed they were all true, you are right. Seriously, we were lame. And by lame, I mean, awesome. Awesome at catching up on all the sleep we missed for 5 years. In addition, when we were hanging out by the pool during the day, we were sleeping. Or reading. Or eating. It was SO necessary.

I'm serious. If you have not gone into vacation being like, "My goal is to be as rested as possible at the end of this trip," you haven't lived.

People who say, "you can sleep when you're dead" haven't ever had a baby. Or twins. Or just been really mentally exhausted. Because tired.

Anyway. How did we achieve this feat? My mom and stepdad flew out to Vegas to handle the hooligans for us.

We drove to Longbeach, California and first things first. We went to Chick-Fil-A. Seriously. And then we got on the boat. And promptly fell asleep. Just kidding. We had a couple cocktails and stumbled to formal dinner first. Then we fell asleep. Not kidding. See above.

In addition, does anyone remember that post I wrote about 18 months ago (<<<<----click there for before pics)? About needing to lose weight? Well, I fell off the blogging bandwagon and continued to lose weight. Troy snapped this picture without me knowing and I found it while going through vacation pictures. Mom body = awesome. I'll take it. Even if it is an unflattering picture of my face.

This is Troy's best Zoolander face.

It was a 7 day cruise (7 DAYS WITHOUT KIDS!!!!) and we went to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas.

We did excursions in all 3 places. In Puerto Vallarta, we paid to go to a resort on the beach to sleep.

Kidding. Not really. We took a bus to a resort with this amazeballs pool where you could climb up a tower thing into this crocodile and slide down the tail into the belly out the mouth into the pool. Our pass to the resort also included a buffet lunch and all you could drink and pool. Yes, please. Needless to say, Troy and I grabbed a cabana, drank, slept and read for a while. Went and had lunch and drank some more.

Here's the slide. Awesome, right?

By then we were sliding down the alligator like 4 year olds. Okay, I was. Yelling. I think the resort staff was relieved when the bus pulled away. When we left, there was a cage with a tiger inside located outside the main entrance of the resort. Troy IMMEDIATELY yelled to the bus tour guide, "YOU COULDN'T TELL US THERE WERE TIGERS HERE EARILER??" Woah, buddy. It's not that serious.

The weather was definitely the nicest in Mazatlan, but it was definitely the scariest port. If you go on this cruise, do an excursion so you don't get taken, Liam Neesan style from the port. Seriously. We also took tequila shots here. Here are our post tequila shot grimaces.

This was the best exclusion we went on, in my opinion. We got on a bus and they took us to a smaller port. We got on a catamaran and took a ride to a place called Deer Island. There were no deer. We did a kayak trip around the island. Which was gorgeous. And Troy did most of the work, so I just got to relax. And sleep. Just kidding.

After the kayaking, there was lunch and a bar setup for relaxing on the beach. Which was GORGEOUS. The weather was beautiful and the island is deserted except for the people on the excursion. It was awesome. And I took ZERO pictures. Just in my brain. Then we took the catamaran back to Mazatlan and the bus back to the port. Which was scary. Don't even get off the boat if you don't go on an excursion in Mazatlan.

Cabo was the prettiest, most tourist friendly port. They also had the tethers. You actually got on a little boat from the cruise ship to go into the port. Which was fun.

We went horseback riding on the beach. We took a bus to a farm kind of place with horses and ATVs. So our bus had two different excursions on it. Troy got the good horse. There was an area of flat beach where if you could get your horse to listen to you, you were allowed to RUN. Troy got his horse to run. Mine wouldn't listen.

We didn't have on helmets or anything, but this was Troy's theory:

Those horses were super trained to look at the horses butt in front of them. If you tried to steer them away from the horse's butt in front on them, they were physically agitated. By telling people that you could run your horse on the beach, it implied you had to have enough riding experience and knowledge of horse handling that you could command your house to listen. They figure, if you can get your house to actually listen to you, you're probably experienced enough to be on a horse while it's running. Well. I guess I suck then. And Troy is awesome.

Anyways. We had a really good time. But the weather was pretty terrible. It rained while we were horseback riding. The storm on the beach was beautiful though.

We had a great time dressing up for dinners. I actually got to wear some nice clothes. And escape the mom yoga pants! My one regret is that we didn't buy more pictures. We had a great time every night looking through the photo galleries for our pictures and then taking more in their set ups.

Here are a couple of our photos:

This are the only 2 that we purchased, but like I said, I wish we had bought more. Next time ;)

Our review of the cruise:

We had a great time. We'd go again. It was perfect timing. However - if we go again, we want to go with friends or family. It is a great set up that you can spend time alone with your "person" or with a group and there are many activities that are group oriented and fun. Like "Harry Potter trivia"(yep, we did that) or the amazing comedy lounge (yep, we were there every night), or formal dinners. I'm looking at you Dan and Laura.

Overall, a big thumbs up.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Traveling with Kids - Myrtle Beach Edition

I'm going to try and get everyone caught up on what's been going on with us the last few months in the next few days. First up: Going home the last 2 weeks in June.

The twins will be two in October. Holy guacamole, I can't believe it.

With that said, this summer was the last time we could fly with them as lap infants. For Troy, Avery and me to fly (so 3 seats) it was $1200. Ugh. So if we were to fly home next year, it's safe to say it would be $2000, maybe more with inflation. We definitely wanted to fly home with the kids again before we felt like it was way too expensive. Fingers crossed, at this time next year, we will be moving to a base SOMEWHERE within driving distance of family on the east coast and flying won't be an issue. Start praying now ya'll, you know how the military can be...

Troy and I have decided that (for now) flying on a red eye is the way to go when traveling west to east. It stinks with the time change to feel like you spend the whole day traveling. So while the first day you're there, you're a bit tired, at least the adrenaline of being home is kicking in and you don't really care how tired you are. Because while the kids might be sleeping, it is nearly impossible to be comfortable with a 30 pound child in your lap.

Exhibit A of sacrifices you make for comfort to keep your child comfortable, asleep and quiet for other passengers:

We were also excited because my sisters were visiting my mom and stepdad's house with my nephew, who I had never met! They were only there for about 24 hour before heading back home, so of course, we decided it would be a great idea to have a photographer come over and take pictures of the grandparents with all the grandkids together for the first time. Right after a red eye flight...

Needless to say, there were some keepers in the bunch. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That's getting framed.

Here's Aunt Taylor with her nephew and 3 nieces:

Troy and I hung out with the kiddos for a few days with the South Carolina grandparents. Lots of pooling involved. And my stepdad is group exercise instructor at the YMCA there so I took a spin class he taught.

Chick-Fil-A was had. About 9 times in 13 days. I thought my thighs were made of waffle fries. Troy's blood was made of sweet tea.

So then we headed to North Myrtle Beach. We rented a 4 bedroom house there with Troy's parents and sister and brother in law. After last year when we flew home with twins, we were like never again. We flew home for 2 weeks and landed at Baltimore. Stayed a day or two, drove to North Carolina to visit Troy's extended family, stopping through Richmond to see my college friend on the way, stayed in North Carolina for a few days, packed up and headed to South Carolina to visit my mom and stepdad and grandmother for a few days, drove to Rock Hill and stayed at my other grandparents house for a few days and also visited with my dad. Then we packed up again and drove to Staunton where we had the twins baptized and stayed to visit with Bryson and Lori (the pastor who married Troy and me) and then we headed back to DC to fly home. NO NO NO.

This year, we flew into Columbia, SC and stayed a few days, drove to Myrtle Beach and stayed a week and drove back to Columbia to fly home. We very politely requested that people come see us if they were available during that time. And come see us they did!!

Almost all of Troy's extended family (on his dad's side) from North Carolina rented a house about 200 yards up the street from our house. My grandparents from Rock Hill came one day and stayed for dinner and brought my great aunt with them. Troy's mom's side of family came the second half of the week and stayed a few days in a hotel and we had a blast hanging out with everyone.

Here is Troy's Aunt Kathy hanging out with all the little girls on the porch swing. Avery had a blast playing with her second cousins. Third? Twice once removed? I can never get that straight. The other girls are Troy's first cousins kids.

Kinley hanging out in a beach chair. She is the more timid of my kids. Much more of a watcher than a doer. She has to make sure no one is in mortal danger prior to engaging. And food is a priority. I really thought she was going to HATE the beach. I mentally prepared myself to carry her around the whole time. She is definitely a "texture" baby. I was convinced she'd hate the sand. Not so much. She was rolling around in the sand.

This is Kinley's GREAT AUNT LEE. She hates when we remind her that she is now a great Aunt. And Troy's dad photobombing.

Me and my man relaxing in the surf. Winning. We talked about it the last night we were there, and we all agreed that the beach house was the way to go for family time. There is something about being in a different house that forces you to unplug, get out of your routine and actually vacate your life that we all loved. We think we should do it again in the near future...

Kinley getting in on the action. They wore hats everyday and I loved it. They didn't even try to pull them off.

Avery and Caris running down to the water. Caris is like Avery's little shadow. She is NOT timid. She wants to do everything that her big sister does. Except louder. And with more pizzazz.

Caris back up at the umbrella for a quick drink. Girlfriend is a mooch. She doesn't want anything that's her own, but wants whatever everyone else has. Unless it's a peanut butter sandwich. She won't share that with anyone.

Everyday there was an italian ice trunk that pulled around selling cups of ice for like 12 dollars for a tiny little cup. And being the good tourists that we are, bought some. Every. Single. Day.

This is me in the pool with Caris. This picture makes me laugh every time. The goggles look ridiculous. This pool belongs to one of my grandmother's friends. It's legit the biggest backyard pool I've ever seen. It has a slide.

This is pretty much the summary of my life with the twins. Have you read that study that came out saying that kids are 800% more badly behaved when their mother is in the room? Yeah.

Kinley and Troy on the flight be fair, Kinley was really sick. Like we got off home in Vegas and I went to the pediatrician with Kinley and Troy unloaded the car and other kids for naps. Kinley had a double ear infection, upper respiratory infection, and pink eye. With a fever. Everyone on the flight was SUPER glad we were there. Pink eye and all. Eeeek. I guess I should be glad she was sleeping. And not screaming the whole time.


She was like HI HI HI!! HEEERRRRRROOO! Standing up. Squishing me. Talking to everyone. Hitting the person on the head in front of us. Dancing. On my bladder. Sticking her fingers in my nose. Making sure the person next to us knows where their eyes are. Violently. With her fingers.

And no kidding, our downstairs air conditioner was not working when we got back. It was 114 degrees outside and 88 degrees in the house. The upstairs unit was running full blast but could not keep air circulating and cool in the whole house. No repair person was available for 48 hours. Needless to say, we hit up our friends and neighbors for fans.

The twins learned about doing the Darth Vader, "Luke, I am your father," fan voice. Truth.

Overall, great trip. Hope to be back on the east coast to do it again next summer. My plan, if it goes my way, will be to (in this order):

1. Get our orders back to the east coast
2. Pack out our house in Vegas
3. Drive to Myrtle Beach and stay for a week in route to our new assignment
4. Go to our new house to receive households

Which basically means that that won't happen. Because military. Fingers crossed. Hard praying.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cecil the Lion vs. Planned Parenthood - What is YOUR issue?

I really, really just can not hold it in anymore. I want to, but the thing is, my newsfeed on Facebook is absolutely overrun with people standing up for a lion, expressing outrage over its death, calling for this devil dentist hunter to be extradited to Zimbabwe, tarred and feathered, drug through the street, cast into the depths of hell, or worse.

And truly, I agree. It is terrible. Really. But it's terrible when ANY part of God's creation is murdered.

The sheer number of people who are speaking out about this is absolutely profound and it seems everyone has an opinion about the appropriate punishment for Walter Palmer.

BUT. This lion was never going to be the President of the United States. Or win a nobel prize. Or lead people to Jesus. Or cure cancer. I mean, sure, he was a majestic and beautiful creature. And displayed some great social interaction with humans. BUT HE WAS NOT A HUMAN!

Which brings me to my next point.

ACTUAL human beings are being killed everyday through abortion and human versus human acts of violence. We are KILLING each other, like intentional, premeditated murder. And very few people are in an outrage in the media or on my newsfeed about preventative death of fellow man. Who knows how many abortions have resulted in the deaths of future Albert Einsteins, Steve Jobs, Mother Theresas, or Beyonces.


Stand behind an issue that could change lives.

In addition, right wing crazies who are saying Planned Parenthood needs to be shut down need to step off their soapboxes. You cannot, in one breath, say, "I am pro-life, NO ABORTIONS FOR ANY REASON EVER" and then in the next breath, say that all government entitlements need to be reexamined and revoked.

You are not pro-life. You are pro-birth.

Don't EVER high five a mom for keeping her baby that she can't afford, or doesn't have the family support to raise an infant and then after her baby is born say that she can't have healthcare for her child. Or food stamps. Or WIC. If you are "pro-life" you also must support these moms who made the decision to keep their baby and then need the assistance to keep their children alive. The hypocrisy is crazy to me. You can't be pro-life and be against providing those same women with entitlements and education to keep their children fed and healthy.

If you can't be this ^ definition of "pro-life" that I have outlined, then you should definitely support Planned Parenthood because 97% of their funding goes towards women's health, birth control and education. If you don't want these women to receive entitlements to assist in paying for their children (which they chose not to abort) then be supportive of them PREVENTING MORE UNWANTED PREGNANCIES!

I'm not saying that all the drama surrounding Planned Parenthood doesn't need additional investigating, but saying they need to be "shut down" is an ill-informed lie. Stop watching Fox News. Planned Parenthood is so much more than providing abortions for women in poverty.

Please get behind an issue that matters to the future of humans. Please support women. OR ALL HUMANS. Stop picking and choosing when it's okay to care about people. God commands us to love him and love each other.

In the age of "political correctness" so many people are afraid to say what they think about controversial issues out of fear of offending someone. It's much easier to say, "that poor lion was murdered" because who is going to be offended? It's the truth. Saying that we are MURDERING future doctors, inventors, teachers, or clergy is much harder.