Friday, January 31, 2014

One Snowflake at a Time {part 2}

If you missed Part 1 of our snowpocalypse, click HERE to start from the beginning. 

The next morning, it was rather odd (and secretly nice in a way) to not hear the crashing of toys followed by the sounds of squeals, yelling, laughing, and finally feet running down the hall to make sure we knew that the clock said 7 am. Austin was the only one who woke me up, and in all honesty...I was already somewhat awake. I didn't sleep all that much. It was much too quiet in the house. I could only hear the sounds of Max's snore coming from the closet and the white noise of the baby monitor. So strange.

It's amazing how much you miss the sounds that tend to annoy you...

I missed hearing Jason snore every now and then (though I can totally see him rolling his eyes at that statement...). I miss that sound that starts low from the boys' room as they begin to wake and it gradually, and rather quickly, grows louder as the sun shines stronger. It was weird.

Yes, Jason has been out of town on business trips. Yes, the boys have spent one night away from us when we were on a mini vacation a few years ago. But, this was SO different. Sure they were safe... But, I honestly had no idea when they were all coming home. I had no idea how they were all going to even get back. I knew it would be, hopefully this afternoon... But we still weren't sure. I hate not knowing. It is a terrible feeling...

Austin and snuggled a bit more before we both had enough and it was time to start our day. I cleaned the boys' room, made their beds, did laundry, and even started dinner in the crock pot in hopes that we would all be eating together tonight. I managed to grad a few pictures for the boys, too.

Out the front window / backyard just waiting to be played in

My sweet little helper
Throughout the morning, I was on the phone again with Jason and friends helping us figure out how to get home. A few hours later, it looked like my 3 guys were going to come home thanks to some wonderful friends! Jason got his car back and borrowed a set of car seats. Once everyone had a warm lunch, the adventure of heading home began.

When I had an idea of where everyone was on the road, I took Austin over to Crystal's and drove to the bottom of our hill on the inside of the neighborhood. We had hear from a neighbor that there were 123 cars (and counting) parked on the other side to meet them. As I hiked to the top, (not kidding...hiked. Hiked.), I saw the many neighbors and crews were out there getting the snow off the road with shovels. People were definitely going be with their loved ones soon!

Heading down the other die to meet up with my sweeties

My boys!!! My husband!!! They are here!!

Let's just pause here a moment and look at that picture again...

My family! I am SO happy that they are back home - safe and sound!

So. Very. Happy. 

Headed back down the "inside" of the mega-hill to my van

Have I mentioned that I can't wait to move? Never again will I live in a place that has a wannabe mountain of death that traps you like this... UGH!

The walk up and down the hill was filled with "I love yous" and "I missed yous" followed by how much fun was had during their adventure. I loved hearing their stories of hot chocolates, pizza, and popcorn mixed in with the occasional "How did you get stuck, mommy?" and "We were wondering where you were. But our teachers told us what happened to our city." 

Once all five of use were home, little bodies warmed up in the bath, and tummies warmed up with spaghetti and meatballs.... What do you think happened next?

"What out, Alex! I'm gonna get you!"

"No, I'm getting you, Andrew!"

Yep, the boys headed BACK out to play in the snow for the rest of the afternoon! And, I played with them too while Jason got some much needed rest and relaxation with Austin. We had an awesome snowball fight and made snow angels...

Angels... Yes, my family definitely had their guardian angels close by keeping them safe. Maybe it is silly...but, I've never had this sort of thing happen as an adult. Where you don't know when your family will get home to you...or how... I've never experience total chaos in a city like this before. Sure we had that tornado and that was frightening, too. But this was far different. Jason was walking over Red the snow and the dark. He told me that there were some cars still "driving" and that was scary to hear. Anyone could have  hit him. Thankfully, he got to the school safely.

We thank everyone who help us out (and those that helped others out, too) in getting their families together again.

I really hope this snow is over...or, at least, I hope it will be NOTHING like this again for quite some time.

Now, for a glass of wine...

Stay warm, friends.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One Snowflake at a Time {part 1}

This has been an interesting turn of events for Alabama. This morning, bright and early at 5:30, I'm enjoying coffee and quiet while I continue praying for peace (I was told to pray for that instead of patience) each day. I turn on the news before deciding to get the boys ready for school. While I notice that just a few surrounding counties (mainly south) decided to delay school, there was no report of anything headed our way or schools delayed. So, off we went to start our morning.

Breakfast, clothes on, bags double checked (mine, theirs and the babies), papers all checked and ready to be returned to school, mail stamped, etc. The works.

We said our goodbyes to Daddy and headed out. The boys were cracking me up with their backseat driving (post on that shortly) and all of Birmingham was up and out ready for they day's work, errands, and whatnot.

I almost headed over to Babies R Us...but since they don't open until 10 (lame, by the way...) Austin and I headed home.

After getting him down for a nap, me some more coffee, and a few posts written and scheduled I let Max out and saw it...

Snow was falling.

And, I don't mean the kind that you wonder "Well, is that really snow? Or just sleet?"

No. It was snow. Big. Enormous flakes falling.

And sticking.

At 10:28 am, just moments later, I got the text, email, and phone call from school to come get your children due to the weather. Oh, happy day. I live 20 minutes from the school and they were letting out the little preschoolers in 5 minutes (not much notice...but, then again. NO one in the area had any idea this was going to happen) I grab Austin, a bottle to warm up in the car on the way, my bag, and a few items "just in case."

Just before jumping in the van around 10:45am

 Well, if you have been to or have seen my neighborhood before...

3 years ago
 Yeah. We live in either Whoville or Harry Potter's Village (which one, you think?). I made it 2 feet up the monster hill of death and destruction. So did my neighbor behind me. And, the FedEx truck...I don't think he even tried. I slid sideways down the hill. But, made it back home safely with Austin. Fun.

I begin the frantic calls to Jason, school, teachers, other parents, my mom, everyone. I was on the phone ALL. DAY. Calling friends, my husband, the school, my family... Freaking out one snowflake at a time.

still snowing around 1:30 pm

I'm watching the news while on the phone with people. They are talking about kids who are stuck at the schools and the possibility of massive school sleepovers. I love the boys school and trust the teacher and staff greatly. But, just that thought was so strange. My boys are 4 and 2.5 years old. They are so little still. Sure, Andrew acts like this big kid. And Alex does everything for and with Andrew with that brotherly sparkle in his eyes. But, this snow and ice is horrible and was drastically changing our city rather quickly. Very scary.

Jason left work around 3pm and started working his way over to the school...another scary though. The snow stopped by the temperature is dropping. Fast. Everything is iced now. Cars and trucks are crashing all over the place...

Death Trap aka Hwy 280


Anyway, around 7pm I saw pictures and messages from Andrew's teacher and the kids there (about 40 or so plus staff and some family member that tried to get home but had to turn back) were doing great. Having hot chocolate and making this into a party. I heard from Alex's teacher, too. His class played in the snows on the playground a few times and are all having a blast. Phew! No worries there. This school is amazing. We just love it!

Around 8:30 pm, maybe earlier - all these times are running together now, Jason was safely at school with the boys.

Though...without his car. He left it at a restaurant and WALKED over the MOUNTAIN..ok, fine. Hill. But it is called Red "Mountain" so, ya know. It's a mountain. He thankfully had his protective gear he uses when he goes to steel mills and such around town. He put that stuff on and trekked on over. About 2 miles. In the freezing cold. To get to our boys. I love that man... He was planning to stay at the school, too. I called a few other friends - one offered her home to us as she was stuck at a hotel downtown (but he had no car or car seats or anything and it was another mile or so of walking with two tiny tots) and another sent her husband out to "rescue" them. Thankfully, they all had a warm home and beds to sleep in for the night. I love our friends so much!! Thank you, everyone!!

Once they were safely at their friend's home, I got to talk to the boys finally and say good night. They are so funny. Andrew told me all about the puzzles and hot chocolate. He also told me to hurry up and get to their friend's home to play in the snow before it melts. LOL, oh, honey...this snow is stuck her for a few days with these temperatures... Alex told me that was having a "cool day" playing "all day forever at school." Oh my... My sweet babies...

loving the fire

Please keep our family and friends in your prayers. Please pray for those stranded in this weather and the emergency services working hard. Please pray for the children and their families still stuck at school away from their homes. Please pray for our city to get through this mess. 

Wordless Wednesday {kind of}

Some one is totally breaking the rules...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Backseat Driving

So, who knew that a 4 year old and a 2.5 year old would be the world's most...hmmm. What's a better word for annoying...? They are super cute, but after 10 miles it's, like, "Ok, guys. I got this."

Cheesin' at a red light

This is the conversation this morning on the way to school:

Andrew: Whoa! Alex do you see that school bus?

Alex: Where you see it?!

Andrew: On that big bridge that Mommy is going to go over in a minute. [insert overly exaggerated sigh] What? A red light? Oh, man.

Alex: Yeah. Oh, man.

Andrew: It's green! Mama, catch up to that school bus! Hurry!

Me: I'll try, but there is a lot of traffic, guys. And he's in the other lane.

Andrew: Well, get over then. No one is in this lane.

Alex: Go mommy!

Me: Guys, I can't there is a blue truck out Andrew's window. I can't get over right now.

Andrew: What? No there isn't. [pause followed by giggles and whispers] Alex, how did she know that? There is a blue truck there now.

Alex: I don't know. [giggles]

Andrew: Mama, the blue truck moved. Can you get over now? How are you seeing things behind you? Your mirrors?

Me: Yes, my mirrors are telling me. [finally able to move over]

Alex: Go mommy! There's the bus!! It 3 cars away!!

Andrew: Oh man, another red light!

Alex: Oh, no! We have to go school now, red light!

Andrew: Greeeeeen! [exaggerated sighs] Why isn't anyone going? It's green, you cars!

Me: [thinking to myself] I wonder where they get this from...snicker, snicker. Note to self - stop yelling at traffic...

This little conversation of catching up to a random school bus goes on even after the school bus turned and is no longer in sight. I hear things about trains, the traffic on the other side going to the city buildings, lights turning on, police cars catching bad guys, etc. It is hysterical. I'm cracking up in the car the whole way there. So funny.

I need to record/write down more of these conversations... They are like little grown-ups. Which, of course, makes me realize I need to talk nicer to some of these lovely drivers...

Someone got hungry...and flirty in the car rider line

Do you have backseat drivers, too?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five on Friday

Welcome back! Last week was rather interesting in the weather world... Just when we thought we would all freeze to death, the sun decided to shine a bit stronger so we could get rid of cabin fever. 


We enjoyed some amazing weather last week...for like a day. But still. We took full advantage of the park after school since the following day was going to be back in the 30s or something ridiculous for the South. 


This guy is just getting too big too fast! He is starting to really enjoy sitting in the bumbo "talking" to his brothers (10 weeks)


 See what I mean?! Looks like a 6 month old... But, nope. He is 11 weeks this week! What?! I had this child 11 weeks ago?! Where did that time fly off to?


Check it out! Andrew's class held a Teddy Bear Tea Party - they learned about science (diffusion, color changing, etc...) and manners/etiquette. He chose to take his Packers bear and look what he came home with? A "#1 Bear" ribbon! Very cool! 


 Going strong with our Family Game Nights and Popcorn for Dinner Nights! Alex chose to play "Hungry Hungry Hippos" (thanks Braxton!) for Friday night. On Saturday, we made movie butter popcorn (pin for later) and kettle corn (pin for later).

Monday, January 20, 2014

Menu Plan

The Tasty Fork
Six Sisters Stuff
Cooking Light
Kitchen Meets Girl
The Slow Cooker Cookbook [Kindle Edition]

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Five on Friday

Welcome back, Friday! We have missed you...Here are the things that have been happening this week at the House:


Railroads. All shapes. All sizes. But, NEVER under any circumstance will you get stuck on a loop. Unless Mama makes it...


The freezing cooking frenzy begins. Last weekend The boys helped me make mini banana muffins (top) and mini Apple-Zucchini Muffins (bottom) for their breakfast/school lunches. YUM!


Pizza/Movie Night. We were invited to go out with a bunch of friends from church to on e very cool pizza place. We had the arcade room packed with all of us! It was super fun! Andrew and Alex thought it was so cool to play these old school video games and hang out with their friends for some yummy pizza. The kids had two booths to themselves and all the grown-ups actually got to hang out and chat. Good times!


Mail time! Two of the many books that I plan on reading this year showed up in the mail! YAY!

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Some one is growing up much too fast... Austin is 10 weeks old!! He is super smiley, super happy, and one amazing little buddy to two big brothers. He is sitting in the bumbo seat more and more now. He loves watching his brothers play with trains and catches a glance at the TV every now and then. But, once he spies's "Hey! Pick me up now!" time.


So what's happening at your House this week?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekly Menu Plan

Another great week of yummy food ahead! Check it out:

Isn't that a cute graphic? Shabby Blogs! They have some pretty cute things up for grabs if you are in search of something fun.

What's on your menu? 


The Pioneer Woman (thanks Kristi!) 
The Slow Cooker Cookbook: 87 Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Recipes for Slow Cooked Meals
100 Dollars a Month 
International Slow Cooker Recipes 
Better Homes and Gardens

Friday, January 10, 2014

An Interesting Virtue

This post was inspired by our meeting topic Friday in the Madonna and Child Guild, a group of women at our parish where mothers can join in prayer and fellowship. This topic has been on my mind all day since leaving the meeting. I just needed to share further.


Courage is an interesting virtue, isn't it? You don't really know that you have it until you are at your breaking point. And, even then you still question whether it is really there.


Well, I never really had this "courage" that people talk about until a few months after my second child, Alex, was born.

Sure, I have been on a few roller coasters that scared the daylights out of me. I've been on the Tower of Terror (and will never get back on that death trap). I've attempted to swim the Pensacola Bay - twice. I've done a lot of things people may find courageous... But, becoming a mother was where I needed the courage. 

No, I wasn't scared of the idea. I feel like I've been a mom since my 3rd brother was born... See, I am the oldest of six kids. And, when you are the oldest you tend to fall into a parent-type of role. I changed diapers, fed bottles, babysat for YEARS. I was pretty ready by the time it was actually my turn to be a mom. But, I never knew just how many hats a mom and a wife have to wear...

As I said, I didn't really know I had courage until a few months after Alex was born -  about 2 years ago. I learned this fact in a rather hard way, but because of this I am holding on to this virtue more than ever. I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression then. And, even though things are wonderful now within our family, I still fight some of those feelings that every day. It's just a part of it.

If you are a mom of two or more children, you have more than likely hear that annoying question, "How do you do it?" Most of the time mothers answer: "I don't know." "Coffee. Lots of Coffee." "Prayers." "Because I have to."

But, really, we don't do it all. We have friends to confide in, our own mothers to guide us, and God to help us see the rest of the day through. But, there are many of us that begin to feel like a failure when we ask for even the tiniest bit of help.

Don't feel that way, mommies. Please.

Yes, it is ok to ask for help. 
No, you are not incompetent.
It is ok to ask for help.

Once I was told to call my doctor about possible PPD from a friend, I was still iffy about it. I was shaking when I made the call. But, once I got to my doctor's office and talked about it, I felt better. I have an amazing doctor and couldn't ask for better. Now, I'm not saying to go run out to the pharmacy to get your happy pills, but if you think that you need it, ok. You are not a loser for knowing you need that extra bit of help. I only stayed on the pills (And a very small dosage, too. My doc knew I was not thrilled about this...) for just under a year.

All I am saying is this - whatever kind of help it is that you need...just ask. 

Maybe you need to get laundry done and would love to have that cup of coffee stay warm because it is fresh - not microwaved for the millionth time. Call up a close friend, tell her what's going on. I'm sure she will do what she can to help. She's most likely been there.

Perhaps you just ran out of milk and are on the verge of crying about it because your husband is going to be home late and there is just no way you are going to take an entire herd of people to the mini-mart at the witching hour. Call a neighbor up. That neighbor might just be cool enough to bring some cookies to go with that milk.

New to the area? Have kids? Join a mommy/women's/parents/whatever group at church, in your community, where ever. You will be amazed at things people will do for you when you just had a baby. Or just lost a loved one. Or...just because.


I just want this to be put out there again: It is ok to ask for help. No one is going to think that you are whatever negative quality you are thinking for doing so. And if they do, so what? Move on. Those people aren't worth your time and energy.

Look down. Those children playing at your feet? They are the ones worth your time and energy. Listen for that garage door to open as your husband comes home from a long day at work away from his family. He is the one worth your time and energy (Even the furbaby that is 13 years old and can't see or hear...we love you,Max.). 

You are a mom. And, you are amazing. 



So, what is it that you need help with? Where do you find your courage in your daily life as a parent?

Postpartum Depression is a serious subject. If you think you may have the symptoms of PPD, please seek a professional. For more information on these symptoms and more, check out

Our Word of the Year + 2014 Goals



Family is our word of the year. And, honestly, I only came up with it last weekend after our game night and popcorn for dinner night.

We had a great time playing together, acting silly, just talking, etc. There was no TV on, there were no phones/iPads being messed with (except the occasional picture), and it was great. The boys are counting down the days until the next game night and have even picked out what we are playing. It will be Andrew's turn to pick out the movie for Saturday and he said that he is "still thinking about it." Cutie.

Anyway, we are clearly becoming a busier family each day it seems. Making sure that 2 days are marked off as FAMILY time helps with the chaos (hopefully). Also, once the weather starts being nicer to us in the South, we can enjoy the outdoors again with fun outings/picnics.

If you want to catch a glimpse of our family nights, follow me on Pinterest! I have 2 new boards just for the occasion:

Family Game Night 

Popcorn for Dinner


2014 GOALS

Read some classics --> I've started reading Pride and Prejudice as I joined the "Motherhood and Jane Austen Book Club" this month. Actually for the year. We are reading 6 of Jane Austen's novels over the next 12 months.

Grow in my faith...again --> I got myself into...maybe out of... Whatever it is. I am not as strong in my faith as I was last year. But, no worries. This week has been a great jump start in this area. I've been getting up in the mornings again (yes, Austin is in to a great sleeping routine now!). I've been enjoying my coffee, praying the Rosary, and just enjoying the peace (most of the time) before it is time for the House to rise and shine. And, I must patience level is MUCH better now. Amazing.

Mothering --> This I have yet to begin. I'm getting my crew back into their routines again after being used to the many extravaganzas we have experienced over the past 2 months. But, here's what I plan on doing:
  1. Read The Boxcar Children and/or The Magic Treehouse books aloud to the boys. They love trains and are, apparently, into mysteries... For the past few weeks, they have been trying to "solve mysteries" around the house. What mysteries, I'm not sure. Maybe that's the mystery... It is so cute though. I'm not entirely sure where they got it, but I'm loving it.
  2. Prayer -> They have been doing really well in learning their prayers (and remember them after falling out of routine...many times). They know the Glory Be and Grace before meals pretty well. Andrew knows almost all of the Our Father, too. So, we just need to work on the Our Father and Hail Mary...then, before you know it, they will be able to say a decade of the Rosary with us!
Marriage --> We have an amazing babysitter, but I am waiting just a few more months before leaving Austin at home. So, this one is tricky in the sense that we really can't do much in the "date night" department. But, luckily The Dating Divas have some pretty awesome ideas that I may just try out in the coming weeks. So, I can't exactly write down those ideas here at the moment, but I promise to share as I go!

Home --> I have GOT to find a better way to get the house into order. All I have been really caring about lately are the kitchen and the guest bathroom (and, really, that's only when I know I will have guests...). And, yes, I know...I "just had a baby" but that can't be my excuse forever. I mean, he is "sleeping through the night" most nights and is a pretty laid back little man. So, keeping the house in order shouldn't be hard. I just need to figure out the right routine. Also, I have 2 little helpers who are getting back into doing their jobs after breakfast. I plan on sharing my housekeeping routine once I figure it out. Maybe that will help answer part of that age-old question... "How do you do it?"

Get healthy! Isn't that a given? I mean New Year's Resolutions and getting into shape just pair up this time of the year, right? Well, it is a MUST for me. I am 1/2 way to my first goal. I'm rather annoyed at the - ahem - shape of things right now. So, I'll share this portion when I get to my first goal. But, overall, the House is eating much better and we are staying as active as possible. When the temp decides to stop being -2 degrees in the morning (NOT even kidding...Ok, fine. That was the feels like temp. It was 9 degrees on Tuesday morning. Whatever.) then I can get back to walking around the neighborhood/parks with Austin.


Do you have a word of the year?
What are your goals?

If you've made any changes for the new year, share in the comment or on Facebook! I would love to know. Everyone needs a bit of motivation and encouragement! Happy 2014!!

Five on Friday

Welcome back to another installment if Five on Friday! Here's what goodness was happening this week!

Family Game Night
What a great way to start off the first weekend of the new year!

Andrew was the first to pick the game (next game night is Alex's turn). Candy Land is such a great game. Though, I really wish we had the original...this new version is all jacked up in my opinion. Queen Frostine has been demoted to Princess Frostine?! What is that about...? So weird. But, I'm not the only one worried...there are other characters that have been changed. This blogger has quite a bit to say - complete with pictures - about the "cultural evolution of Candy Land" that has happened over the year. Quite interesting to read. {click here}

But aside from my thoughts about the 2010 version of Candy Land, we had a great time playing together. Lots of giggles were heard and kisses stolen between turns. So much fun!

If you do not have a family game night yet, try it out. My boys (4 and 2.5) are still in the learning stages and getting over the "I can't win all the time" phase. But, if you don't play...they will never learn. It is OK to lose. Get over it and try again. 

Most importantly... HAVE FUN!!


Over the weekend we put away our Christmas decorations. I love the holiday season but, we just couldn't take the chaos anymore. Almost everyone was sick over the break and school was starting this week anyway. So, it was time.

This year, though, I did something a tad different with how I put away the boys' ornaments. They made so many adorable ones, got different ones as gifts from friends/teachers, and a new ornament added for every Christmas that they now have their own boxes of ornaments. So sweet.


Popcorn for dinner night!

This was so much fun! We made movie butter popcorn and kettle corn. YUM.

They boys are clearly excited! LOL

If you don't have a Whirley Pop...get one. It is FAR better than that microwaved stuff. Really. We had a taste test. So threes kinds of popcorn, people. Quite a spread. Thanks, again, to Justin and his fiance Kate, for the awesome Whirley Pop!

Wait, what? Did you catch that?

Yes, Jason's brother, Justine, is getting married!! 

 Are they not the cutest?! Congrats, Kate and Justin! We can't wait to see y'all in March!
Thanks for letting me share your photo, Kate!


Ok, so funny story about these cups (found at the ever-so-awesome Target)...

Jason and I were talking about our "probably not going to happen but let's just do it for fun" bucket list, and both of us would LOVE to go to Rome. Well, all of Italy, actually. But Rome/the Vatican is the first stop for sure. Anyway, the next morning Andrew and I run some errands and I spotted these cups and about died. A sign maybe? LOL...noooooo....maybe.... But, very cool just the same. Now we are enjoying our warm beverage of choice and always keeping Rome in mind.


Fabulous! So what goodies do you have to share?

Have a great weekend!


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