Monday, September 21, 2015

And then there was that time...

moving day.  and to answer your immediate question - no.  we aren't keeping the swamp sconces.

Remember that really bitter phase I went through because my family was moving across the country, and I wasn't overly happy about it?  Totally over.  I can't even begin to express my gratitude for what has happened since the last time I posted.

Flashback two months ago:  Rob and I were going to pick up the kids and move our little family (Still? Why can't I stop calling them my little family? We are massive!) to North Carolina.  I finally said to Rob "I will do this.  Happily.  I promise I will make the best of our time on the East Coast and never complain.  Who knows - I might even enjoy it.  But for the sake of our kids I will stop freaking about about this really cool opportunity to try something new."

One day later:  I just really want to look at this house that is for sale down the street.  I've always wanted to go inside - just come with me to take a peek. Just for fun.

(We go).  We chuckle about the very fancy strangely set-up home that has incredibly ornate decorating.  (Not bad, just not our style).   We then sit at dinner and say, "We're not really considering that house, right?!  Hahaha - well, it was fun to see it."  Conversation over.

The next morning:  I wake up in a full blown panic attack.  I have just spent the entire night dreaming about our life in the very fancy, ornate home that is only five houses away from where we have lived for nine years.  I go to the gym - where I can't stop figuring out HOW I am supposed to tell my husband that God wants us to live in this house.  I mean, it was just the day before I had PROMISED to never complain about moving again.  But I cannot shake the feeling that for some unknown reason, we are going to make a very beautiful life for our family in this lovely cul-de-sac at the end of our road.

After hours of deliberating I come home to tell Rob.  My hands are shaking and my heart is about to pound its way right out of my chest.  "Rob.  I need to tell you what I'm feeling.  If I don't say it now - I will regret that I never spoke my mind on this.  Please just listen, and you don't have to say anything....just know that I am overwhelmed by this feeling.  I think we are supposed to buy the house in the cul-de-sac."

My heart finally stops pounding.

Silence on his end.  One minute, two heart starts pounding again.  Crap.  He is REALLY ticked at me.

Fight begins.  And goes on, and on and on.  But I still can't shake the feeling.

Hours later - Rob realizes that if I am this dead-set on staying here, we can't move our family across the country.  We will stay - just not in that house down the street.  I am overjoyed....but still plan on letting him know that it WILL be the house down the street, because I have already been given the answer to my prayer.

The next day:  Rob and I are chatting in our bedroom about where we will start looking for homes - suddenly he is very quiet.  Almost ten minutes go by and he hasn't said a word.  He looks over at me and says, "I think we are supposed to put an offer in on that house down the street."

Hugs, smiles, laughs.  For the first time in a LONG time we are in agreement as to our family's future.  Best feeling ever.

Now, here we are.  We have been in the house for nearly a month and can't believe how happy we are to feel settled in a place we know and love.

And so our adventure continues. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Soapbox Post

I have been cynical preeeetty much my entire life.  Cynical, sarcastic, a huge fan of Daria in the 90' get the point.  I struggled through middle school, passed high school by the skin of my teeth (or just the grace of a few teachers who really didn't want to deal with me any longer) and spent all of my college days driving around in my wrangler listening to music while my friends were at class.  So, in my defense, I don't have a HUGE attachment to education.  I obviously understand how important it is and always, ALWAYS push my kids to do their very best in school.  Once they have earned their doctorates and are drowning in student loan debt, I will share my true feelings with them. But only then because I know my feelings are based around bad experiences and, well, I'll just call it being lazy.

Now.  That being said.  I have really been struggling to find schools for my kids in North Carolina.  I have asked local "mommy groups,"  scoured the internet, and read pretty much everything there is to read about the education system in our new area.  Mostly, I just want my kids to have a better experience than I did.  So, when I found that many of the local Pre-K programs involve plaid romper uniforms, embroidered-crest-polos, and cost almost as much as my monthly mortgage payment I pretty much flipped my lid.


This is preschool, people.  I remember preschool vaguely as a place I went to eat crackers and sing, "Did you ever see a Lassie?" There was a bully in my preschool class that I was terrified of (you should see his class picture - you wouldn't sleep for weeks either), and I had two elderly teachers.  One played the piano and one smelled like baby powder.  That's it...all of my memories from the year before kindergarten.

Why, oh why would I spend so much money on a, a PRESCHOOL, whose name ends in the word academy? Am I missing something?  Is this what has happened to school in the past twenty years?  All I am seeking is a place, heck, I'd settle for a gated off room, where my kids can go to see other kids - make a big mess, sing the ABCs, and practice the manners we teach them at home.  Because, that's what four year olds do, right?

I'll post more as I submit my applications and pray that my daughter is smart enough to pass the entrance exam.  As opinionated as I can expect this to get interesting!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Oh, there once was a time - maybe a year or so ago - that I vowed to become a better blogger. I announced to both of my followers a new Melissa - well, I guess the old Melissa, who loved to blog and share stories about her cray-cray family.

Promises, promises....

Today I offer no promises.  I only offer a quick glimpse into my life as it is at this very moment.  Not because I think anyone ever reads this anymore, but because I need to have some memories written down.  I feel like I'm at this big turning point in my life - and I want to remember it.  The good, the bad, the mascara-down-to-my-chin sobbing, and the joy we will {hopefully} find in this next chapter.

You see, we sold our house.  The perfect little box of memories that has defined the last nine years of our life.  I'm happy because it sold quickly, effortlessly, and we got everything we wanted out of it, but hysterical because I will miss the living crap out of this place.  I honestly can't even finish this paragraph because I can't see my computer screen through the tears.

I think you get the point. Moving on.

In about four weeks we are packing up our little family.  (Side note:  I think it's probably time I stopped referring to my family as little.  We are a family of seven now - so, I think  we actually qualify as a big family.)  But yes, we are moving our family to an area in which I never imagined living.  The South.

As we spend this last month taking in every thing we can about the beautiful state that we live in, I will update this often.  After we move, I might even update hourly as therapy.  Who knows.  All I know is that we are headed out, taking on something completely different, and I am scared to death.

But, on the bright kid DOES look like this right now:  pizza face (literally - no 80's acne joke intended) dipped in snickerdoodle sugar and cinnamon.  That can't be a bad thing, right?

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Jude Turns 7

I'm a million years late with this post - but better late than never, I suppose.

Waaaaaaaay back in January, Jude celebrated his 7th birthday.  He's such a different kid this year.  First of all, he finally has two monstrous teeth in the place where he used to have a massive hole in his mouth.  Why are kids' teeth SO STINKING HUGE?!  Nonetheless, they are there - and he will one day grow into them.  If he's anything like Rob and me, he will not only grow into them, but he will grow out of them and end up with relatively small teeth.

In December, Madelyn got a rainbow loom from Santa.  Santa knew that Jude would be interested, so he gave her two looms - to share.  Santa had no idea that Jude would become a rainbow loom factory, and OBSESS over all things rainbow loom.  He can make anything and everything.  He has made more bracelets than I can even count, Elsa (from Frozen - for Maddie) a 3D version of Olaf (from Frozen) an iPod cover, panda bears, a bazillion necklaces, keychains, etc.  If it CAN be made - he has made it.  And he is awesome at it.

Wait for it - he even looms in his sleep.  Jude has taken up sleepwalking - and on more than one occasion, he has come into our bedroom talking gibberish, and looming.

A couple of weeks ago the loom broke, so he has had to replace it with something - and his obsession for the moment is playing Mario on the Wii.  Rob and I know that we should discourage him from becoming so obsessed with video games, but it has been a nice break from all of the looming that he does.  We are kind of relieved to see that he has other interests.  (Although he can't seem to have more than one interest at a time..)

He is kind of a quiet kid.  He doesn't demand a lot of attention, and for the most part is pretty easy going.  I realize he is a boy - but my gosh...I'm pretty sure he is the messiest little thing I've ever seen.  I have no idea what half of the stuff is that he has out at all times, but it seems as though messes follow him everywhere.  I can walk into his room and even though it's clean (according to him) I can feel like I am suffocating from the clutter.  It's his creative genius.  I will never understand - but when he is famous for having invented the coolest whatchama-jig ever (the future's version of the internet) I will not be surprised.

The kid has never EVER asked me for help on any of his homework, and whenever I go and check it everything is always right.  His math skills are beyond mine, and he rocks all of his spelling tests.

Jude, your awesomeness never ceases to amaze me, and I know that I'm not alone in my envy of your adorable and kind natured personality.  You can't go to church, EVER, without being called on and picked for the activities in Sunday school.  I often roll my eyes at how obvious it is that you are everyone's favorite in primary (but I'm secretly smiling too!)

Thank you for waving and running every time I drop you off at school.  Your adorable smile as you try to beat me to the corner always makes my day.

I love you more than you can ever know.

.....and now, the birthday pics.....

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Robbers

I woke up this morning to three children hovering over my bed in the dark.  I could hear them whispering to each other asking if this was a big enough deal to wake me up for (I am a bit of a bear in the mornings) when Jude says, "This is the kind of stuff they teach you about in school. You always tell a parent when there is a robber in the house."

A robber in my house, aye?

I scare them all when I shoot up in bed and say, "So we have a robber, do we?"

Jude replies, "I'm sure of it,  Mom.  We were all downstairs and we heard a 'shhh' sound."

"A shhhhh sound?"

"Yeah.  OH!  And there was a headband on the table and NONE OF US PUT IT THERE!"

"So, you're telling me that there is a robber in our house telling you all to be quiet and putting away the things on the floor?  This robber sounds fantastic.  Maybe we should make him some breakfast."

"NO REALLY MOM!  Lily (Maddie's friend who slept over last night) saw him poking his head up over the couch - TWICE! He painted his face black.  Then when we went back to get him, he disappeared."

Ella chimes in, "Man, this guy is good."

I roll out of bed and tell them that I will come downstairs in a few minutes to make sure there is nobody hiding behind the couch.  As they run away I hear Jude say, "I'm going to spray the robber with water.  They hate that!"

Ella says, "Yeah! And I'm going to get him in the balls."

WHAT?!  Did my barely-five year old girl REALLY just say that?!

I go downstairs to talk to Ella about what she just said, and I see this:

With the balls.  WITH the balls.

We need to work on her prepositions.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tried and True Healthy Foods...Part 1.

Well, here we are...three weeks into January.  This is the week where keeping New Year's resolutions gets a bit hard.  Mostly (for me at least) because stores start filling their shelves with yummy valentines candies.  And by this point in the year I'm SO past Christmas candy (talk about passé) ....but Valentines candy = true love, right?


Valentines Day candy is the devil.  Because once you stuff your face with that stuff you think, "Well, I already blew that resolution..." and continue eating candy hearts until your own heart aches of food guilt.  Vicious circle, I tell you.  Vicious circle.

This year I've entered a weight-loss competition (more about that on my other blog ------>) and have worked really hard at eating healthier in 2014.  Because of that, I wanted to share some of my absolute favorite recipes and go-to foods that are keeping both my husband and me food-guilt free.  Add them to your healthy foods board on Pinterest, and then actually eat them.  They are GOOD.  Now, these aren't my recipes...just some that are tried and true.

Carne Bistec found HERE.  This had great flavor if you love Mexican food.  I served mine with sliced avocado.

Magic Weight Loss Soup found HERE.  I leave out the mushrooms and replaced the cabbage with kale,  but it is packed full of vegetables, low in calories, and surprisingly flavorful.  It freezes well, and rewarms tasting just as good.

I know that some of you are thinking about the preservatives in frozen meals, but for me, lunch is all about convenience.  If I don't have something I can throw in quickly - I'll just eat whatever I can find (read binge on chips and salsa).  This pizza is actually pretty good, and warms up in about three minutes.  I also really love WW three cheese ziti.  I ate that almost daily when I originally lost 50 lbs. Posted HERE). I add a coke zero and call it good.  (Yes, obviously water would be the healthier choice, but I'm a junkie.  We'll leave that to another post.)

Salmon with mango-kiwi relish found HERE.  I usually avoid fish.  It kind of both grosses and creeps me out.  ESPECIALLY in my own home.  I trust restaurants to cook it well, but am terrified of making it myself.  This recipe changed my mind.  Super easy, super delicious.  I think this one was Rob's favorite of all the healthy dinners.  

Healthy Chicken Salad found HERE. I loved this one because I could make it in advance, and when dinner time rolled around I just pulled it out of the fridge, threw two scoops on top of a plate of spinach and chowed down.  Rob topped his with a low calorie dressing, but I enjoyed mine plain.  It was also great the next day.  

Chobani Flips, in Key Lime crumble.  I LOVE these.  I'm actually eating one now.  They are a great go-to for those moments when you really, REALLY need something sweet.  I'm not usually a lime fan, but my sister in law let me try one of hers and I was immediately hooked.  

PB2.  Can be found on, or in most natural food stores.  This stuff is amazing.  It is basically pressed peanuts without all the oil, fat, calories, etc.  You can add water to turn it back into a cream, or add the powdered version to your protein shake or smoothie for some real PB flavor.  I posted my favorite PB2 recipe on my other blog as well.  

Now that I've shared a few of my favorites, cook yourself something healthy tomorrow.  Your body will thank you.  I'll post a few more of my favorites in a couple of days to keep the resolution-ending cravings out of mind.  And if you want to follow my newest weight loss challenge, I'll keep updates over on the other blog. Happy (and healthy) eating, everyone!  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


The little lady is now three years old, and in true three-year-old-fashion, she chose to celebrate her birthday at Chuck E. Cheese's.  The kids seemed to enjoy themselves, and as far as we know, none of them contracted hepatitis while there.  I guess we shall find out at their next well-child exams.  For now, we will call it a success.  

There are no words that can adequately describe the child I am raising.  The only way to really understand Claire is to meet her in person - but I will do my best to put her personality into words.

Claire is hands down the friendliest, and most social child we have.  She is always walking up to strangers (great) and asking their name - where their kids are - what their favorite color is - how old they are - can I play on your cell phone - etc. 

She loves to sing, dance, and twirl.  She looks at herself in the mirror with each day's outfit and spins in it just to see how the outfit looks spinning.  She is obsessed with jewelry, makeup, and playing on the computer or iPad.  We are constantly being told that we need to get her an agent because she's a natural entertainer, and can eye-roll better than most teenaged girls.  Don't even get me started on the hand that is constantly on her hip.  The worst part is that it's absolutely adorable....well, most days.

Heaven help me.

Presenting our Claire:

Happy 3rd Birthday, Little Red.  You are the sweet and sour sauce of this family, and our chicken and rice home just wouldn't be the same without you.  I love you from head to toe, and am so grateful to be your mommy.  

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


As 2013 comes to a close, and as my 2014 resolution to blog more begins, I thought I'd whip together a "what you missed" post to wrap up our year in about thirty or so photos.  Kind of like how TV shows give you five minutes of last season's highlights before jumping into a new season each fall.  "...and that's what you missed on Glee."

Who watches that show, anyway?!   Not me.  Ever.  I'm (ahem) 28, ya know.  

So back to 2013.  Let's just jump right in, shall we?  

(I had intended for this to go chronologically, but apparently blogger has other ideas)

I announced my pregnancy to my family via this photo. Apparently I felt more pregnant than I looked.  Nobody got it.
We spent many warm weekends at the condo in St. George
Rob and I celebrated our 10th anniversary.  He surprised me with a trip to Vegas and California.  
Seth was born - and we took this Benjamin Button of a baby picture.  Whose old man baby is that anyway?!  
Rob wrestled with his children on a nightly basis.  Usually just in time to rile them up before bed. 

We learned that Claire was destined for stardom:

We sobbed as we left our first little home. 

Rob turned 33, and I botched his cake

We celebrated halloween with a skeleton, a witch, Merida and Ariel
Madelyn was baptized
We took this photo.  
We blessed our little Sethy Boy
We said a swift goodbye to Rob's parents
We carved awesome pumpkins
Ella Bell turned five.  Jude made her a bow - which she proudly wore to school.
Claire Bear turned 17 2

Rob reached a big milestone with his business
Juders turned 6

We painted Easter eggs (with monkeys?)
Jude killed at LEAST sixteen acres of rainforest with all of his creating
The hole in the mouth happened.  
Bowser ate four of Yoshi's five limbs, and we finally had to get rid of them (yes...somebody actually bought 1/3 of a lizard)
Miss Maddie turned 8
We blew the neighborhood away with our amazing fireworks display.  (ARE THOSE SNAKES COMING OUT OF THE GROUND?!) 

We sent three incredibly tired looking kids to school (Ella - preschool, Jude - 1st Grade, Maddie 3rd Grade)
I turned 28(ish) and cried while trying to blow out my candles.  Thanks, hormones. 
Rob read to Maddie's class, and we learned about beef jerky.
My brother and his wife came to visit us from Chicago
We utilized our zoo membership (and actually saw real animals as well as lego animals)
Ella grew her hair out

Then chopped it

....we spent two weeks in Chicago with my family and forgot our camera.

All in all, I'd say 2013 was a pretty darn good year.  It had its ups and downs, but we've definitely been blessed.  We are happy, healthy alive, and ready to embark on all of the joys that 2014 will bring to our family.  

Wishing you all a wonderful 2014...