Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday Talk

Happy Tuesday Girls!
It is ROUGH getting back into the groove of things after a two week spring break! 
The last few days I have been feeling pretty sad and heartbroken.  One of my dearest friends lost her husband over the weekend, and I am just completely heartbroken. 
When I moved to Charlotte 10 years ago, I was excited about what it was going to be like for our family, but I worried about making new friends, adjusting to a new place, you know all those things.  Well shortly after we moved into our house in Charlotte we got some new neighbors.  I remember peering through the windows checking them out, hoping it was a family with kids moving in.  I remember going outside, they were unloading their moving truck, and I introduced myself and I knew instantly Talia and I would become fast friends.  They had just moved from New York (I always love a fellow northerner)!  Her and her husband Brad were great people, and they had two children, and Brooke and her daughter were the same age and became fast friends also!  We eventually moved from that house, I went through a divorce, and our friendship never changed.  We would talk and text all the time, met for lunch, I could vent to her about what was going on in my life, and she was just always there for me.  She never judged, she was just my friend.  She was the first real, true friend I met in Charlotte and 10 years later, she is still one of my DEAREST friends.
I remember getting a phone call from her about 5 years ago, and she told me Brad was diagnosed with a very rare, terminal cancer, Myelofibrosis.  She was of course devastated, but she remained so positive and upbeat, they were going to fight this and win.  Over the last year or so, things got a little tougher, lots of doctor visits, ER visits, visits with specialists, and with that brought lots of stress, lots of medical bills, and even on the really tough days, she was still her witty, sarcastic self.  Her attitude, even when times were BAD, was so inspiring to me.  She always remained strong for Brad and her children. 
They were looking forward to leaving Charlotte early this summer and moving to Florida, they had always wanted to live here, (they are some pretty big Disney lovers)  and well I was super excited that we would share the same state again! 
Last week, like any other day, we were just texting like we pretty much do everyday, and she told me that Brad was having some headaches, bad ones, and they were heading to the ER, and she would keep me posted.  I really wasn't too worried for her, he had been to the ER a few times, and always was OK, so I just assumed that would be the case again, they would run a few tests, he would come home and all would be good....Oh God how I wish that is what happened.  She sent me a text saying he had a sub dural hematoma and was being transported to a different hospital...a procedure would be done within the next two days to drain and relieve the pressure.  It sounded bad, I was scared for her, but truly believed they would do this procedure and he would be OK.  They did the procedure, she once again texted me that it went well.  She was tired, worried and exhausted, but still kept her wittiness about her.  She really is a strong woman!  On Friday she told me there was more bleeding and it was pretty serious, a miracle was needed.  Saturday morning he was non responsive and taken to surgery, the bleed got worse.  I spoke with her after the surgery, and she told me their opinion was the surgery went well, they cleaned everything out, and they were just waiting for him to wake up.  Later that afternoon I received a text message from her that the bleeding didn't stop, and there was no more they could do, it was time to let him go.  I just stared at my phone, tears streaming down my face, why is life so unfair, and why do such horrible things happen to the best people?  My heart broke for her, I cannot even begin to imagine how she was feeling, having to say goodbye to her husband, her sweet children having to say goodbye to their father, I mean it sucks, it just really freaking sucks.  I spent the rest of the day feeling mad, angry, sad, such a mix of emotions.  Talia is strong, and I know she is going to get through this and be ok...that is just who she is.  The days are hard right now for her, her and her husband truly had an amazing love, they had a marriage and commitment to each other and to their children, that sadly you just don't see enough of these days.  I wish I could take some of her pain away, but I know that I can't. 
His cancer was terminal, but they never expected to lose him this soon.  With illness always comes huge expenses, and it truly does make me sick everything that is going on with healthcare these days (that rant can't wait for another day), and its awful that families have to worry about all this during such a trying time.  A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help with the funeral costs for Brad, feel free to share it if you would like, you can find it here . 
Please keep Talia, and her children, Angie and Matt in your prayers over the next few days as they prepare to say their final good byes to the man they loved with all they had. 
Life is really so short, and tomorrow is never guaranteed for any of us.  I remember back when my mother in law was battling cancer, she had a sign in her kitchen that simply read "live for today...hope for tomorrow"...and that is really all we can do.  Make every day count, make sure your loved ones know you love them...never get too busy to forget to say I love you.
Thanks for stopping by today! 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Let's Talk


Happy Monday Ladies!
Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!  Ours was low key, and nice.  We are still learning to adjust to the holidays and not having any family around!
Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for their monthly "Let's Talk" link-up.  Be sure to grab the graphic and link up too!
And below is the list for the rest of them!

Today it's all about Moms...and what I love most about my life is being a mom.  Ever since I was little girl, all I ever wanted was to grow up, get married and be a mom.  I guess I can say my dreams came true.  As I am sure any mom out there would agree, being a mom is the hardest, yet most rewarding job ever.  I have been a mom for 24 years, and I have definitely had my share of bad days, but I wouldn't trade a single second, not even the really tough times, being a mother has brought me so much happiness. 

Sometimes I still can't believe I have adult children, I feel like just yesterday they were born!  I was a very young mom, I was 18 when Brooke was born.  People would, and still do, ask me if I regretted having a child so young, if I feel like I missed out on things because I had a child so young.  I never once ever thought I had missed out on anything, honestly I felt the exact opposite.  I would never recommend to anyone to have a baby at 18, because it just isn't easy, but I wouldn't change a thing.  I never once felt I missed out on anything...I had a perfect little baby, who filled my life with so much meaning and love.  Yes I was forced to grow up quickly, I had real responsibilities, and though my family was extremely supportive of me, my mom made it VERY clear to me that this was my child, my responsibility.  Kenny and I had to figure out a way to make it all work, pay for diapers, formula, childcare, doctor visits...I was forced to grow up REAL quick, but I wouldn't change a thing.  Yes our friends were going out, taking vacations, spending their money on all sorts of fun stuff, and there we were, two young kids, I was 18 and Kenny was 23, working our butts off to have just enough money for the baby's necessities.  Some days were really tough, but we stuck together, and did what we needed to do to provide for this new little family that we chose to have.  For us, it worked out, we got married and went on to have 4 more children. 

Motherhood has been everything I thought it would be and more, and then so much that I never expected.  I remember when I had Brooke, my heart seriously could have exploded, I was so in love with my daughter, and I remember when I found out I was pregnant with Harrison I was scared, scared I wouldn't be able to love him near as much as I loved Brooke, I mean how could I???  It really is true what they say, you don't have to divide the love, it just multiplies...and I have seen it happen 5times.  A mother always has enough love!  It really is amazing! 

Being a mom is TOUGH, and I always find myself questioning if I am doing a good job, and then I quickly remember, there is no such thing as a "perfect mom", everyday I just do the best that I can, and hope and pray that I am raising my children to be good people.  That is really all we can do right?  Over the years I have questioned a lot of my parenting, but as a mother with two adult children, I can look at them and know that no I was never a "perfect" mom, I definitely did something right.  All those times I thought they weren't listening to me, they were, there is truly no greater joy than looking at your adult child knowing they turned out great.

I am so fortunate to have been blessed with an amazing mother, and a grandmother that was simply the BEST!

My mom....my biggest supporter, my biggest critic and my best friend.  My mother is an amazing woman, and one of the strongest women I know.  If I can be half the mother to my children that she was to me, I will be lucky.  My mother instilled in me from a very young age how truly important family is.  She showed me that nothing is given, it must be earned.  She taught me that hard work is the only way to succeed.  She taught me that sitting around complaining about things doesn't do a damn bit of good, you get out there and you make the changes you need to, in order to find happiness.  She taught me that money doesn't buy happiness, but being a good person, having morals, values and standards and always doing the right thing, even when it's easier not to, brings the truest of happiness. 

This woman....my grandmother...how lucky am I that I got to have her in my life for 40 years!  My grandmother, one of a kind!  She was always the life of the party, she was opinionated and always spoke her mind, no matter what!  She was the leader of our family, no one loved her family like my granny did.  She amazed me!  She had 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren, I can't tell you what it means to me knowing that all my 5 children knew her and have a memory of her.  Family was all that mattered to my grandmother, she passed that on to my mother, who passed it on to me, and I am so thankful for that! 

So that is my story of motherhood, what being a mom is to me, and the two amazing women who I am fortunate enough to call mom and grandma!

Hope you guys have a great day!  See you back here tomorrow!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday Favorites

Hooray it's Friday!!!
Today I am linking up with Andrea , Erika and Narci and sharing my Friday Favorites.  Be sure you grab the graphic and link up too!

Sweet treats are always a favorite for me....my hubby brought me home some apple turnovers the other night, and well super yummy!  And that book on the ottoman...it is quickly becoming a favorite too!  And I am still LOVING my sneakers from J Crew.  I wear them a TON, and they are pretty comfortable.  I sized down a half size in these and they fit great!  If you are looking for a great, cute pair of sneakers, definitely check them out!
I have a strong love for anything pineapple...this little pineapple pencil holder arrived this week, and well, it is now my favorite little vase! 
Every year I get a Shamrock Shake, just one, and well I had it this past week, and it is just so delicious!  Sweet treats...always always a favorite for me!
Spending time outside is a favorite for all of us over here!  I know I post way too many pics of our backyard, but guys....the view is seriously just breathtaking...it never ever gets old!
My candle arrived this week from Anthropologie and I am LOVING it!  This has been my favorite candle for a while now, and as part of my birthday gift, my mom got me the giant size one, and it is awesome!  A great smelling house and a pretty candle are always a favorite for me!
Chico loves his dog bed...he picks it up in his mouth, drags it all over the house, plops it down and jumps in and goes to sleep.  This puppy and all his craziness is definitely a favorite!
This was my favorite outfit from this week, and I am wearing my favorite new earrings , they are the perfect little every day earring..super lightweight and not too big, but large enough to be noticed!  I have had this chambray shirt FOREVER and I got it at Target for like $15!  My shorts are new this season and I am LOVING them!  I love Old Navy...super cute and inexpensive!  Definitely a favorite for me!  My fun necklace is from Anthro from the fall and sadly I couldn't find it online:(
Those are my favorites for the week!  I am looking forward to enjoying the three day weekend with the kiddos.  It's back to reality next week!  Olivia has been home for the past two weeks on spring break, I have loved having her home with me, but I am looking forward a bit to having some routine back in our days!  Hope you all have a wonderful Easter!  See you back here Monday!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Taste Of Thursday...Our Favorite Sloppy Joes

Happy Thursday Friends!
Today is like my Friday...the boys are done with school today, and I am looking forward to a nice 3 day weekend with my peeps:)
So today I am going to share with you guys one of my family's favorite meals.....Sloppy Joes!  Seriously, everyone in my house LOVES them!  I have tried lots of different recipes over the years, and we have even done Manwich a time or two......or FIFTY!  I love this meal because it is super simple to make, and I hear ZERO complaints at the dinner table...all the moms out there can totally appreciate that little fact right there as a huge WIN!
I love cooking for my family, however I don't have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen, so I really love quick, easy recipes, especially during the busy weeknights!  I have been making lots of Shay's recipes for a few years now, and I have always had success with them...meaning they were easy to make, quick to get on the table, tasted good, and my kids and hubby liked it!  Like I said...that's a WIN!  A few weeks back Shay was sweet enough to send me her two little cookbooks, and I was so excited to see the recipe that we use for Sloppy Joes was in there!  Now, in her book it isn't really a sloppy joe recipe, however two years ago when I made her Beefy Cornbread Casserole, I knew if I eliminated the cornbread they would be some delicious sloppy joes!  So a few days later, I took the recipe, and eliminated the whole cornbread part and baking it in the oven, and viola.....our favorite Sloppy Joes were born! 
So today, I am going to share it with you...if you and your family love a good sloppy joe...you need to try this!
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion chopped
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
Brown your ground beef and onion, until the beef is cooked and crumbly; drain fat.

  Stir in the remaining ingredients

Reduce heat to low and simmer.
Serve on hamburger buns and enjoy!
I know I don't take the best food pics...but please look beyond that and seriously make these sloppy joes !
If you guys are looking for quick, easy meals to get on the table on those busy nights you can find Mix and Match Mama's Meal Planner here and if you need a yummy cake for dessert you can find Mix and Match Cakes here
Thanks for stopping by today!  Be sure to check back tomorrow for Friday Favorites!


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Little Bit Of Life Lately...

Happy Wednesday Friends!
I have been a HUGE slacker when it comes to blogging lately!  The kids were home last week for spring break, Olivia still has this whole week off, and the boys have school Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.  So with everyone being home, blogging took a back seat!  Here is just a little it of our life lately...nothing too exciting just life!
I cannot believe Easter is Sunday...I am not a fan of Easter in March!  I have not one single thing for Easter baskets...looks like a trip to Target is in store for me this week!
We had a pretty low key week here last week!  It's no secret that my kids love to sleep in, so last week we really enjoyed turning off the alarm clocks and sleeping in!  It was so nice to just get up, and not be rushed around! 
AJ loves to fish...Jack does too, but not nearly as much as AJ does.  AJ spent the bulk of his week last week parked out back, three fishing poles set out, just catching fish...and he caught a TON!

This bird always comes and visits us...and AJ threw him one of the fish he caught, that bird gobbled it up in one bite and flew away! 
The kids decided to set the tent up, it started out in the yard, then they moved it into the patio, and though AJ and Olivia brought all their stuff out there to camp out, they never did....

AJ is so patient with Olivia...he even plays Shopkins with her

And he listened to her read a few Pinkalicious books....

No campouts, but they have been having a great time playing in the tent!
It was WARM here last week, so Olivia threw on her bathing suit to water our pineapple trees....

and help wash cars!

She also spent a ton of time climbing trees in the backyard.  She is such a good mix of girly girl and tomboy!
I had my one Shamrock shake of the year, and it surely didn't disappoint!  I know it is like a gazillion calories, and so so bad for you, but I don't even care.  I look so forward to having one each March!  YUM!

We are still so in love with our sweet Chico..he has gotten so big since we first got him back in January!  He is so fun!  Lots of work, but lots of fun!

We added a few Easter touches to the house! 
And added some new fun pillows...I mean Target is on point with their pillows!  I got two of each...and love them!  And I was able to score the pineapple ones on sale!
We are in the process of getting our porch set up...right now we just have a table out there, and we have been looking for the perfect little set for out there...we are looking for a little love seat, some chairs and a table or two...it is so overwhelming!  We did snag this cute little sign though at Big Lots for like $12 to add to our porch.  It looks so cute hung out there!
So there you have it, a random mess of what we have been up to lately!  I am planning on enjoying the next few days with Olivia, and looking forward to Friday when we can once again turn those pesty alarm clocks off!  Hope you are all having a great week so far!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Show & Tell Tuesday

Happy Tuesday Ladies!
Today I am linking up with Andrea for "Show & Tell Tuesday"! 
Today we are sharing what our life's "mixed tape" would be!  How fun right!!!

I love music, and I just love when I find a song, that is just perfect for how I am feeling or what I am thinking!  There is something so awesome about music! 
So here are the songs that you would find on my "mixed tape"
I am a huge Bon Jovi fan...I mean I loved them back when I was in middle school and I love them just as much, if not more now!  This would definitely be the first song on my life's mixed tape.  Over the years I have learned that making everyone out there happy is just downright impossible, I've learned that it's my life, and I need to live it and do what's right for me!  And seriously...has JBJ not gotten better looking with age!!!  Love him!
You guys...I seriously love me some Bon Jovi!
We've got to hold on to what we've got
It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot for love
We'll give it a shot
In my life I have learned that things may not always go as planned, but as long as you have someone who has your back and loves you, it's all going to be ok!
Again, I have learned in life, haters are gonna hate...and you have to just shake it off!
Life is crazy, sometimes good, sometimes, bad, but at the end of the day, I just wanna have fun in my life!
 Because most days of my life I feel like I am on the crazy train for sure! 
And this song would round out my mix tape ....I love everything about it and feel like it pertains to us all!
Can't wait to check out everyone else's mix tape lineup today!
Be sure to check back tomorrow to hear a bit about our life lately....spoiler...it's been nothing too exciting!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

My Favorite Summer Shoes

Happy Tuesday Ladies!
Hope your week is off to a great start!  We are enjoying spring break over here...it is really so nice to just kind of move at our own pace...no alarm clocks...we love that!
I don't know how the weather is by you, but here it is HOT, I feel like we won't have a spring here in Florida, we will just go directly to summer!  Our temps have been in the upper 80's lately, so I have warm-weather clothes and shoes on the brain big time!   I am glad we did get some cooler weather here this winter, and I was able to wear my booties and some of my other favorite winter clothes!
I love shoes, I have a lot of shoes.  I have all different kinds of shoes, I have shoes I love that have come from Target and didn't cost me much, and then I have some shoes that I have paid some decent money for and love.  For me, I don't mind spending a little bit more and shoes, especially if I will wear them for years, I feel like I really get my money's worth, and it is really the same as buying multiple new pairs of shoes each season. 
I am a huge flip flop girl, even when we lived in Charlotte, I wore them all the time, even in the winter months! 
I am a huge Tory Burch shoe fan...I have a few pairs of her shoes, and I love them all.  Yes, they are a little pricey, but some of them I have had for over 3 years, and still wear them to this day, and they still look great. 
These are probably the most worn pair of shoes I own.  They are great to throw on to run a few errands, wear around the house, out to grab the mail, and they are awesome for the beach.  I wear the heck out of these.  Mine are getting pretty worn out, and I am thinking I may get the beige color this time when I order them!  If you are looking for a great, everyday flip flop that is cute, you should definitely check these out!
The Tory Burch Miller Sandal is probably hands down my favorite!  I have this gold pair, and I also have them in the sand patent color.  Now I realize these are a bit pricey, however, I am still wearing the sand color ones, and I have had them for 4 years, and they are still in GREAT condition.  I love throwing them on with a pair of shorts, a little sundress, jeans, pretty much anything, and they are always the perfect little shoe!  I am hoping to add the white ones to my closet this summer:)  I found these run a bit on the smaller size, and I had to size up a half size!
I bought my first pair of Jack Rogers last summer, and I really LOVE them.  I got mine in the Platinum color, it is a really great neutral and they go with pretty much everything!  I found I did also need to size up a half size in these also, and the first time I wore them they were definitely a bit "stiff", but now they are broken in and I love them!  I think the cork ones are just adorable too!
These 3 pair of shoes, definitely the shoes that I wear the most during the spring and summer months, and now living in Florida, I wear them lots more! 
Would love to hear what your go-to shoe is for the warm summer months!  Hope you all have a great day today!  See you back here tomorrow!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy Birthday Olivia Grace

Happy Monday Ladies! 
We are officially on spring break over here and it is making all of us happy to turn off those alarms!
So.....yesterday my little girl turned 8....I seriously don't even know how that is even possible, because I swear it feels like just yesterday she was born. 
Olivia Grace....a perfect bundle of pink!
I don't think there is anything more precious than watching a sleeping baby...I seriously spent many of her first days just staring at her!
Olivia was a "surprise" for us, we really didn't plan on having anymore children, 4 was enough for us...but God had another plan, and he sure knew what he was doing!  Olivia completed our family perfectly, and she has brought nothing but joy and happiness to our lives, every single day for the past 8 years!
Time flies...that saying is pretty darn true, the years just seem to be flying right by, much faster than I would prefer!
I am one of those women who really struggle with my kids growing up so quickly.  And it really is petty amazing to watch your children go from little helpless beings, into responsible adults, that being said though it still kinda sucks!  I hear so many parents say "I can't wait to get past the baby stage", "I can't wait until they are out of diapers" , "I can't wait until they are in school", etc...but I NEVER ever felt that way, I felt like those early years flew by so so fast, and I wish the baby days lasted just a bit longer! 
After having 3 boys, having another little girl was just the BEST!  I was so happy when she was born, having my world filled with all things pink again! 
Olivia is such a fun little girl, and she has such a great little personality!  For the most part she is really a very good little girl, however, oh boy she sure has her moments, she is FULL of sass, and so many times something will come out of her mouth, I just look at her, and say to myself, oh boy she is SO my daughter!
That sweet little face, and that thumb....
One of my favorite pictures of her...bath time and lots of bubbles always for this girl!
I look back at these pictures and I get so weepy...it feels like just yesterday she was little, and now she is such a big girl!
And she still has this little pout face:)
Olivia's personality is the best.  And she loves posing for pictures...
There is that little pout face again:)
The girl loves to dress up, and by dress up I mean dress herself in hangers, shoe boxes, plastic bags, or just putting together some really "funky" outfits that she thinks are fabulous!
I just love my crazy, wild little girl!
Olivia makes us laugh all the time, she comes out with some pretty funny stuff!  She is smart, and loves to learn, she is such a little sponge, that soaks everything up!  She loves all things arts and crafts...she is constantly making creations over here! 
It has been nothing short of wonderful, watching her go from a little bundle of pink perfection, into a smart, caring, sweet, funny little girl.  There are times when I look at her and my eyes will just fill with tears, happy tears because I am so blessed to be her mom, and sad tears because I have blinked my eyes and my baby is just not a baby anymore.  All of Olivia's milestones have been so bittersweet for me.  All of her "firsts" are my "lasts" as a mother, and oh boy that is a tough one for me!
I have truly treasured every single second of the last 8 years with my sweet little girl.  She has brought so much joy and love into my life, and I am so beyond blessed that this little girls calls me mommy!  Happy birthday to my sweet Olivia Grace...you are SO loved!
Thanks for stopping by today!  See you back here tomorrow!