Monday, February 29, 2016

The Internet Is Generally Awesome

Let's just call it March, shall we? Because really, I'm soOoOOoo over Feb 29th. Can we not have another one of these for at least 4 years? Only kidding. I actually had a grand day with my le baby on this le Lead Year Day.

Anyways, for no other purpose other than the internet generally being awesome, I figured I would share my favorite links with all y'all today. And then, because no blog post is complete without pictures, why don't you just adore the random collection of images I have for you today? Kthnx.
Now, a completely random set of pictures because dang, my kid is cute as all get out.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

How It All Happened

Here's how it all happened.

In early 2012, 24-year-old Allison was driving down the road heading to work at Texas State University. An ad came on the radio (97.5FM - back when Bobby Bones was on pop instead of country, even though I was way happier when he switched to country because that was my favorite) about a new home buying event in Round Rock. Hubby and I knew we eventually wanted to own a home so we figured we should go to learn about the process.

We arrive at Legends Village, sat through the presentation and randomly decide this was the neighborhood for us. We paid $500 in earnest deposit (such a steal of a deal) after consulting with our realtor Crystal, picked the cutest little lot that backed up to a ranch, and then signed our contract. It was that easy.

Shortly after moving in, we realized that our neighbors were family (my distant cousin, to be exact). Which, let's be honest, there's no way that could be a coincidence. That was a "God thing."

Life trucked along and we made memory after memory. Here are just a few of my favorite pictures taken at our home.
Fast forward to us getting pregnant in October 2014 - which will live in history as one of the most special days of my life when I saw the positive sign on that test. "Could it be one baby, twins, triplets, or quads? Either way, we need more space." We thought, "maybe we should move into a bigger home." We looked around town casually and landed on a place that felt like home but didn't take immediate action.

Around the same time, our neighbors/cousins said they were going to move. They put their house on the market and sold. I cried, because I was so sad they were moving away. But we knew we had to follow their footsteps and sell too.

Out of convenience, and because we kept picking their realtor's ear for some advice, we told our neighbor's realtor that we were ready to list our home too. We signed some paperwork, but then the day before we were supposed to be on the market, things changed abruptly. It was God's way of saying, "not yet." The answer was clear; 2014 was NOT the time to sell our home. The realtor was a great asset and helped guide us along the process, but the timing wasn't right for us.

So as a compromise, we made some improvements to the home (even though it was still brand spankin new) that made it feel more luxurious and actually feel more spacious. 

We trucked our way through a very healthy 39 week and 3 day pregnancy and brought our baby girl home a few days after delivery.

Life got busy and it wasn't until the end of 2015 that we started talking about selling again. We really needed more space by this point. Baby toys had taken over the house and we needed our home office space back (which was converted to Kensington's room). And of course, her room is way cuter than any study could ever be but that's neither here nor there.

January 2016 arrives and we think to ourselves, "Okay, let's list in March. Yea, that's a good time. The grass will be green again and it will give us time to prepare the home. Oh but let's just go look at future neighborhoods for the heck of it until then."

So we go to a neighborhood closeby where a church friend lives and talk with a home builder. He wondered why we were waiting until March to list our home. We didn't have a valid reason other than, "the grass would be green again." His response was that we really needed to reconsider because the market is hot.

We get home and decide to tell our realtor Crystal (the one who helped us purchase our first home) something along the lines of, "Oh hey, I know we said March... but we really mean that we want to list ASAP. Kthnx."

So we listed on January 25, 2016. That was the day that God had picked, little to our knowledge.

The showings started almost immediately, so we were in and out of the house the entire day (which is a task with two dogs and a baby who needs entertainment). What do you know? That evening, we got multiple offers! Although all offers were tempting, and we were torn, we ultimately knew which way to go. I had been praying a few days before our house was listed, "God, please let this home go to a couple who will love and cherish it." 

Guess who bought our house today, February 25?

A couple who loves our their home, and the Mrs. of the house used to work with me at Texas State University. She and I had more of an e-mail communication relationship since we were at two different campuses, but there's no way that was a coincidence. She and her hubby had no idea whose house they were stepping into on January 25th. But God knew.

Now that all is said and done, I can tell you that I've cried a LOT. Leaving our first home was hard. Really hard. BUT, we are not only excited for our next journey as a family of three, but we're excited that our home will be a blessing to another sweet couple! 

And the cherry on top? With the sell of our home, it has given us the opportunity to pay off our IVF debt in full. I've mentioned before that we had to take out a huge loan to pay for IVF. Mind you, our loan was $10,000 at a 15% interest rate. Kid you not. I could've have only dreamed that we would be out of that loan debt before proceeding with trying for a second kiddo. But here we are.

Oh hi, God.

{And stay tuned for pictures of our new lot and house details. Spoiler: we're moving into that neighborhood we first looked at in 2014!!!}

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Rant That You Might Not Expect

Why I have the time to think is beyond me. I am ridiculously busy (self-proclaimed least bored person on planet earth *points to self*) so when I find myself wondering off, I'm like, "yea, no thanks, brain. I don't have time for that." But one thing that has been on my mind for the past, oh... 8.5 months, is mamahood. I've only just begun yet I feel more confused than when I first started. Here's why:

First, it's a scientific fact that a person needs a heart to live (something about pumping blood). If that's the case, then why do I feel like my heart is outside of my body and in the possession of my kid? I don't remember freely giving my heart away. She just stole it and I am owed an explanation as to how to go about my life for the next 60 years without a heart.

And another thing. Who knew that seeing your kid cry could cause physical pain? I had to learn that the hard way. I am secretly angry at every mom in the universe who never decided to broadcast this fact to other potential moms. Why was I never told it would hurt? I feel gypped. 

Since I'm on a roll, I have a bone to pick with time. Who authorized that time should speed up once you become a mama? When you said 'babies don't keep', I didn't believe you but now I see you were right all along.

Guilty: I've wondered, "Am I equipped for these deep, intense emotions?" And while I don't feel confident in my own answer, I rest assured that Jesus knew what He was doing when He answered my prayer to make me a mama. And I am so so so so so so so so so so so glad that Jesus has given me the opportunity to be Kensington's mama. Albeit, I'm a bit fractured by this love (i.e. I'm "lacking" a heart inside my body *insert silly face*), but I wouldn't request it any other way.

Mamahood is hard because there's truly no way to prepare your heart for the impending deportation. Once the heart is stolen by your child(ren), I am not so sure that there's ever a way to get it back. Be brave, mamas.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Basic Things

I feel like this here blog 'o mine needs more general updates. After all, the purpose of blogging is primarily because I want to remember these days. I'm quite positive that this season of my life is sprinkled with powdered sugar, because it is so sweet. I am severely blessed thanks to Jesus' love. And if we're talking about powdered sugar, which it seems we are, can I just say that I can't stand it when restaurants put it on my French Toast? Is it JUST me, or am I the only human on earth who likes their French Toast with zero sweetness? Just the bread and egg, please. Basic.

Speaking of, I had the flu this week, which is super basic. I don't know how you're supposed to entertain an 8.5 month old while yacking up stuff at the toilet bowl. I wish I could say that I'm Super Mom, but alas, I am not. Lucky for us both, daddy worked from home to entertain le kiddo while I was busy being sick. Good news! I am healed in Jesus' name and feeling on top of the world.
This Gif is applicable in almost any area of life.

Basically, what I'm saying is that I was able to get some R&R this weekend which my body desperately needed. We are completely moved out of our house (closing on Thursday! I am on pins and needles to share Thursday's blog post with y'all.) and moved into the apartment. EEK. Cheers to the next 4 months of apartment living while our new home is being built. Y'all. I am severely excited about house #2 and all of the memories we will be making in it.

All of that aside, is it just me, or is "basic" the theme of this blog post? 

One person who is definitely not basic is Donald Trump. (Long story short: we don't have cable TV right now, so I am limited to apps on our AppleTV and CBS is the only news station that I can find live-streaming TV and Donald is unfortunately all over my screen.) Yes, I am openly Republican, but no, I will not be giving him my vote. He is a character, that's for sure. But I just can't. Donald, I can't with you. I don't even have anything against the guy - I just can't take him seriously. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Confess Sesh

I confess... That not having cable isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I'm a TV junkie (as if I actually have time to watch it anymore though), so saying 'no' to cable for the next 5 months wasn't an easy decision. But I'm making it thanks to our Apple TV and a kid who likes 99.9% of my attention.

I confess... But that being said, I really wished I had seen the Grammy's. What was your favorite part?

I confess... That I am excited, anxious, and sad all at the same time. The sell of our house is trucking along. As many of you may know, there's usually a 30-day or 45-day close. We are doing a 30-day close, and spoiler alert: we listed on January 25 and we're closing February 25. I can't wait to share with  you more about this story. IT'S AWESOME. Come back on the 25th to read more.

I confess... That I freaking love Costco. 
I confess... That I am sick again and really mad about it! What the heck?

I confess... That I am finally feeling motivated and ready to lose some weight - but I'm going to wait until I don't feel as sick. I think I'll jump back on the 21 Day Fix plan since I have all of the containers and everything! 

I confess... That I don't know how to cook. Hashtag undomesticated. What's your favorite crock pot recipe? 
I confess... That JoJo on The Bachelor may be my favorite. I also like Lauren B. though! Last weeks episode of Leah making up a lie about Lauren B. just annoyed me so bad. I can't imagine saying a lie on TV and then admitting that I had just lied because I was "desperate to get Ben's attention." Doesn't she know how bad that makes her look?

I confess... That I am obnoxiously excited that hubby and I are going to Wild West soon. 
I confess... That I am itching to cut my hair. And I have decided I'm gonna do it. Plus, I'm a firm believer in clip-in extensions, so if I'm feeling like longer hair, I can always clip some in.

I confess... That I've gone to Walmart a few times recently and have been surprised that customer service hasn't sucked as much as it normally does AND I've also found a few new tops for super duper crazy cheap. Who knew?! I got a lilac soft tee for $2.97. Ummm... yes please!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gimme

Granted, it's still 32 days away (who is counting???), I am thinking about my birthday wish list. Who does that? I think it's fun to pretend like I'm a millionaire and window shop until my pretend wallet is aching. I'll be entering my last year in my 20's on March 13th, and well, I think that's a reason to celebrate?! Gimme all the things. More specifically...

HOWLITE. Duh. My Kendra Scott obsession runs deep. I own entirely too many pairs, but at the same time, you can never have too many! These earrings just scream, "buy me, buy me!"

LINEN. Since we're in the building process (house update coming soon - pinkie swear), I am already daydreaming about our new furniture. I am thinking this little get-up is ideal. I love the linen vibe to this living area.

BLOUSE. Why yes, I am in fact looking at you, cute top that I saw at Target.

LOCKET. This adorbz locket with Baby's picture=DYING. Because... obsessed. Also in case you missed the memo, I am now selling Keep Collective jewelry. The point is NOT sales. No no no. I am not a sales person. The honest-to-goodness point is for me to freely wear my jewelry and smile about the discounts that I get and share my happiness with friends and family. Anyways, I am pretty much guaranteeing myself that this locket is going to arrive at our doorstep within a few days because I don't think I can deal without it.
PHONE CASE. I'm looking for a new iPhone case that isn't too bulky. Currently, I have the Otterbox and it's just too big and heavy. I HATE it, but I really need to keep a case on my phone since: 1) I drop it constantly and have broken too many phones, 2) I have a baby who enjoys a phone cover to chew on v. a hard iPhone. Shoot your recommendations my way, ladies.

TV STREAMING. p.s. sorry for this other random recommendation request, but since hubby and I are going to be moving into an apartment temporarily (four-ish months), we are going to purchase a TV streaming service instead of cable. First question - is this worth doing instead of cable? Are there good shows on most services? I am interested primarily with The Bachelor/ette, Real Housewives of (all cities), Dateline NBC, and Fox News. I'm looking into Hulu but welcome suggestions. Second question is - does it genuinely save money? We are going to be purchasing internet still (the fastest possible) and wonder if bundling with that same company is wise. Even if you're not local (Austin), leave your feedback here, on my Facebook, or email me: MrsSouthernMama@Gmail.com.

BOOTIES. Because a girl can dream about owning every pair available - especially these beauties. In case you missed my obsession with booties, check out my very first Stitch Fix review!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Kensington Grace: Eight Months

I'm posting a few days late (whoops)! Don't mind me. I'm just busy loving on this adorbz kid. And by golly, I sure do love her. And it's NOT just because she's super cute (although ... I mean ... HOW in the world can one human look so beautiful???) but because she's mine mine mine mine mine. I've always been a tiny bit possessive of things and people that I love dearly. Everyone should take that as a compliment. That aside, I am feeling super blessed by this daughter of MINE. She is, in one word, awesome. Happy 8 month birthday, Doodle.
Weight: At least 17lbs & 4oz, because that's what she weighed when we took her to the doc on January 30th. Poor baby was sick with a stomach bug. She definitely lost a little poundage from throwing up so much but she's healthy now and I'm trying to fatten her up again!

Height: Not sure. Whoops. Mom is slacking.

Hair: Light brown, with hints of red. She can thank both sides of our family for that.

Eyes: Other than large and in charge, and BEAUTIFUL, the color is still undetermined. Sometimes people call it brown (hey girl hey), and other times people call it green with a little bit of blue. Confusing, right?

Clothes: 9-12months.

Diapers: Size 3.

Sleeping: Only wakes once per night. She starts in the Rock N Play next to our bed. Then anywhere between midnight and 4am, she wakes and moves in bed with us. She usually sleeps till 7 or 8. What happened to 10am, Kensie Grace?!

Eating: We have been SO busy lately and have really only been feeding her formula. Once we have more time and stability in our life within the next month (updates coming soon to our home selling/buying!) then we'll get back to feeding her baby foods.

Kensie's favorite things: Clapping (!!!! so cute !!!!), standing up, crawling, furniture surfing, pounding on her piano, taking selfies.

Mommy's favorite things: Everything. But mostly her slobbery kisses.

Daddy's favorite things: When she says "dada"!

Mommy's nicknames for Kensie: Doodle, Sister, Honeybee, Little, Kensie Koo.

Daddy's nicknames for Kensie: Princess.

New with Kensie: NO teeth yet. Apparently her daddy and I were the same as kiddos. We didn't pop those suckers out until later in the game. As far as what IS new with Kensie, the furniture surfing is a big deal. She looks ridiculously cute standing up. I am SO proud of her!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you always know best. I couldn't be more thankful or proud to be Kensington's mama. Thank you for making my heart so grateful to be her mama, and I pray that you'll always help me to keep that perspective. I pray for Kensie's continual development and learning. Please give me the tools to help teach her about You and Your plan for her. I pray that you will make Kensington a big sister this year too! You know my heart and my desires Lord, so I am putting my plans in Your hands! You get the Glory, God! Amen!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Sweet Grandma

Sorry for the lack of writing, but it hasn't been something that I've been interested in since our family experienced a great loss. You never really know how you are going to respond when losing a loved one. I imagine that in every situation, you may act differently. Mainly because every person that touches you is unique and has a different way that they molded your life.

Maybe it's easier to just pretend that it's not happening or that the situation isn't as severe as it really is. Or maybe it's easier to accept it and give into the feelings of sadness. I don't really know what's right - I only know how to act authentically. 

Losing my Grandma Gatewood has been a struggle, but at this point in my life (even as I type this), I am trying not to think about it. Quite honestly, I don't really want to accept it. To think that I cannot call her on the phone anymore... that alone gives me a knot in my throat. I'm not ready.

We somewhat unexpectedly, and very unfortunately, lost Grandma on the 22nd of January. The day before she passed, I woke up and couldn't stop thinking about her. I called her before I did anything else that morning and we had an amazing conversation.

Oh, my grandma was amazing. I wanted to share a few things about her that I just love.

First, grandma always liked to remind me that when I was a baby, I would only be happy in her arms or my moms. No one else made me happy like mom and grandma. Now-a-days, since I'm a mama, I know the happy feeling you get when your baby (or in her case a grandbaby) wants nothing more than to be in your arms. 

Second, several of my memories of grandma include my cousin Amy Jo. Grandma made it her job to ensure our childhood would be full of lasting memories. Things that Amy Jo, grandma and I did included: making mud pies, bathing outside in a bucket (the sound of cicadas will always bring this memory back!), selling "perfume" (aka water) to grandma, birthday trips, and so many more.
Last, one thing that made grandma so amazing was her love for her grandkids and great-grandkids. Seeing this picture (above) of grandma holding my little girl for the very first time makes me cry. It's been hard. It's been really hard. For whatever reason, that I can't quite put into words, I'm very sad that Kensington only got 7.5 months with her great-grandma.

As you can probably tell by reading just a tid bit of my sweet grandma, she enhanced my life greatly. When I think about her, I think about what an inspiration she is. I really... really... really want to be a grandma (and great-grandma) like she was. When she was around, she represented love and Jesus. 

Over the past 4 days, I have been dreaming and thinking about both of my grandmas a LOT. We lost my other grandma (Grandma Nelson) almost 5 years ago to the day that my grandma Gatewood passed. Grandmas are so special. I know they adored each other and are together in Heaven rejoicing.

At grandma's funeral, my cousin spoke and referenced a phrase that grandma always used to say: "I'm going to cloud up and rain all over you." We don't exactly know what that looks like, but we are sure excited for the day that it does cloud up and rain all over us!