Rollercoasters and Wonder Woman 

 Ellabelle’s has been sick all this week. Poor thing just wasn’t herself when we picked her up from school on Monday. She was quiet and mopey. She said it was because she accidently closed the bathroom door on her friend’s fingers. Turns out, it wasn’t just her guilt over harming her friend. She laid on the couch as soon as we got home and didn’t get up til bedtime. The poor thing has had a fever on and off and just wants to lay around which is so unlike her. She’s even been quiet which has been a welcome change since she never shuts up! I’d rather her run her mouth and feel better though. She’s so pathetic when she’s sick, and it breaks my mama heart.

Mattie insisted on laying down too even though she’s been fine

She’s thankfully on the mend so it’s on to brighter things – June is finally here! I’m not really sure why I’m excited about it. There’s nothing really all that special in June for us. There’s no birthdays or big holidays. Father’s Day is coming up, and I love thinking of fun things for the girls to give Josh. But still. It’s a pretty low key month. Maybe that’s why I’m excited about. I mean, we’ve got something planned every single weekend, but it’s still more easy going.  

June arrived with a big ole ball of fun for us – the police family picnic. It’s at Stricker’s Grove, and there’s food and rides, and I was so excited to take the girl’s this year. Last time we went Mattie was fresh from the oven, so I was very limited in what I could ride. Plus, this time, Ellabelle was big enough to ride to kiddie rollercoaster which I was very much looking forward to.

“The Teddy Bear” was the very first thing we did. She was so excited about it going up the first big hill. She insisted that I keep my arm around her. When we went around the top bend before the big drop, she suddenly clenched onto me with a death grip. She buried her face in my side and screamed the entire time. It wasn’t really much of a rollercoaster and took about 20 seconds to do the whole thing, but it was enough. When it was over I asked her if she liked it, she told me, “Just a little. It was a little scary.”

So, we went and did some easier rides. She rode the Whip It while Mattie finished her ice cream cone, and they rode the cars and boats and carousel together. Mattie loved all of it. 

On the carousel, Ellabelle was being weird and insisted on sitting on the bench behind us that didn’t move. Then half way through the ride, she tried to get up and have me put her on a horse. She almost fell over in the process. I made her sit back down because 1. I wasn’t going to fight a giant heavy horse moving up and down to put her on it and 2. I had to keep her tiny sister on her horse. So, she was grump my and mad at me about that.

I took her on the flying elephants, and Mattie screamed the whole time because she wasn’t big enough to ride them.

I convinced Ellabelle to ride the kiddie roller coaster with me one more time before left. (I should’ve stuck Josh with both girls and gone on the big one by myself, but I didn’t think about it at the time.) She did the same thing – death grip while screaming into my side, but she was brave enough to go again, and I’m grateful to her for that.

While we rode the coaster, Josh took Mattie on the train. She loved it – except the tunnel. She was very confused by why it went dark for a bit.

Between the rides and ice cream and cotton candy – I’d say we left with some very happy girls.


We’ve been baking in our house since our air conditioning is broke. So we’ve been living with the windows open and fans going around the clock. The nice thing is with the windows open is that the girls can see me when I take Maisy out in the morning. So, I get little peekaboo faces. It’s so cute and such a great way to start the morning. Our mornings can be so hectic that it’s a nice little reminder of why we do so much for these little tiny people.


Saturday was Wonder Woman day at the comic book store, and what do we do in the Hawkins house when it’s a comic book day of celebration? We dress up.

So, Friday night, I threw together a Wonder Woman outfit for Mattie. She looked adorable, and Ellabelle looked awesome as her bestie, Batgirl.

They both got a free Wonder Woman comic, and daddy bought them each one of their own as well. I love that there’s more and more positive females in children’s culture that they can grow up with. Josh and I were talking about when we encountered our first strong feminist character as a kid and I realized I was in the 8th grade and Josh was in his teens. Things have changed so much and for the better. Between the Superhero Girls and Moana, our daily lives are filled with girls going out and kicking ass. And it’s totally awesome.

That night we went out to Josh’s sister’s house for their 15th anniversary party. We were outside for most of it, and the girls loved the family’s dogs. Jack is obsessed with bubbles and tried to attack them like crazy. The girls thought it was hilarious.

Mattie was also in love with Chewy. She basically followed him around so she could pet him. He ate it up even though he apparently doesn’t like little kids very much.

They also took full advantage of their cousin Alex’s attention. They both followed her around and demanded she play with them. There’s such a large age gap between them, but I’m so glad that Alex is willing to be very attentive and genuinely excited to spend time with them. The girls are going back to spend the night in about week and Ellabelle will not shut up about it.


Josh worked overtime both weekend days. It sucks because it means its two on one in the morning, and Ellabelle refuses to let anyone sleep once she’s up. I made it through though. We got a text from our friend on Sunday asking if we wanted to come over and make boats and then take them to a cement stream to race them. Of course we wanted to! All we had planned was cleaning.

So, we made our way over and built and designed boats out of foam and popsicle sticks. She’s a teacher so she’s great at coming up things like this to do. They have three boys and they had a friend over so the 6 kids had a blast racing the boats and playing in the water. Mattie had no idea what was going on, but she loves getting to play with the big kids.

Afterwards, we went back to their house and swam. Mattie is terrified of the water unless I’m holding on to her. Thankfully, they have island floaty. She spent most of the time sitting in it. Ellabelle had a blast. She loves spending time with “her boys.”


The rest of our week has been quiet. Literally because Ellabelle has been sick. Oh, and since we’ve discovered we get PBS Kids with our bunny ears. That keeps them both very quiet.

We’ve made it to Friday and our weekend is filled with lots of fun things. So, I’m very much looking forward to quitting time.

Medium May

So, I feel like I’m stuck in a rut. 

I need something fun or new or exciting or all of the above to happen.

I want to write more.

I want to do more so I have more the write about.

I’m having a hard time right now with having to give up 11 hours of my life every single week day to go to work. I like my job. I like the people I work with. It’s not work that enriches my soul or gives me a sense of purpose though. I want a bigger purpose, and I’m struggling because I don’t know what it could possibly be or what direction to take to even get to it. 

I love being a mom. I love being a wife. I love being an employee (because I’ve done the whole SAHM thing and it’s not for me). These things give me a specific purpose. But I need something just for me. Mine alone. 

Josh says all of this is because I’m turning 30. That I’m facing my mortality. That it’s all normal. I dunno. Maybe it is. I’m just going to have to keep searching and learning and trying to grow. Maybe I’ll accidentally stumble upon my answer.

All that being said, I got it off my chest and I can proceed with a monthly recap (which I would ideal make a weekly recap since I feel like these end up so impersonal since things have happened so long ago).  


So, May has been a nice happy medium between busy and relaxing. After our week at the beach getting back into the swing of things was heard on all of us. The work week felt like it lasted a month, and the girls were more clingy and tired than usual. We made it through though. The animals have also been extra clingy since we got home. I guess they missed us.


Ellabelle had soccer on the 13th and the 15th. She loves going and “playing” with her friends, but we’ve decided that since she hasn’t progressed and she rarely makes it past 10 minutes of actually trying to play before she just stops that she’s done with soccer. We’re gonna try dance in the fall and maybe she’ll do a different sport once she’s in school. I’m glad we tried it another season because I wanted to give her the chance to develop as a player, but soccer just isn’t for her. 

The 14th was Mother’s Day, but this year was a little different than usual. On the 12th, Miss Jean died after her fight with cancer. So, mom and grandma were out in Iowa for her viewing and to be with my Uncle Mark. The 14th is also papaw’s birthday. Buuttt Papaw and Mamaw had gone fishing for the weekend. So, Josh planned things for just me. I got very spoiled with lots of macaron cookies and ice cream and presents.


So at some point in the week before mother’s day, Matilda headbutted me in the mouth, and it caused this horrible pain to start in my front tooth. Now this tooth has been a problem for a long while. It’s being chipped and filed and filled back up and then chipped again. It’s the tooth that I‘ve always felt the most self-conscious about. Well, it turns out, Matilda actually did me a favor because that tooth needed a root canal, and the infection was to the point that it was going to start spreading to other roots. So, on 5/16, I went in and had my first root canal. Except it wasn’t as simple as that. See the last time I had work done on my teeth, the dentist didn’t numb me well enough and hit my raw nerve. So, I hate the dentist. This was a different dentist and she’s really nice, but I still can’t leave my PTSD from the last time behind. And this time did nothing to help. It took so many shots to get it to even numb and even then it was still not numb completely. The root canal part wasn’t really that bad, it’s the shaving down the tooth for the crown that was bad. While I waited for them to create the crown, I literally sat in the dental chair and cried. I was so emotionally and physically exhausted that they couldn’t even finish the whole thing. So, I’m living with an unbuffed crown which I’m totally ok with. The only good thing is that I can chew gum again without worrying my tooth is going to crack in half and fall out. 

We had a happy event happen on 5/17 – Ellabelle graduated from Pre-K. It was the sweetest thing. I cried three different times. I didn’t think I was a crier. My mom always has been and we mock her for it every time, but turns out I take after her. The time I cried the hardest was when they presented the graduates one by one and they came out and said what they wanted to be when they grow up. Ellabelle came out in her little purple cap and gown that I didn’t know she’d be wearing and said, shyly but confidently, “A doctor,” and I lost it. Like seriously, you can’t just spring caps and gowns on a mama!

They sang songs to show us what they learns throughout the year – days of the week, the alphabet, sign language, how to follow directions – and they did a surprise dance routine to the Trolls song. Ellabelle was adorable, and I can’t believe my sweet baby Bee is ready to head off to kindergarten. I’m so proud of how far she’s come in the year that she’s been in a school setting. Her speech has improved greatly. She loves to write and spell things she sees. She can count all the way to 100. She just amazes me every day


That week ended on 5/19 which is a very important date in our house. That day Miss Matilda turned 2! My mischievous monster has been practicing the terrible 2’s for a few months, but she’s officially there now. For gifts, she got a new small Unicorn Jellycat (her “Bah”), three Yo Gabba Gabba books, a Foofa hat, a Hello Kitty vacuum from Ellabelle, and a princess castle tent. 

Now, this tent. ::Enter heavy sigh here:: It’s become a sore subject in our house. Ellabelle does not like sharing her toys with Mattie, but she has no problem telling us Mattie should share with her. From the moment I put the damn thing together, Ellabelle was trying to get in it. She barks orders at Mattie and tries to kick her out of it. Thankfully, things have settled down as the novelty of the new toy has worn off, but still. Siblings, man. They’re crazy. And crazy jealous.

So, the morning of Mattie’s birthday, we went out for a donut date. We have been wanting to do the Butler County Donut Trail for a while and decided that was the day to do it. So, we went and got donuts from Stan the Donut Man. Their cherry cake donuts are amazing, btw.

So, we get to work after dropping the girls off, and it turns out the AC was broke in the whole building. It apparently was measured at 91 degrees in our office. So, early day it was cause the only thing worse than work on a Friday is melting at your desk at work on a Friday. So, we skipped out and finally got to go see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. We had been trying to find someone to watch our demon spawn for a while and no one ever could. So, we took advantage of our childless day. The movie was really good. It’s hard to fail us on the Marvel movie front though. Josh did cry so it wasn’t just fanboy/girl dedication that made it a success in our eyes. Afterwards, we got pizza at Dewey’s which is my favorite. 
Mattie’s birthday evening was pretty low key. We moved all her birthday stuff to the next weekend due to Miss Jean passing. We got her cupcakes and sang to her. Her response? “I like the birthday!” I’d say we made her feel special.


So, 5/20 was a hard day for my family. Like I said, Miss Jean finally passed away from cancer the week before. That Saturday, her memorial service was held here. We gathered for a short ceremony and made our way to the cemetery. Josh had to stay in the car with Mattie who was not happy for who knows why (because she’s two now and has to be unhappy at least once a day, maybe?) At the cemetery, there was a prayer and everyone stood around while Mark played the song Miss Jean had picked. Almost everyone was crying. Ellabelle was unbelievably well behaved. She had no idea what was going, but it’s like she knew something requiring reverence was happening.. Miss Jean was cremated and they placed her urn in one of those burial walls. What really got me was when they placed a velvet bag filled with all her beloved pets next to her.


Ellabelle was given sparse details about what was going on. We answered any questions she had, but 4 is still too young to fully grasp death. She seemed to understand that Miss Jean was in the urn, and that we were there to say goodbye. She looked up at the wall as they were closing it up and she asked me, “Is this Miss Jean’s new house?” I told it was. “Is she going live here?” I told her she was. She looked around and told me, “It’s very pretty here.” Bless a child’s innocent soul, I mean, honestly. She was amazing.


We went to my Uncle Kenny’s afterwards for lunch. We did a white zinfandel toast to Miss Jean there because it was her favorite wine.  


I’m gonna share my facebook status from that day here. I think it sums up Miss Jean the best:


“Today, my family will gather together to celebrate the life of Jean Fulmer. She is our wife, stepmom, grandma, sister in law, daughter in law, friend, and (to me) aunt. The labels don’t really matter because, to all of us, she was simply Miss Jean. She lost her battle to cancer, and, by battle, I mean, she suited up and fought. They gave her 4-6 months to live. She made it almost to 9. One of the things I will always remember about her is her love of animals. She spent one Christmas with Maisy perched on her lap being petted most of the night. I couldn’t tell who was happier. It’s been said in many different ways that the way a person treats animals shows who they really are as a person. Nothing solidified her good heart more than when I was putting together photos she picked out for her memorial video and found quite a few pictures of her many cats and dog, Sadie. This, to me, tells you everything you need to know about Miss Jean. Even in death, her animals are just as important as she is. Please keep my whole family in your thoughts and prayers as we gather to say goodbye to her today, especially my Uncle Mark. Miss Jean is finally out of pain, and I know one of her first stops on the other side was to the rainbow bridge to see all her furbabies. ❤🐾”


So, Sunday, 5/21, we went out to Logans for Mattie’s birthday dinner. We picked there because she likes their meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Apparently, the meatloaf is only available at lunch so it was kinda a bust in that department. Ellabelle was a huge pain the whole meal. (Bad behavior isn’t just for the 2 year old crowd.)


Mattie got lots of clothes and two paw patrol toys (Marshall and Skye) and a 4 wheeler from Opa. 

Well, sharing hasn’t been going well for any of these toys either. We stopped at Toys R Us for Mattie’s balloon and announcement, and they didn’t have any helium and didn’t do the announcement. Poor Matz. She honestly didn’t care though because she got a Chase paw patrol toy to go with her other two new ones.


Oh, yeah, and it was our 6 year wedding anniversary. We didn’t have any extra money so we didn’t exchange gifts. We honestly hardly acknowledged the day. It wasn’t for lack of love. Josh prefers our November anniversary because it’s “the one that really matters.” Still, bear with me a moment while I gush about my boy now.

Josh, we’ve had a very rough year, but we’ve made it through. It’s only because we’ve had each other. We fight and we argue and you still insist on putting your shoes by the door instead of where they go, but I wouldn’t want to take on life with anyone else. You’re my favorite person in the whole wide world. You’re always trying to make me laugh. You are sweet when you want to be, and you’re the best cuddle buddy ever. I don’t know how I would survive without you. I also don’t know who’d clean the litter box. I couldn’t ask for a better daddy for my girls. I know you’d argue that fact, but you worry about them and love them so fiercely. You just don’t even realize you’re doing it. We are all so lucky to have you to take care of us and to deal with all our crazy. I love you, and can’t wait to see what this next year holds.

On 5/23, I had inservice at work. Josh took me to lunch at Gilpin’s which is a steamed sandwich shop downtown. They’re closing eventually (no one seems to know exactly when) and he wanted to make sure I got to try it before they closed up for good. The burger was really good. It was massive, actually. I had a hard time eating it. I made a huge mess, but sometimes the messier the food the better it is.


During training, they passed out notebooks with the police seal on them. Ellabelle gets so excited every time we see a police vehicle on the road, so I brought home my notebook for her. She was over the moon because she’s a “real” police officer now. It’s the little things in life, I suppose.


We started the weekend of 5/27 with Mattie’s 2 year doctor’s appointment. She’s doing exactly as expected of her. She’s walking and talking on track and advance in a lot of coordination skills. The doctor used the word “perfect” which always makes a mama’s heart happy. She’s as tall as a 2.5 year old, but she’s still round. She weighs only 5lbs less than her sister. The doctor assured me that she’ll thin out between 2 and 3. Poor thing has the same allergies as her sister and we have to set up a panel test to see if she’s allergic to tree nuts as well. Oh and she stole my shoes during the appointment and walked around in them. 

After that, we headed to Columbus to go to the zoo for Mattie’s birthday. The girls loved seeing the animals, but it was muggy. We did the best we could in the heat. I think it was a very successful birthday for our little monster.


We surprised the girls by making it an overnight trip. Ellabelle was excited because she got to sleep in the same bed as me. Josh was not excited because he had to sleep in the same bed as Mattie. It was Mattie’s first time in a big kid bed so we were all kinda freaked out. We all made it through the night. 

We stopped at North Market in the morning because it’s our favorite place to get all our favorite foods in Columbus. 

The Indian food is my favorite. Josh loved the cabbage rolls from the polish place. The girls loved the ice cream.


We stopped on the way home at Mamaw and Papaw’s house. They had a Memorial Day get together. The girls love visiting and seeing their cousin, Trent. Plus, Josh got to see most of Logan.

Our May ended with a quiet Memorial Day and a much needed day off of work. June holds so many fun and exciting things for us. Plus, some lazy days enjoy the sun and water.

Mothers Day Ramblings 💐

I don’t remember how old I was when I knew all I wanted was to be a mom. I’d say I was like 6 maybe. It’s been a very long time. As I got older, I ached when I saw babies. I was the girl always hovering to hold the baby, but too painfully shy to just ask. When I found out I was finally going to have one of my own, I was numb. I didn’t feel excited about it for a long time. I heard the heartbeat on the ultrasound and it calmed my fears, but I still wasn’t excited. It’s hard to explain because I think my anxiety over her wellbeing overtook the joy of waiting for her. When she started finally kicking (which took a lot longer to feel than it does for most women because I have an inverted uterus), I felt the excitement start to build. And then, after I had her, I didn’t really comprehend the whole being a mother thing until she was three days old. I barely remember day one of her life. I was so sick and drugged because of her crazy delivery. On day 4, I was sick of being in the hospital and tired of not being able to really spend time bonding with my baby. So, I got her out of her bed myself (which I wasn’t supposed to do) and laid down with her cradled in one of my arms and we napped together. The hospital obviously wasn’t a fan of co-sleeping and Josh was unhappy, but my heart was finally full. Here was this tiny perfect little girl, and she was mine. I finally got to be a mama. I finally got to hold a baby and not have to feel awkward. She was all mine to love and kiss and hold and sing to. You know how the Grinchs heart grows three sizes in one day? Yeah, that’s motherhood.

Three years later, I luckily had a different birthing experience, and I got to snuggle my baby right after she was born. With Matilda, I feel like the moments after we were rolled into recover and I offered her my finger as a pacifier and she greedily took it was our special moment. It came more naturally since I wasn’t such a mess. And you worry, at least I did, that your heart that’s already grown three sizes with the first kid, and just bursts with love for her, won’t have anymore room to grow and love for the new one. Well, the heart is very elasticy. Cause it can just keep growing.

Now, I’m sitting here with my kids running around being loud and distracting. Motherhood is messy. It’s hard. It’s painful. It makes you want you pull your hair out or run away and never some back. It also is the greatest thing in the whole wide world.


Is it what I thought it would be?


Is it way harder than expected?


Is it better than I could have ever imagined?



Being a mom is putting yourself last and being ok with that.

It’s not enough sleep, but not enough time to play and snuggle.

It’s snot smeared on your work shirt that you don’t discover til you’re already at your desk.

It’s finding jelly smeared on the couch by sitting on it.

It’s water splashed out of the tub onto the carpet and dog and your clothes.

It’s body slams onto the bed and the belly laughs that follow.

It’s sharing your cell phone in the middle of checking your Instagram feed even though you really don’t want to.

It’s watching the same shows and movies over and over again and then singing the songs to yourself at work cause you can’t get them out of your head.

It’s running late and not being able to find that damn left shoe.

It’s little footsteps on the linoleum at 7:20 on a Saturday morning that you ignore til you hear a little voice on your side of the bed say, “I’m awake, mommy.”

It’s having a child wedge between you with a cell phone so you can try and get a few more minutes of sleep yet still answering “mhmm” and “shhh” when she keeps talking and finally getting up to go make her the pancakes she won’t stop talking about.

It’s stinker smiles when she sees your car pull in at the babysitters.

It’s shopping for myself and coming home with only stuff for them.

It’s smelling baby toes just to get a little voice to yell, “no, mah toes.”

It’s grumpy morning faces followed by sleepy snuggles on your shoulder.

It’s tip toeing in to check on them once they’re asleep because you miss them even though they were driving you crazy when you put them to bed.

It’s making silly face and sounds that you would normally be embarrassed by but you’ll do anything to make them smile.

It’s the poorly painted or drawn art that you cherish because to you it’s beautiful and you proudly display them.

It’s every single day. It’s the little joys, the little bumps in the road, the big battles, the little victories. Being a mom, to me, means loving these little people so fiercely that it hurts sometimes. It’s wanting to watch them learn and grow and soar and fearing the day they’ll leave.
It’s everything.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful women out there. To the grandmas and mothers, the godmothers and furmoms, those longing for a baby and those missing an angel baby. All of us feel the love that only a mother’s heart is capable holding.
Thank you to Jericho Lionheart and Bellini Santino for being my first babies.

To Maisy Moo for being my first baby girl.

And to Ellabelle Louise and Matilda Gayle for making me a mom. You’ll never know just how much I love you until you hold your babies of your own, but know that’s it’s a lot. Everything I do is for you. I love you, my crazy demon children.


Nothing we do ever goes to plan. I make lists weeks out and stress over said lists for days and try and make sure everything is exactly as I plan. That never happens. So, the weeks before our trip was supposed to happen, I started planning and packing. Cue Wednesday, when we planned on packing the car, and the laundry still in the wash needing to be dried and bags still sitting empty. We did manage to get the car packed and the car seats moved that night. It didn’t help that we had crying fits over cell phones and a toddler who kept insisting she be allowed to sit in her car seat while it was in the driveway, and it was dark by the time we finished, but it happened as planned. So gold star ⭐️ for us.

 And did I mention that our free upgrade on our rental got upgraded and we got to drive around in a 2017 Cadillac all week? Cause that part was pretty awesome.

On Thursday, the plan was for Josh to sleep as soon as we got home from work, and I’d take the girls with me to drop Maisy off with my aunt who watched her while we were gone. Josh had to run an errand, and I got moving later than I wanted. So, he only got 2ish hours of sleep instead of the 4 he was supposed to, but we got the girls buckled in before either fell asleep in the house. We managed to make it out of the house around 10:30, like we had wanted, with no problems. Except one, which I wouldn’t realize til we were settling in 14 hours later – my clothes were still in the dryer. Thankfully, Walmart’s are everywhere and a little shopping fixed the problem.

So, we drove through the night into Friday. We stopped in Jellico, Tennessee so Josh could sleep for a bit.

Matilda had been asleep the entire ride…until we stopped. Thankfully, Frozen was on her iPad, and she sat and watched that while the rest of us slept. We stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast once we work 2 hours later because we knew we wouldn’t have anywhere else to stop once we entered the mountains.

Outside of the McDonald’s there was a little stray cat. Josh’s crazy cat man senses started tingling, and he had no choice but to feed her. She enjoyed the pancake. I swear Josh would’ve tried to put that cat in the car with us if he could’ve.

14 hours after our trip started, we made it to the beach. The first thing we did was go down and see the water.

The girls were ecstatic. They’re reactions made the very, very long trip 150% worth it. Mattie had some hesitation on the super soft sand, but she was once she was on the wet sand.

Both girls headed straight to the water once we let them free.

My poor Matilda was so excited

-and then a wave pulled her feet out from under her. She went down, but jumped right back up.

As she was trying to run back to the safety of the sand, she was pulled down again and face planted in the water. She even lost her pacifier! Thankfully (or not),  I was filming and got it all on camera.

This was all very traumatic for her, and she was soaked. So Josh took her back to the “Myrtle Beach House” (which is what  Ellabelle named the rental). She screamed the entire way back because she didn’t to leave us.

Ellabelle was in heaven tiptoeing in the water. She squealed with laughter and jumped up and down eliciting many smiles from the elderly people who were watching the beach.

She, Oma, and I walked down towards the pier looking for Opa. Turns out, he wasn’t on the pier. He had followed Josh back to the MB House. So we went back to house, and EB and I gave ourselves mermaid hair. It didn’t show up in her hair cause her hair is too dark. Mine turned out greenish instead of turquoise. So, it wasn’t exactly successful, but you aren’t going to convince me weren’t mermaid for the week.

Somehow, I’ll never know how, we all managed to stay awake til our normal bedtimes.

On Saturday, Auntie Ang was set to arrive nice and early at the airport. Well, things never go as planned. She got stuck on her plane at her layover. She was on standby and that fight was full. She finally made it around 3:30. Once she was there, we all went down to Ocean Annie’s for drinks.

The girls wore their mermaid outfits the Easter bunny had brought them. They shared a pina colada (virgin, of course), and basically through fits about sitting where they were sitting.

So, we let them dance to the live band and took them down to the sand again.

They changed into their swimsuits and back in the water they went. Mattie barely let it touch her feet, but she still laughed and ran around.

Sunday was the traditional K&W for breakfast followed by the flea market day. We got fidget spinners and fidget cubes and only managed to make daddy slightly crazy walking around.

We planned on going to the pool that afternoon. We took our afternoon naps (mom and dad too) and Oma and Angie left without us! It was actually fine because I’m sure they needed some quiet space away from the chaos and noise that is my children. Just like the ocean, EB was all about the water.

Mattie hated it. I don’t know what her issue with water is but she officially hates the shower, the ocean, and the pool.

We went to Nacho Hippo for dinner that night. It was really good, and our kids almost actually behaved.

The whole drive down, every time we passed a Hardee’s sign, Josh would whine about how much he wanted some. So, Monday morning, Oma watched the girls so we could go and get some biscuits and gravy, and Josh could be filled with the nostalgia of his youth.

After, we went to Broadway at the Beach with Oma and Angie. The girls had spending money from Easter and Oma, and they decided to get Build a Bears. Mattie picked Marshall from Paw Patrol, and EB picked out Sonic the Hedgehog. I thought she’d want another pony or a Star Wars bear or Rocket and Groot, but nope. Sonic it was. And there was no changing her mind.

We used the girl’s money to pay for them. That meant that the cashier got $18 in quarters to count. She was very nice about it or at least pretended to be nice.

We had lunch at a restaurant where Matilda and Ellabelle both proceeded to have full on melt downs. It’s always in public, isn’t it? We barely made it through lunch, but all was well when it was time time to ride Pavilion rides. The old amusement park in Myrtle Beach had shut down years earlier, and they saved a lot of the rides and moved them to Broadway at the Beach. So, Ellabelle got to ride one of Auntie Ang’s old favorites, Frogger.

Afterwards, she’d tell us it was “a little fun” but she screamed and cried the entire ride.
She also rode the roller coaster with me.

Mattie lost it yet again because she had to wait for EB to go first on the rides and she wanted to ride too. We finally got her on the carousel. She rode that twice and loved it. Full on baby giggles the entire time.

And then, she lost it again because she wasn’t on it anymore. So Josh took her to the car while EB rode her last ride – the racecars.

We needed naps after that. Josh and I went the pier while the girls napped. I’d say it was because he wanted to spend some alone time with me, but, honestly, it was because he was trying to catch pokemon on his Pokemon Go. I know where I stand.

After naps, we headed to Toys R Us because we needed more pacifiers for Matilda (parenting fail). We also found their Target because when isn’t it a good time to go to target? The answer is never. Always go to Target.

Tuesday was our beach day. The whole morning was dedicated to just being at the beach.

Mattie spent the whole time playing in the sand because I think she’d had enough of the ocean beating up on her.

Ellabelle was in the water pretty much the entire time. She told me that she was “on a mission” while she was in the water. I never got a full explanation, but I hope she completed it.

Josh and I found a crab hanging out alone in the sand. Josh said it was dad crab trying to get some peace and quiet from his crab wife and crab kids. I think someone was projecting onto a sea critter.

We took it to show everyone, and I thought it would scare Oma, but she thought it was cool. Mattie cried the whole time.

So, for anyone keeping track, we learned that Mattie hates soft sand, the shower, the ocean, the pool, and crabs.

Ellabelle finally got to build her sandcastle

And look for sea shells too.

While we were on the beach, we had an umbrella up to keep the sun off the girls. Well, it decided to catch a breeze and fly away. Angie chased after it and almost stepped on two jellyfish. She did save it though.

And speaking of jellyfish, let me tell you about these sacks of stinging goo – they were EVERYWHERE. No joke. No exaggeration. The entire beach was covered in there. Josh calculated that we saw at least 45 of them the first 3 days we were there. We have no idea why there were so many of them, and we have no idea why on Thursday they had just completely vanished. Didn’t see a single jelly the last two days we were there. It was very strange.

Ok, so after our beach day and the traditional tuna day, we ended up at Harry the Hats for dinner. They have $.75 taco Tuesday. They had a swing on the back porch where we were sitting. The girls were immediately drawn to it.

They were fine one minute and then Mattie was face down under the swing screaming. We will never know what exactly happened because none of us were watching, but EB kept saying, “It was an accident!” Mattie scratched her face from her forehead down her nose to a bloody upper lip. She was fine though and we turned on the jukebox for the girls to dance to.

After dinner, Josh took Mattie back to the MB House to give her some special one on one time, and EB and I had a Mommy and Bee date to the putt putt right up the street. EB was actually pretty good considering she had never played before. The volcano on the course shot fire out, and she spazzed out, but it’s her favorite thing to talk about now.

Wednesday started with a trip to Urgent Care for Miss Matilda. She is my troublemaker, after all. She had had a minor cold the whole week previously, but it seemed to progress longer than it should have and her eyes were really snotty. Turns out she had pink eye and an ear infection. She made sure to share her cold with Oma who wasn’t feeling well by this point as well. So, Angie squeezed in between the car seat and booster seat and rode with us to the Boardwalk.

Ellabelle got her long anticipated (henna) tattoo.

We played at the arcade, and Mattie had a blast pulling the tickets out of the machines.

She did not like little car we put her in.

Let us check the tally: soft sand, the shower, the ocean, the pool, crabs, and quarter-powered cars.

It was a short visit because it was hot that day, and there really wasn’t a whole lot to do down there with the girls. So, I hit the Gay Dolphin which is a souvenir shop and got the girls license plates. They had Matilda, but I could only find a Belle for Ellabelle. The Ella’s were all sold out. I still did better than I expected considering my children have unusual names.

That night, Oma watched the girls so we could have a date night. We went to a hibachi cause it’s one of our favorite places. The people across the table were killing us with their special orders. They wanted barbeque steak. One – a Japanese restaurant does not have barbeque sauce to put on their Asian prepared steak. So they got a mix of teriyaki and hot sauce. Two – they ordered their steaks well done. So, painful. They’re daughter ordered double fried rice (which was a ton of rice since their portions were super large) and then exclaimed she didn’t like it and refused to eat it. She was a teenager by the way. This wasn’t a child who refused to eat the meal she ordered. Anyways, afterwards, we decided to go play putt putt. Josh tried to let me win, and I still managed to beat him anyways. I didn’t need any extra help, thank you very much.

On the way back to the MB House, we passed a TGIFridays, and I made Josh stop so we could get dessert since I love their Brownie Obsession. Poor Oma was still so sick so she went to bed and left the girls with Auntie Ang, but they were all in bed by the time we got home.  Ellabelle did get a special night walk with Auntie Ang on the beach.

Thursday morning, Ellabelle crept into our bedroom (like she does every morning) around 7:30. So, I decided we needed a Mommy-Bee beach date. With Mattie hating the water, it made taking them both to the beach a little more challenging, and this girl loves the water. So, I figured she would appreciate some extra wave time.

I borrowed Oma’s chair and let her go. Only thing was – she was not content to be out in the water alone. She kept coming back to talk to me and eventually managed to convince me to go out with her.

Watching her be out in the water was everything I had wanted for this trip – just pure joy from the very best nature has to offer. She reacted to the water the way I feel inside when I’m at the beach. That’s why it’s one of my happy places. I spent all of my summer vacations with my feet in that very same sand, loving the sea breeze and salty water (as long as it didn’t get in my eyes). I’ve wanted to provide her the same the opportunity to build those same memories. And thankfully, we were able to.

Afterwards, we planned on going to Barefoot Landing. EB decided she didn’t want to go. So, Mattie got some 1-on-1 time with mom and dad. We let her walk around which made her very happy.

She was terrified of the ducks though. Not sure why exactly. She ran and hid behind me on the water walk way when she saw them. She kept yelling, “No duck!” at them.

So, that’s soft sand, the shower, the ocean, the pool, crabs, quarter-powered cars, and ducks that Mattie hates. Josh got her a giant pacifier lollipop. She loved it.

I’m always so happy when we get the chance to have some time alone with each of our girls.

We had another short beach day. I was cranky because I couldn’t go in the water. Thankfully, Josh was willing to take Ellabelle out.

He also let the girls bury him in sand. We tried to make him a mermaid, but it didn’t quite work out.

There were seagulls flying all around. Mattie lost it. She hid with Auntie Ang. So, final tally: soft sand, the shower, the ocean, the pool, crabs, quarter-powered cars, ducks, and any non-flying birds. She’s a strange child.

We went to the Pirates Voyage dinner and show that night. It’s just like Dixie Stampede. So it was all food you eat with your hands. Ellabelle refused to touch any of it. Mattie loved it all. They both really liked the show. Ellabelle kept telling us about the mermaids she saw there.

After we got back to the MB House, Josh and I walked down to the pier one last time. I wanted to be on the water again before we left. He wanted to catch more pokemon.

Friday – it rained. That actually made it easier to leave. We were all packed and ready to go by 11:30, but we wanted to download a movie on the iPad for Mattie using the wifi. 2 hours later and there was an error with the download. 😒 We stopped at McDonalds, which took forever, and were finally headed home by 2pm. It felt like the trip home took twice as long as the trip down. We made it home around 4am. We were all so ready to sleep in our own beds.

The week was exhausting and wonderful. I hope that the memories Ellabelle made will last her forever. I know they will for me. We so desperately needed a step back from our day to day stresses so we could realign our priorities and perspectives. We are all so grateful that Oma and Opa made the whole trip possible. Ellabelle hasn’t stopped talking about it, and that is the best souvenir I could bring home.

Hippity Hoppity 

Easter started on Saturday for us. We went to the West Chester Fire Department’s Egg Hunt. It’s a fun event that the fire department puts on for the kids. I think it’s amazing because the firefighters buy and stuff the eggs themselves and then they run the event. It’s at a park near our house. The fields this year were covered in yellow dandelions as well as the fluffy seed version. The girls are obsessed with them so they kept picking as many as they could. 
They divide everyone up into age groups. We were lucky that both girls were in the 0-4 age group. So we lined up. They dump the eggs on the field and at 1pm sharp they honk the firetruck horn and everyone just runs. It’s literally like 30 seconds of egg collecting, but the kids love it. 

While we were waiting, we heard someone say, “Is this Matilda?” It was Mattie favorite friend from her babysitters! Her little friend was so happy to see her. Mattie just kept staring at her. Finally, about two minutes later, she smiled really big, pointed at her, and said, “Zoey!” I think she had a hard time placing her away from the babysitters house 😂

The girls had so much fun grabbing eggs. I was worried Mattie might be confused about what to do, but, once she picked up one egg, she wanted them all. Poor Josh had missed the hunt last year because he had Hand Foot and Mouth disease. So he was startled by the mob of kids and parents rushing 

Afterwards, we went to Mamaw and Papaw’s to visit for Mamaw’s birthday. The Easter bunny had left eggs there too! The girls hunted around the house, and Mattie was a pro at it by this point. She found more than Ellabelle, but thankfully she shared so they had an even number of gifts.  

That night, before bed, we planted our magic jelly beans. 

Actual Easter started like any other morning – Ellabelle running into our room to let us know she was awake. Only thing was she wasn’t suppose to be able to get to us. See the Easter bunny knew she’d come running through where all the eggs were hidden. So he put up the baby gate in her doorway. She apparently knows how to pull the lock out, lower, and move the baby gate. The Easter bunny did not know this. 🤦🏻‍♀️ She immediately whispered in excitement, “I saw easter eggs!”

I sent Josh to get Mattie up because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get Ellabelle to wait til she woke up. Josh made the mistake of letting Mattie stumble back to our bedroom. She does this every morning, but she kept stopping to grab eggs along the way. Finally he got her back to the bedroom. Once we were ready to actually hunt (bathroom used, diaper changed), we let the girls go free. 

Now, all week the weather report showed rain. It was suppose to rain overnight. So the Easter bunny was forced to hide the eggs inside. He also brought in the magic jelly bean lollipops. 

Turns out there wasn’t a drop of rain until noon in Easter Sunday. 😒 The inside hunt was still exciting for the girls. They loved running around, and Ellabelle did so good only picking up her color eggs. Mattie thought the whole thing was amazing and decided to use her shopping cart to hold her eggs. 

She wasn’t thrilled when I started opening them to show her there was items inside. She just wanted to shake the eggs. 

This year, the Easter bunny left us a very special scavenger hunt egg. It led to different places in the house and eventually told us to go to Oma and Opa’s house. The girls had eggs to hunt there as well. The Easter bunny even hid an egg at brunch! 

We colored eggs after brunch. This year no one broke any! 

And we played with bubbles because that’s what my two do. They’re bubble fiends. 

Our last clue from the scavenger hunt had us head home. When we got there, the Easter bunny had left a special beach basket for the girls. It had sunglasses, buckets and shovels, and a special mermaid outfit for each of them. 

The next weekend we had “fake” Easter with my mom’s side of the family. We had breakfast and another Easter egg hunt. The girls made over $50 total from there different hunts. 

Easter definitely made up for Christmas being so sucky. The girls had a blast, and that’s what holidays are all about for me. Making memories they’ll cherish and sharing traditions they’ll pass down is what matters most. The Easter bunny takes this round Santa 🐰>🎅🏻 You’ve got 8 months to step up your game, fat man. 

April (thus far) 

4/1 April started with Ellabelle’s first soccer game. The weather has been so wet that they ended up having to move it to an indoor field. Ellabelle’s team is lime green, and she had a blast. She only kicked the ball once during the game, but it may have been more than she did all of last season.

4/2 We had a busy day of Jungle Jims, mulching, playing with bubbles, and taking Maisy for a walk.

The girls love Jungle Jims because we always get them a cookie from the bakery which they eat while we walk around. They also love to stop and look at the live fish.

They adore bubbles. They asked all throughout the winter go outside and play with them.

We took Maisy for a walk, and she did what she does best, she laid down. In the middle of the road. So, she rode in the stroller the whole way back.

4/3 Mamaw’s sister died, and we went to the visitation after work. The girls, thankfully, had no idea what was going on. They ran around and jumped on furniture and acted like kids. No one seemed to mind. I think in such a sad time people were happy to be reminded of joy (at least that’s what I tell myself anyway). Mattie kept grabbing the packs of tissues the funeral home had all around and taking them to Mamaw. Over and over again, she’d grab a pack and run and find her.
 As we were leaving the funeral home, our car started smoking. We went to Cracker Barrel to eat with Mamaw, Papaw, and Trent. We luckily made it home from there. The car was in the shop for the whole week which was frustrating on top of infuriating. Cars make me so angry.

4/5 Josh somehow hurt his back, and he ended up having to go to the doctor to get it looked at. He couldn’t even stand up straight. He was given steroids and pain meds. He felt much better the next day.

4/7 The last fish fry of the year arrived. It was extra bittersweet as it may very well be the very last fish fry at Little Flower ever. I went to elementary school in that building. The church was our home church all the way through high school and even into college. To have no connection to it at all, it’s really sad. For over 20 years, we’ve been going to the fish fry. It was an end of an era.

On 4/8 and 4/9, Josh worked overtime. That didn’t keep us from having fun though. On Saturday, it was finally sunny and warm, so we tested out the sunpaper St. Nick brought Ellabelle. We picked flowers and leaves and dandelions and laid them out in the sun. EB was so excited, and she loved some one on one time with me. They turned out beautiful. We have a few more pages left so I’m sure we’ll make some more again soon.

On Sunday, Ellabelle started the day by going to work her daddy and hanging out.

It was still beautiful so we had popsicles outside in the driveway. Then I took the girls for a walk. I love being able to be outside as much as possible when it’s warm and sunny, and I know the girls love it too.

We even went out to moon gaze that night.

4/9 Our air conditioner stopped working at the end of last summer. We never got it fixed because we survived with fans until fall arrived. So we had someone come look at it in preparation for the warmer temps. Turns out it needs to be completed replaced because it’s over 25 years old (which is ancient for an A/C). No sure how we’re going to manage it yet. 😣 Money, man. It makes life suck. Well, not having any does.

4/10 The girls have really been into dress up lately. I think it’s because Mattie loves dress up, and EB never wants to be left out. So we had two little princesses running around until bedtime. It makes me stop and think when I see how happy these dresses make them. It’s something so simple yet it’s all they need to feel so special.

 4/12 Ellabelle finally had her first soccer practice. She did really well, and Mattie was unhappy the entire time. We bribed her with donuts (which worked temporarily), but all she wanted was to play soccer too.

4/13 Josh and I went and had lunch at a park downtown. It was a much needed refresher during what has been probably the most stressful week of my entire life. This week has been worse than studying for law school exams. The only thing worse was the day into the night that EB broke her leg and was in the hospital. Anyways, we sat in the sun, talked without being interrupted by children, and enjoyed the flowers. It was a nice and much needed recharge.

 I also took the girls outside to play with bubbles again. We’re gonna need to invest stock in them with the way we go through them.

Tomorrow starts our two weekends of Easter fun. There’s lots of things instore – 2 soccer games, brunch, egg hunts, visiting grandparents, and Fake Easter. It will also be very busy because we’ll be leaving for the beach in two weeks and need to pack. I cannot wait for it all to begin!

Keeping and Building Memories (for Grandma’s birthday) 

I’m sitting here, at my desk, waiting for a disc to burn on my computer. There’s an annoying sunbeam that peaks through the top of the closed blinds that is actually welcomed. It’s been a while since it’s irritated my eyes while I tried to work. I’m sipping my morning cup of tea. There’s a little Lipton tag hanging down the side of my mug. And I’m thinking about my grandma. Every time I see Lipton tea I think of her, but especially today.

It’s her birthday.
98 years ago Ethyl Louise was born.

And when I think about her birthday it always makes me think about a birthday 93 years later – when Ellabelle Louise was born. I have come to closely link the two in my head. Because of them name, of course, but also because I believe my grandma is the reason we both survived that day in July almost 5 years ago. I don’t believe in angels or heaven, but I do believe those we love don’t leave us. I know our souls go somewhere beyond here and, on that day, my grandma told that doctor to skip her shower and get to the hospital as fast as she could. I also know that she was holding onto my baby to keep her safe until the doctor could get her out earthside. I’m pretty sure Josh thinks I’m crazy for thinking this, but I feel it in my heart. Regardless of it’s true or not, it makes me happy.

I mourn my grandparents never being able to meet my babies, on this side of the universe anyways. I know how much they would’ve loved them because I know how much they loved me. It amazes me to think that this woman I only had the privilege of knowing for 19 years had such an impact on me. Honestly, as sad as it makes me, there’s so much I don’t know about her and her life. So many things I would want to know now especially since I’m older. But that doesn’t change how she made me feel and her love still lives inside me today.
I want to be that kind of person, leave that kind of legacy. I want my children and grandchildren to love me as fiercely as Ethyl’s did. I want my children to have those kinds of bonds to their grandparents. I want them to leave such an impression on them that when it’s almost 10 years later, they still ache from missing them. I want them to build memories so solid that they can’t see or hear or smell certain things without thinking about them and smiling.

For me, it’s Lipton tea, ginger, blowing kisses at the door, and her smell. I don’t know exactly what she wore, but I was in Yankee candle store one day and lifted a darker pink candle to my nose and it stopped my breath. They call it “Rose of Morocco.” To me, it flooded me with memories of my grandma.

For my grandpa, I feel a squeeze when I see Pepsi cans, cocktail shakers, dum dums and horse races. Josh tells me about his Mamaw every time we hear a tree frog, and he brings up his Grandma whenever he sees liver and onion on a menu or bran muffins in a store. He tells me stories about cigar smoke and orange Gatorade when reminiscing about his grandpa.

For my kids, it’ll be completely different. Maybe it’ll be the smell of almond extract from baking with Oma every Christmas. Or peppermint because she has an unhealthy obsession with it. Maybe they’ll associate the click and fuzziness that happens for a second when an old radio gets turned on with Opa, just like I do. It’s probably more likely they’ll associate Opa with Good and Plentys, whipped cream, and suckers (much like I do with my grandpa). Maybe it’ll be the smell of the grill that takes them back to their Papaw’s house, and maybe whenever they see fuzzy socks they’ll think of Mamaw (in fact, they already do).

Memories are all we leave behind. It’s really hard to take in the enormity of that (for me anyways). I hope I create such loving memories with my children that they pass that love on for generations. Someday I’ll do the same for my grandchildren.

My grandmother spent 88 years here on earth. That’s a lot of life. I only got about 13-14 years of memories I can actually remember out of that. It was enough though. If you love big enough and strong enough, even the smallest bit is enough.

I love you and miss you, Grandma! Happy birthday! 🎂