Their Second Christmas!

Hi everyone,

I hope that you have had a wonderful holiday season. We sure did even though it was extremely busy. Our holiday season or week started here at home. We had our small Christmas with our girls the Friday before we left town. It was really nice and intimate which is what we really wanted. We like having our moments with the girls without all the hustle and bustle of family holidays. Which for our family is definitely the case. The next morning we set off for Houston to have Christmas with my family. Since Joel and I have been together, we have rotated holidays with our parents. This year was Thanksgiving with his family so Christmas was with mine.

We made it in to Houston around 5 pm on the Saturday before Christmas. We were able to spend a few days with my family and our Houston friends. We celebrated Joel’s birthday while we were there which was so much fun. Christmas day is always a crazy day for us. I am used to splitting the day between my parents but adding a husband and small children into the mix and it is a full day.

We started out Christmas morning at my mom’s where we had been staying for the whole week. After an early lunch we headed out to my dad’s house which is an hour away. We spent a few hours there before heading back to my mom’s side of town to my aunt and uncle’s house. We were only there for an hour before the girls had enough and had to go home to bed. Brooke chose for a no nap day on Christmas. Luckily Bailey still chose to sleep on the way to my dads. Brooke was exhausted really early and became very fussy. Honestly I was okay with needing to go because I too was exhausted.

The whole day had been a blast of watching the girls open presents and interact with family. This was the first time they were actually wanting to open the gifts. With a little prompting they tore open the presents with little issues. By the end of the day they were tired of opening presents and rather board with the idea. I think that future gift opening experiences will be more exciting to them.

We had such a wonderful holiday with my family for a few days but we still needed to spend some time with his family. So the morning after Christmas we drove to Kilgore to spend time with his family. We only spent two days with them before heading back but we still had fun.

The holidays are so much fun but it is a wild ride to make sure that we fit everyone in and spend plenty of time with everyone.

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When Will It Ever End

I am trying my hardest to stay positive each and every day to set an example for children, my husband, and to make myself feel happy. I have not always seen the ups of things but I am trying to turn a new leaf and see the bigger more positive picture. With that being said, things just keep hitting us hard around here. It’s enough that I have found myself crying on multiple occasions, as well as wondering why we are being kicked around a little.

We started our master bathroom remodel a little sooner than we had originally anticipated. The decision came to start the bathroom because we were ready to move on to something else and it was good timing with family not coming to visit for a while. Perfect time to go down to one bathroom or so we thought. Although, the timing seemed right nothing else seemed to come together. We called plumber after plumber for quotes and found that what we originally thought was going to be fairly inexpensive, actually was quite costly. We finally picked a plumber after two weeks of meeting with them. The next week he started work. He was supposed to start on Monday but called us two hours after his scheduled arrival time to tell us he was not coming that day. Then Tuesday he comes out but does not have all of his equipment so he has to leave after working just a few short hours. He comes back Wednesday and Thursday to work, again these are only partial work days. Now what I did not mention earlier is that this job was supposed to take three days max to move a tad bit of plumbing. So day three would have been Thursday. Friday, he came to work but again was several hours late like he had been each day he had been working at our house. I have tried to stay patient and calm through this whole thing. But I am a person who believes that you must always be on time to your job and it does not look good if you are constantly late. So, this of course was one of the many things bothering me about our plumber. So, this Friday he comes to work three hours late because he had other things to do. It was also a day that a cold front came in and we were having extremely cold weather for November. He was again unable to finish his job because he didn’t have the right tools. He was supposed to come finish on Sunday. On Sunday, the roads were too cold and bad for him to drive so he didn’t come. Monday he came out to finish the pouring of the concrete. That is all he did for Monday. The entire rest of the week was a bust because of Thanksgiving holiday so we expected him to come out the next Monday. No…he didn’t come back out until the following Saturday. Finally, after three weeks of dealing with this guy being late, working part time, jack hammering in my house, cutting lines he shouldn’t have and then having those extra repairs. He finally finished the job.

So, we thought it would be okay to continue with the next part of the bathroom remodel. Then another cold front comes in and we start noticing that our heater isn’t warming the house right. The laundry room and half bathroom are maintaining 50 degrees and below. Laundry was becoming a hated event in my house because your froze just trying to switch it over. In October we decided to have the air ducts cleaned. We live in a 50 year old house so it needed the cleaning. I need to also mention that we have a reverse system in our house. Our supply ducts blow at ground level with all air ducts below the slab in the ground. We have returns in each room that are at the ceiling level. It is completely backwards from most houses we have seen but evidently, this is the we people built houses out here in the 1960’s. We got all of the ducts cleaned and installed a whole home hepa filter to help block dust or any germs that come into the house that could be blown across the floor where the girls are playing.

This was the first time we had really had to use the heater so we didn’t realize that it wasn’t heating properly. We had it checked in October and they told us it was fine. The ac seemed to be keeping the house cool, not as cool as we wanted but it was still working. So, we were shocked when it wasn’t working. Joel took apart the unit under the furnace to check for damages. He found a lot of rust and dirt where they should have cleaned. So, he called the company back out to clean the ducts again. He was upset that they did not do the job right in the beginning. Well, the guys came out this week to clean and check the systems. When they took it apart to clean they found that it had been cleaned properly but that the ducts had collapsed underneath the house. There is no way to fix air ducts that are beneath a concrete slab. So, the only thing we could do was reverse the units. Of course, our furnace was only a down draft so we had to buy a new one. And of course, the ducts are 50 years old and need replacing because of the lack of proper air flow throughout the house. So, this was becoming really pricey. Especially since our ac unit is a high end one therefore the furnace has to match it in order to properly communicate. This is the only time I had ever been frustrated with having a high end unit. Well, when we looked at the two units and what to do, it actually became cheaper to buy a whole new home unit. This meant we were replacing the outside ac, the furnace, and the air ducts in the attic. The company worked with us and we were able to get the new equipment in within two days of ordering.

So, that brings me to today. I have been stuck all day long in the house, actually trapped in one room with my girls and our dog. It is too cold to go outside and play or go for a walk. Not to mention I have a lot of people in here working on the ac and furnace. They got here at 9:30 am and have been working nonstop. But that means drilling and banging all day long for me to listen to as well. I have to admit, they have been really respectful of my wishes and tried to not disturb my children during nap time. It has just been a very long day. The stresses of having this nightmare on top of trying to remodel our home has been a bit much for me. I want to pack up and get the heck out of here as fast as I can drive but I know that that is not the right thing to do.

I know that everyone has their ups and downs in life and that it is just something we must deal with. But does it ever feel like enough is enough? Or does anyone else want to scream because its non stop? I know that I do. And I’m sure that makes me fail sometimes at being a Christian and not having my full faith and trust in the Lord. But I think it also makes me human. As I said before, I am trying to be a better person and show a good example with my children which is why I am turning to my blog to vent. My husband cannot sit and listen to my complaints because it makes him feel bad for having us in a house like this. I know that he didn’t intend on the massive amount of remodel that we would face. I am so ready for these projects to end so we can sit back and relax for a moment. Life becomes too much sometimes and I miss those days where it was easy. I think most people feel that way.

Thanks  for listening to my vent.


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Traveling With Babies And Toddlers

Traveling with babies is so much different then traveling with toddlers. Having appointments in Dallas every week for months I became good at traveling with babies by myself. The girls having such a strict schedule helped traveling for the first few months. Many people suggest that you travel while they sleep and stop at places while they are awake but for us that just wasn’t a reality. We often times traveled alone on the long journey so changing and feeding was a task I did alone. I got into a good routine with the girls to help me along the way.

Feeding on the Road

Because we were on the road so much we purchased two bottle warmers for the car which were so helpful for me. I also found that liquid travel formula bottles worked a lot better for us. I would prepare two bottles before we left in the morning and pack an ice chest with the remaining formula for the trip. Thirty minutes before we stopped I would pull out their bottles and put them in the warmers to begin warming up. When I stopped around their feeding time, I always made sure that I stopped at a rest area so that I could get out myself. I would take the girls into the restrooms with me in their carriers. It was okay at first carrying them but soon became really hard as they got heavier. I would change them in the car because rest areas did not have diaper changing stations. Then I would give them their warm bottles while they sat in their carriers. I carried gas drops because burping wasn’t the easiest on the road. After the girls finished drinking their milk I would fill up the next bottle and put it in the cooler for the next feeding. This worked really well at first but became a challenge when the girls started eating solid foods.

When the girls began eating solids at most meals I wasn’t sure what I was going to do on the road. I didn’t want to only give them milk because they were at the age that they needed the nutrients from actual food. I was really starting to worry until I found the squeeze pouches at the grocery store. I was very excited about the squeeze pouches! I found twist on spoons that had lids to go with the squeeze pouches. This was perfect for traveling with the girls. I was able to buy pouches for the road and feed them at the stops like I had the formula. Again, this was a short time of being able to use the pouches because then the girls transitioned to finger foods. I was hoping that we would be finished with the Dallas trips by the time they reached this stage but we were not.

When they transitioned to this stage I had to take longer breaks on the road for feeding. I was not comfortable with them eating finger foods while I was driving. I was spending so long on the road at this point that I just couldn’t spend any more time alone in the car. I asked my husband and my mom to help me with the trips. Thankfully they were able to travel with me and I could sit with the girls while they ate finger foods. We purchased two travel play and snack trays that could buckle around their car seats. They worked great for finger foods in the car. The girls have been able to eat in the car and us drive without a huge mess.


In the beginning, traveling wasn’t as hard. The girls slept most of the way and didn’t mind being in their car seats. About 5 months old they stopped being so calm in the car. We had to do something to change how they were in the car. I was making long trips and couldn’t have babies screaming for 10 hours in the car. As much as we hated to do it, we caved and bought dvd players for them to listen and watch. Most of the time I tried to play baby einstein or music to soothe them. This really helped in the beginning but they soon became bored with the shows and music. We had to transition to movies and their favorite shows. The girls had the toys on the car seats for entertainment as well. Long hours in the car can only handle so much playing with the same toys.

I was so glad when we switched to the convertible car seats because they could sit up and play. I made some velcro pictures that they could remove and place back, similar to a puzzle. They would play with that and read books so the dvd players were not on as long. Now we can play and read in the car and only watch the minimum of tv. The girls still get bored being in the car so we try to stop and let them stand and play for longer breaks.

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