Bracing through the roller coaster ride:)

This was great for me to read since I wrote it about 3 months ago. I’ve come a long way baby!

So its been 3 weeks and 1 day since I had Audrey Rose. At moments it feels like it has really flown by, at other moments, like it’s been the longest 3 weeks of my life. Let me preface this post by saying we fully understand what a miracle it is that we have her and are so very thankful for this special blessing. We prayed for her for so long and wanted her for several years. We feel so blessed that the Lord saw fit to entrust us with her. But while we are in the throes of adjustment, there are moments when it is really hard.

I feel like most people aren’t willing to talk about it, I’m not sure why. Maybe it feels wrong to, maybe it goes by faster for others than me, maybe most people don’t have a hard time with change like I do? I think that is what it boils down to for me, I really don’t handle any type of change very well, and I’ve heard it said that the only certain thing in life is that things change.

It feels like a roller coaster and from what I’ve read, that’s exactly what my body is going through right now. I joked with G the other day that I wish having a baby weren’t so hard. He gently reminded me that it’s because of sin that it’s not. One moment I feel anxious and worried over something that isn’t for a long time away or something that may not ever happen. The next moment, I feel exhilarated and excited about nothing in particular. It’s exhausting!

One thing that I have been constantly reminded of these past few weeks is the gently presence of my Savior. He has answered my prayers and cries for help. He has brought peace when I needed it. He has provided wonderful friends that have helped us tremendously by bringing meals or by just coming over to hang out. He has helped the girls adjust wonderfully to all the changes and both of them at different times today have said on their own that they are so happy to have Audrey in our home. That warms my heart like nothing else.

I am so richly blessed far more than I could ever deserve.

Yesterday morning I debated about keeping AJ home from school because she hasnt been feeling very well, but when I went in their room, she jumped out of bed with a smile on her face and said “good morning mom!”. Normally she has a little trouble getting up in the mornings, but not yesterday. Then she told me and Gabe at breakfast that Jesus came to her during the night and touched her throat, and He prayed for her. She said God was there too. I didn’t challenge her at all- I wish I could have been there with her when He visited:) I pray daily for Ansley Jane to accept Jesus as her Savior. That kid knows way more scripture than I do- she is literally hiding it away in her heart and when it comes to mind, she says it. So at times when I don’t feel like getting the kids to and from Awana, it’s good to remind myself that it is making a difference in their lives and when they are older, they will have God’s word in their hearts to help them.

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Coupons: I’m back!

So a few years ago I had a good friend in Nashville that turned me on to couponing. It took me a little while, but I got the hang of it, and this might sound a little cocky, but I was pretty good at it. Then we moved. That changed. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t have the drive to spend the time to do it. Even though it had saved us a lot of money, I just didn’t feel the same adrenaline rush when I would get a good deal. So, I’ve been half-doing coupons since we moved here. But, I am happy to announce that I am back! This week has been the best week so far and tonight’s purchases were some of the best I have made in a REALLY long time.

I have changed my organization system and I really like it. This week, my Kroger trip cost $134.86, but I paid $76.42 out of pocket. I stocked up on a few items and bought some non-grocery items so this was pretty good savings of $58.44.

Then I hit up Publix and my total was $56.32, but I paid $22.36 out of pocket. Another good savings of $33.96.

Then for the best deal I got this week! CVS. Love it. I had 2 transactions. On the first, I bought 2 packs of dental floss, which were $3.99 each, and I got 4 ECBs back for this purchase. I had 2 $2 off coupons, so I paid $4.36 out of pocket. On my second transaction, I bought 2 bottles of Aveeno lotion for $13, and a bag of gum for .99. The total was $14.36. I had 5 ECBs from October, add the 4 ECBs I had just got from my previous transaction, then add my $3 off coupon purchase of 2 Aveeno lotions, plus another $1 off coupon of Aveeno, and I only paid $1 and some change! If you add everything up, the total all together was $22, I paid a little less than $6, and I got 7 ECBs back from buying the lotion, so I actually made money at CVS! My goal is to roll some ECBs so that I always have some- tonight I actually came away with more than I went with!

And, I felt the adrenaline rush and the satisfaction of a job well done! The girls were with me and Neely was asking questions about how I did that. It was fun explaining it to her and teaching the girls about being responsible with money and how when I can do a good job with couponing, I won’t have to work so much- which means more time at home with them:)

On another note- 6 days and counting til Baby Norris #3 joins us! Maybe she’ll be named by then?

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A fun weekend

The girls were out of school a couple of days this past week and I didn’t work, so we have had a really fun few days. Gabe spent the weekend with the guys at the golf tournament so we tried to make the most of our girl time:) Thursday we had gymnastics and a visit to the podiatrist (OK, that’s not one of the fun things we did). Friday we stayed home and played with friends, then each girl invited a friend to the movies. Ansley Jane insisted on sitting by me, which was fine with Neely because she and her friend wanted to sit on their own row:( Today we started the day exchanging some church shoes to get the right size, then went to Hobby Lobby to get supplies for making t-shirts that say Big Sister. Then we had lunch at Locos, then hit the Fall Festival in downtown Watkinsville. We had a hayride and walked around looking at all the booths, then got their faces painted, like a pink spider woman, and headed home. The girls were really excited to make their t-shirts and are very proud!

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Neelys baptism

Today is a big day for Neely Peely. She accepted Christ as her Savior a little over a year ago and has been learning and growing since then. She has been begging to get baptized since then so she can let everyone know about her decision. She finished her new Christians class at our church in May and today is the day! I thought I’d let her share in her own words what this all means to her:

What did it mean when you asked Jesus into your heart? “That I will be a Christian and have eternal life”.

What does that mean? “That I will live in Heaven one day with Jesus and God”

Why did you ask Jesus into your heart? “Because I learned that you don’t have to wear a crown on your head or a fancy pink dress. It just matters what Jesus thinks about me and that makes me a princess of God. I know I sin and I need Him.”

What did Jesus do you for? “He died on the cross to save me from my sins. I didnt deserve for Him to die for me. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life”.

What do you do now that you are a Christian? “It makes me have a better life. If people don’t have anything or know God and if they went to my school, I’d ask them to sit down on the side with me and I’d talk to them about God. I read the Bible and pray and try to get to know Him better and do what’s right”.

What are you doing today? “I’m getting baptized and I’m very excited. Daddy’s gonna dip me in the water and in 5 seconds he will raise me up. It shows that Jesus died and was buried, and He rose again”.

Does getting baptized save you? “No, asking Jesus into your heart saves you. I can’t just ask God to please come into my heart. He won’t do that just for fun. You have to really ask Him, tell him I know I’ve done wrong, and please come into my heart and change me”.

Why do we get baptized? “To tell the church that I was dead in sin, but I now have eternal life”.

I am so happy for Neely and proud of her decision to trust the Lord. We’ve prayed for this since before she was born. Mom and Dad are here and Tootise Roll is coming this morning to support her and share in our joy.

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Disney with my family!

My Dad is a great man and he has dedicated his life to service. He has been a pastor my entire life and has been in the National Guard for as long as I can remember. He spent this the past year as the state chaplain for Louisiana, and retired in May. To celebrate, we talked him into taking a trip to Disney! What better way to celebrate? A great perk for celebrating this way is the amazing deal Disney was giving to military families. We stayed at Shades of Green and visited Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Sea World. It was a whirlwind of a few days, but so much fun! My girls will definitely never forget this trip, and that they were able to ride scary roller coasters with Nana and Pops.

The hard part of the trip was that I am so pregnant! I was 26 weeks when we were there, and it was sooooooo HOT. Gabe and I wanted to celebrate my dad’s retirement, and also make a really special memory with the girls before our baby is born. We know it will be a while before we are able to do anything like this again.

The girls experienced the Bippity Boppity Boutique, or is it Bibbity Bobbity Boutique, not sure, but it was so much fun! The fairy godmother’s in training made each girl feel so special. How cute is Piper? My sister Heathers family was there and the kids always love being with their cousins. It was pretty funny to watch them interact. While the girls were at the boutique being transformed into princesses, the boys were being transformed into pirates at the Pirates of the Caribbean. They looked completely different, I wish I had some pictures of them in their pirate get-up. Throughout the day we would watch the girls, all decked out in the princess attire, battle the pirates with their swords and guns.

One thing that really sticks out as a great memory is that the girls were chosen to be part of the finale of the Lion King show at Animal Kingdom. They were sooooo excited. They marched around in a circle playing instruments to the Circle of Life. It was great.

We ended our day at Magic Kingdom with the parade, which was more crowded than anything we experienced that day. Then Gabe and I drove, wait, I should clarify that, Gabe drove us to Tifton where we spent the night so that we could get home at a decent time on Sunday to recooperate before school on Monday. We got to Tifton around 3am! My husband is THE man.

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Pigeon Forge with the Norris’

This summer has been jam-packed with traveling and camps and swimming pools. To say it has been a full summer is an understatement. I’m not quite ready for it to be over and plan on making the most of these last 2 weeks. We got back yesterday from Pigeon Forge. We spent 3 days there with the Norris family and had a great time.

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We went to the Dollywood water park which was so much fun. I hadn’t been to a water park in 15 years and my how they have changed! The girls LOVED it. We also spent an afternoon at a race track and rode go-carts, bumper cars, water bumper boats, and of course we ate great! Gatlinburg is a beautiful area and we really enjoyed the ride there through the mountains.

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Ansley Jane’s missing tooth

Ansley Jane just turned 5 in May so it is a little early for her to be losing any teeth. But, she has. Her bottom two teeth have been loose for a long time and one especially was driving her crazy. We went to training week with Gabe and were hanging out with the staff in the gym one night. Ansley Jane decided she’d had enough and when her dad offered to pull it, she agreed. Here she is showing her bravery.

She was so excited! She took her tooth all over the gym and I do believe she went up to all 300 staff to show them:)

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