Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Who Ya Rootin' For?

Girls, I cave. When I saw Heather & Emily's posts this morning about this linkup. I jumped on the bandwagon because well..duh. Insert all the Tennessee hashtags. #vfl #volnation #gbo #brickbybrick

(P.S. Emily's post will probably crack you up as much as it did me. "imaginary football team" I died.)

Today I'm linking with Shelly to share a little piece of my heart that bleeds orange. It's no secret around here that we're pretty big Vols fans. That being said, there's MANY people I know that DIE-HARD fans around here...I mean, they take the "bleed orange" thing to a new level of fan-dom. 


I could care less about pro-football until the Super Bowl and I'm ALL about some food, commercials and half-time show. But now, college football...that's a different story. Somehow my love for college football and specifically UT didn't come from family and didn't come from having been born and raised in the South, or always living an hour and a half from Knoxville, it was self-taught at some point during my early teen years. 

TN fans are loyal and even after the worst season, they'll come back next week saying, "We've got a good shot next year!" Disappointment doesn't last long. 

TN fans love their history and traditions. They live for Saturdays in Knoxville. I know probably everybody linking up today will say something similar to this...which, by the way, I just LOVE. College football fans are the BEST to the teams they adore! 


I thought I would share just a few of the things I love the most about our beloved team and traditions. A couple of years ago, the UT band, "The Pride of the Southland Band" came up with a catchy take on rapper, Lil Jon's song "Turn Down for What" (which I have NO CLUE what the heck that means) but the Vols' "THIRD DOWN FOR WHAT" erupts the stadium every time our defense holds the offense to their dreaded third down. Love it or hate it, it was true marketing GENIUS on the band's part! 


No matter where you go on Saturdays around here, you'll see the masses decked out in their orange, cars and houses flying their orange flags. Car dealerships bring out the orange and white balloons. The East Bound lanes of I-40 are a sea of orange on Saturday mornings. 

Only this week we'll be wearing orange on Thursday. I'm still not sure I like the idea of playing on Thursday night, but nonetheless, I've got my outfit picked out already for work that day! 


We love our coaches and past coaches. Unless they turn out out to be idiots like that Kiffin rascal who's just a nut-job. A few years ago former coach, Phil Fulmer, was our "celebrity" at the hospital's annual golf tournament. Goes without saying he drew a HUGE crowd that year for our event. 


And then, there's our current coach, Butch Jones. You want to talk about a man who came in and fired and a team, school and fan base up...here's your man. 


What would a Vols post be without mentioning the most beloved Vol for Life of all times..ever. We're from the south where we name our kids after him, our pets after him, our roads after him, our buildings after him. We were suddenly die-hard Colts fans and then quickly die-hard Broncos fans. #16 will always have us wrapped around his finger!

#givehimsix


Game Days in Knoxville. Do we even have all day to talk about the events and excitement in the air?!

The band and team make their way through campus a couple hours before the game for the long-standing "Vol Walk". If you come to a UT game, you don't come for kickoff, you come for the Vol Walk before the game, if not, you're considered late and in which case may the odds be ever in your favor. 


Neyland Stadium sits right off of the Tennessee River. Many fans come in by boat, creating what we call...wait for it...The Vol Navy.



Two years ago, the school rolled out the Checker Neyland game early in the season. Our endzones are painted our famous orange and white checkerboard, so why not spend hours conjuring up a master plan to do the same to the whole stadium?!  Fans simply check a website prior to the game to see if they're ticket has them wearing orange or white for that day...and voila...the perfect plan comes together in all of this beauty!


I mentioned the band earlier, but yall...this band. They're the best! You'll be singing "Rocky Top" in your sleep for days after a game! 

Prior to the teams taking the field, the band plays and eventually forms our "power T"...when the T separates...here they come! 


Oh Neyland Stadium....how we love you and the 102,455 fans you seat every weekend!

Image result for neyland stadium meme

Game days are made exponentially better with your favorite fans. before Stephen and I started dating (which thankfully, the Stafford family are die-hards) I typically went to the games with my cousin Jared. He often gets season tickets and we would have the best time!


Jared's sister, also my cousin obviously, Ann Marie and I have also enjoyed our share of games together! 

But in recent years, I've found my favorite game day date! 


Last year we carpooled to Knoxville with our friends Katie and Robert for a game and we had the best time together. This season, Katie and I are both pregnant, so we may have to wait until next year before we do this again! You can bet our babies will be decked out in their best orange! 


And if none of that convinces you to like our Vols, here's one of the best hype videos for this season! Watch 'til the end for a little preview of September 10....we're playing The Biggest College Football Game Ever! Can't take the redneck completely out of us...we're playing football at a racetrack! 


It's Football Time in Tennessee!!!








Friday, August 26, 2016

Life Lately

August is always such a busy month for us, and seems to fly by so fast each year! Take our normal busy August and throw in 3 out of 4 baby showers, and I'm pretty sure some days we've barely been keeping our heads above water. Chaos aside, it's one of my favorite months of the year! 

Here's a little bit of our August so far!

Ok, technically, let's start on July 30. My beautiful grandmother turned 85 on this day and we celebrated by doing a little shopping together. My cousins and I are all very close with our grandparents, but somehow I feel like there's just a different bond between them and I. She will often call me on a Saturday morning and eventually get to the question of "what do you have planned today?" Which interprets....I'd like to go to town and I'd like for you to drive me. I can never say no to her. ESPECIALLY, if she calls and asks me that on her actual birthday! She's just the sweetest thing and I love her so, so much! 


Ok, so you're about to see some teeny little peaks into our girls' nursery in the next few pics. Once the room is complete, I'll do a full post! After our first baby shower back on the 6th, we just unloaded all the gifts and left them in their room for a couple of days until I felt like I had enough energy to sort through it all, put it away, etc. 


But wait, can we just talk a minute about how stinkin' cute these UT onesies, black leggings and little shoes are?!! P.S....they're small enough for this year's season! Insert all the high-pitch squeals!


I ended up taking off the following Monday after our shower and spent a few hours unpacking all the gifts, sorting, folding, piling, putting away. It has been by far one of my favorite chores ever. 


Stephen's aunt is making the girls' carseat covers. I've had my eye on all fun things flamingo related lately, but haven't been sure if it would fit into the overall look I'm going for in my nursery plans. When I went to buy fabric for the carseat colors and saw THIS print and matched it with two others, all bets were off and we've got a little flamingo fun headed our way after all! 


I posted this on IG a while ago, but still wanted to share it here for memory's sake. I was cleaning out my purse one night (talked about best chore ever earlier, cleaning out a purse ranks high on worst chore ever list. #amiright?) I picked out all the loose change and thought "Oh! I'll put it in those piggy banks the girls got at the shower!" Then caught myself with my second thought, "But wait....it needs to be even amounts!" I guess is the start of all things "even", ha. 


Were you as addicted to the Olympics as we were? I looked over one night (ahem...during the women's Gymnastics finals) and found Stephen hiding behind a pillow watching either Simone Biles or Aly Raisman (I can't remember which one) compete in their floor routine. He was so nervous for them it was hilarious. #wetaketheolympicsseriously


I took a screen shot of my phone on my birthday, but it's turned out SO blurry. I literally had left my office for maybe 5 minutes. In that 5 minutes my brother in law and one of Stephen's friends managed to blow up my text inbox with 49 messages. It was definitely one of those "what in the world?!!?" moments. 


A few weeks ago I ordered Amelia & Mae Parker's coming home outfits from one of my favorite IG / Etsy shops to follow...skcreationss on IG! They delivered on my birthday and were the perfect "gift" to receive. It was the first time seeing their monogram on anything and I couldn't love them more!


Later that night, we had dinner out with my family and then all came back to our house for cake. What's a birthday without cake and my nephews!?!


Another IG repost. Stephen stopped by a local store one day last week to buy a maternity support band for me. We guessed on the size and boy were we waaaaay off. We have laughed SO MUCH about this goofup since it happened. It measured exactly SIX FEET LONG! Stephen was too embarrassed to take it back for exchange fearing they lady already thought he was married to apparently a beached whale. I took it back and explained what we did and they gladly replaced it with a much smaller size!


I passed the much dreaded glucose test on Friday with flying colors. Here's my thoughts on it: 
1. It's really not as bad as anyone tells you. LISTEN TO ME on this one. 
2. You only have 5 minutes to drink the whole bottle. I didn't know this.
3. It tasted like Hawaiian Punch, maaaybe a tad sweeter, but that's the closest comparison I can make to it. 
4. According to the office lab people, it's the (if needed) 3 hour repeat test that has a tendency to make mama's feel bad. In the private FB group I'm in for Fall 2016 Moms of Multiples (or whatevs the name is) many girls were complaining lately about the 1 hour test and how awful they felt after, how sick they got, they had to have someone drive them home, etc. I'd be lying if I said this didn't stir up some anxiety in me, but after the first sip I knew I was going to be fine, and I was. So if this drink / test has made you sick in the past, my apologies for going through that but fortunately I can't relate on that one. 


It's not every night, but it's close. This is what my bedtime routine has looked like lately which makes me feel like I'm a 75 year old. 1 Prenatal Vitamin, 1 Metformin (for previous issues that are actually non-issues now they're just not taking me off the dang thing), 2 Tylenol (#imissibuprofren) and 1 Pepcid (#praisejesus)


Speaking of Friday's appointment...as usual I got to see our girls again. (Stephen couldn't make it to this particular appointment...it's been the only one he's missed. The waiting room wait just wasn't the same.) 

I've shared before how Amelia WILL NOT give them a good look at her face. Well, I'm happy to report she's a consistent little brat. Regardless of the poking and prodding and turning that the ultrasound tech did....she didn't budge. Amelia is PERFECTLY happy head down facing my spine. So happy, that we got ZERO pictures of her this time. 

Now, Mae Parker on the other hand. 

As usual. 

Was her normal rockstar self. 

She gave us a great profile shot....


(Does her head look gigantic or is it just me?? Stephen has a big head. Literally not figuratively. Well, sometimes that too.)

Then she turned right at us as to say, "Hi Mom...here's my face since sister won't show hers."


We have another pic of MP from the profile angle that shows her smiling really big. It was the sweetest thing that the tech I both saw happen at same time. Unfortunately, the picture printed pretty dark, so it's hard to see it on there. 

We go back again in two weeks for our next check up! It's been the most incredible journey watching and feeling these girls grow! We're so thankful each day!

That's a little of our Life (August) Lately! Hope you have a wonderful weekend with your favorite people!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

16 Questions

Last week, my blogger friend, Sarah posted her "16 Questions About Me" and encouraged other bloggers to answer the same questions. Well, you should know I'm an absolute sucker for posts like these...probably because I'm nosy about what others are doing...which also explains my blog reading fascination! 

Feel free to play along as we get to know each other a little better!


1. Are you named after anyone? Sorta. Does it count if your mom wanted a boy so bad, you got the female version of his name? The story goes, I went nameless for the first few days of my life because ‘ol Shirley was convinced she was having a boy and completely unprepared to have another girl. Finally, after much pestering from family members to name me before they left the hospital with me….she caved. Eric Daniel became Erica Danielle. (And it took DAYS to come up with this?!)


2. When was the last time you cried? Well, let’s see pregnancy hormones times 2. I cried Sunday night. I was so uncomfortable and got so discouraged. I cried because I had let myself get down, not that I was hurting. Then Stephen said some something out of the blue, sweet and encouraging that I cried some more. #gome

 

3. Do you have kids? Give me about two months, and I’ll have 2.

4. Will you ever bungee-jump? Nope, not now. My cousin Sarah and I went on a cruise together back in our single days and had the best time zip-lining through the Jamaican rainforests and one stop along the course was a free fall. Others in our  group said they could hear my scream from quite a ways off. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. When I landed the man told me to stand up, but my legs were pure jello. Sometimes a girl just needs a minute to realize she’s still alive and all her limbs intact. That’s somewhat the closest I’ll get to a bungee jump.


(p.s. that's gum in the corner of my mouth...not some random back tooth hanging out)

5. What’s your favorite cereal? I love cereal, so this is extensive. I love Special K Red Berries any time of the day. I love Shredded Wheat Mini for a dry, hand-held snack. I love Rice Krispies but only early in the morning. I love Lucky Charms or Apple Jack for a comfort food snack.

6. What’s the first thing you notice about people? Their attitude. I deal with so many people throughout the day, that it’s very quick to notice which people are sincere, which ones are putting on fronts, which ones are downright jerks, and which ones are just clueless. I generally have a pretty good instinct on others; probably because I look at how they speak to and treat me and others from the get-go.

7. What is your eye color? Blue



8. Scary movie or happy endings? No brainer…happy endings. In my teenage years, scary movies were the no-fail way to get some hand-holding or snuggle time with a boyfriend or hopeful boyfriend. Not anymore…I need happiness and feel-good moments!

9. Favorite scents? Bath & Body Works’ Frosted Cranberry and Scentsy’s Honeymoon Hideaway. Both are just GREAT home fragrances.

10. Summer or winter? The older I get the more I genuinely enjoy all seasons. I love the coziness of Winter, the newness of Spring, the laid-back of Summer, the excitement of Fall! Love them all!!

11. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home? Possibly the cruise I talked about but I've also been to New Mexico and Arizona with my friend Molly, NYC for work and Hawaii. I should also mention all of these trips were back in my single days. I had the travel itch a couple of years there and took advantage of it!

 
12. Do you have any special talents? I never entered a school or church talent show so……?? I do have a pretty good memory and know calendar dates months in advance. I’ve been called Rainman because of this. It can be May and a discussion going on about something happening in November and I can easily say, “Well, the 5th is a Friday so the 23rd is a Tuesday.” Randomness like that.

13. Where were you born? Tennessee

 
(Can we just pause for a minute to recognize that college football starts in NINE days!)

14. What are your hobbies? I love to plan get-togethers, parties, showers, dinners, etc. I love to paint when I have the time. Nothing beats a blanket, comfy chair and the Hallmark Channel during Christmas though!

15. Do you have any pets? No

16. Favorite movie? So hard…I love older movies the best! The Philadelphia Story, Yours Mine and Ours (the original), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Singin’ in the Rain. Newer movies…Something Borrowed, Life As We Know It, The Holiday, Safe Haven…I could go on. 

Thanks Sarah for the fun post idea!! Hope you all have a great Wednesday!



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bumpdate - Week 28

How Far Along?
28 weeks and 3 days
                    
Gender?
GIRLS!

Names?
Amelia Gentry & Mae Parker

Due Date?
November 12 will always be the technical 40 week due date, but we’re still planning on a mid-October delivery.

Weight Gain?
Yes, finally. I have gained 5 pounds in the last 4 weeks. However, both girls are weighing 2 pounds 5 ounces each…so…let’s just account them for the majority of my gain.

Stretch Marks?
Maybe a little in my upper abdomen. I feel like I’ve stretched most in that area and it’s hard as a rock. The body is a marvel of complexity!

Maternity Clothes?
I’m still able to wear a few tops that are non-maternity. For the most part EVERYTHING is maternity at this point. We’re going shopping later this week in search of a few more “staple piece items”.


Belly Button In or Out?
Still in but it’s stretching out sideways. It’s weird. What’s even more weird…one of my gall bladder surgery scars is inside my belly button, and it’s all popping out and disfigured looking. It’s attractive.

Best Part of the Week?
Last week was a full and fun week. Monday was my birthday and we celebrated with dinner, cake and presents that night with my family.


Our hospital hosts a large golf tournament every August to raise funds for our charitable organization. I’m fortunate enough to “volunteer” for two days which gets me out of the office. It’s still very busy work for two days, but in a MUCH more relaxed atmosphere. I needed those two days! Here's a link to photos from this year's tournament featuring our "celebrity guest", former Tennessee Titans' player, Derrick Mason. 

Friday afternoon was my next doctor’s appointment, where I got to see the girls again and received a beyond excellent report on both of them and myself.

Worst Part of the Week?
Weeks 27/28 will go down as when I finally started feeling pregnant with twins. I hurt A LOT. I know it’s only going to be temporary and chances are will only get some worse in the coming weeks. I’m trying to remain positive, but carrying two babies is not for the faint of heart!

Miss Anything?
Comfort. I took comfort for granted. I’ll never do that again.

Movement?
Mae Parker is by far the more active sister, but when Amelia moves, it’s forceful. They’re getting to where they move more at the same time than they did earlier on. They’re still most active early in the morning and late at night.

Mood?
While there have not been any new developments (yet) at work, I feel like I’ve let go the stress go a little more than I was harboring on to a few weeks ago. We are still patiently waiting to hear final word back on a new opportunity for myself within our department, and STILL patiently waiting on hiring a replacement for my former co-worker. Until then, I’m still pulling the responsibilities of two positions. I’ve accepted that it is what it is and I’m trying to sneak in as much pre-planning as I can for events and deadlines that will come up during my maternity leave. Overall, I feel a bit more relaxed at work than I was; just hoping I can hold on to that same attitude for the next 8 weeks or so.

Currently Reading?
Um, nothing. I SHOULD be reading all sorts of articles, websites, blogs, etc out there to prepare me for what’s to come as a new mom to twins, but I’m not. I have no excuse other than, I’m just not.

Cravings?
Still nothing much. When heartburn hits, I want vanilla ice cream or a milkshake. Tums, Pepcid, peppermint…they help occasionally, but not always. Creamy, cold ice cream seems sooth the insatiable burn when it’s at its worst.


I had a brief craving last week for Chinese food. I chose a Chinese restaurant for my birthday dinner, and then the very next day chose a different Chinese restaurant for my birthday lunch with a co-worker. After those two, my craving was satisfied and I’ve been over it since.

Am I Showing Yet?
Do dogs bark and cows go moo? Is the sky blue and the grass green?

Symptoms?
I’ll just refer back to the overall discomfort and heartburn on this one. It’ll all be worth it though in just a few more weeks!

What am I Looking Forward To?

We have our third baby shower this Saturday with my side of the family and my side of friends. I am so excited to celebrate our girls with these people!! 


(AND…I’ve been told the same lady who made our ahhhhmazing wedding cakes is making cupcakes for the shower…IN THE SAME LOVELY FLAVORS we had on our wedding day. I’m not sure who’s more excited about this…me or Stephen. But our first order of business may be to pack up to-go boxes of French vanilla, lemon and strawberry cupcakes before the shower even starts!)


I mean, remember ALL the cake we had! To bask in all there delicious glory, check out our Wedding Details recap here

Worth remembering...
The closer we get to having the girls' nursery complete, the more and more I catch myself wondering what their little personalities will be like and imaging these babies in their room, in their cribs, reading these books, changing their diapers in this spot, checking on them early in the morning through the crack in the door....

It's all very real and yet so hard to believe from where we were one year ago. It's still overwhelming, but yet, I've never been so thankful for something I've never seen, met or touched yet. With every kick, every little pink outfit, and every diaper box that keeps growing our stash...these girls are loved and are our answered prayers. God is faithful. His timing is perfect. His plans are perfect. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Work Baby Shower

As promised, today, I'm sharing a few photos from the baby shower last Friday at my work. For those of you who don't know, I work at a local, regional hospital in the Facilities / Safety Department. I work with about 30 guys and have established several good friendships with many other employees throughout the hospital in my 6 and half years there. It's a frustrating and stressful position with significantly more work than anyone realizes, but it's also a rewarding job to know we're keeping our building running 24/7 to the highest standards for our patients and visitors. Patients are able to heal because of the jobs our guys do behind the scenes. 

My friend Amy agreed to take all my shower photos, because she loves me. It's a tremendous help to know I'm having photos taken at these events but yet, not missing out myself by having to take the photos. That being said, the various expressions in this first shot is by far one of my favorites for the day. I'm not sure what we were all looking at, but whatever it was drew our best responses. 


Some of the guys I deal with day in and day out. 


I've talked about her on here before, buy my co-worker turned best friend Lorna, put this shindig together for me, then left me for another job opportunity. I'm not quite sure if I was more excited about the shower that day or getting to spend the afternoon with her! 


We had several guys out on Friday afternoon...had they all been there, we sure wouldn't have taken food home! ha




If you saw yesterday's pictures..I swear Stephen owns more than this one shirt. 




My cousin, Elizabeth is the hospital's Accounts Payable Manager. There's only a couple of years separating us in age, needless to say we grew up more like sisters than cousins at times. She wrote down gifts as I opened them and left witty little notes with each one. We had the best time while I opened our gifts. 



Insert the "OOOHHH...that's CUUUUUTE."


More sweet friends!




I'm not going to lie..it's been HARD since she's been gone, but we still text or email every day. I miss her so much. After the shower was over, the room was cleaned up and gifts packed in our car, we sat in my office for about an hour catching up. 


My mom, aunt Linda and her daughter Elizabeth. 


I'm not sure what Mindy was sharing with us, but she has been one of my twin-mom go-to's since we found out we were having two. She has a boy-girl set and has been such a good source of info, tips and encouragement the past few months. 



For as hard as it can be here day to day, I genuinely love working at the hospital and with these people. I'm thankful for the friendships I have made here and for the support and encouragement these men and women and give me every day. I'm so excited to show our girls off to my work "family"!