A re-re-re Introduction?

I have done this countless times since I have started blogging. I started blogging back in 2009? I think? I initially started my blog because it was therapeutic to me in what we were going through at the time. We were having trouble conceiving and months went by and so did the negative tests, my blog was where I felt comfortable. Then it turned into a mommy/lifestyle blog when we found out we were going to have twins after going through IVF. Then again after Maddie. I was so good at blogging when they were younger, how? I know I was tired then because I am very tired now, and I get more sleep now. Kind of ironic. Its no secret that since my mom was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, I kind of left my blog in the wind. Its just been sitting here for whenever I need it. I feel like most my posts are all about catching up, or apologizing to myself for not blogging as much; none of it is about what we’ve done in the recent days that have passed, or recipes or DIY projects, the things I love blogging about. So Today? Im not going to bitch about the fact I haven’t blogged about Halloween, or Christmas, or the twins turning 6. I am going to re-introduce myself and not put so much pressure on myself about all of it. That way I can get back on track of why I love blogging so much, its an out for all the feelings and a wonderful way to connect with all of you.

So here goes nothing….

HI! I am Jennifer Vanzant, a 30 year old stay-at-home mom of 3 beautiful children under 6. I am married to my best friend Matt. We met when I was 15. My family bought our lake house from his family, long story short that lake house ended up being our home after 6 or so months and I married Matt 6 years later. As you read above we had trouble getting pregnant. It was hard on both of us. We wanted babies so bad, right after we married. Years passed and we still weren’t pregnant. We ended up at the ART clinic where Dr. Allemand helped our dreams come true. We had two beautiful babies in December of 2011. It was a dream come true. Little did we know God had more plans for us a short 6 months later when we found out we were pregnant again!! We had the most perfect baby 9 months after that and she’s been our angel ever since. I am not perfect. I am going to go ahead and make that very clear. I try to be a good mom, good wife but life is hard. I turn to The lord for everything else but I will drop the F bomb in an instance. I spend way too much money and time on my children’s birthday parties, I have way too many pictures of my children holding birds up (they like to show their tall man) (relax, people), I weigh more right now than I ever have before, I hate dieting but also want to lose weight, I cry when I am overwhelmed; like f’ugly cry all by myself. Not perfect, like I said. I could be better, healthier and all of the above but I am doing my best as of right now. 

 

 

My mom is/was my best friend. After I was diagnosed with Lupus/AI in 2013 she started coming to help me with ALL the babies more often (her health wasn’t good either from previous severe neuropathy). In 2014 my Auti-immune and lupus got worse, I couldn’t walk without screaming and one morning I couldn’t get Maddie out of her crib. Maddie was screaming and I was balling. Worst feeling ever. I am so glad that storm passed. As it turns out life is all about storms, or it seems so in my case, and waiting them out. Waiting for the thunder to roll on or finding a dry spot to hide under while the rain comes down. I know life isn’t perfect and I am not complaining. In fact I am just the opposite. I am thankful for everything thats ever happened to me because I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had not gone through these things. I am stronger because of it.  

My husband ended up being almost paralyzed that year too. His legs had started going numb months in advance and when a doctor finally figured out what was going on, it was almost too late. A hospital stay and neck surgery later, he was better immediately. Thank God for that doctor who discovered Matt needed surgery immediately. Ill never forget how I felt during that time. All 3 of our babies had ear infections and I couldn’t be with him the whole time. I did go and hold him before and after surgery but had to get back to the babies who wanted their mommy. It was tough seeing the one I care most about in this world to go through that and me not being able to do anything about it. Like I said before, storms. Its made us who we are today. 

Then the tsunami came in 2015. My mom was diagnosed with cancer. A pretty advance stage of it in her abdomen. She called me the night she found it, worst night of my life. Not even kidding. I couldn’t sleep, I remember crying all night long because there was a feeling I felt from God like he was telling me listen, I am going to have to take her from you, I just knew it would happen. Eventually. So I did what any daughter would do who loved their mom. I searched high and low for a home for her so she could move back to Alabama. She wanted to be with her kids and her grandkids during her last moments of life. I found the perfect small home for her that was located perfectly in between hospitals, food and anything she would need. My brother lived with her and became her care-taker for that year. The worst part was the chemo. It took her away from us. If she could do it all over again she would tell you she wouldn’t have gone on chemo at all. Everyone has different reactions to it and I am not at all telling anyone what to do, I am speaking from our experience. The doctor initially told us that if she didn’t go on chemo she might have a month. With chemo we were given another year with her. But it was a long year for her, she was in pain all the time or sick. Not able to enjoy us the way she wanted to. I am so incredibly thankful for that year but it was hard watching her go through all of that. I spent most of my time with her, took the kids over there every chance I got. I wanted my mommy and my mommy wanted me. I needed her as much as she needed me. We had some great times during that year, some of my best memories with her ever. In august of 2016, God called her home. My mom was gone. I knew she was in heaven and in a better place where she got a brand new cancer free body but selfishly I just wanted my mom back. I still do. Like right now, I just need her more than ever. My friend, who I can talk to and tell anything and everything too and receive advice in return or one f her comforting hugs and tell me everything will be alright baby girl. If I spend my life devoting myself to my children with half the effort that my mom did us, I will be a great mom. Because there is no doubt about it that she was the absolute best. Just the most amazing, selfless woman, caring, compassionate person you’ve ever met. People ask when you’re younger What do you want to be when you grow up?  My answer most of the time was a mom. Now I know why my answer was that. I had the best mom in the world, she made being a mom look fun, cool and made me realize at a very young age it is the most rewarding job one could ever have. So to answer that question now, as an adult, I want to be MY MOM when I grow up. I want to be just like her in every aspect. I miss her everyday y’all, so bad. It hurts so incredibly bad but its selfish of me to want her back when I know she is pain free right now. Mom, I miss you and love you always. 

I had a surgery go wrong last year that left me with an ileostomy for a little bit of time. I am not going into detail of this because I hate talking about it. But this pic that my wonderful other half took of me sums it up…

Like I said, we’ve been through a lot of storms in the short 9 years that we’ve been married. But so have a lot of other people. In fact, to some, our storms are probably just rain clouds to them. I know other people have bigger problems and I pray for peace for all of you. Social Media likes to show us all the good things and none of the bad. It is misleading and I am guilty of doing it too so I today with my re-re-re introduction I figured I would share the bad with the good. And while this might seem like a lot of bad, theres a lot of good. I have three amazing children who are healthy and who I prayed for hard, I share this life with my best friend and we moved into our dream house just a year and some change ago. My auto-immune is better, I am close to my sister and my dad now, I am closer to God and grateful for everything we have. 

My most recent venture is that I am now an affiliate of Academy Travel. We do disney vacations. Disney cruise line, disney world and land, Adventures by disney and Aulani Hotel in Hawaii. So if you are ever interested in a disney vacation contact me! Find me on IG @Vanzantfamily1 and message me or email me (my username for IG @ gmail). I am excited about it! Last august I was searching on Pinterest “ways to make money from home” and that came up. I went to disney often as a child and figured it would be so fun to share my love for disney with others by helping them plan their vacation!! Me and the family actually set sail on Sunday for our first Disney cruise! We are so excited! I have been a little bit overwhelmed and stressed trying to keep us all healthy. All the kids had strep throat last week and then I got sick. Lord, please please keep us safe from all the yucky germs so we can go have a much NEEDED family vacation. I even picked up some masks for the kids to wear on the airplane to try and keep germs away. I know I can’t protect them from everything but as a mom I sure can try my hardest to TRY to prevent it. 

 

So no more putting pressure on myself on catching up on all of the things I haven’t blogged about, instead I am looking ahead and letting myself enjoy blogging again. Hope you stick around and enjoy reading!! 

 




Goodbye 20’s….

I am sure you know, or if you are a follower of mine on IG you know, but I hit the big 3 0 on October 14th. I think most people aren’t happy about it when they turn 30 but I was looking forward to it. My mom told me a while back that her 30’s were her favorite. I am hoping the 30;s will be good to me and by my favorite as well. 

A lot of good happened in my 20’s. My marriage to the man I love more than anything, our journey through IVF to conceive our twins and then finding out we were pregnant 6 months after they came along. Getting to stay home with them and care for them was such a joy and a gift. 

As much good happened, bad did too. I got diagnosed with lupus and arthritis, matt was almost paralyzed but had emergency surgery (thank god), my mothers diagnosis of cancer and then losing her, and my mishap in the beginning of this year that ended with me having an ileostomy for 8 weeks. I lost a lot of people I love in my 20’s, especially my mommy. I miss her everyday and wish she was here to celebrate with me for being in my 30’s. I definitely don’t want to dwell on the bad but I also don’t want to forget so we will never take life for granted and always always be thankful for what we do have. 

The weekend of my birthday my dad and his wife, Laurie, came to spend the weekend with us. They got here Saturday morning which was my birthday day. Matt fished a tournament so me and the kids just played and sang a little karaoke before dad and Laurie got there. 

When they got there we played a little, watched some football and ate.. of course. Then they gave me my birthday present. Let me tell you one thing before I tell you what it is… My mom had an amazing ring. Like AMAZING. It was a platinum ring with three beautiful stones in it. So now back to my present… Laurie and my dad gave me a necklace that had one of those stones from my mothers ring. I wanted to cry I was so happy and thankful for such a beautiful gift. Except I can’t cry because my kids always cry when I do, so I held back the tears and gave them both huge hugs. I love love love my necklace. I love having a piece of my mom that close to my heart.

My dad and Laurie ended up taking the kids with them for a little while. The point was for them to take the kids for a while and me and matt go out on an overnight date. We haven’t been the “go-out” type in a while. Y’all, we just love our home and hanging out. Does that mean we are now old and boring? I like to call it happy and complete with our lives.

So the kids left and I sat down to watch TV for a bit. I am not very good at relaxing because it is something I don’t ever get to do so I tried to sit down and relax as long as I could. Then Matt called and told me he won his tournament!! You might not know this but thats amazing because it was a no entry fee tournament and him and his partner ended up winning around 13,000! With news like that I ran upstairs curled my hair, put on something that made me feel good, and went to pursue the husband for a big ole kiss!

I told Matt congratulations and to hurry up so we could go celebrate his big win and my birthday.. before the kids got back! Well he wanted to go back home really quick to take a shower. I packed us an overnight bag while he got good and clean. We left and then he wanted something to eat,,, before we went to eat. In his defense, he had been fishing all day with nothing to eat. So we ordered some poppers from a local restaurant. It was going to be 20 minutes so we talked to the owner and chefs for a bit back in the back (small town, remember?). We left there and Matt had to stop at 5 more places. Y’ALL! I was getting so mad. I finally told him “SCREW THIS! Lets just go back home!” Supposedly he had forgotten his wallet too and I was fed up with all of it by then. We ran home and by this time I am fuming. We pull in the driveway and I told him I had to pee anyways so I would go to the bathroom while he found his wallet. I stormed through the door, headed to the bathroom when all of a sudden I hear SURPRISE!!!!!! I stopped, backed up a few feet and noticed that everyone I love was standing in my dining room! I couldn’t believe it! I forgave Matt because I realized shortly after everyone shouted surprise he was just trying to give them the time to set up. Guess whose idea it was to plan a surprise birthday for my 30th? Thats right, my sweet amazing husband. With the help of my Mother in law and both my sisters in law they threw an amazing birthday party for me. I don’t think I have had a party since I was in my teens. Seriously. I felt very loved. How about we didn’t get any pictures! I wish I would have remembered but I was just giddy with the fact that all of these people who were most important to me were there for me. We managed to get a few selfies… of course.

I am so thankful for everyone who came and celebrated with me. It was so much fun!!

Me and Matt don’t often do birthday presents but he got me an awesome one this year… the new Apple Watch! I love love love it! I have been wanting one for a while because I am not that great at having my phone with me at all times and with an apple watch my texts and phone calls would go to it. It is just as amazing as I thought it would be. Never do I miss texts or calls from the hubby, he doesn’t have to worry now when I don’t answer my phone.

So here’s to being 30. I am hoping in my 30s I will become the best version of me. I want to get fit, be more healthy and make right decisions when it comes to food but also enjoy food every now and then. I want to take a trip with just my husband more than once. I want to take more vacations as a family and do more weekend trips from now on. I want to start a business and grow it, I just am not sure what kind of business yet. I want to spend more quality time with the kids instead of always feeling rushed. I want to find us a home in a new church and strengthen all of our relationships with God. Theres a lot more I want to do but I might have to put it on a 30 things in my 30’s list and make a post out of it..? Maybe. 

Let’s do this 30’s!!!




Thanksgiving in the Smokies!

Earlier in the year, we decided we would go to Gatlinburg for Thanksgiving. Matt always puts in for vacation time during that week and we haven’t been to Gatlinburg for more than 3 days, or an actual vacation, in a while. The smoky mountains has always been one of mine and Matt’s favorite places to vacation. As a child my maw-maw took me, my siblings and our cousins quite often. After meeting Matt I learned that his family use to go often when he was a child too. We went together the first year we started dating and went every year after that up until having babies. We shared our love for Gatlinburg with the babies a few years ago and they fell in love with it too. I love that we all have a place we love so much and enjoy being together. You know we had to take the car selfie before heading north! 

Instead of staying in a cabin, like we usually do, we decided to borrow the FIL’s camper! It was so much fun, I enjoyed it so much and I know the kids and Matt did too. We stayed at Creekside Campsite in Pigeon Forge and our spot was right beside the creek that ran along side of the campsite. Apparently it’s where all the ducks in Pigeon Forge live because there were so many! Lets just say this was one of the kids favorite parts!

After we got the camper set up and everything unpacked we hopped back in the car to go eat dinner in downtown Gatlinburg. We have always wanted to eat at the Bubba Gumps Shrimp CO. but it is always packed out.  We decided to try it anyways and with luck were able to be seated right away! The food was delicious. After dinner we walked downtown for a little bit and let the kids watch candy making!

There was lots of playing, tackling and rolling down the hill at the campsite. Tuesday night we had reservations at The Dixie Stampede. They were already showing the christmas show and I was so excited for the kids to experience something I loved as a child. Matt had never been either so that made me even more excited. Y’all, everything was so awesome. The dinner, the show, our kids faces; just everything. 



After waiting in line and experiencing the pre-show they sat us at our seats. I thought this was the cool part, you see the moon in the background in the picture below? Well, when it went all the way down is when we knew the show was about to begin! The kids loved that part too. The whole show was just pure magic seeing it through the kids eyes. I highly recommend going to see it if you have kids! Actually, I recommend if you don’t have kids, me and Matt thought it was fantastic. 

We did Cade’s Cove one day, of course. Thats always a must when we go to Gatlinburg. I have ALWAYS wanted to see a bear while there but we never ever see one. I think next time we’ll try to go late spring or early fall so we have a better chance at seeing one in the wild. We did see a few deer and turkeys. Jocelynn and JP had the most fun because we let them “drive” a little bit while in there. 

After Cade’s cove we were all starving so we headed downtown to get big as your face corn dogs and cheese steaks! The best ever food BTW and fannie farkle’s if you are planning a trip.  

Games. Games is a must when we go. The kids have never forgotten about all the fun rides and awesome arcade games from the last time we went. So we had to make it a priority to do that one night!

We also go to the exotic petting zoo every time too but its something that never gets old. They have zebras, zonkeys, horses, reindeer, deer farm, goat farm and more. I love seeing the kids faces when they feed the camels. The camels are a bit demanding and clumsy but so funny to watch. There was a he horse there too and it was a bit angry. It tried to bite Matt one time! 

That night we got back in the car to explore a little bit. We decided to head to sevierville to drive through a light show. Guess what? Santa was there too! Which made it even better for Jocelynn, JP and Maddie. There was also a pony ride, petting zoo and yummy carnival food. The light show is amazing and we, the adults, probably enjoyed it a little more than our children did. 

We knew we didn’t want to spend the money eating out every night or every day even so we brought some food with us and the rest we bought at Kroger when we got there. We cooked steaks and skewered veggies one night on the fire pit before going to an arcade and ride go karts. It was DELICIOUS! 

A few weeks before we left I looked around for a restraunt that would serve Thanksgiving dinner. Apparently, Thanksgiving is a very busy time for Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area because they were all booked up! So I found that the Apple Barn was doing to-go meals too! I ordered us one for Thanksgiving day. We went and picked it up and just enjoyed a day at the campsite. We had sack races, rolled down the hill, played football, watched the parade and got our bellies very happy. It was so much fun and just a day of relaxation was great. I say a day of relaxation, to be honest we aren’t that great at complete relaxation. We got in the car to go grab a pizza and ended up seeing fireworks! Then we just had to get ice cream for our little ice cream lover, Maddie. 

It was an amazing 5 days. I knew it would be. And as a mom and wife it was especially nice to be able to get away and really enjoy time spent as a family. Quality time spend together instead of always worrying about the next day, the next load of laundry, cleaning and ect. I have been paying for it since we got back because I did not do one single load of laundry while we were there but I don’t regret it. It felt great. 




Opening Weekend- Dove season 2017

Here in this family ,and our neck of the woods, there is one weekend we all get together and have a blast. Besides the iron bowl of course which is opening weekend of Dove season. I didn’t shoot this year because me and the girls did the cooking and watched the kiddos. It doesn’t really matter because its fun anyways. We cook, we spend time with family and we all just have pure fun. 

We’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember but involving our children has been truly special. Our little rednecks love it as much as we do. Literally, JP counted down for months. 

2016 Dove season..Also one of my favorite pictures. 

Through the years on the opening weekend of Dove season, that Sunday we always go to Joeys house, my FIL. Everyone brings something and we sit around until the birds start flying. There has been days where nothing has flown and we had just as much fun. This year it was such an amazing day, it was mild and actually kind of cool. I don’t ever remember not sweating on this day. It is usually 90 degrees with 100 percent humidity. 

The day before Matt goes and helps his dad and dads boss with their business shoot. Since JP could walk he has taken him along. JP loves his man time!

Two of his favorite people, pawpaw and daddy, and he gets to spend all day with them. I love that they have that tradition. 

2017 Dove shoot….

As you can tell, just fun with family. The next few weekends if weather holds up we try to shoot at least one more time at Joeys house. My dad was able to make it one of those weekends! We didn’t even get to shoot but we sat around, ate good food and spent quality time together. 

 




And the blog goes UP DOWN, up down, UP DOWN

Have y’all heard the song “Up down. up down” by Morgan Wallen ft Florida Georgia line? It’s a pretty good one. I can’t help but think about everything in life when I hear it because life itself is an up down, up down ride. 

I realize since my mom was diagnosed with cancer I haven’t been that great at blogging. Actually, that’s an understatement. I have pretty much sucked.it.up. PERIOD. And gosh, I feel like I haven’t gotten any of our lives written down and I am going to forget all of the important things that have happened in these past two years. For now, I am setting a realistic goal for myself and promising myself to blog at least once a week to get things written down about the kids and our family. I think I am more than capable of doing that. 

A lot has happened in the past couple months, from opening day of dove season, Jocelynn making Home-coming court, Halloween and we have a new puppy! 

Just so much fun happening in this busy life and I can’t wait to share pictures and more about it all. So until then go listen to the song.. UP down, up down, up down. It really gets stuck in your head. 




The Twins @ Kindergarten!!

Yup, you heard that correct. I swear I blinked and my babies are now kindergartner’s. The babies we tried four years for then went through IVF to get. Why must time fly? Time is so cruel. 

The week before Jocelynn and JP started Kindergarten, we went to meet the teacher. They were so nervous and excited. I may have been even more nervous than they were. I mean my babies are going to a big school! 

We prayed and prayed so hard for the right teacher for them. I wanted someone who was nurturing, sweet and understanding of shy children. We lucked out y’all and got the teacher we prayed for. She is a doll and the twins absolutely fell in love with her the first night they met her.

You know the night before we just had to read a book about going to kindergarten. Jocelynn and Jp’s sweet pre-k teacher gifted them this book when they left preschool!               

Jocelynn wanted to make a good first impression with curly hair. After bath time I wrapped her hair in curlers so it would be ringlets come morning! After reading our book, I kissed my babies 50 times before letting them go to sleep. I knew this was going to be hard but it turned out extremely hard to let my littles become big. 

Then BAM! Morning came and it was time to head to their first day of Kindergarten!! I cooked a yummy breakfast to get Jocelynn and Jp’s bellies happy and then took the official first day pics.

I am so glad my step MIL was able to go with us that morning. I think she may have known that I needed some moral support for this. 

I told the twins to show us their class, just to see if they remembered where it was from meet the teacher. They grabbed each others hand and headed down the hallway. 

They did great. They walked right to their class!! I was so proud of them. After I got them settled in I felt a huge wave of emotions about to come so I had to get out of there. I knew if they saw me crying, they would not stay. I kissed them, hugged them and walked out. As I was walking down the hallway that wave became a tidal wave right out of my eyes. I didn’t mean to but I felt so nervous, scared, and excited for Jocelynn and JP. Just all the feels; seriously.  

Turns out all the feels I was having faded shortly after I realized how much I could get done around the house and how much playtime we had with each other when we got home. (Insert laughing emoji here, or four). No, I miss them so much but it is nice to have a little time to get stuff done and have one on one time with Maddie. As soon as we drop the twins off, Maddie sings “Mommy and Maddie time!!” She also informed me one day that I had never smiled that much. Well, thanks Maddie. Make momma feel like shit for real. I might have also died laughing when she said that. 

We are about a month in of the Vanzant twins going to school and they are doing great! Pics for proof…

 




Let’s Catch Up- January until now from the Hermit

Some people might would have said I was a hermit crab during the months of February till now. I really didn’t leave the house much when I had my ileostomy. It just wasn’t fun leaving the house. If I did, it was just a lot of trouble. I mean, I literally needed my own “diaper bag” filled with gloves, extra ostomy bags, bottled water and more. Gloves to empty my bag with, water to clean it out and extra stuff just in case something were to happen to the bag I had on that day. This is so TMI and honestly I hate talking about it because it was the hardest thing I have been through in my adulthood. It made noises too and I really hated that so I just didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house. I was in a lot of pain most of the time anyways. I did a lot of couch sitting during that time and pretty much just became a hermit crab, except my shell being our home. You would think that I would’ve blogged during it all since all I did was sit in pain, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or see anyone. I was angry, sad, maybe even depressed. I am glad I had Matt beside me. I wouldn’t have been able to make it without him. My husband is amazing, y’all. I never once changed my bag, he did it all. He took such good care of me and I was so grateful. I will forever be thankful for him through that time. 

I am ready to start blogging again and put this all behind me for good. I need to catch up on several things before I can start with regular posts again. I mean, I haven’t even blogged about Easter. SO without further ado, lets begin. I am sorry if this might be boring but this is where I keep up with everything that goes on in our lives and I want to remember it all. 

Before my reversal surgery we went to Nashville for a weekend. I didn’t know how the recovery would be with the reversal and the kids had been so good through it all so we rewarded them with a short vacay. My dad lives in Nashville with his wife, my brother and my dads wife sister, Celia. We stayed with them during our trip so we could see their new house and spend some quality time with them. There just so happened to be a dinosaur exhibit that weekend while we were there so we went! My kids love dinosaurs, for real. They watch Jurassic world and I just recently introduced them to the Jurassic park trilogy. I know, I am a horrible mom for letting them watch it. But you know what? I didn’t ask for your opinion. The exhibit was so cool and very life-like! My babies loved every bit of it. Me>? I was extremely tired since that was the most I had walked in 2 months. 

We also enjoyed the Ripley’s Aquarium restaurant while we were there. We’ve done the rainforest cafe so went the other route this time. The kids didn’t even eat their lunch because they were so amazed!! LOL. 

We had so much fun. It was exhausting and I was in pain but it was so worth it to see some smiles on my babies faces. Not only was I going through bad stuff but they were too. It hurt them bad when their mommy got hurt and they haven’t been the same since. 

Celia slid down the stairs with Jocelynn and it was hilarious. We love our Celia! 

I’m so glad we had such a good weekend before mommy’s next surgery;)

I had my surgery and that next weekend was Maddies birthday. We just threw a small little party for her at the house. I’ll post about that and all the fun pics in a different post! But my BABY is FOUR!

Then Easter came! I was still recovering and couldn’t get around as good as I wanted but us moms do what we have to do. My kids were such an inspiration to me during my healing process, they helped me and my recovery. The night before Easter we sat out carrots, ranch and ice-cold beer; because according to Maddie that is what the easter bunny likes. When we woke the next morning, the bunny had come and left gifts and his silly footprints! Maddie walked over to the beer can and plate, turned around and yelled to me and matt “he killed his beer!” Yup, that’s my child. She keeps things interesting that is for sure. 

We died easter eggs on the porch and then ate most of them! That’s how the Vanzants roll on easter!

My sweet little Jocelynn probably had the hardest time during everything that I went through. I had promised her when mommy could drive good and was feeling better I would take her on a date, just the two of us. We finally got to go! We went and got our nails done first. I asked her where she wanted to go next and she said “TARGET!” I fell more in love with her after she said that! She got a few goodies from target and then we went and got ice cream. It was the best day, I just loved getting to spend time with just her. It’s so important and has become one of our top priorities now; one on one time with each child. 

 

The twins had orientation for Kindergarten back in May! Can you believe it? My babies, my first babies are going to Kindergarten this fall. I am having a really hard time with this fact. I feel like I blinked and from babies they became 5 year olds who are going to leave their mommy. I was so nervous for them that day. They got to stay for 2 hours by their selves and went to art class, PE, and the library. They even got to see how car rider works when we went to pick them up. They were so happy when they got in the car and I felt a huge sigh of relief. I actually couldn’t believe they loved it as much as they told me. Jocelynn and JP are usually so shy. Preschool has really helped them within the past couple years. I am excited for them to start a new journey but oh so sad at the same time. 

THEN, they graduated from preschool! I mean just tear my heart out while y’all are at it. 

I just love preschool teachers. I mean really, they are so special. Jocelynn and JP sure did love Miss Cheryl this year.

I think that may be about it! Ah I feel better knowing I have gotten some of this stuff down. Now onto blogging consistently and not letting life get in the way, even when it is bad. 




Hunting, Fishing and Loving Everyday Party

Here we are, the twins are 5.5 and it was time to throw them a birthday party! I haven’t thrown them a legit birthday party since their 3.5 party. We always do the family gathering and cake for their actual birthday but they don’t get any presents. I mean, Christmas has just passed right at their birthday. We do get them something small that they need on their birthday and then give a present on their party day!

When we moved into this house I knew they would be thrilled if we could throw a swim party. Thats exactly what we planned for! When I asked Jocelynn and JP what theme they wanted to do their party in they immediately told me “Hunting and Fishing!” Well, ok. I think this might be fun. One of their favorite songs is “Hunting, Fishing & Loving Every day” by Luke Bryan so I just went ahead and made it the theme of that song. How fun?!  I started looking on pinterest at fishing party decor and hunting party decor and kind of merged the two ideas together with some of my own! I can’t wait to show all of you!


I painted a couple of pallets that read “Joc’s Fishin Hole” and “JP’s Green Field”. Jocelynn’s sat beside the pool and the lake and I put JP’s in our yard with an inflatable deer. Next to JP’s pallet was a basket full of loaded nerf guns to shoot the deer! 

Me and the kids wrapped life savers and rope around Squeez-it juices and they looked adorable! We placed those outside next to the pool on our picnic table.

Next is probably my favorite. I printed out a bunch of pictures of the past month and even laminated them with frames because I was originally going to put these outside. I moved most decor inside because we didn’t know if tropical storm cindy was going to allow us to decorate outside or not. Thankfully this day was the first day it hadn’t rained in four days! They got so lucky! Anyways, the pictures; from babies to now. I put clothespins on them and clipped them to fishing net. I LOVED how it turned out. 

   

All of the labels I did for food also ended up being laminated and framed because again, it was originally going to be outside. I had so much fun with the menu. And this little one doubled as decor too! Fish and chips in a fishing net!

    

The Bobbers are just red chinese lanterns from Hobby Lobby that we painted the top white! It made for a great decoration! Twizzler’s were used as fishing line! 

 

I think my babies (or kids) had a great time at their party! They kept telling me it was the best party ever. I am just glad that some people showed up because of previous weather and they were able to be loved on for the day! I love you Jocelynn and JP!




Our Memorial Weekend

Our memorial weekend started off with a couple of our best friends! Jen and her kids came over Friday and we tried to get a tan while they all played and swam. I was so impressed with how good all the kids played, they all had so much fun together. After the husbands got there and the kids tired out from swimming we ordered some dinner and played Rook. The four of us use to stay up all night long and play rook pre children. It was so much fun. While we were playing I checked in on the kids and they were at the dining room table playing their own game of UNO. How precious!? 

Matt fished on Saturday so I let the kids swim in the pool again! I knew this house would be such a great investment as soon as I saw that pool. It has been so amazing for the kids and I love that they love it so much. 

We usually always “celebrate” Memorial Day on that Sunday because Matt usually never gets off work on that day. By “celebrate” I mean what people usually do on Memorial day; you know get on the boat, cookout, swim, and more. We smoked a brisket all night the night before and had plenty of other goodies to go along side of it.. potato salad, deviled eggs, asian slaw, trifle, Oreo pie, cupcakes, and ice cream! 

After full bellies we rode the pontoon for a little while. That thing is a babysitter for my children because as soon as we take off, they fall asleep! I guess the boat and wind acts like white noise and they just give in. It is literally the only time my children EVER take naps! We had such a good time with Milly, Matt’s mom, and Ken, her fiancee! 

Thank you to all of the fallen soldiers who fought for our country. Because of your bravery, we are free. 




The Reversal

I have been MIA from blogging since everything has happened. I hate it too. I want to update on everything that’s going on in life right now but it has been very hard to find the time or the words to even describe how I feel about everything. 

I had my ileostomy reversed March 28th. I had the ileostomy for a total of 8 weeks. I couldn’t believe it, I thought I had at least 6 more weeks with it before reversal. But I had started having some problems which apparently pushed the surgery forward. My stoma had prolapsed and was literally hanging off of me about 4 inches by the time night rolled around everyday. I know this is gross, believe me, I KNOW. Then a different part of my small intestine had started protruding out about that much too so I had to do a lot of laying down about a week before surgery. 

The hardest part before facing surgery was saying goodbye to my babies…

They all cried so hard the night before my surgery and gave me lots of hugs and kisses. The last time their mommy left for surgery I didn’t end up coming back like I said I would. They were scared to let me go, they thought something would go wrong again. I reassured them and told them everything would be fine and Mommy would be home in a few short days. Thanks to my mother-in-law, wonderful husband and SIL, the kids didn’t have to worry as much.

The day before surgery I was reading my daily scripture for that day and decided to go ahead and read March 28ths also since I didn’t know how I would feel. I felt very scared, the scripture for that day made it sound like my time had come to an end. God was talking about taking his hand and trusting him in that scripture. I trust him with all of my heart and I love him and I am not afraid of death, I am afraid to leave behind my babies and husband though. I want to live life to its full advantage, especially now. So needless to say, I was very scared the morning of surgery. Me and Matt walked back to pre-op that morning, they started the IV and yada yada. I honestly didn’t want to go back, I didn’t want to have surgery again, I didn’t want to feel this afraid but this had to be done. So, I trusted God and let him guide me through it all. 

Jocelynn gave me a monkey to take with my and help me feel better. I took pictures with it and sent them to her while I was in the hospital

I woke up in a room with Matt by my side. I was in and out for a while. I finally was ableto wake up enough and realize it was gone! And most importantly I as ALIVE! I looked at Matt and asked “Did it work?!” He held me and told me it did, my ileostomy was gone and surgery went well. I started crying. I couldn’t believe it. It was all going to be over with now and I could start healing emotionally, mentally and physically. After crying I prayed to God and thanked him for holding my hand through this. Matt had to leave later that afternoon so I took advantage of being alone and rested, did a little coloring and watched stupid TV shows! I also looked at my daily scriptures and realized I was a month ahead. The one I had read that had scared me so bad wasn’t even for that day! In fact the one that ended up being for the day of March 28th was very calming. I felt relaxed after realizing that and even ended up laughing. Sometimes when life keeps throwing you these horrible phases, you just have to laugh. I mean y’all, we’ve literally been through hell the past few years and all we can do is laugh and keep our faith strong.

This has all changed me without a doubt. It’s a funny thing, when you come close to death of course you turn to God. I have always been a believer and I have always had a good relationship with God. I might not go to church every Sunday since having kids but my church is in my heart until we find a church home we love. During all of this I really turned to him more so than I have in a long time. He helped reassure me everyday that it was all going to be ok. No matter what happened, or how everything turned out, he was there for me. I was able to really enjoy that overwhelming feeling of love I felt from him and still do.

Recovery has not been easy. I hate it for my kids and husband mostly. I have my good days and I have my bad days. More bad than good most weeks but I am just grateful to be here. My family has been amazing through this, especially the kids. They’ve been patient, understanding and helpful when I need them. I am just glad that it’s all over, we can all move on from this now.