We’re parents!

In September Adam and I started taking classes to become licensed foster parents through the state of Tennessee. We had looked into private agencies as well, but knowing we wanted younger children the agencies suggested we go through the state. img_0025

We went every Saturday for two months. A couple of weeks after we finished our home study writer contacted us and we began that process. Thankfully it was relatively painless! She came once, we had everything ready except for an emergency phone number list, and then she just dropped by two more times. That was it! Then we waited, waited, and waited.

Finally I emailed the DCS employee we had become familiar with through our classes. Turns out our background checks from Mississippi hadn’t come back and long story short we did that paperwork again. We were really hoping to be approved by Christmas.

Christmas came and went without any notification of approval.  IMG_9063.JPG

Then came New Year’s and we were still waiting for the final word of approval.

Then on January 4 we got an email saying we were approved! Yay! Now the waiting really began. Truthfully I was worried about getting calls for children that I knew we just were not prepared to take in, but that definitely did not happen!

Two days later Adam missed a call and the voicemail was the placement worker from DCS! Adam quickly called me and gave me her number. I called her back and she was glad that he got her message and forwarded the information to me.

It was on a Friday, it was very snowy, and the roads were bad. All of which played into how fast the transition had to happen. The worker filled me in a two sisters and their story. My initial instinct was of course to say yes…which I basically did before I called Adam back. We said YES! Then things started to happen very quickly.

I went home from work, picked up Adam, we went to Walmart to pick up some basic supplies, and then picked up the girls! And just like that we were parents.

More to come 🙂

 

Last stop, Dallas

We finally made it to Dallas. We left Fort Worth in the morning and drove over. We wanted to tour the Cowboy’s stadium.

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Unfortunately, the days we were able to go it was a very limited tour.

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We trekked onto our AirBnB in Dallas. We dropped off our bags and went to The Sixth Floor Museum.

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The museum is all about JFK’s life, legacy, and assassination. Our parents actually encouraged us to do this. We were a bit skeptical. Looking back, it was one of the best parts of the trip.

We shopped in Dallas. 🙂 I love shopping. We also drove around to some of the suburbs to scope out future areas to live in. The Dallas area is #1 on our list if we are able to move to Texas.

We had dinner at a small pizza place in a town that I don’t even remember its name.

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We drove out to McKinney to have pie at The Pantry. Eventually we made our way back to our home for the night and slept soundly after a long week of traveling.

We woke up and went to breakfast on Saturday morning. We went to a small restaurant in Deep Ellum.

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Afterwards we went to the Arboretum in Dallas…in the rain. Big surprise?

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We decided to have lunch the airport not knowing if Dallas would be busy. Eventually loaded up on a plane and came back to Nashville!

 

A day in Fort Worth

Considering all the rain we ditched our plans of Cable Park in Waco and headed to Fort Worth.

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Bye, Waco! It actually worked out pretty well. We had extra time to split between Forth Worth & Dallas.

We went straight to the historic stock yards in Forth Worth. I was not missing the cattle drive at 11:30!

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We got there a little early. There were a lot of kids there on a field trip. All the men on the horses had microphones. It was a short little program talking about herding and branding. Pretty neat to this city girl!

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Then we watched the cattle drive. The steers were so close!

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Then I sat on one…yes, it’s a real steer! When we got back to Tennessee all the girls at work were talking about the fake cow. Um, no! It was real!

We walked down to Joe T. Garcia’s for lunch. It was excellent! We would go again 🙂

We didn’t pay to go into any of the museums in the stockyards. We felt like we saw and learned plenty without.

We headed back to our hotel and hung out for a little bit. We stayed in downtown Fort Worth.

Later that evening we had dinner at….In-N-Out burger. Fancy, huh?

We headed to Billy Bob’s Texas, the world’s largest honky tonk.

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We had a lot of fun dancing and watching other people dance. I did my fair share of line dancing in college. Y’all, Tennesseans and Texans do not dance anything alike!

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These expressions capture our true feelings about our lack of Texan line dancing skills. We hung out for quite a while. Danced, drank, and listened to the band. 🙂 A great evening and day in Fort Worth.

 

Waco, Magnolia, and Spice Village

It’s about time I finish blogging about this trip. Time’s ticking!

We left Austin early because of all the rain and went to Waco. One of my best friends from nursing school moved to Waco earlier in the summer and we were able to stay with them! It was so great to see Heather & Jason!

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Heather & me at nursing graduation practice last year!

We had planned on going to BSR Cable Park in Waco but of course the rain ruined that plan.

We arrived late Tuesday night and stayed up too late talking. We finally went to bed and got up early the next morning and headed out for a Magnolia adventure!

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838 #milestomagnolia from Cookeville, TN to Waco!

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The silos were incredible to see! The ground were beautiful. There was free parking and a free trolley to the Silos. Also, the trolley will take to you to other spots in town including Spice Village. We will get to that soon…

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We went to the bakery and got yummy cupcakes. Heather got a bacon biscuit. It was the more appropriate choice since it was before lunch, but we couldn’t pass up a cupcake at this bakery!

The seed story & fairy gardens were cute. We bought some t-shirts and a mug.

After the silos we rode the trolley to Spice Village. I didn’t take any pictures…boo! It is an open concept collage of boutiques with tons of cute stuff that I could spend all my money on! Definitely stop there & see Baylor’s campus if you ever go to Waco.

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We went to Clint’s store! All Adam wanted to do was see the ACTUAL shop. Obviously we couldn’t do that. By the way, their house that was on Fixer Upper is literally next door. They don’t live there anymore, but now you can rent it out.

We saw a couple of other the houses featured on the show. We ate lunch at Vitek’s BBQ. Super good…Heather said it was featured on Fixer Upper. I believe her. She said all the kids were saying, “I want a gut pack.” The gut pack was good. Haha!

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We drove by the Magnolia House. Everything they touch just seems to turn to gold! I love their style! Later that night we went to Chuy’s for dinner. Heather & Jason had not been before. We have one in our home town and go almost every time we are home. Yummy.

That was our Magnolia adventure! Magnolia, Spice Village, Clint’s store, and driving around to see all the fixer uppers! Such a fun time.

Next Stop…Austin

We woke up Monday morning and headed for Austin. Surprisingly the traffic was not bad and we headed to meet Adam’s sister for brunch. She was in Austin for a girls trip. We ate at Snooze, and it was good! They were out of coffee though…really? 

After brunch we headed straight for downtown and the capitol building for a free tour. The tour was very informative and interesting!

That star is actually 8 feet in diameter! The building’s architecture and style was everything Texas…lots of stars, big everything, and ornate detail. Even the door hinges were stamped “Texas State Capitol”

You could see the Senate room and House of Representatives. This was the Senate.

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Unfortunately most of our plans in Austin were nixed because of the ridiculous amount of rain. We ate at Juan in a Million. If you get to go order the Don Juan.

We had planned to go to Barton Springs pool, explore 6th street, and Congress Ave bridge to see the bats fly. All of those did not happen because of the downpours!

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That is the University of Texas. While it is not my preferred shade of orange the stadium and campus was quite impressive.

On Tuesday we ate at Juan in a Million. If you get to go order the Don Juan. We shopped and drove out to Round Rock. We also used this trip to scout out future areas to live. I really liked Round Rock and all it had to offer.

We cut our time short in Austin and left early for Waco due to the rain. It worked out well in the end.

Traveling Texas

Adam & I took a week and traveled from San Antonio up to Dallas. We visited San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Fort Worth, and Dallas. We flew into San Antonio on a Saturday and flew out of Dallas the next Saturday.

Here goes the first couple of days…

We flew out of Nashville and straight to San Antonio! Wheels up…

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We picked up our car rental and headed right for the River Walk. I had been here when I was younger, but this was Adam’s first trip to Texas!

It was raining…yay…just a bit of foreshadowing for the next seven days. We ate lunch at the Iron Cactus, on the River Walk, and it was delicious!

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What are the chances of finding this flag on the River Walk!? By the way…This is a definitely a military town. There was so many service men and women!

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We ate at the Esquire Tavern that night which is on the River Walk. It was a neat atmosphere, but more of a bar than a restaurant. The food was good…that’s what counts right?

So…we had never booked with AirBnb, but thought it was worth it for this trip with all the traveling, eating, and trying to save a little bit of money. Oh my goodness… We should have trusted our gut when we pulled into this neighborhood.

Long story short…We stayed one night in the one we had booked and then decided to stay downtown in a hotel the next night. The rest of our bookings were great.

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Sunday morning we ate at the Magnolia Pancake Haus. We waited almost an hour and it was totally worth it. I got the Stonewall Ranch Breakfast and Adam got the Peach and Pecan Waffle. They were both good, but his waffle was better.

We went to the Alamo. It was a bit anticlimactic, but it is free and worth waiting in line to see.

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We found Davy Crockett! He’s from Tennessee, y’all!

Later that afternoon we went over to Pearl Brewery. Most everything was closed because it was Sunday afternoon. It was a super neat area and worth seeing. We had appetizers at the Boiler House which is located in the Pearl area.

That evening we walked around down town and the River Walk and then went to Mi Tierra Cafe for a late night dinner. It’s open 24 hours, has a bakery, and Christmas decorations up year around. If you go to San Antonio you have to go to Mi Tierra!

The next post is all about Austin!

Weekend in St. Louis

Adam’s grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and all the kids and grandkids met in St. Louis to celebrate. I had never been to St. Louis! We made a fun packed weekend out of it. We also took my niece, Savannah, who is 7 years old.

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She had a blast! The city is definitely somewhere we will travel back to with our own children. Not that you have to have kids to enjoy the city. There is definitely plenty to do without them 🙂

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We arrived late Friday night and headed straight to his aunt & uncle’s house for dinner. Saturday morning we woke up and went to the City Museum just as it was opening. We had to limit our visit to just 3-4 hours due to a tight schedule. It would have been possible to spend all day there. Savannah had a blast. There were more caves, slides, and stairs than I could count.

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We had lunch at Blue’s City Deli. The line was out the door and pretty long, but we were through it and had our food in less than 30 minutes. I would recommend it!

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We went back to the hotel for showers & naps. I ran to the mall in Chesterfield to buy a gift. We stayed in Chesterfield. Perfectly quaint suburb not far from the city. That night we had more family plans & the following morning family pictures.

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Sunday afternoon we visiting the historic courthouse, Arch, and the Anheuser-Busch brewery. We parked downtown in a parking garaged and took an Uber to each of our locations.

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The courthouse was very neat. It was free & where you could purchase tickets (other than online) for the Arch. There were exhibits & videos.

The Arch was neat, but not my favorite. It was 100+ degrees with the heat index that day. The top of the arch is obviously small & very hot! There was a lot of people in that tiny space! The view was spectacular and definitely worth doing once.

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We took the free brewery tour, with Adam’s sister & brother-in-law,IMG_9734 which lasted about 15-30 minutes. The brewery was really cool to see. The process, machinery, and history was very interesting. Savannah even slightly enjoyed it…until she knocked over someone’s drink in the restaurant area and the staff said they didn’t have a mop???? Anyways..We used a lot of napkins 🙂

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We drove back home Sunday after sightseeing. I wish we could have spent more time. There are so many free things to do like the science center & zoo. Of course catching a Cardinal’s game would have been pretty awesome too!

Cape San Blas, FL

We spent a week in Florida at the beginning of June! I definitely recommend the Cape if you aren’t into the hustle & bustle type of Florida trip.

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Adam & Savannah not helping load the car :p

We took our niece, Savannah, who is 7 years old. It was a true test of our parenting skills…or lack their of. We did really good until on the way home in the midst of disciplining her I just could not hold it in and we all laughed until we cried. It’s all fun and games with Blake & Adam.

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We went a day early ahead of my family to meet some friends from Mississippi in Pensacola for the day. That night we swam at the hotel and went to bed to prepare for a big beach day!

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We played on the beach all day in Perdido Key at Johnson’s beach. Only $3 to park and you’re set for the day.

After a day in the sun we drove the couple of hours over to Cape San Blas. Savannah was worn out and slept the whole way.

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Ice cream time 

The week on the Cape was nothing short of amazing. There was a lot of time spent laying around at the pool or beach. We ate a lot of doughnuts & ice cream.

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There was no go carts, putt-putt, or expensive dinners, and that’s just the way we like it!

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In Apalachicola

One day we did drive over to historic Apalachicola and walk around down town and into the boutiques and antique stores. My mom & I are notorious for shopping all day and not buying anything. I guess that’s not shopping? Anyways, it drives Adam & my dad insane. It’s just how we work guys. Sorry. 

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My parent’s dog, Elsa. 

 

We stayed at the complex called Barrier Dunes. Did I mention the whole Cape is pet friendly? Most of the condos are pet friendly and don’t have a restriction of “no animal over 2.5 pounds” or something else insane.

My family keeps coming back to this place! We can’t wait to go again next year!IMG_3597

My Military Ball Experience

You see pictures of these women in beautiful dresses and men looking handsome in their uniforms. Military and formal balls are a chance to get all fancy and see your man in his dress uniform.

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It’s like grown up prom, right?

Basically…Except there isn’t a king or queen crowned.

We attended the Seabee Ball in Gulfport in March of 2015. Adam was a member of a specific part of the Navy called the Seabees. They had their own ball each year. We could have also attended Navy ball.

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Adam separated from the Navy in June of 2015. I begged him to go to the ball knowing it would be our last chance. Each year I wanted to go, but his coworkers always made fun of the people that attended!

Let me tell you what…We had a blast. I don’t know what their issues were with ball, but it wasn’t at all what they ragged about.

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My advice to anyone attending any sort of formal ball…

Go with a group. We had so much fun with our group. I honestly didn’t even know them very well. Like I mentioned, our closest friends did not care to attend.

Wear a dress and shoes you won’t be worried about all night. You don’t want to pulling on Spanx and a strapless bra all night. Trust me, y’all!

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Don’t listen to anyone else about whether or not you should go. It’s not that expensive to go. The cost of tickets & a dress. Go and decide for yourself if you like military balls.

Finally, don’t be “that wife.” That wife is the one that gets hammered, acts like a fool, and dresses like a skank. You don’t want to be the talk of the office on Monday.

Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas

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It’s Cinco de Mayo, y’all! Let’s celebrate with enchiladas.

I love being able to throw something in the crockpot and come back 6 hours later and the majority of dinner be ready.

We eat some sort of Mexican cuisine probably 3 times a week.

These enchiladas are simple and you can easily swap out any of the veggies for something that better fits your taste buds.

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Ingredients

2 chicken breasts (frozen or thawed)
1 cup water
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 green pepper
1 red or yellow pepper
1/2 onion
1 can Rotel
1 packet of fajita seasoning mix
1 cup shredded cheese (Colby Jack or Mexican blend)
1 can refried beans
1 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream
1 can enchilada sauce (green or red)
6-10 tortillas (any size)

Instructions

Spray crockpot with nonstick cooking spray and put your chicken breasts, water, chicken stock, and Rotel in on high or low heat.
Slice your peppers & onion put in the crockpot. Sprinkle your fajita seasoning mix over everything.
Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low 6-7.
An hour before you’re ready to eat shred your chicken in the crockpot. It should pull apart easily. Continue to let it cook for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degree.
Put a spoon full of refried beans and greek yogurt (or sour cream) in each tortilla and spread evenly. Fill each tortilla with the crockpot mixture. (I use a slotted spoon because it tends to be a wet mixture, but that’s better than dry chicken!)
Roll each enchilada and place in 8×8 or 9×13 pan.
Sprinkle cheese, enchilada sauce, and more refried beans or sour cream on top of the enchiladas and bake for 15 minutes.
Bake longer if you want them to be crunchy on the ends.

This recipe makes roughly 8 taco size enchiladas for me. I usually only bake 4 enchiladas and freeze the other half of the crockpot mixture.

Doubling the recipe would be easy also if you have a lot of mouths to feed!