Her and Her Guy

On Saturday, Arianna had her first school dance. She was to ask her “guy” (be it dad, uncle, grandpa, neighbor – awesome work, Armstrong School District!) and take him to the dance.

It was hands-down clear that she’d be taking her guy, her Daddy. Following the hustle and bustle of the twins’ birthday party, these two got to escape for a few hours of fun together.

I’m so glad she’s got this guy in her life. xoxo

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Ari Rides Her Bike

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It’s official. Our big girl is riding her bike without training wheels. Greg shared a video, “Ari Rides Her Bike” on YouTube the night that she did it. Ever since then (Thursday), she’s been riding all over the place like a champ.

Thank you, Kohls, for giving Greg and Arianna this #YesMoment this summer. They set a goal and you helped them achieve it. It really means a lot to us that you care about loyalty!

Growing Pains

The twins are growing. Which means they are eating lots.

But only when Mama is home. They give Daddy a hard time.

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Being a baby is tough work, duh.

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Growing pains also happen for the big kids. Arianna is doing some really cool big kid stuff that we will share with you soon. This makes Evan feel small and left out, but he’s been growing too. Not just physically (although both are taller than they were at the start of summer and their not so little feet are jammed in their shoes), but emotionally as well.

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And us adults have growing pains. We are adjusting to life as two working parents, realizing we have to find balance more so now than ever.

Growing is tough. But worth it, right?

Anniversary Six

6 years seems like yesterday. I love growing old with this guy and sharing moments with our 4 kids and 2 dogs. Anniversary Six was pretty perfect.

We started the day in our new chairs, the ones we found while needing to feed the girls on a trip to get a microwave.

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Lived in the moment in our chairs vs capturing it so this is the same chair.

Then we spent time with Greg’s mom on the front porch and skyped with Nurin. Ava wanted her manager because she was tired of performing for the camera.

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We left the girls with Grandma (the big kids with Grammie and Pappy for a church picnic) and took a bike ride into Ford City.

While there, we stopped at the garden and repeated our Baha’i vows.

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We will all, verily, abide by the will of God.

Then we went over to the church and repeated our favorite line from our vows and thanked God (and each other) for a beautiful six years.

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I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always...

Having no solid plans (a big trip is coming up this week!), we decided to see if any filming of Banshee was going on in Vandergrift. It wasn’t, but exploring the set was fun.

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This made me want wine, so we went over to La Casa Narcisi and enjoyed a delicious meal, a glass of Catawba wine, and cannoli. Afterward, I needed coffee but wanted blueberry flavor, so we stopped at Greg’s work to get one (and try to catch the end of the Pirate game). The evening ended snuggling Isla (we tuckered Ava out) and watching Banshee until my eyes wouldn’t stay open (which was about 40 minutes).

Anniversary Six. Beautiful. Love you more every day, Mr. Willis!

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Anniversary Six

6 years seems like yesterday. I love growing old with this guy and sharing moments with our 4 kids and 2 dogs. Anniversary Six was pretty perfect.

We started the day in our new chairs, the ones we found while needing to feed the girls on a trip to get a microwave.

image
Lived in the moment in our chairs vs capturing it so this is the same chair.

Then we spent time with Greg’s mom on the front porch and skyped with Nurin. Ava wanted her manager because she was tired of performing for the camera.

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We left the girls with Grandma (the big kids with Grammie and Pappy for a church picnic) and took a bike ride into Ford City.

While there, we stopped at the garden and repeated our Baha’i vows.

image
We will all, verily, abide by the will of God.

Then we went over to the church and repeated our favorite line from our vows and thanked God (and each other) for a beautiful six years.

image
I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always...

Having no solid plans (a big trip is coming up this week!), we decided to see if any filming of Banshee was going on in Vandergrift. It wasn’t, but exploring the set was fun.

image

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This made me want wine, so we went over to La Casa Narcisi and enjoyed a delicious meal, a glass of Catawba wine, and cannoli. Afterward, I needed coffee but wanted blueberry flavor, so we stopped at Greg’s work to get one (and try to catch the end of the Pirate game). The evening ended snuggling Isla (we tuckered Ava out) and watching Banshee until my eyes wouldn’t stay open (which was about 40 minutes).

Anniversary Six. Beautiful. Love you more every day, Mr. Willis!

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Stop! Bottle Time!

Last evening, Greg was running errands with the ‘lil girls in tow.

There was a point when both needed to eat right then and without another set of hands or our feeding pillow, he just parked the car and figured it out.

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Some may think, “oh wow, what an awesome dad for doing mom a favor and giving her a break” or “oh my gosh, a dad actually feeding his kids”. But I am here to tell you that this Dad finds all this normal and he’s actually just doing what he does best, being an awesome Daddy.

Even though Greg cares for the babies on the regular, I fell deeper in love with him when I saw this selfie. Right?

Three Dads

There are three dads in our lives that are pretty awesome. We will be spending the day with them.

First, there is Greg. Daddy to our ‘lil Burghers and my teammate in this game of life.

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His Dad, Pops (or Pop Pop to the kids).

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And my Dad, or Pappy.

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I’ve had to rely on these three men more than ever the past 13 weeks, and I am so glad God put each of them in mine and the kids’ lives. What a blessing!

Happy Father’s Day.

#YESMoment Memories

Disclosure: As part of Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards Program influencer preview group, our family was selected to be highlighted for a #YESMoment. We received products with no obligation to formally share the details of the day; however, my opinions are my own and I am choosing to share information with you. Thank you, Kohl’s for these #YESMoment Memories.

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There are going to be memories that stick with you forever.

Memories that do not require looking back to a scrapbook, blog, or the “On This Day” app.

These memories are going to forever be known in our family as #YESMoment Memories, and thanks to Kohl’s, we have an amazing one surrounding Father’s Day this year.

What is a #YESMoment?  The folks at Kohl’s implemented a new loyalty program in October. Yes2You Rewards is a way for them to create #YESMoment (s) in their customers’ lives. It starts simply with hassle-free shopping plus a point system that rewards in cash for shopping at their store. But…there are surprises along the way.

Surprises like the #YESMoment that we are always going to remember.

I was having a crazy day. Greg was at work and I was OVER Maternity Leave. I needed to be packing for our trip to Nurin’s wedding. The big kids were helping me take some photos of Ava and Isla for their two-minute milestone memory. My phone rang in the midst of hundreds of camera flashes.

It was Kohl’s, and they wanted to tell me they were inspired by our family (thanks to my participation in a Facebook preview group for their Yes2You Rewards Program). Most specifically, they were inspired by Greg.

A night or two before, we were talking about what the dad in our lives does to put a smile on our faces. I shared that Greg, the primary caregiver for our children, heads to work in the evenings (to help bring home bacon…cause we eat a lot of it around here) but that when he gets home, his first stops are to kiss the twins then sneak into the big kids’ rooms for songs, prayers, and snuggles. They miss him so much while he is at work, so this is their nightly #YESMoment.

This story touched the hearts of the Kohl’s team so much that they wanted to fly here and meet our family plus surprise Greg for Father’s Day. We chatted about our summer goals (getting Arianna to ride a bike without her training wheels), our town, how we love the outdoors, and how we spend time as a family. Next thing I knew, I was secretively emailing and talking with the team about setup details (during our trip to SC).

While on our ride home, I couldn’t take the suspense anymore and got clearance to tell Greg that they were coming (with a camera crew) to talk to our family and take me and the kids shopping one night. He agreed it could be cool, and I kept the real truth (they wanted to throw him a party and give him gifts for Father’s Day) a big secret.

A few days later, a camera crew and the Kohl’s team set up in our house. They interviewed Greg and I, then after he went to work, took me and the big kids to Kohl’s to shop for gifts. The kids wanted to camp with Daddy, so they picked a tent and camping supplies.

The next morning, they were back to film routines (Greg wasn’t at all suspicious that they were filming HIS routines with the kids — feeding the dogs, feeding the girls, helping the kids get dressed/ready for a walk all while I sat back and enjoyed a breakfast with some adult time vs scarfing it down on the road.) We went for a walk, and when we came back, Kohl’s had transformed our backyard into a party and surprised Greg (to the point of tears) to tell him this #YESMoment was about him being such a great Dad.

We enjoyed gifts, a picnic, bubbles, and capped the day off with a HUGE surprise that I didn’t even know about — bikes for the four of us that can ride. It was simply amazing…and because I have all the feels about it, it’s probably best to just let you watch the video (again if you already have) to see what this meant to Greg (and our family).

Needless to say, we were floored by the whole experience. A company that goes out of its way to recognize the families that stand behind them is a company we want to do business with. Not just because of this surprise, but because it is clear that they care even about the little moments and want to make every moment a YES. Thank you, Kohl’s, for making this #YESMoment a memory we will never forget.

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Surprise!!!
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The kids made him a Clemson colored card
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They transformed our yard, highlighting memories!
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Yum
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They had no idea, but this was our wedding food!

We will be sharing more #YESMoment Memories over on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

How will YOU be celebrating a #YESMoment Memory with the dad in your life this year?

A Very Rough Day

If you don’t follow me personally on Facebook or Twitter, you may not know that a stomach bug hit the kids pretty hard this week, primarily Thursday when both Arianna and Evan started a synchronized act of each throwing up at precisely the moment I’d fall back asleep from cleaning the last round.

It was truly a test of my motherhood skills, and while I definitely passed, I caught it too. This made for a scary day Friday and as I started to update my Facebook friends decided I might as well blog it to remember it as it does have some pregnancy impact, too.

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Yesterday will probably go down in Willis North history as one of the days that made our ship stronger.

Both kids were up most of the night Thursday to Friday sick with the stomach bug. At some point after midnight, it was clear I had joined them, but I wouldn’t admit defeat. The second Greg Willis got home from work, I let myself join the troops and could barely move from pain and weakness. Around 4:30, he decided there was no way I could do this alone overnight again plus he came down with it at that point too so he called off work. I then called my doctor…because I was having light Braxton Hicks contractions about every 10 minutes.

The answer? Dehydration, head to the ER. So my mom came to my rescue and took me to the ER so I didn’t have a train of three more sickies with me and could focus on my healing and the babies’ safety.

After introducing myself to my ER nurse with what contents of my guts remained, he hooked me up for an IV, took bloodwork, and started fluids and zofran. (Although my ob advised against an rx for it at week 9, I was cleared due to the fact I only drank 5 ounces of liquid from 5 PM Thursday to 6 PM Friday and was still nauseated and throwing up about every 20 minutes). Immediately, I started to feel some relief.

Next, it was up to OB (I actually went in the birthing center which brought some tears to my eyes…I am NOT ready to meet these babies yet) and got hooked up to monitors. I watched my mom have the same expressions I was feeling the second they found each heartbeat, both strong. We sat and quietly talked for the length of the non stress test and then got the news that the ob doctor at ACMH was pleased with the results and I could go back downstairs. Whatever was taking over my body was not hurting the babies! Both had good heartbeats in the 150s and the fluids and zofran stopped my contractions.

Back in the ER, we waited for bloodwork results and then I started more fluid. The final test was a urine sample, which came back that I have some type of infection on top of this bug. No flu, just something that should pass with my prescriptions and rest.

As we pulled up to the house, I saw the kids downstairs and asked Mom to come see them. Evan was eating and drinking, but Arianna was scared to. She took some of the ice chips I had at the hospital and perked up enough to read “We Are In a Book” to Grammie. Greg said both were “accident free” the whole time we were gone.

After my mom left, I went to take my medicine and fell asleep, so I am not sure how the first half of the night went (Greg stayed up a whole because he had slept all day), but from about 2 until 645, we were free to sleep straight through the night. Evan is getting better, and Arianna should be close on his heels.

I thank you for the thoughts and prayers we received throughout this trial, and hope and pray your families stay safe from it!

Now it’s back to sleep for me, Grammie ordered a round of sleeping in for all of us, so I hope little miss “the sky’s awake so I’m awake” listens…