The small things become the big things...

Woah! Look at me. This is my second blog, on my second week! Who is this lady? HA!

 

So, kids. Let's talk about em. I remember after finding out I was pregnant with Brayden, I couldn't stop imagining tiny baby booties, and little bow ties, and snuggling with a little fresh babe.

I thought about bottles, and pacifiers, and wipes, and diapers, and all the essentials you need to care for a baby. It wasn't until after he was born that I started to think about what kind of lessons I would teach my child. I got so much unsolicited advice. Do this, don't do that.. Blah Blah Blah. One night, Brendan and I were up late and started to talk about how we wanted to raise our children.

What did we want our dynamics to be? Who would be the disciplinarian, and who would be the softie? What values did we want them to have? How did we make the little lessons mean something bigger? Well that first year went by quick, and soon we found ourselves with a toddler, and another little baby on the way.

We had to teach them why we don't smear poop on the walls. (Because it's gross) and why we only take out one thing to play with at a time..(so its easier to clean at the end of the day) Soon, we were faced with bigger challenges. Like, why we aren't mean to our brothers, and why mommy and daddy should not have to repeat themselves, and why it's important to look both ways before crossing the street.

Just this week, we had our first big life lesson. Brayden, the oldest, and quickly becoming the smartest person in the house, found himself curious. I had a few candles burning throughout the house, and he kept asking when he could blow them out. Finally, I told him he could, and i didn't think anything of it. My mom mentioned that he came out of the bathroom smelling a little burnt, but I figured he was just playing in the wax like I used to do when I was a kid.

It wasn't until later that night when I went into their bathroom to see that there were burnt remnants of toilet paper EVERYWHERE and it smelled like an ashtray in there. I was infuriated. I made him clean it all up, and told him when he was done, to come and talk to me. I really wanted to just take away his pokemon cards and ipad, and send him to bed, but I didn't. While he was cleaning, I had to think of what kind of lesson he could learn from this, and how I could use this as a teaching moment.

Finally, it came to me. He was visibly upset when he came to talk to me, and even more so when I told him that his daddy was on the way home to talk to him. I calmed him down, and asked him "Why did you do this?" He said he was just wondering what would happen to the toilet paper if he put it in the fire. I told him "You know, if you're ever curious about ANYTHING, you can always ask mommy or daddy, or any adult." I told him that personally, I love to watch a fire burn. I love throwing paper into the fire pit and watching it ignite, and that I would have loved to show him how paper burns, in a safe way.

I explained to him that if there is anything that he ever has questions about, he can always come to mommy and daddy, and that he'll never ever be in trouble, just for being curious or having questions about something. I made him understand that we would always be there for him, even if it were in the middle of the night, and he felt like it couldn't wait until morning. He was calm by now, and started smiling.

 

Brendan came home, and, well, he's not short winded by any means, so he reiterated to him what I had told him, and he came and gave me a hug and a kiss, told me he was sorry and that he understood now that he could ask us anything. I was so proud of us at that moment. I wanted so bad to just punish him and be done with it. But it's these little teachable moments that mold our children into who they are going to be. Its the time that we take to explain to them why they shouldn't be doing something instead of brushing it off with a "because I said so"

I'm confident that as he and his siblings grow up, we can continue to teach them lessons that help them remain close to us, and reassure them that we will always be there for them. Sure, there are a million more lessons to teach, but one down, 999,999 to go!

What kind of lessons have you taught your kids without even knowing it, or when is the last time you intentionally made a small lesson into a huge one? Let us know in the comments!

Stop explaining who you are...

OH MY GEE you guys! It's almost been a full year since I have blogged!
I promise, I have the BEST intentions, I just never actually make it a priority to sit down and concentrate on this thing!


Which, I know, makes no sense, since I have so many big plans for our BundleofBanks brand. I want so much for us to grow, and help, and inspire, and uplift, and encourage, and, yes occasionally make you cry.


I look back at previous blog posts and it makes me cringe(for the love, please don't go back in my archives) I think I wasted a lot of time trying to explain to God knows who, who I was, and what kind of person I was striving to be.

Although that is very important to me, It's no longer something that I wish to do. Hopefully, if you find yourself reading one of my blog posts, you are someone with an open mind, and you're not a (cough, cough) hater of all around awesome people. Because I, am an awesome freaking person. (Wait, I just explained who I was again)..

Anyways, I have big plans for this little blog of ours. So many posts in my head that just need to be typed out. For my first blog back, I figured I might share with you all what's been on my mind lately.

You see, we live in a world that's constantly trying to "fix" us. A world full of critics, stuck behind a keyboard or a phone screen, telling everyone else what they should be, think, or feel.

I'm at this amazing point in my life, where I can actually understand why people do that. I think instead of trying to fix everyone else, we should first fix ourselves.

I have learned to love God first, and then love myself. Something amazing happens when you decide to love everything about yourself. It's like a new world opens up. Suddenly, you love others, treat others better. You become more of a joy to be around. You don't criticize others, unless you mean well. And I mean truly mean well.

I want to teach my babies that God made them into exactly the person that He wanted them to be. There is nothing wrong with them just the way they are. And when the day comes that they have chosen their significant other, I pray that their future spouse loves everything about them too..

Love isn't about changing someone into who you want them to be. It's about loving them where they are at. Sure, we could all use help to resolve our issues, but that's what therapists are for (seriously, if you need one, I know a guy..)

But all this to say.. Who are you? What drives you? What do you do just for yourself? What makes you happy? What makes you sad? Who do you give your time to? Who aren't you giving your time to? What is your worth? What are you willing to tolerate from others? How do your kids see you treat yourself?

These are all some of a million more questions that you should have answers to. Stop explaining yourself to people that are committed to misunderstanding you. If you believe in who you are, that's all you need. God knows me, and that's all the validation I need.

I will close with saying that ultimately, I am just a girl, who loves God, loves herself, and tries to love everyone, just as Jesus loves me.

I love you guys!!! Thanks for reading, and encouraging me all these years! The blog will soon have a new face, and I'm so excited to be back in the saddle. This is one of the things that truly bring me joy!!

Again, thank you! Stay tuned for more blog posts to come!









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I was silent and have prayed...



Some will question what I have to say. Some will not care. Some will support my opinion. I felt motivated to write this in response to the many posts and comments that I have read on social media in the last 12 hours and even the last 12 months. I have felt a flood of emotions and I guess it's best to get them out than hold them inside. They are primarily fear and anger.

I have many titles. First I am a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. I am a husband, a father, I'm black, I'm white, and I am also a police officer. While not one of these titles define me, they all describe me along with many other attributes. But with each category that I find myself in, I have many different emotions.



As a Christian, I am truly fearful for our country. The lack of love that we, as humans display for one another is sickening. I see such a lost world and society, that I am afraid of the direction we are heading as a country.

As a husband, my fear is what my wife has to deal with just for simply being married to ME.

As a father, my fear is that my children, especially my boys, have to grow up in this world. I am afraid that when they grow older and along with them, my brother, my uncles, my cousins, and the rest of the black males in my family and friends are more than likely to be killed or involved in a violent assault from not law enforcement, but from another black male. I am angry that this year alone there has been hundreds of homicides and shootings of black men and no one seems to care other than those that are directly effected. Too many black boys are trying to figure out how to be men because their fathers were taken from them.

As a black and white man in America(the fact that this is an issue is another post) I fear for myself. Being judged by the way I talk, what I wear, how I look, and mostly what I say.

As a police officer I am afraid for my cousin, my best friend, and all the other WHITE male law enforcement officers that I know personally. Right now almost every time they interact with a BLACK male while in uniform they now are labeled a racist or at a minimum, have to overcome the preconceived notion of racism. It is sad, but the truth is, if I were involved in an incident and it resulted in the death of a black person, or any other color person there would not be much media coverage beyond the 24hr news cycle. Every single officer I know will run to the fight and step between you, (no matter your race, sex, or background), and whatever danger you are facing, even if that means losing his life for a complete stranger.

What are we doing about countless murders and shootings this year in Chicago ALONE? Where is the marching and anger of the many young black men whose lives are taken too soon because of violence in their own community?

It is my prayer that I will make my impact and help make the world better one person at a time, one contact at a time, and one day at a time. That we will judge less, and love more. That we will forgive each other and ourselves so that we might be forgiven.

Let's all pray for the family of Alton Sterling, for the two officers, for Baton Rouge, and for our country.


-Daddy Banks


Joella's Birth Story




Well, Hello! And Happy New Year! Yes, it's 2016, and I don't even want to talk about the last time I blogged! YIKES!!! My excuse is that I had the cutest little workspace in my "office closet" that got transformed into my daughters closet. I'm that weird writer that can only work efficiently if I have a workspace. So, my hubby worked hard transformed rooms around and I'm sitting in my gorgeous new office! I can't wait to get back to blogging and VLOGGING!! I have so many things in the works. I'm not going to set any goals, I'm just going to go with the flow, because what else do you do when you are responsible for FIVE human beings?

But, enough about that, I'm here to talk about the day my DAUGHTER was born. Yes, I can say that now! I have a D A U G H T E R. A mini me, a little bff! She is 5 months old today, and I'm still in shock!

Her birth was pretty dramatic, I'm sure because she was a girl. I was hospitalized for a week in July because I was already dilated to a 2 and was having pretty strong contractions at 33 weeks. I was released on the morning of my baby shower, and was on strict bedrest! I enjoyed my shower so much, my 85 year old madear even made it out. We got showered in PINK, and took it all home to where I had to give Brendan instructions on where to put everything since I was not to lift a FINGER!

We waited day and night for the next two weeks, as I was still having contractions for sweet girl to make her grand debut, but NOTHING. We were prepped, packed, and all ready to go. My doctor loves me so much that she agreed that I was suffering way too much, so she stripped my membranes the morning of August 5th. Easy cheesy, no pain, and we headed home to rest a little, because I got light headed and dizzy afterwards. After going home and napping, we headed to the mall so I could walk her out.

We walked, and walked, and I even did squats. We bought a few outfits for the hospital, and even some cute last minute things for her. We tried everything, and still nothing. My contractions would get bigger, then stop. My best friend,twin, midwife stayed the night with us so she could be here in case I went into labor, and I just knew that morning around 4 am that I was in labor. Hubs and I threw on some shoes and walked a block around the house. I got back home and bounced on the exercise ball, and.... yep. They stopped. So back to sleep we went.

I woke up the morning of the 6th ON A MISSION! I spent almost the whole day on the exercise ball, and with a last leap of faith, we tried nipple stimulation. Boy did that skyrocket me into labor. I bounced through contractions for an hour, then told daddy it was GO TIME! The car was already packed, and our babysitter was here, so we ran out and headed to the hospital. I was still unsure if it was real labor because I had been having contractions for so long, but once I had to sit still in the car, I knew for sure, and hubby knew. He placed his hand on my belly and prayed for our delivery right as we pulled up to the hospital.

The nurses had just seen me before so they knew me, and got me all set up. I was hoping I would be complete when they checked me, like with Brevin, but I was only at 4. She said she would check me again in an hour, and if I was progressing, we could have her. I knew I was progressing, because by now, my contractions were taking my breath away. I talked to my family to take my mind off of them, and sure enough, she checked me and I was at FIVE! Hallelujah! It was time to meet our baby girl!!!!

I kept telling all my nurses how fast my labors were and that they needed to keep checking me but they just went about their business and moved SLOW. I looked at hubby and asked him if he would judge me if I got an epidural. I told him I just wanted to enjoy my last labor ever, because I'd already done the natural thing twice. He laughed and said I could do whatever I wanted, so I requested an epidural.

For what seemed like HOURS I labored through the worst contractions I've ever had. The doctor on call (Same on that delivered Brevin) broke my waters, and I really started feeling them. I kept asking where the anesthesiologist was, and the nurse kept reassuring me that he was coming. By now I was getting a contraction every 30 seconds. FINALLY, he came. As he was placing the needle in my back, I felt it, BOOM! Baby dropped, and it was time to push. I moved, but everyone held me still, I had no choice but to wait until he was done.

As soon as he finished, I told the nurse to check me. I couldn't even lie flat on my back. She checked me as I was sitting up, and as soon as she did, she reached over and pressed the call button. I told Brendan..."her head is right there" and the nurse looked at me like "crap" of course she told me not to push, and I said "IM PUSHING DAMNIT" Doctor Gordon got there just in time, and in two pushes, out came our sweet girl.

We all held our breath to wait for her cry, and there it was. The most beautiful sound. I waited for him to say "It's a girl" and then I started breathing again. They placed her on my chest and I just couldn't stop looking at her! She was HERE!!!! By the way, the only thing that was numb was my big toe! But it didn't matter!

That whole first day I couldn't stop staring at her. I just couldn't believe it. I put on her first bow,and I almost died. I changed her diaper and was still in disbelief that there wasn't a penis there.

Here we are 5 months later and nothing much has changed. She's definitely the star of the show. She has to be the easiest baby there ever were, and we are all smitten. If you haven't seen her birth video, here is a link to it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyQ5cJgjuak






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Is this real life?

Well hello, little abandoned blog of mine. For shame.
I always have the best intentions of blogging, I even do posts in my head, and never find the time to actually sit down and do them.
Right now, the most important thing in my life is sleep.
No but I'm serious. Without the proper amount of rest, I am just physically, and mentally not my best.

As is the truth for every human being. Rest is so very important for our overall health. My goal for this year was only to continue on the path of becoming the person that I am meant to be.
A WHOLE person. Physically, mentally, spiritually rounded, and I am continuing on that path. One day I'll blog about my fitness, and how I lost almost 40 lbs in less than a year, and one day I will find the strength to blog about how I have learned to overcome negative people in my life, and yes, one day I will finally finish our Disney vacation, but today is NOT that day.

Today, I will blog about my DAUGHTER!

Wait, WHAT?!

To even say that, is completely, foreign to me. Daughter. Baby girl. Female. PINK!

I guess I'd have to start back when we found out Brevin was a boy. Because of how he came into this world I think, I was ecstatic to have another son. His little life was almost gone in a matter of minutes. I was so grateful that I had a HEALTHY tiny baby. Who cares about gender? Seriously?

My heart was content, especially following that emergency c section, and everything that came with it. I was of course open to have more babies, but I knew in my heart that I was done.

B and I talked about it, just to keep it on the table, because, come on, I was 26 years old, in ridiculously good shape (yes, toot, toot), and we had always talked about having 5-7 kidlets. We have always just wanted a big family. Something we agreed on before he even proposed marriage.
We agreed that if we were to have another baby, I would get my mirena taken out in December or January, and if I was not pregnant before Brendans 30th birthday this April, Brendan would go ahead and get a vasectomy. Done deal.
Easy cheesy.

As more time passed, I realized that I was NOT ready to be pregnant again. I wanted to wear bikinis this summer, and go zip lining, and ride roller coasters, and do the tough mudder marathon, and the list goes on.

I loved our even number of our family of 6. I daydreamed of us going to amusement parks and having a perfect number for each of us to have a roller coaster buddy. Or splitting up into two teams for a family game of basketball or touch football. Each boy had a buddy, and it would be perfect!

I decided it in my mind, and gave away every single piece of maternity clothing I owned, even bigger clothes that weren't maternity, but clothes I had never planned on wearing again, because I planned on just getting smaller! HOLLA! I gave away all my baby boy clothes that Brevy had outgrown to my friend expecting her baby boy, and I was on a mission to be the most fit mom of 4 boys that there ever were.

In November, I had ovarian cyst issues which landed me an extensive stay on the good old couch until they ruptured or went away. I was MISERABLE! I got an ultrasound at the hospital, where the ultrasound tech saw my mirena, and also my 2 large cysts on my ovaries.

After they ruptured, we got back to normal life. And all the things that come with that. Ahem. We also took precautionary measures, ahem, because I had a yeast infection. I'm not going to go into details butchuknowhatimtawknbout.
So anyways, one December morning, the 21st of December, to be exact, I was just chillin, eating breakfast, talking to my kids, and I felt it. The vomit. I ran to the bathroom, and in true movie fashion, I threw up. Immediately, I grabbed my phone and went to my period tracker app. 4 days late.
WHAT THE HELL?
I knew I had mirena, so I didn't quite freak out THAT bad, because periods can be irregular, and I was also still breastfeeding, so I calmly text my sister and asked her to go get me a pregnancy test. After her doing back flips, she came over, eager for me to test. I had already peed in a cup, so I dipped the test and put it on the counter. I didn't even have time to think. It was POSITIVE.
But. But.. But... I'm on mirena.. and we were careful. And I'm still breastfeeding. And... WHAT?
After I got off the bathroom floor, where I laid for a few minutes, I text some friends and asked what I should do. All of them agreed that false positives don't exist, and that I was probably pregnant.
Crap. What was B going to say? We JUST said we were done having kids. I mean he had already found a urologist! I guess I forgot the man I married for a split second, after I called him, he text me after he had time to think and said "It's because you're so damn fine" My husband, ladies and gents.
We agreed we would go to the hospital, to make sure it wasn't an ectopic pregnancy, because that was my number one fear. We were in so much shock, that after I took the urine test at the hospital, when the nurse left, she said "congratulations" and we were like "tthaaankkk yoouu??" we were just confused. How does this even happen?
The ultrasound confirmed nothing. They could not see a baby. But guess what they also couldn't see? MY MIRENA. Yep. It was gone. Vanished. Disappeared.
The doctor also said that my HCG was dangerously low, and that I was probably going to have a miscarriage, or maybe not, and that the baby could possibly be in my tubes, but they weren't sure -___-  We went home even more confused than when we went.
I wasn't starting to get sick yet, I just felt kinda off, so I had no idea what was going on. We still told a few close people, and my mother of course, but we wanted everyone to just pray for us.
I ended up going back to the hospital because I had some bad pain, and they told me to come back if I had pain. I still thought the baby was in my tubes.
This time on ultrasound, they saw the baby, but the heart rate was only 90.
Again, they feared miscarriage. I was so discouraged at this point. I don't know why, but I just thought the baby was not going to make it. And I was confused, because I thought I didn't want a baby, but I guess I did.
My aunt, aka my life coach, aka my everything, text me a prayer, and immediately told me some supplements to rush order (black haw and progesterone) and I felt at ease. If she believed in this tiny baby, why couldn't I, too?
The supplements came in, I took them, and waited for my first OB appt. They rushed me in for an ultrasound, and the technician almost giggled, because the baby's heart rate was so strong.
We felt so much better, and wrapped our minds around having another baby. Once we started telling people of course everyone said "OH ITS A GIRL" Like no one had a doubt. Except a few haters. Cough cough.
I had ZERO intuition. Like I always don't. Since I had planned a big surprise anniversary trip to Las Vegas, I figured why not surprise him with the gender of the baby while we were there as well. I knew I could get the chromosome screening done at 10 weeks, so after finding out my insurance would cover it, I went and got the blood test done. That was the Wednesday before we left for Vegas. I skipped out of there thinking I would find out before our actual anniversary that coming Tuesday, then my nurse told me it took TWO WEEKS!
TWO WEEKS?! I honestly had such an amazing time in Vegas with Brendan, that we totally forgot all about it (I ended up telling him since we wouldn't find out before our anniversary). We got back that Tuesday night, and I waited until that Friday to call, just to see if the results were maybe in. My sweet nurse told me that they would probably be in by Monday, and to call back then.
Monday morning, I actually forgot. I was finishing up a birthday cake for my friends daughter, and I remembered. I was so scared to make that call.
What if it was another boy?!
Well, great! 5 boys! It IS all we know, after all. I mean, a girl would be WEIRD. And we'd have to change things, and do stuff, and prepare! Ha! But what if it was a girl? Just maybe? WHAT IF ITS A GIRL? But it's not, I can't have girls. Like I'm pretty sure my uterus has a mustache(stole that from another blogger) But seriously, I pop out boys. That's just what I do. Beautiful boys is my business, and business is GOOD!
Shaking, I called, and left a message. She called me back literally two minutes later. She started with "Told ya the results would be in! I'm assuming you called to find out gender, right?" I yelled "WAIT WAIT WAIT I'M NOT READY!!"
I had to breathe. I was shaking, and I had a piping bag in my hand. I started back piping on the cake and she said "Okay, well what do you WANT it to be?" I whispered " a giiirrrlll?"
And then she said 5 words that I have repeated in my head over and over again a billion times "YOU'RE HAVING A BABY GIRL!" I said "SHUT UP!!!!" I didn't know what to do. I swear my eyes went crossed, and I couldn't even focus. I started making eggs while she was talking..my kids weren't even awake yet.. and I was making breakfast lol. She told me that the rest of tests came back low risk for chromosomal abnormalities, and that I had a healthy BABY GIRL!
She could not stop laughing at me because she knows me well enough to know I was freaking the freak out. She said see you next Monday, and told me congratulations, and we hung up. I walked around my kitchen island a few times, sent out a shaky text to my friend Tasha that I was already texting "My nurse just called me, we are having a GIRL" My phone rang so fast, and she called me crying. We have the same due date, and she was telling me how big of a blessing it was, and it just still wasn't sinking in. OMG. I hadn't told B yet. After crying a bit with her, we hung up, and I ran and LEAPED on top of him.
He was half asleep. "BABBBEEE!!!" I yelled. "Yes" he said through one eye squinted. "WE ARE HAVING A GIRLLLLL"
He gave me the biggest smile his sleepy face could fit, and gave me the stinkiest morning kiss, and said "That's amazing babe." and then I leaped off of him and told him to go back to bed.
I know he probably felt like it was all a dream. I text all my friends, I just couldn't hold it in. Brendan had really wanted to do a gender reveal party, but I ruined all the chances of that in less than 10 minutes. I was just freaking out. My friend Melissa came over to pick up the cake, and couldn't even focus. She ran in the house and grabbed me and we squealed like teenagers. Her husband came and told me congratulations and had the BIGGEST smile!
On the way to the party, Brendan kept saying.. "wait, like, are we awake? Is this real? NOT a dream?" I was like, "I mean I've been slapping myself all morning so I guess not!"
We are having a daughter you guys. I know this post got lengthy, so I will end it here. I will have to gather the rest of my thoughts and write about what having a little girl means to this mama, who was totally prepared to be a boy mom forever.
Thank you every single person who has shared in our excitement! It has meant more than you know, and also kind of helped us realize that this is actually real.
A baby girl! What do we do?!








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Bundle of Banks do Disney, AGAIN!!! Part 4

 

 

Ah ha! Told yall I was gonna finish my Disney posts this year.. but omg this is day 1 of 7!! Bahahaahaha!!


We spent our first Day at Magic Kingdom. Last year, we had Mickey ears on our shirt wearing a Saints hat,

so this year, we had a Mickey Fleur de Lis, that said “Geauxin to see dat mouse”

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Riding the bus!

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Me and Megs. I love her!

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We went straight to see Mickey! Brevin actually LOVES mickey mouse! He can be so upset, but as soon as he hears Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, he starts smiling automatically.

This year, the Mickey actually talked. It was so cool!

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We had lunch reservations at Cinderella's Palace! We had two sleeping kiddos and thought it was hilarious.

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This was the view from the back of Cinderella's Castle. And, oh yeah, food!

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the dining plan!?!

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All the princesses made their way around. The boys knew like none of them, oops.

Btw my camera died, so I had to use my backup that I pretty much only use for video. I was not happy. But the picks came out ok.

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The food was delicious and the castle was gorgeous. We also got lots of souvenirs.

When we first came in, we took picks with Cinderella, and they gave us framed and printed pictures, as well as swords for the boys.

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We were joking that since I was pregnant at Disney last year, it was Brendan's turn.

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We rode everything we didn’t ride last year, thanks to our fast passes!

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I LOVE the Disney parades!

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When we got back, there was gift number 2 from Disney, toys for each boy, and Lightning McQueen cookies!

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Next up, Animal Kingdom!

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Bundle of Banks do Disney, AGAIN!! Part 3

Sad news about the giveaway guys! It’s postponed one more week.

But this week I will be introducing all my amazing, super fantastic sponsors as well as what they will be giving away!!!!

I had a sponsor drop out last minute, but I have a replacement in the works!

 

Now who’s ready for more Disney MAGIC?!

I was playing no games this year. I wanted us on the road to Disney World no later than 5:00 am.

It’s about an 11 hour drive from New Orleans, so that would put us there around 4.

Thank goodness for my granddaddy! We were up and outta there by 5 am!!

 

Here is how we surprised the boys. One year we will wait until the middle of the day, when they are fully awake!

It was about 4:30 am, so they weren’t fully awake yet. I will post the video to our YouTube channel soon.

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Florida orange juice! And Brevin just chillin!

 

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I found this picture on Pinterest. This almost made me cry while we were on the way to Disney.

Travel is so important to us, because we want our babies to know that there is a whole world out there to be discovered!

We love our little adventurers, and we love being able to create memories, and go on

amazing adventures together!

 

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THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH!

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Our resort was SOO AMAZING! And so darn cute! We stayed at Caribbean Beach last year, and we loved it.

This year, the kids were in AWE! Best part? CARS CHARACTERS! Because, duh, boys!

I actually got these pictures later on in the week. I strategically planned out how and when I would do pictures,

because there were certain shots I knew I wanted to get, and I didn’t want to rush them, or drive everyone crazy!

 

Here are some shots from around the resort!

 

 

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We unfortunately had a phone call to Disney a while before we got there, that ended up with a VERY RUDE rep.

Which, is very uncommon for Disney. They compensated us with a series of gifts! It was soooo cool!

This was the first one on the first night!

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We settled into our suite, and headed right back out to Downtown Disney for dinner with the Selods!

We ate at Planet Hollywood, and remembered HOW MUCH FOOD you eat at Disney! I was stuffed, and happy!

 

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We came back to the resort, got cleaned up, and were ready for a good, comfy night of rest! Next day was Magic Kingdom!

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Next up: GEAUXIN TO SEE DAT MOUSE!

 

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PS- I know there are no Disney tips yet. I’m working on becoming a paid blogger for Disney travel. I will blog tips very soon! There are SO MANY POSTS ahead!

Bundle of Banks do Disney, AGAIN! Part two.

Day 2, I woke up bright and early to take on the day. I hadn’t worked out or stretched in a few days, and riding in a car for 8 hours had done a number on my back.
I woke up early to do some yoga. When I was done, I was rinsing my water bottle out in the sink, and saw this verse.
It was perfect. I was talking to God, thanking Him for the day, and preparing for the day.
I looked out the window, and saw my granddaddy doing the exact same thing from the porch on his trailer.
Wow. I love that man.
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Our nephew, Dahniel, had a football game that morning, so my brother and sister in law volunteered to take the boys while we went to Karen and Dustin's wedding.
It was perfect. We would have left Brevy man, but, ya know, he doesn’t take a bottle.
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The wedding was in the French Quarter, so my grandparents went to get some good Cajun food while we were there.
 
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It was absolutely gorgeous. We love love, and we love Karen. It was amazing seeing her marry the love of her life!
 
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Also, that weekend, one of Brendan's frat brothers was getting married, so most of his frat brothers were in town.
After the wedding, and quick beignet run, we met up with them at the mall to talk and catch up for a bit. I love my big brothers in BLU!
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We caught back up with the kids, at my sister in laws best friends house, where her son was having his birthday party.
The boys were having a complete blast!
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Look at all those handsome Banks Men!!
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We had dinner at Spahrs. Yummy! Brendan took me here 2 years ago when we were down here.
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We had a great time catching up with our brother, sister, and nephew. We headed back to camp, to get ready for the big reveal.
 
This picture is identical to the picture that I have of Joseph first meeting Braxton in 2010. I’m not gonna cry…
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Next up.. WE’RE GOING TO DISNEYWORLD!
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***GIVEAWAY UPDATE***
I will post the giveaway details Monday (10/06) And the contest will officially be open Tuesday (10/07)
We’ve got some amazing people giving away some amazing things! Are yall ready?!!!

Banks do Disney, AGAIN! Part one!


Gracious goodness, did we have a blast on vacation! I cannot believe we did so much!
We were gone for a total of TEN days! It was SO MUCH FUN!
We got to take my grandparents with us this year, so it was extra special for all of us. They are our road dogs, and now, they literally are!
The morning that we left, we headed out to my grandparents, to pick them up, and to have Granddaddys famous pancakes! WHOOP WHOOP!
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Braxton was just excited for pancakes, haha. The kids still didn’t know that we were going to Disney World.
They thought we were staying in New Orleans for 7 days.
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Brayden can’t know too many plans or he starts making a schedule for everyone. You’ll find out more as I continue to blog,
about how he thought he was in charge of everything.
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YUMM!!
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Brevin had some pancakes too! He is so interested in what we eat now!
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After we ate, we were ready to ROLL OUT! First stop, Ruston!
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Every year, we take a picture at this sign. Crazy how our babies grow!
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We stopped in Ruston to have lunch with some friends! We ate at Log Cabin, and then went to Social Bites, duh!
We ran into Kelly boy, because you can’t not run into people you know in such a small town!
This will be our last time in this store front, because Heather is moving to a bigger better location!
So excited for the new Social Bites, and for HER! WHOOP!
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We got back on the road, and got comfy in our digs for two nights. We stayed at Camp Living Waters.
Brendans youth pastor from high school let us stay in the volunteer trailers.
It was a cool experience for our boys. We were in the middle of nowhere.
Also, bugs. But we slept peacefully and were so happy to be on vacation!
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The next day we were busy busy bees. Part deaux coming up!
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First Grade!



Where does the time go?!





 


                                              



















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Just pray


It's taken me a while to process, investigate, research, think, pray, and try to come to terms with this whole situation, before I could give my personal opinion. Before I begin, I must start by reiterating that these are, indeed, my personal opinions. Comments for this post will be disabled. I am no longer on facebook, and I already don't do twitter. I think that God knew I needed soul rest, and that I probably would not be able to take it if I were involved on facebook at this current time. My opinions are already scrutinized as it is, and I have many friends, and even family members who don't agree with my point of view. And that's okay, we are all different, and we have lived different lives, and have had different experiences.

I ask that if you have any negative comments, that you keep them to yourself, and if you don't respect my opinion, I ask that you find a spot deep in your soul that allows you to remember that we are all imperfect humans, who serve a perfect God, whom in Mark 12:31 says "The second is this, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these" And, again, comments will be disabled.

The story of Michael Brown saddens me for many reasons. I will start with the first, the most tragic. That a human life was taken. A mother and father have to bury their child. A community has to mourn a loss.

The second, that it was an officer involved shooting. This always saddens me. As a wife of police officer, I know that no officer wants to be involved in a shooting. At least my husband doesn't. I guess I should speak for him. He has told me since day one, his mission is to come home to his family at the end of the day. There are many days he goes to work that I am overcome with anxiety, and I have to pray about the dangers of his job. I also pray often for his mind to be alert, aware, and for him to remember his training.

When he was going through the academy, he would come home and tell me all about procedures, and protocols. He would "frisk" me and show me how he learned how to tell if someone is hiding a weapon or not. He explained how he was never allowed to go to a domestic call by himself, and why he had to wait for backup. I often would get worried, when he was on patrol, because I would think of situations in my head.. What if he was waiting on backup, and heard a child screaming for help from the house he was responding to? Would he run in try to save the child, forgetting about his training? What if he were just sitting at a stoplight, and a vigilante came and shot him in the head, because he didn't like police officers?

So many other situations I let go through my mind, and thank GOD I have learned to pray my way through these make believe horrors that I would allow to take over my imagination. Being married to a police officer has not been easy. I am fortunate enough to have an amazing husband, who never brings work home with him. If he has had a bad day, I would never know. Often he unwinds and he will tell me "Oh, by the way, someone I was arresting told me I should kill myself today.." And I am just SHOCKED!! He goes through this on a DAILY basis. Yes, he signed up for it, Yes, he loves his job, but would that not wear on you after a while?

From what I see, I don't see him take it like I would, which is why I am not a police officer, obviously. I cry over MUCH less. I respect my husband for his role in our community. Often he helps parents find their children, console loved ones who have lost someone, and, not to mention, he now focuses on keeping drunk drivers off of our roads. He is saving lives. He does that for a living. Saves lives. That's the man I'm married to, and essentially, that's what all Peace Officers mission is supposed to be. To help insure that our community is safe, make our citizens feel protected, and to come home, safe and sound to their families every day.

Many police officers don't make it. There is one police officer killed in the line of duty every 58 hours in the United States! That's the statistic that our family lives with. That knowing every single night, when we kiss him goodbye, that he may not come back home the next morning.

Now, I'm getting to a point here. I say all this, because, I had to explain my position. Now I can continue with my opinion. Some police officers should not be police officers. Just as with all positions of authority, there is always a person that abuses it. No matter what their title may be. We've all had a boss that should not have been in charge of a group, or a nurse that treated you badly. Because I was not there, On August 9th, when a seemingly innocent young, black male was shot and killed, I cannot make an assumption about the police officer that was involved. Was he a noble, man of integrity, like my husband, or was he an officer that abused his position?

It hurts my heart that what happened did happen, but I am a person who always tries to see how to make a bad situation into something constructive. What can we do to ensure that things like this happen less. Because, the truth is, as long as we are imperfect human beings, who make mistakes. This will continue to happen. Regardless of race, gender, whatever, we are all imperfect people. Bad things will still happen. Our hearts will get broken, people will die. It is life.

It also saddens me that when things like this happen, the retaliation is not thought out. We, as a black community, want to be held to a different standard, yet we continue to set ourselves back. Rioting? Looting? That's illegal. Yes, you will get hit with tear gas! Would I want my husband to throw tear gas if his life was in danger? YES! Is a crowd of angry men and women rioting enough for an officer to fear for their life? YOU BET! Especially in light of recent events. Why hate all police officers? Because a few do bad, you forget about the ones that do good? Come on. I know when you are mad, you may say and feel things that you may not usually, but lets make some educated decisions.

Instead of raising our children to be afraid of police officers, lets teach them how to respect them. Or, how about have respect in general? Just a few weeks ago, I drove down my street, and honked my horn at a few black teens because their door was open, and I did not want to hit it. What was my courtesy returned with? THREATS! They yelled at me through my car, and wanted to fight me. Once they saw that I was a woman, that changed NOTHING. These are the black men that we are raising?! I know I am not speaking for everyone, and no, no one deserves to get gunned down, I would not wish that fate on anyone. But, can we get a grip?

Can we teach our toddlers about Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela, our ancestry, about Jesus Christ. Teach them to spell, to read, to draw? Instead of teaching them how to turn up?.. I have a heavy heart, because I have FOUR black boys. Am I afraid that they have a target on their back? Not really. Why even focus on that? Do I feel that way because of my Law Enforcement affiliations? Maybe.

We have just got to do better. Let's stop the ignorance. Stop the harsh words, stop the hatred, the violence. It get us nowhere. Be a beacon of light. Raise your boys, and girls, the way they should be raised, and pray to God daily, hourly, to protect them, and their decisions. Teach them what is right, and what is wrong. Teach them to be smart, to be kind, but not naive. Teach them to respect authority, but to know when that authority is being misused. Our kids learn from the examples that we set for them. Think about the example you are setting for your children.

The intent of this post is not meant to take away from what is going on in Ferguson right now, because I believe it is a matter that is far beyond my reach. I can only speak on what I feel to be the most important to me, and right now, I fear for my husbands well being because of the backlash our community has had on police officers. I do this, in honor of him, and all of our men and women in blue, who put their lives on the line daily. Know that there are noble, decent, officers out there who really are here to protect and serve their community. Pray for their discernment, and ability to react as they are trained, and to have the highest level of integrity that they are able to uphold.

Pray for Ferguson. Just pray.








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Easy Brownies in a jar

Oh yeah, I did it. I baked brownies in baby food jars. Not only did I create delicious, moist, chocolate treats that are portable, I also added a white chocolate peanut butter frosting on top. I know, I have prayed for forgiveness, because these bad boys are SINFUL!

 

I didn’t get any pictures of the process, because, quite frankly, I did not know how they would turn out. But here is the recipe I used:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1. Melt butter

    2. Mix butter and sugar until creamy

    3. Add eggs and vanilla extract

    4. Mix in sifted cocoa powder, and flour. Add salt

    Uh, done. Why do you buy box mix? No idea.

    I scooped two cookie scoops of mix into each jar, and it was enough for 12.

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    Baked at 350 for 18 mins and these babies were crinkly and crackly and DONE! The secret to awesome brownies is to not over mix your batter. So be gentle with that spoon!

     

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    For the frosting, I just halved a basic buttercream recipe. (1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup Crisco, 1 lb. powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 tbs milk) So, halved that (1/4 cup butter…and so on…) then added 3 heaping tablespoons of WHITE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER. Uh, if ya haven't had this stuff yet, your life will be changed. For Brendan's (he’s allergic to PB) I just took some of the buttercream aside, and added a little cocoa powder.

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    Snip off the end of a piping bag or zip lock, and boom!!!

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    I packaged some up to drop off at my friends house. These are PERFECT for gifting!! And they stay MOIST!

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    VOILA! Enjoy!

    PaintDate PlayDate with the Whites

     

    Last week we headed out to Burleson to have a paint date with the Whites! Inyeda is one of my soul sisters… one of those very rare people that you come across that shares the same kind of spirit as you. It’s always fun to get our brood of EIGHT together!! She’s got 3 girls, and one baby boy! We were prego with our youngest babes together, and she even brought me food when I was struggling through my first trimester, and she was like a whopping 7 months pregnant.

    So, like me, Inyeda is CHEAP! We wanted to take the kids to do something fun, indoors, for the low-low. Well, we gave up after looking to see how much it was for the Fort Worth Science Museum.. It was $15.00 for adults, not including lunch, ha-ha, and I think $11.00 per child. Well, cheapo me, and frugal her, were NOT paying that, so we decided to do something at home. We bought Citrus, and let the kids do some paint stamping! They had so much fun! And so did we. Inyeda is trying to complete a little gallery wall in her dining room, so this was perfect for her. Sadly, I have no wall space left in my house. I’ve been decorating crazy for the past month or so, so I had to leave these cute creations at her house.

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    When we got there, she had everything set up all nice and neat! I love her!

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    Baby JJ and Brevy mans just had to spectate.

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    Look at Jada's pretty flower!

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    Our two older ones wanted to paint with brushes, so Inyeda whipped out some more little canvases, and we taped them, and let them have at it!

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    Look how pretty they came out! Shout out to our little artists in the making!

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    The Banks- White clan, with their sticky lollipops lol.

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    And of course, their mamas! Thank you Inyeda, and White fam, for having us! We LURVE you guys!!

    End of Tball 2014 Season!

    We ended our Spring Season with a BANG! Way to go Bulls and Phillies!!

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    Braxtons Team party was at our house! Meghan helped me put together a super cute party!!

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    The moms got the coaches signed balls and gift cards! So sweet!

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    I was very proud of my cake! And Brendan was exhausted afterwards. Can ya tell?! Until next spring, Bye T-Ball!

    Family Reunion 2014

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    We had a blast celebrating my dads side of the family this past weekend! Nothing like family!

     

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    BEHIND

    BEHIND!! I'm so behind on blogging! I've got recipes, vidoes, tutorials, super cute kid pics, milestones that the Brevy man has made, and SO MUCH MORE! Plus, we leave for disney in less than two months, and I haven't even finished blogging last years trip!

    I will catch up eventually, but as of right now, I am enjoying the summer time with my babies and their super cute daddy. He just went back to work after taking a week off, and boy did we need that! I just love that man. I would always have him less than an inch away from me if I could!

    I guess I will start blogging from the most current, and kinda back track, I still have Braydens field day that he has been begging me to blog, and then I guess I will end with Disney.

    So, most current, well, kinda.. lol would be last weekend! We attended our friends Kristy and Dan's baby girls Natalies 2nd Birthday Party at the Little Gym! Natalie is one of those special babies to me, because I was there moments after she was born to capture some super sweet moments from her parents getting to meet their daughter. I will never forget walking in and Kristy saying "We have a daughter!" Talk about sobfest! I also took her newborns, which are some of my FAVORITE ones to date!






    The kids had a blast, even Brayden who didn't get to play very long, because he was coming from acting class (More on that later)... It was a great party celebrating little Natalie Faith! I put together a video, because that is my most favorite thing to do now, and the boys LOVE watching the videos I make! Happy 2nd Birthday to Natalie!




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    The Boys



    Brayden

    His brothers keeper. Boy genius. Pseudo man of the house. Actor in training. Professional negotiator. Trilingual mathlete. Daddy's Boy. Wants to drive garbage trucks when he grows up.
     His birth story is here and here


    Braxton

    Speaks food in 15 different languages. Giver of sweet kisses. Sleepwalker. Smile that will hypnotize you. Mommy's boy. Fierce fro rocker. Dancing machine. Caregiver.
    Read about his birth story here.

     

     Breland

    Terrible wonderful two year old. Eats ANYTHING. Loves to snuggle. Future champ. Defender. Con Artist. Stud Muffin. Stubborn. Sour patch kid.
    Read about his birth story here


    Brevin

    Everybody's baby. Sweet and happy. Loves milk. Sleeps alot. Slobber machine. Future lady charmer. Baby of the family

    Read about his birth story herehere, and here.