Sep 20, 2013

Party Animals

I understand this post is almost a year over due, but the theme of this blog is better late then never. 

All I wanted for my bachelorette party was to be around all my girlfriends and have a typical Ratchet City night out. Also we needed a theme. Instead of everyone dressing the same or wearing wigs or whatever you do for bachelorette parties, I wanted to have an animal theme. I asked everyone to wear animal print and ordered animal masks for everyone to wear.

Let me tell you it was one fabulous night. We started at Superior like you do when you live in Shreveport. Moved the party to Emily's house for a little lingerie shower, play games, take Jello shots, and eat a phallic-shaped cake. Then we bar hopped until we couldn't take it any longer.

It was one of the most fun nights I've ever had. I don't remember too terribly much, but highlights include discovering that rice krispy treats are a great way to show off a man's package on a cake, being slightly embarrassed by the lingerie and questioning game at the shower, walking in the rain to a bar that was "just a block away," and ending the night on my kitchen floor with two of my best friends eating taquitos and a cheese board Aaron made us.

Thanks ladies for such a fun night! It was exactly what I always wanted!

Sep 14, 2013

It's A Boy!

There was no mistaking our sweet little boy when the ultrasound tech told us the news. I was so excited, although I a little shocked since I was convinced it was a girl. I guess you shouldn't really trust those old wives tales! I looked over at Aaron and he was smiling ear to ear. The even better news was that baby bear was so healthy. He opened and closed his hands, wiggled all around, and of course, hid his face with his arm. 

After the appointment, we had to keep the big news to ourselves for 6 days. Aaron's parents hosted our family and close friends for a gender reveal party. We reused the pins from our reception as well as the photo booth props to reveal the news. It was such a special afternoon, and we were so excited to share the news with everyone. 

We can't wait to meet little Baby Bear!

Baby Bear's Grandmothers

Staple hand on the belly pic

Pins from our reception

He's a Dapper Gent!

Sweet friends that came to celebrate

Little Baby Bear will get to hang out with these cool dudes! 

Sep 3, 2013

A Tribute to Helen Rose ...

Helen Rose at age 16 (hottie to the max)
Mamaw, me, mom and Aunt Tana 
Last month my sweet Mamaw and Aunt Tana were killed from a tragic car accident. It was an incredibly hard week learning the news, planning the funerals, going to the funerals, etc. I first want to thank all of my friends and family who kicked it into high gear and brought food, sent cards, messages, voice mails, emails, thoughts, prayers. You name it people did it. I know for a fact that the reason I was able to get out of bed that week was because of all the thoughts and prayers. I literally felt them. I was able to put one foot in front of the other and help my mom and her sisters plan the funerals of the two best women we knew.

It's no secret that my Mamaw was one of my favorite people on this entire earth. She taught me how to love, forgive, how to be a good wife, daughter, and a friend. I learned so many things from my grandmother. The one thing I honor above all is how she taught me to be kind. She showed kindness to everyone she knew, and it wasn't anything she had to have a sit-down talk with me. I could it see by her actions with her daughters, husband, friends, family, and strangers.
Mamaw and my Papaw so in love
Mamaw and her second husband, Walter

I miss her every single day, and I miss every single thing about her.

I will miss her laughter, her smile, her Mamaw kisses. I will miss her voice messages letting me know it's going to be cold or rainy or hot. I will miss her over the holidays. I will miss putting her on speaker phone with my friends in the car so they can hear her sweet Georgia accent. I will miss how she called me "My sweet baby girl" or MSBG for short.
I will miss telling her about my growing belly and feeling the baby kick. I will miss her on the day sweet Baby Bear is born. I know there will be a huge hole in my heart on that day because she won't be there. I will miss it all. As much as I miss her, I know that she lives in my heart.

Mamaw holding me as a baby
I can't wait to tell little Baby Bear all about her. I'll tell him about the time we found her dancing to Reba McIntyre in the living room, or the story about how she picked me up from the movies when I was in middle school BLARING Yanni from her huge white tank. I can't wait to tell him how much she loved coffee after dinner, and how we would tease her about the one time she put shredded cheese in it because she wanted a little treat. He will hear about her infectious laugh and how that one Christmas she laughed and laughed because all of her girls got her a copy of The Notebook. Then he will hear how she called Aaron Noah because he reminded her of Noah from The Notebook due to his "kind and gentle demeanor." Little one is sure to hear about her curiosity and appetite for knowledge. He will hear about the love she had for everyone and how much she already loved him so much before she passed away.

I know this post is all over the place, and I wish I could do her justice with my words. It may still be too raw, or it may be that I will never have the adequate words and sentences to truly express how much she meant to me. Instead, I'll post the eulogy my dad wrote for her funeral.

I love you Mamaw.

First, I’d like that thank all of you for being here. I’m John Marshall and as I’ve had to

say for about 30 years “I married the third Nunnally daughter” … When you say you 

married a Nunnally, you always have to qualify which one.

It won’t surprise any of you by saying that it’s been a tough week, but this is as strong 

and as faith-filled of a family as you will ever meet. But then, you already know that 

because you know of Helen. And no doubt you know of the legacy that Helen had when 

she was with us and will continue to have upon us now that she has left us.

Nevertheless, please know that your support in the last week and has left an indelible 

impression on the entire family.

* * *
We spend so much time is settings such as this worrying and wondering about things we 

don’t know. Things we can’t understand or never will understand. The mysteries of life 

and the mysteries of death.

Instead, we should concentrate on the things we know.

Here is what I know. Right now, in heaven, Helen just leaned over to Tana and said “You 

know that John is a Catholic, don’t you?” Tana is now clasping Helen’s hand and saying 

“Shhh, Mother, let’s just hear what he has to say.”

We are here to celebrate Helen’s life, so let’s do that. Helen didn’t want anyone to ever 

feel uncomfortable around her, so let’s not start now. Spend a second or two and think of 

your favorite Helen moment and I promise it will make you smile. Lord knows that you 

have plenty to choose from.

In fact, I would ask all of you to pause with me, close your eyes and picture Helen in 

your mind.  …..  So now, here’s another thing I know – in that picture you just had in 

your mind, Helen was smiling.

That’s because smiling is one of the things Helen did best. Smiling at her daughters, 

smiling at her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Smiling at friends and co-workers. 

Smiling at church. Smiling at life.

Which wasn’t always easy. But Helen always found a way to make life work. She had 

more than her share of difficulties to deal with, but she was always able to get through 

any adversity and do it with a smile.

But that came easily to Helen because she had the formula. Family and church. Church 

and family. If she wasn’t with one, she was with the other. And her greatest joy? No 

question, it was putting those two together.

In the countless stories we have heard about Helen – not just those in the last week – 

almost all of them involve some combination of Tana, Jenny, Lori, Erin and Waller 

Baptist Church. Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, friends, boyfriends, 

social events, youth groups … a lot of intersecting lines in all that.

Get a group of Nunnally girls together and watch them laugh. Get a group of 

grandchildren and watch them laugh about Helen and her mannerisms. The two-hour 

trips to Wal-Mart, made longer because she loved to touch the items on the shelves. Her 

ability to use twice as many syllables as usual for the term “family values.” The way she 

would never kiss a grandchild only once. Or twice. Instead, it was rapid fire until her lips 

got tired. How when she moved to the assisting living facility a few years ago when she 

was 75, she felt it was her calling to minister “to the elderly people.”

Helen loved whatever she did. Think about that. A lot of us get caught up life’s 

unhappiness, whether it is a job or a relationship or what we perceive to be a chore. Helen 

loved everything she did.

Starting with being a mother. As an Air Force wife, there were long periods of time in 

which it was just her and the girls. And Helen made that work because she had it figured 

out – lots of love and lots of faith.

First was Tana, who became a clone of Helen almost from the minute she was born. And 

then Jenny, and thus was formed a tag-team sister partnership. Ooops, partnership might 

not be the right word. According to my “sources,” there were plenty of shenanigans 

between the two that involved boyfriends, bent fenders and who took who’s makeup.

And when Tana and Jenny couldn’t blame each other, they found another option – blame 

younger sister Lori. It didn’t matter that Lori was too young to drive and too young to 

date and barely weighed 50 pounds, that didn’t stop accusing fingers being pointed her 

way when necessary.

By the time Lori was old enough to fend for herself and Helen thought things might have 

settled down, along came Erin. Helen found herself as a mother again in her 40s, but that 

was never a problem. After the sister battles with Tana and Jenny and Lori, no one had 

the energy. So Erin had it made. Free pass.

And that brought about the next chapter. Nobody could turn one of life’s pages like 

Helen. She is the alltime champion of going from a mother to a grandmother. Never 

fought it for a second. In fact, as I look back on it, I think about how Helen was in her 

late 40s when I met her. Huh? That’s not possible. Helen was a 79 when she passed 

away, but it seems like she’s been 79 for decades. Some people try to stiff-arm age; 

Helen embraced it.

I would often laugh because Helen had little use for the male species. She knew nothing 

about men and really didn’t care to know. As you might imagine, we didn’t spent a whole 

lot time discussing the zone blitz or why the Cubs can’t win a World Series. I’m pretty 

sure she never watched a Super Bowl. But if there was an event at which she needed to 

attend – she was there. Graduation, dance recital and yes, even baseball game – she was 

there. And her love for her sons in law and grandsons was just as strong as it was for her 

daughters and granddaughters.

Through it all, she always “Helen.” From the day I met her, I called her Helen. Mrs. 

Nunnally? No such person. Everybody called her Helen. Most of the time, her daughters 

even called her Helen. 

Here’s another thing I know: Helen was at her happiest when she left us. Though you 

wouldn’t know it from how she dealt with it, life wasn’t always easy for Helen. 

One of her daughters once told a friend “We didn’t have much, but we never ate off paper 

plates.” That might sound like a great title to a country song, but think about that for a 

minute – “we never ate off paper plates.” Helen provided for her girls, no matter what 

was left in her checkbook. Now, that is a mother’s lasting legacy.

If you think Helen couldn’t manage a family, consider these four words – four girls, one 

bathroom. Enough said.

Though her spirit never dampened, she dealt with much physical pain in her later years. 

But the move to Lufkin last year to be with Tana and her family changed everything. 

(And by the way, a nod to Tana’s husband Kevin for getting charter membership in the 

Son-In-Law Hall of Fame by having his mother in law move into his house.) There was 

an immediate change in Helen. Physically, she improved almost instantly and her life was 

made so much more whole and complete. When she went to be with the Lord, arm-in-arm with Tana, she was one happy Helen.

And I will leave you with two more things I know: (1) Upon arrival in heaven, the Lord 

made sure that He called her Helen. (2) And when he did, she had a smile on her face.

Aug 25, 2013

First Trimester Blues

About a week after I found out I was pregnant, I started having every single pregnancy symptom. Y'all, it was miserable. I was miserable. Everyone around me was miserable.

I was nauseous all the time. I was so tired I could barely make it through the day. I didn't want to eat anything. I didn't want to smell anything. I was bloated. I had tummy issues. My boobs hurt constantly. I was terrified something was going to happen to that little babe, and I would blame myself entirely. I had a bad attitude about it all. I didn't have the energy to be excited about being pregnant. I was barely holding it together as each hour passed by. 

Thankfully I got through those first 12 weeks because I have the most amazing husband in the entire world. He was excited for the both of us about having a baby. He understood that I couldn't step foot in the kitchen, therefore I couldn't make dinner for the foreseeable future. He worked 11 hour days, but still came home with a good attitude and took care of me. 

Then one day that magical second trimester happened. Now I have a baby bump to wear as my badge of honor. I wear it proudly because I am so thrilled to be a mom, and quite frankly, I am so damn excited to have made it to this point. 

Here's to all those first trimester mommies. It takes everything in you to help grow and nourish that tiny baby. You can't tell the world you are pregnant, and each and every day you wake up paranoid that something is going to happen to that tiny little bean. It's a tough start, but you can do it! 

Aug 18, 2013

Better Late Than Never

So, we have this to share ... 

At the end of May I went in for my annual lady business appointment. I did the usual. Pee in a cup, put on the lovely paper gown and sat on the exam table for Dr. Gomez to see me. As I waited, I couldn't help but stare at the cup of urine sitting on the counter and the pregnancy test strip sitting right next to it. I didn't dare move to see what the test said because I would just assume it was negative. It wasn't like Aaron and I were actively trying to have a baby, and I was scheduled to start my period the next day. 

Dr. Gomez came in and we talked about when I wanted to start a family while the nurse Jo stood over the counter. As Dr. Gomez and I moved on to starting a family to how to handle my unpredictable periods, Jo suddenly raised her arm, looked at both of us and said "YOU ARE PREGNANT!"

I sat there naked expect for the paper covering me and started to shake and cry and suddenly the room was spinning. Jo and Dr. Gomez came over and hugged me. I couldn't stop shaking. 

I couldn't stop shaking as I went to see an afternoon movie with Jess (I shared the news before the movie started because I was certain she could just tell by looking at me that something was up). I I couldn't stop shaking when I came home and told Aaron that our family of two was about to expand to three. 

Aaron's response was "we can do this" while all I could think was "HOLY SHIT THIS IS NOT IN THE PLAN RIGHT NOW."

It's been quite a summer dealing with the first trimester and the beginning of the second trimester. I was sick as a dog for those first 12 weeks. I couldn't eat, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I thought for certain I would never make it. 

But now that my tummy is looking more like a pregnant belly and less like a beer gut and the morning/all day sickness has subsided, I can say that I feel more and more ready to be a mom as each day goes by. 

I can't wait to meet this little one. As I lie in bed at night I try to imagine what Baby Bear Harris will look like, what kind of personality he/she will have, and prepare myself for the big world of motherhood. 

Here's to five more months! 

Apr 2, 2013


Here are some things that have been going on in our little world as of late ...


My BFFFF gave birth to this beautiful baby on March 23 after being in labor for almost a full 24 hours - or something like that.  I could not be more proud of her.
Tiny Turner is so beautiful, and I just can't wait to see him grow up and see my bestie in this new role as a momma. I know she's going to be the best, and I am so excited that I get to be a part of this little one's life.

These two continue to fill our hearts with such joy. We love our family cuddle times and couldn't imagine our lives without our Penny and Margot Bears.

I work behind Jason's Deli and eat there at least twice a week. In recent months it has become the scene of my BFF date nights. Emily and I get out salad and a scoop or soup and gab and enjoy a semi-healthy (and fairly cheap) meal. Aaron and I are also known to frequent this establishment on Sunday nights when we don't feel like cooking. 

I've tried to pick up running once again. I went twice in one week, and then haven't been since. But I plan on completing the Couch to 5K program again this year. If I can only get my rear out of bed in the mornings and get motivated ...

My dear friend Paul King and owner of Index Drums invited me to tag along while he dropped off one of his custom cajons for Jason Castro. Paul knew of my love for this former American Idol contestant and was kind enough to let me come along. Jason was as nice as he could be and took a few pics with the two of us. Even though I'm not a fan of his music today, I still got giddy and excited to meet him. 

This is what happens when Aaron shaves his beard. Every. Single. Time.

Mar 4, 2013

family, friends, food, and whiskey

Pre-wedding activities are the best, right? Maybe not for everyone, but the week of my wedding was just so much fun. We were surrounded by friends and family, and life just couldn't have been better. BUT IT WAS BECAUSE THEN WE GOT MARRIED.

Aaron and I planned a dinner with both of our families the Wednesday before our wedding day. It was the first time both families had spent more than 15 minutes together. It was so nice to see Aaron's parents, my parents, and my brothers come together. We were all so excited about the upcoming nuptials and had a little bit of anxiety. My mom drove 10 hours from Kansas City directly to the restaurant that night to kick off the wedding activites. Aaron's parents told stories of him from when he was a kid, and my parents shared a few of mine. We all toasted to a wonderful time for both families, and to a lifetime of happiness. I wish I took a picture of the entire crew, but alas, I did not capture the evening on camera.

The next night was probably one of my favorite nights of my life. We went to dinner with our little group of friends.

Aren't they the cutest?

Stephen brought us all champagne to enjoy, and I just sat back and was so thankful for the tight group of close friends we have made. They are so incredibly supportive and have become like family to Aaron and I. None of them could accompany us to the bar after dinner since they all had to work the next day. But once I stepped foot into Noble Savage, I knew I was in for a fun night.

It seemed like all of our friends from out of town and some in town gathered at Noble Savage to drink and have fun with us. We all laughed, drank, danced, and drank some more the entire night. I just remember sitting back and thinking what incredible friends we have. These friends live thousands of miles away, and they all made the time, effort, and money to be with us. We are truly so blessed.

Our friends the Schaffer's landed, dropped those precious babes off with a sitter and headed to meet us. I screamed when I saw them and was overjoyed that they were there. 

I also may have had one too many whiskey and cokes thanks to my lovely friend, Jep, which led to late night taquitos at my house with the Schaffers and Aaron - shh don't wake the KIDS!

My old boss, now favorite friend, and the only lady who will have a dance off with me at any bar stopped by for some fun. 
Jessica's husband has his own mug at Noble Savage

Someone was very excited to be a groomsmen and wore this really cute shirt.

Aaron David with two of his groomsmen

my heart
My cup was never empty thanks to this fella
We have been friends since K-5! 


Nope, we didn't have a thing to drink.