Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.


Category : Words

Dear Iris

Tomorrow is your last day as a 4-year-old. Like I told you over dinner tonight, I can’t believe that we’ve known each other for five years. Somedays it feels like longer, but most of the time it feels like a wonderful, magical blur. In the last five years you’ve taught me a lot, so I feel it’s right for me to give you thanks leading up to such a big birthday.

Iris, thank you for…

– Showing me once again that simple things are beautiful.
– For reminding me tonight that we have known each other for almost five years, since your birthday isn’t actually until Saturday.
– Letting me see the world through your eyes – and your heart.
– Making me laugh at things that I previously was too jaded to even smile at.
– Your full-belly giggle.
– Always finding the spaghetti sauce on my chin.
– Your thoughtfulness and sweetness with everything that you do.
– Always wanting to share your candy with me – instead of hoarding things you love, you want to share them.
– Your unique silliness.
– Your wild, made up songs.
– Helping your friends.
– Helping people, even when they are not your friends.
– Breaking up the monotony of the day with your constant farting.
– Telling me that I’m pretty out of no where. And strangers too.
– Never letting me forget. Anything.
– Keeping me company when I pee. Always.
– Not caring that I don’t know the real lyrics to basically any kids’ songs.
– Being so damn good.
– For being you.

Never lose these things. Try real hard.
Except, maybe the farting. Yeah. Definitely the farting by at least maybe age 12 or 13? I think you will appreciate that advice one day.

Iris Adella Gill, you are my heart and soul and I love you more than you will ever know. Happy almost fifth birthday.


9 Years Ago Today

I steal his socks. I leave cereal boxes open. I drop a trail of clothes and coffee cups behind me wherever I go.

He makes our bed every morning. He washes dishes after every meal. And he doesn’t even mind that all of his socks are missing.

Today, we’ve been married for nine years. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day, but I’m truly so grateful for him and this little life we’ve built together. I love looking back and seeing how far we’ve come together. Our house, our careers, our crazy kid.

Here are a few polaroids from our wedding, which I feel perfectly capture the hot, wonderful summer afternoon of August 11, 2007 at the Clinton House.

The Daily Grind

Around here, every weekday is more or less the same… LONG. I typically wake up around 7 am, start my coffee, drink just enough to get me going, and then spend the next 10 minutes trying to convince Iris to start her day (why is it that kids are impossible to wake up on weekdays, but will pop out of bed like it’s Christmas every weekend?). Once Iris is slowly moving around, I help get her dressed and then we both stumble through the rest of our morning. Breakfast – usually just cereal or yogurt with fruit for her, and more coffee for me. Todd always takes Iris to school, and I rush off to work after haphazardly putting my own self together. I have to stop right here and say how thankful I am that, A) I live less than 10 minutes away from my office and B) my office is super casual so I don’t have to dress up each day. I’m in the office by 8 o’clock and I usually get to leave by 4:30, which means I have just enough time to make it to Jazzercise.

After a full hour of working out, off to Iris’ school I go! Usually with just minutes to spare, I pick her up, dripping with sweat, right before closing time. Should I feel bad that she’s often the last kid to get picked up? Nah. I’m just getting my money’s worth. Well, and there’s the fact that she gets really pissed if I pick her up any earlier. In the afternoon they get to look past all of the “work” and pick the fun toys to play with. Yesterday when I picked Iris up, she was shoving glow sticks into baby dolls’ mouths – and was in pure heaven doing so. Can’t take her away from that!

From school we go home, but not to rest. That’s when another round of work begins, but it’s the best kind. It’s the kind where I make dinner while my family hangs around. Todd’s usually playing a record, Iris is usually begging for a snack, our animals are generally annoying me at my feet, and wine is usually somewhere near my mouth. Finally, we get to eat! And by eat, I mean that we shove food into our faces while Iris sits there eating only her bread, complaining that everything else looks disgusting.

Straight after dinner, it’s Iris’ bath time. After bath time, it’s book time. After book time, it’s song time. After song time, it’s “one plus two equals three time” (that means stay three extra minutes, please). After “one plus two equals three time,” it’s finally MY TIME. Around 9 o’clock I get to take a shower and wash all the work of the day away. From there, it’s time to climb right into a mountain of pillows in bed and watch some sort of mindless television (Real Housewives of ANYTHING). Even though it’s the only time for myself, I usually don’t last more than an hour or so before falling asleep… And then start it all over again the next morning.

Just typing all of this out makes me feel exhausted, however I’m usually excited and ready for each new morning. I realize how fortunate I am to have the family that I have, a job that I love, and to live in a city that makes everything so sweet and easy. One of the very best parts of my day is kissing Iris’ cheek as I wake her up in the morning, even knowing I have a marathon to run until it’s dark. My other favorite part is the feeling of driving to Iris’ school to pick her up in the afternoon. She’s nearly five years old and I still get excited to hang out with my tiniest best friend after work each day. The wine isn’t bad either.

These days, they are long. But more than anything, they are good. In fact, they might just be the best. They will continue to evolve and I will continue to try to capture them, like in this post, because one day I will miss these moments – sweat and all – more than anything.

Working Mom Life – California Edition

I occasionally travel for work. Not too much, just a handful of trips scattered throughout the year. After five days in California, my longest trip of the year just came to an end. Not only is it a lot of work inside the office preparing for our big annual meeting, but it’s a lot of work outside of the office preparing to leave my family for that amount of time. I admit, it’s as much mental preparation for myself as it is running errands, stocking groceries, planning outfits for Iris, paying bills, etc. before I hit the road. While I know Todd can handle everything just fine without me, I always feel a little better about leaving if I can help out ahead of time. Same goes for Iris. Now that she’s older, she understands why I’m leaving and when I’m coming back (and that I’ll most certainly return with souvenirs).

Being a working mom is tough. Being a working mom that travels is even tougher. You miss your people and you miss out on things. I’ve missed a couple school photo days, missed my last two wedding anniversaries, and will never forget being away on Iris’ second birthday. This past week was School Spirit week where Iris was supposed to wear a different themed outfit each day. I didn’t have much time to help think of ideas before I left, but Todd and Iris rocked it without me. As she gets older, I know that I’ll start missing bigger things like school events, sports matches, and more. With a little help from FaceTime and a lot of help back home, I’ll manage just fine. At the end of the day it’s all worth it a million times over. Not only am I fortunate to have a job that I love, but I hope that I’m showing my daughter the importance of hard work, dedication, and being proud of what you do.

Before I left for Newport Beach last Sunday, I made a quick trip to the dollar store and picked up a prize for every day I’d be away. I surprised Iris with a little note explaining that I left clues in envelopes for her to follow each morning. I’m sure she had fun finding her way to a surprise each day, but I just felt good knowing that she knew I was thinking about her a thousand miles away.

Even though I was in California for the full work week, we only had one afternoon to explore. I wandered around Balboa Island with a couple of my co-workers. I want to go back one day and bring the whole fam. It was adorable and beautiful all at once.

I’ll leave you with a few of Iris’ School Spirit Week outfits:
Individuality Day (Iris chose pajamas.. that’s my girl)

Professional Day

School Spirit Day

And of course, Fancy Friday

8 Things I Didn’t Know I’d Miss as a Mom

Before having a baby, you always hear things like “sleep while you can” or (the opposite) “have fun while you still can!” I expected the no-sleep thing and I expected the financial burden of daycare and diapers, but here are a few things that I didn’t expect to miss once I became a mom.

Driving Straight Home From Work
For years I took for granted the simple task of driving home after work. Now, my standard routine involves about an extra half hour (on a good day) of shuttling around in rush-hour traffic to pick Iris up from school. Before becoming a mom, I would get off work and have the luxury of driving straight home, to the gym, or even better – to a bar for happy hour. Fast forward to being a parent and now any extra stop means I don’t start cooking dinner until later than normal, meaning who knows when the food will be ready, meaning I have a cranky kid who will likely be up past her bedtime.

Not Having to Hide My Trash
I can’t throw away an old Happy Meal toy or stale cookie without Iris finding it in our garbage can. If there’s anything that we need to get rid of that Iris might be interested in, I have to hide it beneath the coffee grounds and banana peels. And don’t forget about the bathroom trash! You have to cover some things with toilet paper, otherwise who knows what awkward questions you’ll find yourself dodging.

Spicy food
I love spicy food. My child does not. She has been known to even call white rice spicy. I miss being able to pour in the cayenne pepper to our chili and buying the hot taco seasoning at the grocery store. Having a kid doesn’t always mean that I must forgo my spices, but it does mean that I often have to cook a second, different version for her. JUST what I have time for.

Eating Desserts Out in the Open
Iris eats her fair share of sweet stuff, but when it’s my turn for dessert she will still request to share. Iris can tell any time that I’ve eaten sweets without her. She can sniff out a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on my breath hours later and has a way to find any candy wrapper that I’ve thrown out. I swear she must keep a spreadsheet of our dessert stock because she always knows when a cookie has disappeared. I can’t be the only mom who’s eaten ice cream in the bathroom, can I?

Peeing in Peace
It’s like there’s a sensor on my toilet seat that alerts Iris whenever I sit down. I’ve learned to the lock the door, but that doesn’t stop her from knocking (banging) and asking (yelling) questions through the door.

Want to fly somewhere on vacation? Sure, but that will cost you a whole extra plane ticket. We’re a small family, but anytime we consider flying anywhere I usually run the airfare, times it by three, and immediately change my mind. Road-trip, it is!

Eating Without Poop
What is it about sitting down to a meal that makes a kid have to poop? Even though she has been out of diapers for a couple years, we still sometimes have to assist Iris (especially in public restrooms). I didn’t know that it would be normal to eat piece of pizza, wipe a butt, and go back to eating pizza – after throughly washing my hands, of course. This one I should have known, but four years later and I’m still amazed at her timing.

My Thoughts
R.I.P. my stream of consciousness (1980-2011). Whether I’m at work or at home, it’s nearly impossible to think about something without being interrupted. For example, I have been jumped on, whined to, and begged for juice just while I’m writing this one little paragraph. I miss being able to really hold onto an idea and think it through.

As parents we often have to pause our thoughts, dreams, sleep, fun, pizza, and happy hours, but thankfully it’s all worth it about a million times over. We’re a part of something sweeter than the dessert we sneak in the bathroom and something more thrilling that flying through the clouds. Sure my food may come with more poop than flavor, but I have a feeling one day these will be the things that I miss.