Scarf Swap 2014

A few weeks ago, my sweet friend Chelsea (and fellow Houston Moms Blog contributor) over at the Perfect Catch blog put out a call for a Scarf Swap 2014. Since I'm pretty sure my fall/winter uniform is going to mainly consist of scarves, skinny jeans, and boots, I jumped right on that train. 

{Gahhh, for some reason my link up button isn't cooperating this morning. I'll try again this afternoon!}

And oh my goodness, I'm so glad I did. I got the SWEETEST scarf partner, Katie @ The Perks blog. {You really need to check out her blog too - she has some yummy recipes on there that have made my way into my meal plans for the next few weeks.} 

Anyway, she totally outdid herself. I am into everything buffalo check these days, so you can imagine my excitement when my package showed up. {Chels may have put a bug in her ear, too - just guessing :) } PLUS, she sent the sweetest package of "Thinking of You" notes, Juicy Couture nail polish in Treat, and little containers of Halloween play-doh for my kids. Katie, THANK YOU!!!! Loved everything and can't wait to rock the buffalo scarf when it drops another 10 degrees. If I can wait that long :)

Thanks for hosting, Chelsea! I'm thinking there has to be a spring equivalent to a scarf so we can do this all over again in a few months. Too fun!

Happy Scarf Day!

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Quinn Cardio Update, Edition 785

I am beginning to accept that at this season in our lives, regular blogging just isn't going to happen. There are just not enough hours in the day, and that's ok. I still read my favorite bloggers regularly and get my "dose" in the a.m. But as for me throwing out any sort of content, it's beyond my energy level. 

That being said, there are definitely a few things that I still want to make sure I document, if nothing but for posterity's sake. One of those things is all things cardio-related for Quinn. That being said, I am so grateful to God that I've had nothing to report for 8-9 months. (If you follow me on facebook, you probably already know this update - my apologies for repeat content).

This past Monday we had her cardiology check up. Basically a full work up of EKG, chest x-ray, echo, consult with our cardiologist and more. 

Y'all. I just can't explain what I feel before these appointments. 

The uneasiness always sets in a few days before. I feel it in every fiber, every bone, and with every breath that I take. It can easily consume my thoughts if I don't consciously push them away. I see this child almost every waking minute and I know she's a walking, talking, crazy miracle. But what lies beneath?

We never know.

After a fun and inspirational morning at iBloom (more on that at a later date, but dang, what a blessing in my life this year), the twins and I headed out for lunch and then met Daddy for the Ryan drop off so I could attend the appointment with Quinn.

And like always, this child just blew me away with her grace, her smiles, her laughter, and NO TEARS. She seriously is just about the best patient I've seen. I don't openly brag much about my kids, but man, I am so proud of her tenacious spirit. It's beyond anything I could ever be.

Per usual, she was absolutely still during her lengthy echo (about 50 minutes long) and never cried out one time, even when I knew she was getting hungry and tired. We finally saw the doctor after about 2 1/2 hours and received wonderful news.

While her heart still looks "bad", and parts are "bad", it's still working GREAT for her. She is clinically doing wonderfully and developmentally tracking well. I could hardly hold back tears when the cardiologist told us that we earned another 9 month "hall pass". It was answered prayers.

See, the thing is, at some point the "bad" won't work "great". It will begin to weaken her heart and necessitate multiple repairs, including stenting out her pulmonary arteries to increase oxygen flow, replacing her Pulmonary Valve (right now only done in the U.S. with open heart surgery), and perhaps a few other things to assist her right ventricle.

And we don't know when the "bad" will come.

But we cannot focus on that. I have to continually remind myself of that, otherwise I would be gripped in absolute fear all of the time. And that would do my children (or my husband, or me for that matter) any favors. So today, we take the victory. One step, one appointment at a time. And thankfully and hopefully, the next one is a long NINE months away. Time to keep steppin' on.

P.S. This past month, we also celebrated the three year anniversary of Quinn's two open heart surgeries, or her "new heart days" as we call it. Three years? I don't even know how that is possible. In one instance, it seems like a lifetime - almost like it happened to someone else. And then the next, I can be brought back to those emotions, the smell of the hospital, the ding of the elevator, the swishing sound of the respirator, and the pumping of the ventilator. Oh my, little girl. You've come so far. 

Love to you all, 

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Better Late than Never... Proud to be a Mean Mommy

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post on "I'm proud to be a Mean Mommy" for Houston Moms Blog. While a few didn't exactly catch the tongue in cheek reference, I'm still a proud "mean mom" ;) Most days. 

A quick excerpt: 
"As a WAHM/SAHMmom, I am responsible for much of the weekday discipline. Clearly, it’s not my favorite – but I so strongly feel it’s a huge part of my job as a parent. I am 100% all about the wonderment of childhood, those magical moments where you can’t believe this is actually your life, and their absolute joy to show me their newest creations. But in between those incredibly rewarding times, I also have high expectations for my children. I am grooming them to be responsible, confident, and loving adults one day. Preferably productive members of society that can function outside the confines of our home. Gulp. And they aren’t going to achieve that if I am constantly permissive and passive in my discipline."
Read more here...

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Catching Up With Houston Moms Blog

Y'all. This summer has just about sucked the life out of me. It has been a GREAT one, full of vacations, trips to grandmas' houses, Vacation Bible Schools, swimming, and so much more. But not gonna lie, 4 months off was TOUGH. Totally out of my routine. And as much as I love my littles, it is totally time for them to rejoin the preschool ranks - they start Preschool 4's TODAY! How did that happen? Anyway, here is a brief catch up of what I've been doing over at Houston Moms Blog the past couple of months. {Side note: super exciting events coming up in the fall. Would love for you to join us!}

1. Forever 5 Minutes Late ::  7:45am :: My tow-headed twins finally make their way downstairs, and as expected begin making all sorts of unreasonable demands. You know, like actual food I have to cook. Or defrost. Whatever. One asks for a banana. It breaks in the peeling process. This is unfortunate, yes. To the said child, it’s the WORST THING EVER THAT HAS HAPPENED IN FOUR YEARS OF LIFE. Tantrum ensues. Child ends up in time out. Hasn’t eaten breakfast yet.
:: 8:00am :: Child has recovered from the banana trauma. Sort of. Requests a new banana because the other one is permanently deformed. I hesitate to give the new banana – but my head is starting to pound, and I’m not sure how much more fight I have left in me over A BANANA. Child scores new banana and has another point in the win column in the “wear Mommy down” war.... Read More Here
2. Reasons, Seasons, & Lifetime of Friendships :: Years ago, that may have bothered me. The girl who thought her social calendar should always be full, the need to be surrounded by “friends” for a sense of value. But now, I feel so grateful that I have my lifetime friends. We have cried together, weathered every type of possible storm, hysterically laughed over inane things, shared births, mourned deaths, loved on, cooked for, called regularly, and everything in between. I would not be the woman, the mom, the wife, or the friend that I am today without these amazing ladies. They span the time horizon from preschool and diapers, through high school, into college, and now into this journey of mommyhood. Read more here...
3. Why Grocery Shopping Gives me Hives :: Why. Oh, why? The impulse of buying a PayDay or Rolos was difficult to avoid in the B.C. days. Now the check out lines have displays of everything a child could want, from candy to toys to even Hello Kitty chapstick. If I’ve managed to maintain even a shred of sanity in our shopping trip, it’s destroyed as soon as the toddlers start rifling through every bar of chocolate goodness. “But Mommy, they have M&M’s!!! Puh-leaze, just one special treat???” So while trying to unload the carts in a semi-organized fashion, I’m also peeling children off of display cases and admonishing them from touching everything with their grubby hands. Clearly I know why the grocery store marketers do it, but it’s just so darn unfair to us after already playing the game of survival of the fittest. They could at least have a Xanax display. Read more here...
4. 5 Tips for Raising a Strong-Willed Child :: She’s a fighter, that one. And for that I’m glad. I believe her strong-willed personality has served her well in her young 4 years. But it has also given me a fair amount of grey hair and wrinkles. Not to mention the times I’ve wanted to bash my head against the wall because it would be less painful than jumping into the ring with her again. Read more here...
Happy End of Summer! Hope to be back more often - ya know, with real, live posts ;) 

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When Your Child is Barely on the Charts {A Houston Moms Blog post}

Summer is flying by! I can't believe it's almost the middle of July. Anyway, life is just humming along for us - entertaining kiddos, day camps, swimming, staying up late, working, and of course, writing for HMB. Just wanted to share this latest post with y'all. It's near and dear to my heart and while you know I'm typically an open book, this one was SUPER personal for me. I almost deleted it to be honest.

 But I'm so glad I didn't. I have heard the most positive feedback from parents of smalls and bigs alike...and the underlying thread is NO CHILD SHOULD BE DEFINED BY THEIR STATURE. Tiny or not. Little ears hear everything. I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I'm quite sure in social gatherings I've said things that could have been hurtful to a momma. We are all doing our best to raise children who believe they can achieve anything. Let's have positive dialogue! 

"Guess what? They don’t know that. Not right now. They are blissfully unaware and happy children. They don’t see height or weight or color of skin. They see kids.
Why can’t we as adults see that? Why must we comment on physical attributes and think it’s okay to make comments to their parents? For some reason, society sees it as acceptable to make comments on a child being small and somehow twisting it so it’s the parent’s fault {or makes them feel even worse because trust – I already feel guilt like I’ve done something wrong or not enough}. I would NEVER dream of making a comment to a parent about a child who looked a little overweight. Never. Neither would you. So why is it okay to talk about stature? I would much rather have strangers and friends alike comment on my child’s behavior, social, or cognitive development. “Gosh, your daughter is just always smiling!” Or, “My goodness, your son is incredibly friendly.” Because they are. They are good kids. They are smart kids. They are athletic kids. They are loving. They love God."
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7 Things I love about being a Dad {Houston Moms Blog}

For two weeks, the DADS are taking over Houston Moms Blog! If you aren't already, you definitely want to follow along this series. It will make you laugh and cry, and most of all, make you super appreciative of all the wonderful dads in Houston. Matt's post went up yesterday and I loved every.single.word. Seriously. He blew me away. Thank you, babe, for being willing to post and share! You are the best husband and father ever! Here's just a sample of his top 7:

4. Baby wipes are the bomb.
If there is one thing I won’t and did not skimp on, it was baby wipes {diapers too, but not my point here}.  Never would I ever think that such a simple, moist, square shaped towel would be capable of so much.  Baby poop on a baby bottom…baby wipe.  Ketchup on a t-shirt…baby wipe. Milk stain on a couch…baby wipe.  Booger-crusted nose {mine or my kids}…baby wipe.  And, these things are dirt cheap.  Why spend five-bucks on a tube of Clorox wipes for your kitchen when you can spend $11 on a GIANT BOX of baby wipes. And thank you, Amazon Prime. {Keep reading here....}

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On Your 4th Birthday

Dear Ryan & Quinn,

I've had to stop myself so many times today to write this post... mostly because it doesn't seem real. TODAY YOU ARE FOUR YEARS OLD. Bless. Yes, I know the days are long, the years are short (yada, yada) but it's true. It seems like just yesterday that I was holding two newborns in my arms. Yet, when I look back over the blog from your first two to three years, it's already a blur. How is that possible???

This much I know is true: God blessed your Daddy and Me times infinity with the absolute privilege to raise you. You are both precious beyond measure and we don't remember a time when you weren't in our lives. (Except when we are trying to find a babysitter for a date night ;) )

I don't want to make this too lengthy, for I fear words will fail me and tears will fall ferociously.

Ry, let's start with you.

What can I say, little man (you hate that, sorry - BIG man)? You light up my days. Your expressions are out of this world. You are a negotiator. You are a people pleaser. You haven't met anyone you don't like. Thus, "The Mayor" title. You remember all of your friends and their special characteristics in your prayers each night. You wake up happy. You (mostly) go to bed happy. If you could subsist on beige foods only, you would be happy. Except edamame. You love some edamame. You have a big obsession with all things Ninja Turtles these days, which I don't totally understand, but your daddy is pleased. You love playing outside, playing soccer, throwing any sort of ball (and your arm is dead on, son). You are also a little bit scary smart. Just when I think you aren't paying attention, you'll throw a curve ball. You starting writing your name out of nowhere. Gahhh, you are finally potty trained (you're welcome for that piece of info 14 years from now), you pick out your own clothes, dress yourself, and amazingly you match most of the time. You beg for "one more this, and one more that"... and most often I cave. I can't help myself. You are smart, you are lovable, but at the same time, becoming all boy - wiping off your lips as soon as you ask for a kiss :) You are such a good brother and are the first to say "I'm sorry!" in the heat of battle. You still love your cars and trains and anything that moves or makes noise. You also have the attention span of a 16 year old boy. Seriously, scary. I could probably leave you in front of the tv all day and you wouldn't move. Yikes! But at the same time, you are taking in so much and you love to leave the house and go our next adventure. Ry Guy, my love for you is unsurpassed. I could not have asked God to bless me with a better son. I love you so much. Thank you for 4 wonderful years. 

Oh, my Quinn. You are one of a kind. You are the sweetest, kind-hearted little girl I know. You want people to be happy. You want to serve others. You clean up the playroom without asking (for real). You love quality time - you NEED/CRAVE people at all times, if nothing but to rub your back or telling you are doing a good job. You love God. You are tremendously smart. Your memory freaks me out. You can remember what you wore to a birthday party a year and a half ago, and although it fits, you don't want to wear it because "Mommy, that's xxx's birthday party outfit. I need something else!" You are all girl. You change 3-4 times per day. I'm thankful that my washer is still functioning. You love nothing more than a dress and leggings with either a bow, braid, or pigtails. Nothing else suffices. You abhor jeans and will only wear shorts when it's really hot or gymnastics time. Speaking of the gym, you LOVE it. I had no doubt. You were meant to swing from every bar, jump every obstacle, and do forward rolls until you are dizzy. Quinn, not gonna lie - you can sometimes be drama but as we teeter on the brink between three and four, you are WAY more in control of your emotions than you were even 6 months ago. Time outs are a rarity now - but when they happen, they are for just cause :)  Most of the time, you act like the big sister. You like to be in control and direct the antics in the house. Ryan follows for the most part, lucky you :) You love princesses, dressing up, anything girly - but at the same time, you aren't afraid to get a little messy, swing a little higher, sweat a little more. You are, and have always been, a fighter, in the best sense of the word. Your health is great and we praise God for every day we have with you.Quinn, I love you so much. You are my heart.

Oh, my babies. You hate that word, actually. Babies. But you are. And you always will be. Yes, I suppose you are my "big kids" now, although that is a bit of a tough pill to swallow at the moment. Four. Four. Yikes and yes. We are having so much fun these days and I love to have full-on meaningful conversations with you.
Just today, we were in the car and suddenly starting talking about the sign for "Grandpa", which led to "where is Grandpa?", which led to "Where is Heaven and why can't I reach Jesus?", which after much conversation, finally ended with "Mommy, did you know Triceratops has two horns?". Ha. Only from the brains of toddlers. Or should I say kids now? I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

Y'all are the light of our lives. Keep shining. Don't let anyone or anything dim the spirit you have because it is so darned beautiful. We love you - more than you can even imagine or fathom. 

All our love and Happy Birthday my sweet and crazy 4 year olds, 

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