Friday Favorites!

I always read Erika, Andrea and Narci's Friday Favorites but I've never linked up. However, the kids are still sleeping, we have a lazy morning, and my work is almost done for the week - so why not?

1. Girl's Trip to Fredericksburg :: Y'all. I am still on a total high from a trip to Fredericksburg with my 2 BFF's. We've literally tried to plan this for years but someone was always pregnant, nursing, in the hospital, taking care of a kid in the hospital, the list goes on and on. Finally the stars aligned and we had the best.weekend.ever. Seriously. Late dinner Friday with wine (of course), then we shopped and hit up the wineries all day Saturday, followed by another delicious dinner. We were in no rush to get back so we laid around in our PJ's on Sunday morning for a couple of hours, had a late breakfast and then finally departed. The trip was so good for my soul. And as well as I thought I knew my girls, spending 48 hours together allowed us to get to know each other even better. It's a God-given friendship and we are already planning for our trip next November!

2. Boots and Vest weather :: Houston NEVER gets this cold, this early in the season. But since I've had vests, scarves, and new boots taunting me in the closet ever since Nordy's anniversary sale, I couldn't be happier that it's cold. Matt now knows my new uniform is a combination of those items plus leggings. Heaven! If you haven't gotten your hands on these JCrew Factory puffer vests, you really should. They have still have the tweed one, plus they've added some other colors from the last time I checked the site. Dang it. {P.S. The tweed is not on sale, but the other colors are marked down significantly. Jump on it! They are the perfect weight to keep you warm but not sweat your booty off indoors} Oh, and we can't leave out the blardigan - best.sweater.blanket.ever. I don't know why it took me a year to purchase this but it is a dream. I know Chelsea over at The Perfect Catch totally is nodding her head in agreement, right Chels? We share a deep love of all things scarf, vest, and Pinterest Told Me To approved :)

3. Boot socks :: I finally got my hands on some adorable boot socks. I love the added flair. I went with a more classic lace pair like this {although I bought mine in Fredericksburg} So cute!

4. Christmas Shopping :: Matt and I are bound and determined to finish Christmas shopping by December 1st. This would be a huge accomplishment considering I was THAT mom at the toy store last year on Christmas Eve. I want to sit back and enjoy this season. The twins are super excited and at 4 1/2 they are at the perfect age to really "get" it. Cannot.wait. Santa has already scooped up a few things and we're making a dent in the rest of our family/friend list. Yay! And again I could not be more thankful for Amazon prime :)

5. Advent Devotional Calendar :: And we can't forget the true reason of the season. One of my fellow Houston Moms Blog contributors, Becky, created this wonderful Sacred Christmas Advent Calendar. It arrived this week in the mail and I was so excited to share it with Matt. We plan on doing it together in the evenings for a little quiet time versus playing on facebook or the iPad. Thanks, Becky! I highly recommend the calendar especially after seeing it in person - but hurry, only about 7 more days to get it before Advent begins. You can order it here and for $20.00, I think it's a BARGAIN.

Happy Friday, everyone! Or as it is known in my house, "Sushi Friday!"

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(Please note :: I did not receive any compensation for the links above. They are just products I own and love!)


Closing the Door :: The Mourning of No More Children

I'm over at Houston Moms Blog talking about the myriad of emotions that comes with closing the door to having more kiddos. It was probably one of my most transparent and honest posts to date --- and thus I was extremely nervous to put all of that out there. But people could not have been more kind with their comments and so many people related to those emotions. What a relief and a big "whew"! It's always great to know you aren't alone in the crazy :) Here's a little excerpt::

My child-bearing years are over.
It has taken me months to begin to process this realization. Longer than that to even write about it. If I ramble, forgive.
Right before the twins turned three, the blanket of exhaustion fog began to lift, and I saw we could actually do life – like go places {happily}, do normal things like hit up the grocery, and be on our own for extended periods of time. And in that moment, it also brought the question of “Well, one more?
And I thought through that. Like all the time. And came to the conclusion that these two sweet ones were enough for me.
Thank y'all for reading!!! It means so much.

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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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