(mom)Life

Lay it Down

Something beautifully awful happened about a month ago. It was all consuming. And horrific. And wonderful. And life changing. It put me in an uninspired funk yet uplifting mood all at the same time. I prayed and searched for the way to put it into words but they never came. It’s like the writing side of my brain forgot what it’s purpose was. But the words needed to come out. So I waited. And prayed.

I attended MomCon in late September and had the privilege of hearing the amazing Amena Brown speak. And then the words starting flowing like rain water. Trickles at first, then a sudden downpour, ending with a God given, promise filled rainbow. It took me a while to get it on paper and when I did, it came out in a free verse poem type narrative:

January 1st, 2017

It was supposed to be my Year of No.

My year to stop over planning life and start enjoying it.

No to over committing.

No to volunteering.

No to over attempting.

No to the distractions and toxic voices that fill my head.

No to things that steal time away from me.

That was supposed to include No to more babies.

But we knew three wasn’t enough. Our family isn’t complete. I drive a mini van. I’m supposed to fill it, right?

Summer 2017

Just one more. Please. Let’s try for a boy. Thomas. Please, he pleaded.

Ok. We’ll try through the summer. And then we’re done. I’m 37. The term “geriatric pregnancy” is not appealing to me. I don’t know if my body can handle another pregnancy. Another complicated birth. But we’ll try.

Heavenly Father, Holy Mary, Mother of God, if it’s your will, let it be done.

August 4th

Post wedding reception, vodka infused fun.

Cheers to the happy couple.

Cheers to old friends.

Recollections of the glory days that have passed and the promising futures that lie ahead.

A light conversation quickly turned heart wrenching with the mention of children.

The ones they lost.

We’ve had 2 miscarriages, he said. The first one was hard, but the second one broke us. It was so hard. It was supposed to be ok, but it wasn’t. It’s still not.  I’m not sure that we’ll try again.

My wife had one just a few months ago, another replied. It was terrible. I know how upset I was, so I can’t imagine the pain my wife was going through. We’ll try again, but it’s scary. So scary. It’s a fear that won’t go away.

Have you ever had a miscarriage? they asked.

No, I reply. I have not. But my heart aches for you and your wives whom I love.

Heavenly Father, please ease their suffering. Please help my heart heal their hearts, and please place happiness in their souls that are hurting. I don’t know the suffering they are experiencing, but I know they are hurting.

August 9th

Holy smokes. It’s positive. Positive. There are 2 blue lines.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Four kids.

You can do this.

You get to wear maternity jeans again!! YES!

What’s one more when you have three, right?

Thank you, dear Lord, for this gift. For this precious gift we prayed for.

Don’t get too excited just yet, the voice said.

What? But why? This is a new life.

This is to be cherished.

And celebrated.

Starting now.

Not yet, it repeated.

I hushed the powerful voice. Told it to settle down. Ignored it.

My mind filled with 4 weeks pregnant thoughts.

What if it’s a boy? We’ll have the Thomas we named long ago.

What if it’s another girl? Watch it be another girl.

Lucas only makes girls.

Her name will be Lucy.

Lucy Claire.

We love you already, Lucy Claire. Which I will only call you when your daddy isn’t around. Because he really wants a Thomas.

Thomas Evan Smith.

So I looked at bedding for boys, because it’s fun to dream when new lives are being dreamed about.

Navy.

I chose navy as the color for the room.

But I never chose beyond that because life was calling in the form of carpool and laundry, and endless laughter and needs from the three blessing we have here on Earth.

August 18th

Blood.

So much blood.

Wait. What?

This can’t be happening.

Why does there have to be so much blood?

Why is my husband in Nashville?

What am I supposed to do?

It’s the middle of the night.

Who do I call?

I’m so scared.

Heavenly Father, please help me. Help me. Help me. I don’t know what to do. Lord, I need you.

My child, you’ve got this. You are strong enough. Lean on me.

But I’ve never needed you like this before. I need more help than you can give me.

I’m all you need. Lean on me.

But I need someone here. I need to talk to someone.

I am here. Talk to me. Lean on me. Listen to me.

Ok. I’m listening. I hear you. Lord, I need you. Please give me strength.

The chorus of Lay it Down repeating through my head, reminding me to give it up. Lay it Down. At his feet. Release my burden. Release my fears. Release my sadness.

So I did.

I laid the loss at his feet.

You are my child. I will give you strength. Let me show you.

And then I felt Him. All of Him. Wrapped around my soul. My heart. My mind.

The hands of God are warm.

And comforting.

And stronger than I could have ever imagined.

He picked up my sorrow and carried it for me.

Because I couldn’t.

My family and friends came rushing to my side. Their hands are kind and gentle.

How are you doing? Are you ok? What do you need? they asked.

I’m ok. I’m strangely ok.

I feel a lightness I can’t describe, I told them.

It’s as though my heart knows it should be grieving.

But there’s so much love in my heart.

There’s no room for sorrow. The man who once slept in a stable because there was no room at the inn has made sure there is no room in my heart for sorrow.

Only love.

And peace.

I’ve known God all my life. But this was different. This was powerful. This was tangible. This was a love only he can give.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your gifts of sorrow and humility. For your gift of strength. For your gift of unwavering love when I doubted you. Thank you for carrying me through darkness and filling me with a light brighter than I’ve ever known.

My heart is yours.

My soul is yours.

Now and always.

Amen.

 

I shared my miscarriage poem at my MOPS meeting last week as a way of opening the door for fellow MOPS moms to share their story with others. And although writing this poem was healing in itself, I felt little pieces of my heart mend when other moms shared their heartbreak with me.  It was beautiful and sad, but I saw the face of God in all of their faces as they recalled memories of DNCs, lingering despair, and rainbow babies. He’s there. In all of it. The pain, the loss, and the nights of weeping about the loss of what could have been.

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. For all of the moms who are grieving from the loss of a pregnancy or infant, my prayer for you is that God will take your broken heart and give it back to you repaired and whole. Lean on him. Lean on others. Talk to someone. Share your story. You never know who you’ll heal with the power of your voice.

(mom)Life

The Devil’s in the Details

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Admit it, you laughed. You probably laughed because you’re a parent and you know it’s painfully true. Or you laughed because you’re not a parent and you are thinking, “This is why I don’t have kids.” Either way, it’s still funny.

Getting kids to church is the absolute worst. It really is. Nothing goes right. Everyone is tired and uncooperative. You’re tired and frustrated and you want a nap and it’s not even 9:00 yet. You’re running late and your coffee is cold and you just want to say, “No! Not today! No church. Let’s just stay home. This isn’t worth it.”

But what you really should say is, “Not today, Satan.”

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Because the Devil’s in the details.

A very wise friend once shared with me that she and her husband would get into an argument every time they went to planning meetings for their mission trips. They would be on their way to talk about how to share His love with people who don’t know Him, and the devil would find a way to creep in and and distract them from their goal. They would arrive to their meetings frustrated and unable to focus on spreading the Word.

It’s the same with bringing children to church. You’re doing your best to make sure they know God, and know the church is where we worship Him, but Satan does his best to make sure you never make it there.

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Me, every Sunday morning.

He’s in the sleepiness that keeps your family in bed.

He’s in the burned pancakes that have to be remade in a hurry.

He’s in the coffee that you forgot to buy yesterday so now you’ll have to face this without caffeine.

He’s the shoes that are missing and the matching bows that can’t be found.

He’s in the wrinkled shirt and the scuffed dress shoes.

He’s in the empty gas tank when you’re already running late.

He’s in every single red light that just won’t turn green.

He’s in the lack of parking spaces and the rain that starts right when you find a good one.

He’s in the eye rolls and glares you get from people who have forgotten what it’s like to have young children.

He’s in your head strong toddlers who are doing their best to distract you from the word of the Lord.

He’s in the endless potty breaks during the sermon that you’re missing. Again.

He’s in your 2 year old who dodges the priest’s blessing which you’re pretty sure is about to get you exiled from the church.

 

He’s in the details. He’s lurking, waiting, learning your triggers so he can use them against you later. He’s there, making sure the path to God isn’t easy and even more difficult when you’re towing little people behind you.

Be strong, my friends. Your kids need you to find your armor and a shield and use it against the wickedness of Satan. They need you to show them the way to God, even if it’s not easy and it takes every ounce of patience in your body to get them to God’s house. Patience can be refilled with Him, with Starbucks, with queso, with prayer.

My armor and shield are the steps I take to make sure Satan isn’t there when I wake up on Sunday. It’s laying out complete outfits on Saturday night. It’s packing the church bags full of goldfish and crayons. It’s making sure the coffee maker is on and ready to deliver the delicious nectar that propels me through the day. It’s grabbing donuts on the way to church when we’re out of pancake mix, and making sure the baby wipes are fully stocked. It’s avoiding the people who deliver the glares of judgement and embracing those who embrace my family. It’s choosing to focus on the message instead of the misbehaving 2 year old begging to be held.

Be steadfast, smarter, and stronger than the Devil. He’s in the details and the frustrating moments, but God is our big picture. He’s our end game. He’s our forever.

You’ve got this, parents.

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My new favorite Sunday morning phrase.

This is the prayer our parish says at the conclusion of every Mass. How great it this prayer in relation to the path to church on Sunday mornings?

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(mom)Life

Amazon Prime Day!

 

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Let’s talk Amazon Prime Day. It’s one of my most favorite days of the year! Stuff you need at a great price? Yes, please! If you’re a Prime Member, you’ll get an additional 30% off the items at checkout, so keep that in mind when you’re browsing.

Here’s what I found so far:

Kate Spade cuff bracelet for $22! It comes in a few colors and the prices vary by color. These would make great Christmas and birthday presents.

Native Jefferson shoes for kids – $22! Lots of colors and sizes to choose from. Again, they vary by color and size.

Roomba! We had one of these in our old house and loved it. I’m tempted to get another one for our current house by I’m pretty sure the CFO (Lucas) would run away from home. And he makes my coffee in the morning. So I better not. But this is great deal if you’re thinking about getting one. They work wonders on wood floors.

Instant Pot pressure cooker! I really want one of these. I might have to give up my George Foreman Grill and a few other things to make room for it, but I’ve heard it’s worth it. Frozen chicken cooked in 30 minutes? Sign me up! And SkinnyTaste has a ton of Instant Pot recipes.

Ninja Coffee Bar! This is that amazing coffee maker I was telling y’all about. It’s $180 on sale for $150 with an addition 30% off at checkout….so $105? STEAL!

Ninja Kitchen System (fancy for blender with a ton of stuff). I really want one of these. Bad. This might be another CFO discussion. It’s $260 originally, $170 on sale and then 30% off that.

And the final item on the wish list…the Amazon Echo. I’ve heard amazing things about this little device. It can play music, tell you what the forecast is, read an audio book, control switches and thermostats in your house, answer random questions, etc. It can also call family and friends who also have an Echo. Pretty amazing! Here’s the commands I would use:

Alexa, tell Anna to stop whining.

Alexa, give Anna a pacifier.

Alexa, how many cups of coffee is too much coffee?

Alexa, hold Anna.

Alexa, tie Ellie’s shoes.

Alexa, go wipe Anna’s booty.

Alexa, please delete Teletubbies from all devices. And anything Family Fun Pack too.

Alexa, tell Ellie to get out of the mud. Again.

Alexa, what is Anna crying about?

Alexa, play Wishenpoof so they stop tackling each other.

Alexa, answer whatever question Caroline is asking.

 

Just kidding. I know she’s not that advanced, but here’s to hoping the 2018 version will be. What deals have you found? Comment below and let me know!

(mom)Life

Road Trip Mom Hack

It never fails. You get in the car for a road trip and someone has to potty, but you’re 5 miles from civilization yet alone a decent restroom. Or you pull up to Disney on Ice and your 3 year old is screaming that they have to potty, but the line to get into the venue is a mile long. Or you’re at the neighborhood park, your kids are having the time of their lives, and the youngest one really needs to relieve herself of that gallon of OJ she drank for breakfast (it’s got vitamins, right?). Or your freshly potty trained toddler decides she has to “peepeereallyreallybad” as you pull into the Target parking lot and her INSANE fear of flushing toilets makes you want to cry. Or, my personal favorite, you’re on the way home from the zoo and your 2 babies are asleep but the big girl has to potty. And you REALLY don’t want to have to get the babies out of the car because they are REALLY tired.

Aside from beating your head on the steering wheel before braving the nearest gas station restroom, there are not a lot of options for moms of littles.

Fear not, mamas! I’ve got you covered. I came up with this Mom Hack after too many close calls and a sweet mom who saved the Disney on Ice Day with her Pourty. 

Step 1 to road warrior sanity? The tools. You’ll need a portable potty (I got this one on clearance at Target but this one is great as well), some size 4 or larger diapers, baby wipes, and plastic diaper sacks (or HEB bags). I use the diapers Anna outgrew and put them in an old wipe container.

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Next step is to line the potty with a diaper and let your kid take care of business. Make sure the diaper is pulled up all the way in the front and back.

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Once your toddler has finished up, simply roll up the diaper and put it in one of the plastic bags.

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I take Clorox wipes and wipe down the potty (it’s dry because the diaper catches everything, but you know, germs…) and put that wipe in the bag as well. At this point you can toss it into the closest garbage can or just wait until your next stop and trash it then.

Viola! Emergency avoided and everyone can go back to watching Dora, or sleeping, or shoving goldfish down their seatbelt hole, or kicking your seat. My seat kicker now sits in the back thanks to her soccer skills. 

My van is set up for optimal roadside potty breaks, but it can be done on any flat space in your car. Side note – my van isn’t usually this clean. I needed to get my kids out of the house so we washed and cleaned out the van.

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And, if your kids get really good at the portable potty pit stops, you can store the items under the passenger seat and they can do the whole process by themselves!!

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There was a major #momwin moment the day I pulled over on the side of a country feeder road and I didn’t have to get out of my seat. My kid did it all by herself. It was GLORIOUS.

 I know some of you Boy Moms out there are laughing at the elaborateness of this, buuuuut….I’m a Girl Mom. There’s no tire, grass, or bottle option for the Sisters. 😝

I hope this saves you a little bit of sanity on your next road trip, or trip to the park, or Target run. Please feel free to share with other moms who can use this Mom Hack!

 

(mom)Life

Wild Winks – the Recap

If you ever get the chance to experience Wild Winks at the Houston Zoo – do it.

Here’s why:

You’ll get two private 2 hour tours of the zoo while it’s closed to the public.

You get to spend the night at the Houston Zoo! How many people can say they’ve done that?!

You get to see a side of the animals most people don’t – the playful, relaxed, and curious side. The tour takes you to the animals as they are just waking up.

The experience starts at 6:00pm with check in at the gate to the left of the entrance. Your group then puts down their bags in the Education Center and attends a short orientation. Keep in mind other Scout troops (or families, or private groups) will most likely be there with you. Dinner is next – pizza and carrots with a cookie for dessert. The pizza isn’t bad! Some of the chaperones brought their own meals. I can’t remember if there was a microwave.

Next up is the nocturnal tour. Each troop is lead by a Zoo employee and one volunteer who bring you on a tour of the nocturnal animals – big cats, African dogs, bears, a few elephants, and a tour of the reptile exhibit in the pitch black darkness. The animals came very close to the railings to say hello – I’ve never seen them that close or active before! Our guide, Jennifer, was extremely knowledgeable and answered all the questions we could throw at her, even the odd ball inquiries from the 7 year olds. The tour came to a close just after sunset and by then the girls were DONE. And by girls I mean chaperones. We were exhausted, hot, sweaty and wanted to sleep.  And the 7 year olds were too!

Pictures from our nocturnal tour:

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These cheetah brothers were orphaned at birth and raised by an Anatolian Shepherd Dog. They are walked on leashes around the zoo and are taken to the Dynamo stadium to run around. Kind of cool, huh?
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That’s a giant boa constrictor. Our guide had the only flash light so this exhibit was creepy yet slightly cool at the same time. Some of the girls opted out of this tour for obvious reasons.
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I learned something new on this tour – those aren’t longhorns. They are some sort of African cattle. So I should probably stop telling my girls to call them stinky longhorns. #aggiesforever. Also? Those giant horns are filled with air and act as a cooling system for the cattle. 

We went back to the Education Center for a small snack (nutrigrain bars, water, but some troops brought their own snacks) and got ready for bed. There’s a large bathroom with 2 sinks so that process took a little long. Chaperones set up air mattresses and tucked everyone in. I highly recommend bringing an air mattress – the bigger the better! There are plugs everywhere so you can use an air pump.

Please bear with me as I digress for a moment….

Now, if anyone ever tells you that the Houston Zoo doesn’t have an Arctic exhibit, they are lying. It does have an Arctic exhibit. It’s the Education Center after 10:00 pm. HOLY CRAP! I swear that AC kicked on at 10:30 and it never stopped blowing. It was so cold. SO COLD. I couldn’t sleep because I was so dang cold. Chaperones were getting up and putting on an extra layer of clothes. I had a dream about getting up and finding the thermostat. I kept hoping for morning because it meant the heat of day. One chaperone talked about going to sleep outside. FRIGID. Long story short, bring blankets. Lots of the them. And bring ear plugs because the overachieving AC rattles like end of a rattlesnake’s tail. And bring an eye mask because not all of the lights are turned off. Did I mention I’m what some might call a high maintenance sleeper? This is why I don’t go camping.

Back to Sunday morning…

At promptly 6:00 am, the leader wakes everyone up and announces breakfast is in 15 minutes. Breakfast is cereal, a muffin, and yogurt with OJ and milk. Now, if you need caffeine in the morning, you’ll need to bring it. Because the coffee they have is made the week before and left on the burner. It’s so bad, y’all. But the girls loved the chocolate chip muffins and Cocoa Puffs!

Breakfast ends, packing begins, and the girls have another short orientation. All bags are put into the cars at this point and the tour starts at 7:00. The tour goes to the diurnal animals (awake during the day) – birds, flamingos, elephants, tortoises, parts of the Children’s Zoo, and an animal encounter! We got to pet an alligator, a tortoise, and a huge rabbit. According to the girls, their favorite part of the tour was the giraffe exhibit. Those lovely animals were so close to the glass and interacted with us for about 15-20 minutes. The baby giraffes were very friendly and those mama giraffes mean mugged us, but we loved all of it.

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SERIOUSLY. That mama giraffe. She’s beautiful but her mean mugging us was intense. She was all over the chaperones as our girls were all over her calves. We walked away and I swear she was still staring at us. Side note – did you know it’s physically impossible for giraffes to vomit? And their hearts are 2 feet long? 

The tour ended promptly at 9:00 just as the zoo was opening. We had the option of staying and spending more time on our own or leaving. We left. The chaperones had caffeine on the brain and everyone was exhausted.

All in all, it was a really fantastic time. The girls and chaperones agreed it was a blast and would do it again in a heartbeat, with a down comforter and a heated blanket.

Other random tidbits to help future Wild Winkers:

  • Chaperones park as close to the entrance as possible at 6:00 (arrival time) and move their cars to secured employee parking after dinner. We brought expandable wagons to help with the transfer of baggage….well, air mattresses really.
  • The Education Center is the huge building to the left of the main entrance.
  • You can experience Wild Winks with Girl/Boy Scouts, a private group, or on family nights.
  • Scouts earn their Wild Winks badges by participating in a few different activities while you’re there. Our troop used our 5 senses to learn about the animals.
  • One troop brought little trinkets to share with our troop – little pom poms decorated like animals. We agreed that would be fun to do next time we go.
  • Another troop brought cupcakes as their nighttime snack to celebrate the birthday of one of their scouts.
  • There are water bottle filling stations in the Education Center. I recommend bringing a water bottle to use while you’re there.
  • Along with the normal toiletries, bring a hand towel to use for washing your face and brushing your teeth.
  • Our troop had matching shirts made which made spotting our girls very easy.
  • No one needs to bring any money. There’s not an opportunity to spend it, so they don’t need to bring it.
  • Bring disposable ponchos. Houston is notorious for short lived rain showers. We had a little bit of rainfall just before our morning tour and the girls were stuck carrying around wet ponchos. One troop leader had 5 tucked into her belt. It made for a great tutu!
  • If you’re an adult, bring a backpack for the tours. It’s great for water bottles and bug spray. Bring that too!
  • Click this link for more info.
(mom)Life, Clothing

Friday Favorites

Because it’s Friday and because my brain has been FRIED lately, I decided to jump on the current blogger trend of Friday Favorites. I started to write similar posts about 3 different times but then strep happened. And swim lessons happened. And Easter happened. You know, life. It happens. And sometimes this is how I handle it:

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And other times, this is how I handle it:

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My career is raising somewhat normal kids. Somedays I’m on track to be Mother of the Year, but most days I’m letting them eat Cheetos off the floor while watching NickJr. It’s all about balance, right?

My first Friday Favorite makes me feel like an awesome mom all the time. And she just so happens to be turning 6 tomorrow.

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HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? It seems like just yesterday I was sitting on the living room floor, folding laundry, enjoying my first day of retirement when my contractions started. My little Cinco de Mayo baby decided to come 3 weeks early. She’s been an overachiever from the start! Her only request for her 6th birthday was to get her ears pierced so I took her on Wednesday while she was recovering from strep. I figured if she’s responsible enough to potty train Anna (complete with charts and a reward system), she’s responsible enough to take care of her pierced ears. We both almost cried but we managed to hold it together. There’s just something about earrings that make her look like a big girl. Where did my baby go? She’ll always be my favorite big girl!

My next Friday Favorite goes with one of my all time favorite things, those denim shorts so many of y’all bought! It’s this top:

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I finally found a white tee that isn’t see through and hangs beautifully! The material is a thick cotton blend that won’t pill like some of the tees I’ve tried this spring.  Did I mention it’s thick? And the rolled sleeves stay rolled, like the bottom of those comfy denim shorts. The fit is roomy so size down if you like a tighter tee. The shop will also carry them in mint and navy during the second week of May! Side note – I tried taking a picture TWICE in this top but had amoxicillin and avocado incidents. Separately, not together. But the need for amoxicillin might have led to the need for avocado. 

While browsing around the Jack&Monroe website I found two other things I need ASAP!

This dress and clutch:

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How cute is that dress?! It’s the shorter version of the pink and black dress that I love so much. Size up if you’re blessed in the chest! The short pink dress is currently sold out in some sizes, but it’s being restocked in pink, royal blue, and kelly green on May 10th. Variety is the spice of life!

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My next Friday Favorite? The fact that these amazing shoes and staple of my late teen years are coming back.

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Raise your hand if you rocked these Steve Madden Slinkys during the late 90s? Everyone? That’s what I thought. I’m a little upset these legends don’t come in an 11, but that won’t stop me from trying to get my ski-like foot into a 10. This is going to happen come hell or high water…which these would totally work in high water because of the amount of platform on the bottom. They are up for pre-order right now and ship out on July 9th, which just so happens to be the day before my birthday. Coincidence? I think not!

Next up on the list is my favorite Aggie tradition, Muster. Muster is held annually on April 21st. It’s a time when Aggies all over the world gather with fellow Aggies to remember those classmates who have died over the past year. It can be as simple as a back porch BBQ with friends or as ornate as attending the official ceremony held on the Texas A&M campus in College Station. During the campus Muster ceremony, all of the names of the fallen Aggies are called out, roll call style, and a classmate or family member answers “Here.” Because an Aggie is never forgotten. They are always in our hearts. My most memorable Muster was the the ceremony held the April after Bonfire fell. The sense of Aggie Spirit in Reed Arena that night was so strong, so powerful, almost unexplainable. There’s no other Aggie tradition quite like it and it’s one of the reasons I’m so proud to be a Texas A&M graduate.

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My last Friday Favorite is from one of my all time favorites, Duchess Kate.  She recently gave an interview about the isolation and trials of motherhood. How amazing is it that someone with such a powerful position is using it to highlight the struggles of motherhood and its relation to mental health? I absolutely adore her and hope she continues to be a role model for mothers everywhere. I remember seeing this picture of her and thinking, “Look at that, she gets down and whispers sweet little threats into her kids’ ears just like the rest of us!”

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This weekend is packed full of birthday parties, soccer games, and church fun but it starts with a date night tonight at the Coalition for Life dinner. Yeah for Houston traffic and the cash bar that follows it! Please pray for me as I head INTO the Galleria area during rush hour traffic. I’m so scared.

Here’s to birthdays and the ones we celebrate,

Katie

 

(mom)Life, Clothing

Wedding Recap and Your New Favorite Blouse

You know the sound of a slow leak in a balloon or air coming out of a flat tire? That’s what I heard around 5:30 this morning when Lucas brought a coughing and sneezing Ellie into our bed. In addition to the hacking and sniffling, I heard my dreams of getting things done slowly deflating away. Laundry. Poof! Target. Poof! Mopping. Poof! Peeing alone. POOF!

BUT, I have to hand it to Ellie. She’s really good at entertaining herself. She can play upstairs for hours without any adult interaction and be perfectly happy. My productivity projections quickly returned after I remembered how awesome Ellie is at alone time. After dropping off the sisters at school, we snuck in a quick Target trip for provisions (toys to entertain her today, Starbucks for me) and headed home. As luck would have it, she played with the Doc McStuffins kit for 15 minutes and now she’s parked in the office watching iPad and hoping the wifi doesn’t go out in the storm.

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My sweet little thumb sucker. Here’s hoping braces aren’t that expensive. HA!

I’m 90% sure her allergies are bothering her, but 10% of me thinks this is payback for our kid-free weekend. It’s like they think their 24/7 attachment will make us not want to leave them again, but it actually makes me thankful for our time away. Freedom is such an amazing thing!

Lucas and I headed up to The Woodlands on Friday to be part of his college roommate’s wedding weekend. It was a glorious 3 days! From the rehearsal dinner on Friday to the breakfast on Sunday, we had such a great time. Here are a few pictures from the various events:

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Pre-Rehearsal Dinner. Also, pre-hotel happy hour. The Embassy Suites has an amazing happy hour, if that’s your thing. It’s my thing. What’s not to love about free vodka? And this J&M dress?! It runs small so size up if you’re blessed in the chest.
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Maxi dress lovers unite! How fabulous is this fellow mom of 3? She also drives an Odyssey, so you know she’s good people. But she likes Caillou. I don’t hold it against her.
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I rolled out of bed on Saturday morning to go to a shower for this cutest preggo! She’s about to have her third girl. Bless her. Please say a little prayer for her husband and his wallet. I bought the pink dress and necklace at LOFT on Friday. Both are 40% off (in store or online – you have to check with your local store) and perfect for Easter.  (side note – every time I go to LOFT I remember why I don’t go there often. Their sneaky sale signs make me want to scream. I can’t stand their “40% off everything!” but in super small print “for card holders only” signs. I argued with the manager until I got the 40% off. Sorry your marketing is the worst, but you can’t trick customers. It’s just not right.) Size down on the dress!
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Three short hours and a quick nap later…Best wedding date ever! Isn’t he the cutest?
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Please excuse the bags. I don’t sleep well when I drink vodka.
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Mr. and Mrs. Walker! How beautiful is this couple? Her dress was dreamy. I hope y’all are having the best time in Mexico!
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This dress was great for dinner, dancing, and the warm spring sunset. I talked to another guest who bought in a different color combination and loves it! It did not disappoint.
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I chose these Stella and Dot earrings to wear with the dress. I’m going to mix it up next time and try simple earrings with a chunky necklace. Either way, this dress is versatile and allows for a bunch of different styling options.
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Sometimes “Shout!” requires you to get a little bit softer now…
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After 5 hours of drinking/dinner/dancing, I needed a little boost. Because I’m 36 and it was only 7:30. And I knew an after party was in the works. So I flagged down my new BFF, Maria, and asked her for coffee. I hugged her and called her my angel of mercy.
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Tomatoes are gross.

I wish I could tell you I shut down the wine bar that night, but I can’t. Because I didn’t. I had a drink in the hotel bar until around 11:00 and then headed upstairs to be alone. I’m what you call a functioning introvert. I love to talk to people and can talk to anyone about anything, but it wears me out after a while. Like, I can physically feel my legs throbbing after too much small talk. My brain starts to shut down and I just need out. I get energy from being alone, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I can do one on one conversations all night, but the bar was loud and didn’t allow for that. So my night ended with a turkey sandwich and the conclusion of a book I’ve been trying to finish for a while. Sweet Lucas attempted to see closing time but had to come back early due to balance issues. That gross Bourbon gets him every time!

I did manage to get a glimpse of what the young kids are wearing to the wine bars these days, and this is it! Skinny jeans and flowy tops! I was so excited when I saw this top at Jack & Monroe on Monday because it was on my “to buy” list after seeing so many people wearing blouses similar to it over the weekend. Mackenzie carries it in navy and forest green. I opted for the navy because it’s my new white (it goes with everything!). Here are some different ways I’ve styled it over the past 24 hours – photo credit goes to Ellie! (side note – I did not wear every outfit in one day. I did some quick changes this morning as I hollered at Anna to not get syrup in her glorious hair as she wolfed down Eggo waffles.)

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The perfect going out outfit – skinny jeans, navy top, and wedges. I’m wearing some Bauble Bar earrings I scored on sale last year. These are similar and can be worn two different ways! The bracelet is from LOFT.
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I wore the blouse with pink shorts and navy Keds for school pickup yesterday. I love pink and navy! I bought the shorts from Old Navy last year, but they have them again this year too.
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I asked Caroline to take pictures of me on the way home from school. She opted for selfies instead.
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This what the top looks like in real life situations – I was trying to get Anna to get her hand out of my shorts and Ellie had just wiped her nose on my shorts while untucking my shirt. Kids are awesome.
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This is my wine night outfit and Anna’s whine day attire…which is everyday and needs something comfortable because she tends to get dramatic.
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Here’s a simple church idea – I paired the blouse with a LuLaRoe Cassie for a quick and easy Sunday morning outfit. Please excuse the photo quality – my photographer was ready for her frozen waffles at this point.
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I had to try the blouse on with my favorite pants! You can never go wrong with the white/navy/brown combination. Thanks to Monica for taking this picture and to Anna for distracting me while I was putting on my earrings. At least my shoes match.
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I found these great teal shorts at Target (for $14!). See? Navy goes with everything!

Jack & Monroe released this blouse today, so make sure you snag one before it sells out! It runs true to size, I’m wearing a Large. She has a bunch of cute new releases that are perfect for date nights or GNO. Don’t forget to use the code KATIE10 for 10% off your purchase!

Have a great weekend!

Here’s to wine and the women we drink it with,

Katie

(mom)Life

Things You’ll Never Hear Me Say or Wear – Part I

In an attempt to tell you more about me, the mom of the Three Silly Sisters, here are some things you’ll never hear me say:

Throw that Scholastic Book Order in the recycling bin. We have too many books.

Too many books? There’s no such thing! I’m a former 3rd grade teacher and recovering Scholastic addict. I have a closet upstairs full of books that I haven’t touched in years but Lord help the person who tries to get rid of them. I trip over the books in our house on a daily basis but I still get giddy over the thought of buying more. Ask any teacher and they’ll tell you books are just as valuable as my husband’s Bourbon collection…except 4 members of our family like my collection and only 1 likes his. Whiskey/Bourbon/Scotch is the worst. I’ll take a watermelon Jolly Rancher laced Zima over an Old Fashioned any day of the week. I’m currently in a book rut so if you’ve got a good one, let me know!

It’s too early to go to bed. Let’s stay up until at least 10:00.

I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point my bedtime started to be “as early as possible”. I have zero shame in crawling into bed at 8:30. I might not fall asleep until 9:30/10:00 but my butt is cozy and well on the way to dreamland soon after the girls are in bed and the house is in order. Lucas and I joke that on most Friday nights we are ready to get in bed at 8:30. And I’m totally ok with that. Because you know what’s worse than Bourbon? Parenting at 6:30 am after staying up until 12:30. Kids are ruthless and will wake up early on the mornings you need them to sleep late. Every.Single.Time. It’s like they can smell your tiredness which sets an internal alarm clock that goes off before sunrise. AND they’ll request a full English breakfast that’ll have you whispering, “Why do they hate me so much?” into your 2nd cup of coffee.

No, thanks. No queso this time.

I will never turn down queso. Ever. I’ll pick the restaurant we go to based on the queso and sometimes only order that. I’m that girl who brings some sort of cheese dip to every party I go to. It’s my thing. I once had a friend drink it from a bowl at my Bachelorette Party. I was so proud and mystified at the same time. We’re kindred cheese filled spirits. I’m working on a recipe for King Ranch chicken with a twist – let’s just say it involves melted Velveeta and Ro-tel. Speak of spicy things…

The Dixie Chicks should just move to Europe.

I’m from Texas and I LOVE them. One of the first concerts I attended in College Station was Dixie Chicks/Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw. That was 1998 and they were so good back then. I saw them in concert last summer and they are more amazing than they’ve ever been. All of their songs make me want to sing out loud and move to the country. They are talented, opinionated, and fabulous and I’m hoping they’ll tour again soon. But next time I’ll buy reserved seats instead of lawn because an oversold lawn at Cynthia Woods is like going to the Houston Zoo on a Saturday in October…too many people, not enough bathrooms!

Let’s watch Caillou.

You will NEVER hear me utter those words. I can not stand that kid. How did a bald, whiny, Canadian four year old get his own TV show? And he’s got quite the following! I don’t get it. Why would you volunteer to watch something that makes your ears bleed? I had my car washed last August and it was playing in the waiting area. I opted to wait outside in the 110 degree heat when they told me the channel can’t be changed. #willsweatforsanity

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That’s ok, I don’t want to hold your baby.

GIVE ME YOUR BABY! I want to hold your baby! I’m really good with babies. Like, freakishly good. I guess having two difficult ones makes me kind of a professional at the infant stage. I love how they smell and squirm and look and breathe. I’m not a fan of how they cry but I’m pretty good at making them stop. A mom brought her 1 week old to gymnastics last week and it took everything in me not to ask to hold that sweet little lamb. I don’t know her, but I know people are kind of touchy when it comes to random people asking to hold their baby. Social norms ruin all my fun sometimes. There’s another mom who brings her 5 month old to MOPs sometimes and I have to sit on my hands to keep from walking across the room and taking him for a minute. Or an hour. The struggle is SO REAL! BUT, chances are if your baby is a blessed with rolls, I’ll probably skip the whole “Can I hold your baby?” part and just grab that little chunk from you. Don’t be scared. You’ll get that baby back when feeding or changing is necessary. But in the meantime, just smile, nod, and enjoy your moments of peace.

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Caroline was kind of a large baby. I think my obsession with baby rolls started with her.
Let me pull that tooth for you.

Oh heck no. At age 17, I was 99% sure I wanted to be a pediatric dentist until I was a camp counselor for 1st graders whose teeth were falling out like ice at Sonic at 2pm. There is no wound/vomiting/bodily function that makes my stomach churn quite like teeth do. I can’t look at loose teeth much less a giant hole in someone’s mouth without wanting to lose my lunch. Lucas is going to have to be the teeth puller in our house because that is one parenting duty I won’t be able to perform. Give me all the vomit and broken bones but please don’t show me pictures of a hole in your kid’s mouth.

 

Something you’ll never see me wear? These latest Nordstrom fails:

Have you ever woken up and not been able to decide between jeans or a skirt? Now you don’t have to! These $90 skeans are the answer to your indecisiveness. The jeans say casual Thursday but the black overlay tells everyone you’re up for anything, including impromptu ballet lessons on the soccer field during practice.

skirt jeans

Y’all. This Canadian tuxedo. The pants alone are $685! HOW?! Although these are Stella McCartney, I think that’s a little much for the love child of Z Cavaricci and Lee Jeans.

demin capris

These are my new personal favorite. Holy moly. They are $1,160! These fabulous denim panties (because that’s what they are) come from Levi’s. The same company who made pants for gold miners and cowboys. How times have changed! A friend of mine commented that these would be very simple to take a bathroom break in being that the zipper goes all the way around…but I can see someone losing a lady part in these. You know I’m right.

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Just in case you need shoes to go with those shorts, here’s a great $375 option. Yes, those are Crocs. With stones. Magical stones apparently. At almost $400, those shoes better give me a pedicure and foot rub each time I wear them. crocs

Coming up on the blog on Thursday – A weekend recap of a gorgeous wedding and my new favorite top from Jack & Monroe. Trust me, you’ll want this one! This is a picture of it taken by Ellie after I asked Caroline to, but she took 73 selfies instead. I’ve really got to get some better help around here!

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Here’s to annoying Canadians and Mexican cheese,

Katie

 

(mom)Life, Clothing

Summer Wedding Pretties

I was hesitant to use the word “summer” in the title because technically spring just started. BUT, this is Southeast Texas, so really summer started two days ago. You know what else started this week? Wedding season! I love wedding season! Champagne, cake, beautiful brides, and champagne. What’s not to love?

Lucas’s friend from college is ending his glory days of bachelorhood this weekend so I headed to Nordstrom on Monday to find the perfect dress and shoes. I found the dress and some amazing shorts! The shoes were a total disappointment, but I’ll get to that later. #nordstromfail

I tried on 10 different dresses and narrowed it down to 3 that I think would be perfect for all the weddings of Spring/Summer 2017. Most of the weddings we’re going to are daytime so I wanted to find something other than black. Let me preface these options by reminding y’all that I’m 36 and I don’t do low cut, high cut, cut out, or over cut (short). Nope. I love it on others but I know what works on me and I prefer my cutting to be on steak, not my neck and hem lines. I was so surprised at all of the pretty options out there!

Pretty #1:

ponte dress

I loved this Eliza J dress! I tried it on in this teal color and the royal blue – I decided the blue looked better on me. The fabric is Ponte knit and very thick so it holds its shape well. The back has a pretty gold zipper and the seams are so flattering. This dress runs small so you might want to size up unless you want all your bra line imperfections displayed. At only $100 for a high quality dress, this one is a must!

Pretty #2:

blue ties

I decided to give the cold shoulder another go and try on this dress. It’s very simple and I was going to pair it with a chunky necklace and fun earrings. The dress is gorgeous – the quality is great and it’s well made. BUT, my legs are on the longer side and the entire dress lifts up when you raise your hands…so I had to put it back because I plan on hugging a lot of people this weekend. There’s just no need for indecency at the weddings. Lucas’s friends will do plenty of that. BUT, if you’re south of 5’9″ and great with accessories, this dress is prefect for you! Heck, you bootie lovers might even be able to pair it with the bootie sandals that are all over the place right now (insert eye roll here). It comes in pink and black as well!

Pretty #3 and all her sisters:

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Y’all! How amazing is this dress?! SO many choices! There are a total of 10 on the website. The Woodlands Nordstrom only had 2 choices and it’s probably better that way because I might have walked out with all of them.  Once you get past the tags (they are in the side zipper, there was a dressing room incident), it slips right on and you’re in dress perfection land. The top is a thick yet forgiving and concealing knit and the skirt is a silk-ish material. It has a keyhole detail at the top of the back and the sash can be tied in a bow or just knotted depending on your level of Southerness. I’m 5’9″ and the dress is little long on me, so keep that in mind when ordering. It does come in petite and plus sizes so it’s made for all you beautiful mamas out there!

Want to take a gander at which one I chose?

#3!

I loved it the most. It’s flattering, pretty, and will be perfect for so many of the events I’ve got on my calendar. I’ll apologize/not apologize now if you see me sporting it more than once – it’s pretty much my new favorite item in my closet!

I also bought these shorts that you need right now:

denim shorts

Trust me. You need them. They are a great color, the perfect rise, and the length is short but it won’t get you talked about at Bunco. Size warning – they run a full size big so order a size down. They also stretch so you can manage Target tantrums in them!

Something I didn’t buy?

Shoes.

I get it. The Woodlands Nordstrom is still building their brand selection BUT holy smokes. They had nothing. I need wedges to wear with the Eliza J dress but they only offer bootie sandals and Tory Burch. That’s it. I tried the bootie sandals and just couldn’t. And I don’t need Tory Burch sandals right now. So I left and headed to DSW to see what they had in an 11…nothing. But I did get another pair of Keds because apparently I’m addicted to comfort. My last stop on the disappointment tour was Macy’s. I found the shoes I want but I couldn’t find anyone to help me so I left with the style name and bought them on Amazon. Here’s to hoping 2 day shipping actually means 2 day shipping!

 Sweet readers out there – where do you find cute shoes? I’m talking sandals and wedges and all things summer! I need help! HELP ME!

I’m beyond excited for this kid-free weekend – hair appointments, baby showers, friends, weddings, and a weekend with Lucas! I’ll post pictures of the final look next week. I’m hoping some of the pretty ladies I’ll see this weekend will let me feature their dresses on the blog as well. 😉

Coming up on the blog? My favorite recipe books, the ultimate guide to kids’ cartoons, how to find a MOPs group, mom hacks, the shiny and pretty world of Stella and Dot, and things you’ll never hear me say (let’s watch Calliou!).

Here’s to pretty dresses and the moments we celebrate in them!

– Katie

 

(mom)Life, Clothing

Park Pretties

I just got over the nightmare that strikes fear in the hearts of dads worldwide – the stomach flu. What was supposed to be a productive weekend quickly turned into anything but thanks to something awful that is traveling around our neighborhood. I can usually power through most illnesses but this one had me in bed for 4 days. Thanks to an awesome husband and a lot of Powerade, I’m back tackling the shenanigans the girls throw my way.

One of my first goals on the path to wellness was to FINALLY find a GP. I haven’t visited a doctor without OB/GYN or Neurologist on their card since 2003 (babies and headaches, coincidence? Maybe not?). So it was time. I decided getting out of bed deserved a shower and a pretty shirt so I chose this one:

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My sister referred me to a so sweet and very helpful NP who checked me over, ordered some lab work, told me to eat some bone broth (it’s gross, don’t), and wished me luck. Turns out she also loves Jack & Monroe! I think I found my new favorite GP! (This J&M top is sold out – so sorry!)

My next goal was to get outside and soak up some sun. I met my cutest preggo friend at the park and we both managed not to have a panic attack amid the craziness of Spring Break at a public park. Ladies! I could not believe how many Keds I saw! I really wanted to walk around and tell my fellow Keds lovers how awesome they looked but decided that would be a little creepy…so I decided against it. One of the moms had on this pair and was telling her friends, “Yes, Keds! Like the kind you wore as a kid! Apparently they are coming back in style.” I wanted to high five her but again, creepy.

I wore this Jack & Monroe top to navigate the park in and was comfortable the whole time – through the swing pushing, juice box opening, hand sand removal, and Germ-X dispensing. I had to wear a cardigan over it for the first few hours (because Winter decided to happen twice this year) but after that it was cool and breathable.

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I usually avoid purple but this shade is soft and very doable. If you think the front is cute, you should see the back:

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It’s longer and sheer from about mid-back down! It also flares a little so you can see the print from the front as well. It runs true to size, I’m wearing a Large. (Side note – I just saw it’s only available in a Small, so sorry! I’ll ask Mackenzie if she’s reordering it.) I paired it with these jeans from Talbots. I love them because they are thick (hide stuff), higher waisted (hide stuff), and stretch a little (hide more stuff). I found them by chance while shopping with my mom last summer. They are true to size to a little big.

I normally buy these jeans from Nordstrom for the same reasons. They are a little lower cut but the quality of the denim is amazing. They are available in many different washes and sizes and they go on sale frequently. I usually add them to my Wish List and check every few days to see if they are on sale. I’m 5’9″ and these are the perfect length on me. They run true to size.

KUT

The skinny jeans I love the most are from Target and aren’t sold anymore, but these are my second favorite:

loft skinny

It looks like they come in a bunch of different colors so I need to make it to Loft soon!

I recently bought another park pretty shirt from J&M and I have to share it with you because it’s my new favorite shirt! The bottom is a soft, airy emerald and the top is the sweetest lace. It’s true to size and only $32. You need it! And you better buy it soon because it’s going to sell out quickly. (Use KATIE10 to get 10% off!)

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Not gonna lie, I totally did a quick parking lot change and had my friend take the pictures today. My child photographers just can’t be trusted. Unlike their ability to have various ailments when it’s time to clean up…that can ALWAYS be trusted.