Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The lucky ones...

There is something incredible about watching Micah with Grace.

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He has a way with her.  Kind of how he has a way with me.

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Sometimes he holds her like he's got the most precious treasure in all the universe in his hands.  

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Probably because she is the most precious treasure in all the universe.

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But he also has an uncanny ability to bring out her silly and her smiles.  He's got the monopoly on her belly laughs.

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I have no idea how he will ever handle walking her down the aisle.  Or watching her graduate high school. (Or kindergarten, for that matter.)

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But I know that watching them together makes me feel luckier than I have any right to be.

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We won the lottery, Gracie.  I hope you never, ever forget that, sweet girl.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I'm headed to...

(Keep reading for the scoop on my next trip!)

It's almost May, y'all.  How does this keep happening to me?  I swear, I look up, and a whole freaking month has flown by.  

Maybe it's because this month has felt extra insane because of Easter and Gracie's birthday party and the fact that Gracie is now running around everywhere like the biggest girl ever.  Everyone kept telling me that life was going to get crazy once she really started walking, and I always brushed it aside, thinking that she was already pretty mobile, and how much different could walking be from crawling, really?  

Um... for the record, it's totally different.  She's just so darned fast!  We were playing in the backyard on Sunday, and I looked down at her little face and saw a mouthful of dirt.  Twice.  Looks like she got her vitamins in for the week...

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This picture kills me.  She just crawled up in her chair with her book, put her feet up, and relaxed.  She's momma's girl, for sure.

So let's have a little life update.

Work is... work.  Still love it.  Still wish I wasn't doing quite so much of it, but I definitely won't complain on that front.

Micah is still as handsome and incredible as ever.  No surprises there...

I'm contemplating this hair cut.

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I'm still shedding hair like I wish I was shedding pounds (more on that below!), and I'm thinking that a long, choppy bob might give me the illusion of thickness.  Although I am slightly concerned that this cut may accentuate the roundness of my face, though.  Thoughts?

And let's talk about weight loss, shall we? I promised you guys a real weight loss update a month or so ago, and I totally dropped the ball.  Probably because I ate like crap for the last month.  Thankfully, I managed to keep the scale steady and didn't gain anything (hallelujah!), but I knew that I needed a kick in the butt to get me going again.  So I enjoyed my last frosting-covered cookie on Sunday and started the Slim4Life three-day cleanse yesterday.  (You can see the totally unofficial and probably contract-breaching details here.)  It's not fun (I'm not in love with meat, and I'm supposed to have 2-3 POUNDS per day... ick), but man... it works.  I've done it twice before, and I lost between 6-8 pounds each time.  So I'll eat my flavorless hamburger patties with purpose... even if I can barely get them down.

Oh! And last, but definitely not least.


Actually, my mom and I are going to New York.  After my Mimi passed away, I thought long and hard about what I could do that would make her smile. The last few months have been so incredibly taxing on her, and I thought she deserved a break.  She has never been to NYC, and I've been dying to go back, and I had some airline miles and credit card points stored up.  So I booked the flights and the hotel, and we are officially headed to the Big Apple in a few weeks!

My mom sweetly insisted on springing for Wicked tickets, and I cannot wait to see it on Broadway.  So far, we don't have a whole lot of other concrete plans, but I know we'll be doing Central Park (obviously), cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, the Empire State building, frozen hot chocolate at Seredipity, and the Met.

If you guys have any must-dos/must-sees/must-EATS, feel free to send me an email or leave a comment.  Y'all know, I'm always up for travel suggestions!

I'll be back again soon. Promise.  Until then, marvel with me at this sweet, little, angelic face...

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gracie's girly pink, peach, and mint green soiree!

I'm going to stop prefacing every party post with my usual, "I'm horrible at party planning" disclaimer because I know you guys already know what a hot mess I am.  I try and plan ahead, but most things usually end up getting done the week night before.  I did actually get most of the crafty stuff for Gracie's first birthday party done fairly early, but I still found myself scrambling to finish it all up... even after guests had started arriving.

But I will warn you guys that this is only the decor and recipes... actual party pictures will have to come later. 

I wasn't going for any theme in particular.  I'm not much for themes, anyway.  I usually just try and keep things in the same general color palette.  But I did know that I wanted to try and recreate a look I had seen on Pinterest (see original post here) that featured a paper fan display in pinks, peach, and mint green.

This is what we ended up with.

I was pretty enamored with the look.  Now for the details.

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I scored the mint green frames and runner at HomeGoods a month or so ago. I made the two smaller cake stands from Dollar Tree candle holders attached with epoxy to Target $2 plates (primed, spray painted, and sealed).

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The silver bucket came from Target's $1 spot, and the sucker favors were from Party City.  Almost none of these were eaten.  I'll remember that for next time... ha!

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This chalkboard sign was a One King's Lane purchase a year or two ago, and I wrote the quote on with a chalk pen.

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And oh, the cakes...

I tried a new bakery called Brendal's Bakery and Cupcake Couture (located in Rowlett for any local readers), and y'all.

Brenda was AMAZING.  So accommodating, so quick, and so incredibly talented.

And I swear to you... it was some of the best cake I've ever eaten.

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How sweet is this teeny smash cake for Gracie?

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I actually made these little cake bites myself using this stupidly easy recipe.  I colored the vanilla candy coating with food coloring and shockingly ended up with peach and mint green.  I'm always leery of food coloring... :)

And for the other half of the dining room...

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I know I've mentioned how hard it is to shoot my dining room table because of my very-ugly-and-needs-to-be-replaced chandelier.  Also, how do you like that "Gace" there up on the wall?  The day before the party, the "R" fell off and shattered. :)

I re-used the tissue poms I had left up from my sister-in-law's shower over a month ago! Score!

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The tissue tassel was originally going to be hung on the fireplace, but I ended up making one out of paper (which I forgot to photograph!), so it ended up as table decor.

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The glass vases were some I had from Hobby Lobby, and I just stuck the eggs in at the last minute.  I also found the frame at Hobby Lobby.

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I had some leftover Scrabble tiles from a nursery project.

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Lucky Charms Munch - modified to use vanilla candy coating instead of white chocolate

The bucket is from Hobby Lobby, and the stuff inside of it is heaven.  I had to pick out all of the marshmallows from an entire box of Lucky Charms, but it was worth it.  So very worth it.

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The cotton candy popcorn was really fun and a pretty touch to the table (also delicious).

On one of the other walls in the dining room, I displayed this labor of love.

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It's nearly every Instagram picture I have posted since the day Grace was born taped to foam board that I cut into a heart.  I seriously adored looking at all of these pictures again.

And last, but not least, here is a tulle wreath I made and hung in the living room.

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Sorry for the terrible lighting.  It was just a foam wreath with pieces of tulle tied on.  I glued the letters on with hot glue... crookedly. :)

For entertainment, we rented a bounce house and had an egg hunt.  Thank heaven for that bounce house... it kept all of the older kids entertained and outside!

We also had tons of food, but I didn't get any pictures after we got it all set up.  We served smoked brisket and chicken, potato salad (I'm going to have the share the recipe one of these days!), cole slaw, beans, corn dip, broccoli salad, and peach tea.  Plus goldfish, applesauce, and juice for the kids.

I'm still amazed we managed to survive the whole thing.  But seriously... I'm pretty sure we'll be having a very low-key celebration at the park next year... :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

We survived...

We made it, you guys.  We officially survived the weekend of first birthdays and second Easters and lived to tell the tale.

My house still looks like a tornado came through it.  There's icing on the floor and toys everywhere and contraband Easter candy hidden in places only I know (darn you, Snickers eggs!).  But it was an incredible weekend.  

I'll have posts coming up with all of the party details.  I managed to get pictures of all of the decor the day before but didn't get a single picture of Gracie in her cute dress or smashing her cake.  (I seriously feel like the worst mom ever.)  Thank goodness my amazing bestie brought her A game and managed to capture the moments I missed.  

So happy (belated!) Easter! I hope you all had a wonderful time with your families, and I promise I'll check in again soon! (... cough, cough... tomorrow. The birthday decorations post is coming tomorrow!)

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Friday, April 18, 2014

How deep the Father's love for us...

How deep the Father's love for us, 
How vast beyond all measure 
That He should give His only Son 
To make a wretch His treasure 

How great the pain of searing loss, 
The Father turns His face away 
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross, 
My sin upon His shoulders 
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice, 
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there 
Until it was accomplished 
His dying breath has brought me life 
I know that it is finished 

I will not boast in anything 
No gifts, no power, no wisdom 
But I will boast in Jesus Christ 
His death and resurrection 

Why should I gain from His reward? 
I cannot give an answer 
But this I know with all my heart 
His wounds have paid my ransom

- Stuart Townend

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happy birthday, Gracie!

My darling Grace,

A year ago today, at this particular minute, you stole my very heart.  When I heard your sweet cry for the first time, I began to realize that life had changed for me forever -- that being your Mommy was going to irrevocably alter me in the most shattering, earth-moving way.

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Those first few days at the hospital were a kind of bliss your Daddy and I had never known. Yes, we were tired.  And yes we were utterly clueless. But goodness gracious, my love... you were ours, and life was so sweet.

As the weeks went by, we learned what exhaustion was.  We learned about diapers and bottles and naps with you on our chests and sleepy grins and a love so big we thought our hearts would explode.

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Weeks turned into months, and you did something new nearly every day.  You smiled... rolled over... held your head up... laughed... sat up... reached for me... explored solids... crawled... pulled up on everything... waved... said your first word (Da-Da!)... got your first tooth... stood up by yourself... and walked.

You turned me into a liar when I became the kind of mom who wept at the idea of you getting older.

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You are a happy, silly, active, loving, snuggly, giggly, babbling, funny, sensitive little girl.  You love holding soft things, eating, exploring, reading, climbing, laughing, chit-chatting, and basically anything involving Mommy or Daddy.  You adore your grandparents and Lilly.

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You have the chubbiest feet I've ever seen. You give the sweetest kisses.  You say, "uh-oh" about a zillion times a day, and it never gets old.

Gracie, I need you to know that this last year has been the best year of my life.  You being here, a part of our little family, feels like the most natural thing in the world.  And while a part of me gets so emotional at the thought that you're no longer our squishy little newborn, I am mostly excited to see what the future holds for you, angel girl.

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So happy birthday, baby girl.  I can only pray that each and every year that follows will be beautiful as this one was.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just some sentences...

Gracie's party is Saturday.  So naturally, I ordered her cakes and the bounce house... yesterday.

Why in the world can I not come up with another sentence?

. . . 

Maybe it's because the last week or so has been devoted solely to finishing up last-minute birthday party stuff and lying to myself about the fact that my tiny, little baby turns one tomorrow.

We can't talk about this right now.

I'm officially that mom.

And I swore I'd never be that mom.

Just as Grace's second front tooth appeared to be breaking through and I thought we could put this teething business behind us for a little while, I spied TWO MORE bottom teeth popping up. God must be mad at me for all of the aforementioned lying.

We've almost dropped the bottle completely. (If anyone's interested in how we did it, maybe I'll do a post on it soon?)

Gracie officially discovered the Gloworm this weekend.

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Woe be to any brave soul who tries to take it from her.

I haven't had a soda since October, and today I'm dying for a diet coke.

Texas is being quite the temperamental woman with respect to the weather.  Is it weird that I kind of love it? #takesonetoknowone

Alright, friends.  Make it a fabulous Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

... a hot mess

First, I just want to say how much I appreciate all of your kind words and sweet thoughts about my Mimi.  Even after several years of being a part of this incredible blogging community, you all still manage to blow me away with your outpouring of love and support when I need it most.  It really is incredible.

I'm doing as well as can be expected. We knew it was coming, and I am really thankful that I got the chance to say goodbye, with no regrets.  She will be very missed, but I carry her with me in so many ways.  She was the kind of woman who made an impact and an impression. :)

Understandably, we mostly stuck around the house this weekend.  I did go see Divergent (for the second time... I'm so cool, y'all) with my sister-in-law.  It was as good as the first time, and we had fun spending some much-needed quality time together.  Plus, we had popcorn.  And mozzarella sticks.  And Junior Mints.  In my opinion, it's not a movie theater experience unless I have Junior Mints. (For the record, it was a cheat meal... I'm not regularly inhaling Junior Mints, I promise.)

Gracie has cut three teeth in the last week and a half, and she is not happy about it.

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She has basically whined and screamed for four days straight, and I'm definitely ready to put this teething business behind us.

And in case you were wondering about the adorable leggings Grace is wearing...

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I got them from here.  I've bought quite a bit from Chelsea (she also has an Instagram resale shop @kickinlegscloset), and I'm always pleased with what I purchase.  She makes these hand-painted leggings, and I just think they're adorable.  The little kitties... I die.

I'm contemplating doing a link-up post for everyone to share their favorite Etsy shops.  We could do baby/toddler themed, or just leave it wide open.  Would anyone be interested in that?  I just always LOVE ordering handmade/small business when I can, but I do appreciate referrals from people who can vouch for quality.

Last, but not least... if you've been around these parts for awhile, you may remember the time where I basically made Pioneer Woman's food for each and every meal (i.e. all of law school).  One of my all-time favorites is a recipe she featured (but didn't create) called Butter Chicken.  It's not as unhealthy as it sounds (only half a stick of butter - ha!), and it's apparently a well-known Indian dish.  Anyway, it's delectable, and we had it for dinner last night.

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(It probably doesn't look very appetizing, but I'm telling you... it's money.)

So that's life for us right now.  I'm currently working from home today (or apparently blogging from home) because I've worked nearly every day for MONTHS, and I needed a mental break.  And some time to do some life stuff (like cleaning out Gracie's closet... I finally packed up all of her swaddling blankets and 6-9 month clothes and was on the verge of bawling) plus pick up some stuff for her birthday party.

Mostly, I'm a hot mess right now, you guys.  Bear with me...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Saying goodbye...

The thing is, she was a difficult woman to love, my Mimi.

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She was opinionated, stubborn, selfish at times, and often said things I know she wished she could take back.

But at her core, she was a true and devoted Christ-follower, vibrant, witty, intelligent, tender-hearted, wise, and fiercely loyal.  She was half-Portuguese and louder than each of her three sisters, and I would imagine that even at an early age, she made an impression wherever she went.

She had pretty hands and even prettier handwriting.  She loved popcorn-flavored Jelly Bellies.  She drove a green Camaro until she couldn't.  She adored her sisters and satin pajamas.  She raised two strong, loving children and taught much to her four grandchildren.  And after a hard-fought battle with lung cancer, she was ready to go home to be with her Lord.

So this morning she did. 

I will carry my memories of my firecracker of a grandmother with me always.  And I think she would want me to remind each of you that life is too short to live with regrets...

... and that a little sass goes a long way.
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