Friday, October 24, 2014

Pumpkin Patch

Last weekend we took Cora to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch with our friends Anna, her son A and Auntie Lauren!

A fun time was had by all!

This Pumpkin Patch was fun for all of us, but was definitely geared towards younger children.
One of the great things they did for little kids was they have cutouts of so many different characters! Basically if it is or ever was a childrens show - they have a cut out of it.

Cora enjoyed picking up the pumpkins and holding them. Crawling around in the hay was also a new fun thing to do.
(Up until it made her cheeks turn really red & left her with a snotty nose and cough for the next 4 days...)

The Pumpkin Patch had fun hay rides (that I didn't get any good pictures of...)
and the cute little "train" ride that all the kiddos love!

 They also had the cutest little red wagons you could use to haul your kids (or pumpkins) around in. We had the stroller but who wants that when you can have a cute wagon?!?

At the end of the day we let the kiddos pick out a few of the tiny pumpkins. They were 50 cents each... pumpkin patch is for the experience, not for the pumpkins. ;)

I look forward to taking her back next year! As much as she loved it this year I know she'll be able to enjoy it even more next!

(And on our way home, we stopped and got her pumpkins!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Random updates & Finish This Link up!

I love a good link up! I haven't joined these ladies in a while for a Finish This post but I'm excited to be joining in again!  Before I begin, look at my precious baby on her birthday yesterday!

And, in other news... we've made big progress in the house project! Our Shipping Container for storage was delivered yesterday! So now we have a place to put our furniture that doesn't fit in the house (but I refuse to get rid of since we'll build & I'll have a place for again) and we can now tear down the two barns on the property!

This weeks prompts:
It took me a long time to realize... that I can't do everything. Sometimes I have to just let things go. There are going to be times that I will not finish something, or I'll have to just selectively "drop a ball" and that's just got to be okay. In my old age ;) I've also gleaned a bit of wisdom about stress and just letting God handle things. My human self can't handle everything, I am just not strong enough, I love that my God is big enough for me to rely on and that He cares about my mundane, everyday problems.

I surround myself with... friends and family that offer grace and love! Part of recognizing that I can't do everything also means that I just can't have close relationships with people who don't accept me as I am. For example, my house is never going to be perfect and my "people" are okay with that! These are also the people that are warm, kind, generous, loving and positive! I don't have room in my life for unnecessary negativity! 

Join us! LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Coralie - 1 year old!

Dear Coralie, I cannot believe that you are a year old. At exactly 10:57 this morning you were born one year ago! This has been the most amazing year of Mommy & Daddy's lives as we have watched you grow and develop into this beautiful, inquisitive toddler! You have made a beautiful addition to our family and I can't thank you enough for making me a Mommy and thank the Lord for giving you to us! Last night as I got your "Birthday Girl" shirt all ready to go for today I really realized that your birthday is really here. I didn't think that I would be emotional or overly excited about it, I'm not generally that big a fan of birthdays but I have to say that I'm very excited for this one! We practiced singing you the Happy Birthday song and you love it! You giggle and laugh as I bounce you on my hip while Daddy and I sing! I spent the better part of the evening last night thinking back to the last day our family was just Daddy & I. Then thinking through the progression of labor and your birth as each event would have unfolded last year. (And as I thought through them, I of course shared had to share it on Instagram...) I honestly don't think there will ever be so much time go by that I will forget the day you were born. Pregnancy, labor and birth were hard work, but you are oh so worth it (and I"ll do it again for your siblings!)!!

Weight/Height - Home scales are saying 24 pounds, 4 ounces and I tried to measure her height as she squirmed around, I believe she's 28 1/2 inches. I will update this tomorrow (10/22), that's when we have her 1 year well visit scheduled.

Health -Coralie is as healthy as can be. She's fought a little bit of a cold and tummy bug a couple of weeks ago but nothing out of the ordinary. I'm pretty sure she picked up both of those ailments from her block licking habits at the library story time. She has allergies to something at the pumpkin patch, but she crawled around in hay so I don't know what I expected.

Nicknames - "Pumpkin", "Cor-Cor", "Cora Bear", "Cora Bora" and most recently "Bulldog" because she scrunches her face and snorts through her nose when she isn't happy with what you're doing (like putting her in the car seat). John has also recently called her "Cora-lizzy" short for Cora Elizabeth.

Drinking a sonic slush... she loves straws!
Teething - This last month she finally cut her first teeth! She cut a top tooth and a bottom tooth the next day! Then this past Saturday at the Pumpkin Patch I noticed the second bottom tooth has cut. She has several more that are just below the surface but just having these two teeth has really opened up the world of eating different food for her! Like chicken... she's quite the chicken fan!

Clothing - There are a few lingering 9 month outfits in her closet, but really for the most part she's in all 12 month clothes. Actually, her 12 month clothes are tight enough that we aren't buying anything in 12 months, all her winter stuff is in 12-18 or 18 months.

Diapers - size 3 disposables, but cloth at home

Eating - Nursing - I nurse her in the morning and at night. We're working to cut out the middle of the day feeding but if she climbs up in my lap and "asks" to nurse (patting my chest) I let her. At this rate weaning may take a while. Especially this last week when she's been sick, we nursed for a lot of "snacks". 
Beverages - she loves drinking from her straw sippy cup! She'll drink milk (cow milk and almond milk), water and we'll probably introduce juice soon now that she is a year old.
Solids - She eats everything we do! She had been struggling to eat meat, even tiny little pieces that she could gum up and swallow but now with teeth she is loving meat & all things we enjoy!

ZZzzzzZZZ Sleeping - Life isn't back to normal yet. We have been camping out at my Dad's house since we moved (as I write this, 20 days). A new routine has been established but it isn't anything resembling normal. Some nights she sleeps through the night, others she doesn't but if she wakes up she settles down pretty quickly. I hope that after we get settled in at the "new" house, she'll quickly learn to sleep in her crib, in her own room through the night... hopefully.

Staring at a Ball... not the puppy!
Our Little Socialite - Play dates are more fun with Cora now that she is more interactive & alert. We go (almost) weekly to story time in our hometown and the neighboring Denton libraries. Twice a month to MOMs where she plays in nursery & she loves going to "Sunday School" at church.

Likes- Balls have been fun before, but now they really captivate her attention. At the State Fair she was only interested in the balls in the pins with the animals, not at all the animals. She also loves riding around in a wagon! We got her a vintage red wagon at the local Just Between Friends sale for her birthday and she will crawl up to it and "ask" to ride by pulling on it. She loved riding around in one at the Pumpkin Patch too!

Dislikes -Getting dressed... or undressed for that matter. Blowing her nose (which is still a work in progress) or me wiping her face.

New - She's walking!! She took her first steps on 10/15! She isn't consistently doing it but can when she wants to! I'm so excited for her to be walking. I know that keeping up with her will be a challenge but so much more of the world is open to her as a walker! Yay! This might be my favorite development so far!

Fun things we did - 
The State Fair of Texas!

Went to Ennis for Uncle Jacob & Aunt Stephanie's Wedding Shower. 
Her first trip to the Pumpkin Patch!

Goings on with Mommy & Daddy - We're busy with setting up house, remaining repairs and the storage unit will finally be delivered tomorrow! It's been a long month but in many ways we needed this time to just breathe and spend time as a family. With everything that is going on with Johns family, it has been a huge blessing that we're staying with my Dad so he can help with Cora while we take care of other things. 

Exciting Future- This weekend is Cora's first birthday party and Uncle Jacob & Aunt Stephanie's wedding shower (going to be a busy weekend!),

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend Recap

We had a very busy weekend but one we've been looking forward to for a while!

Friday night John had some family stuff to take care of after work but we had planned to go out to dinner and have some just us - adult time. He got home at 8:00 and asked if I was still up for going out and I of course said Yes! Who doesn't love a good calorie load of shrimp??

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I didn't get a picture of the yummy shrimp but we enjoyed our delicious drinks and dinner was great! We go to Red Lobster once a year as a treat and it's always during Never Ending Shrimp. For the last three years we have gone and by coincidence we have been given the exact same booth every time! I don't know what the odds of that are, but I'm not complaining, it's made for a fun tradition!

We got up early (for a Saturday... after being out late Friday) and headed out to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch with Lauren, our friend Anna and her son. Cora had a great time & I have a picture overloaded post coming soon!

After the pumpkin patch and a yummy lunch at Mooyahs we hit up Walmart to start on the massive list of stuff I need for Cora's Birthday Party next weekend and for my future Sister-in-love's Wedding Shower. 
(Yes, I'm crazy, I'm throwing a shower the same day as my daughter's Birthday Party)

While we were there we got Coralie a couple of pumpkins because I'm too cheap frugal to buy one of the big pumpkins from a pumpkin patch! As Lauren put it, the Pumpkin Patch is for the experience, the $4 pumpkins are for carving! 

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awful picture... thanks sun!
Something at the Pumpkin Patch upset Cora's allergies so we weren't sure she would be up for the rest of the days activities (and it was going to be a late outting) so she got to hang out with Grandpa again!  John & I went to the UNT v Southern Miss football game! I am going to be attending graduate school at UNT in the Spring and John earned his Masters Degree at the University of Southern Mississippi. It was a fun game! It's so good to see UNT building up their sports programs and we were happily surprised at the number of Southern Miss alumni and fans in attendance!    

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Sunday was a really busy day too, we had a lot of family stuff to attend to. It wasn't exactly fun, but finding the silver lining - Cora got to see her Great Grandparents that are in town right now! They just got back from New York, we haven't seen them in almost 6 months!

How was your weekend?

Friday, October 17, 2014


I have been blogging for three years. Over the years there have been a various sundry of topics that I choose not to blog about because they're too personal or just something I don't feel comfortable talking about for the whole world to see. 

One of these topics is my mother-in-law. 
I don't want to be that person. That person that just can't won't get along with her in-laws. 
I can't tell you how much I want a great relationship with my MIL. I want what my Mom had with her parents in-law. She might as well have been their daughter. She loved them, they loved her. They got along like my Mom had been in the family her whole life.

I've written countless posts about things that have disappointed me or frustrated me but I've always decided against publishing these posts. They were usually things that in that moment affected me in a big way, but in the grand scheme of things didn't matter. They were a discrepancy between my expectations of what she should do and what she actually does. Issues that in many ways an uncomfortable conversation would resolve but I usually decide against the conversation because I know, in the long run - it isn't worth it.

You see, I love my mother-in-law because she is my husbands mother and my daughters grandmother. I know she loves me. I know she loves my daughter. She doesn't mean to disappoint me or to frustrate me (or my husband, it's not just me with the issues).
That's just something that comes with the territory because my mother-in-law is bipolar. 

Before meeting John's Mother I had never had extensive contact with someone who struggles with mental illness. I'm still learning about it and learning the differences between what is an issue of her illness and what are difficulties we have in the differences between our personalities. I'm a firm believer that she is an adult and is still responsible for her actions. Her illness is not always an excuse for her actions. 

You ask why I'm writing about this now? I have a daughter and sometimes tough choices have to be made. Recently things have changed and it has become a big part of our lives and some of those tough decisions have been made and we're living with the consequences. 

Just because it was the right choice doesn't mean that it was easy and didn't hurt us. You see, my MIL chose to stop taking her medication. As a result we decided that she cannot see Cora while she is so unhealthy mentally. That medication and being stable is required to be involved in our child's life. This of course meant that we were saying she couldn't attend Cora's First Birthday Party next weekend.

As you can imagine, this didn't go over well and my poor husband is really the one dealing with the consequences. He's the one that had to tell such a hard thing to his Mom. We're both also dealing with the effects of the fact that things escalated and his mother has been admitted to an MHMR. There is a lot of unknown in her life, the life of her husband (who had a stroke years ago and is quite dependent on his now unavailable wife). In the mean time we're trying to pick up the pieces and help but not condone, we know she's sick but she also made the choice to stop taking the meds. Choices have consequences.

I am writing this because I know there are people out there who have to be in similar boats as me. There's no way that I'm the only one in the world that has a MIL with a mental illness. I can't possibly be the only one dealing with the problems associated with this, but I can't find anyone who really truly understands, who can relate. I'm writing this so that if this is you too, you know you're not alone!

I hope to continue occasionally writing about these struggles, I want to be honest and open about reality as the daughter-in-law. I also want to be respectful of my MIL and that's a hard line to walk sometimes. 

If you would, please pray for my family. This is a very trying time and as I said, there is a lot of unknown.
  • Specifically unknown is whether or not she will still have a job when she is released? 
  • Pray for her health and healing.
  • Pray for my husband. He stands by his/our choice on how to handle the situation and our daughters involvement but it's hard.
    He's also stretched very thin between work and deadlines/presentations, a kind of crazy time at home as we're still in between houses (aka camped out at my Dad's house) then dealing with all of this. 
  • Pray for our Marriage, we're not having problems... but it's challenging on a normal, regular basis coping with her illness and how it affects our relationship to her. Add in the camping out between houses, plus a stressful job, plus remodeling issues at the new house etc. As you can imagine things are certainly taking their toll.
  • Pray for me. About a year ago I realized I needed to stop praying that things with her will change and that I need to change. Pray that I have grace, patience and understanding. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

24 Hours News Cycle

My Dad & I are watching live footage of the most boring "news" that they're transporting one of the Ebola patients from the hospital in Dallas to Love Field to fly her to a facility in Ohio. 

When did watching an ambulance with police car escort become such a news worth event that it requires live coverage interrupting regular programing?? My Dad & I have a running commentary on the coverage but I just don't think I can do the humor justice in writing.

At one point the news anchor reports that "they have now turned left"... well thank you. I am so relieved to know that the left turn was made without interruption in the intersection...

A field reporter at the air field waiting for the transport to arrive is patched in as we watch the transport progress through the city. Field Reporter reports that "there isn't much going on here" well duh... because they aren't to the airport yet! You're sitting there watching a jet on a runway!

In many ways the 24 hour news cycle is great but this is just one instance of many that I feel like I'm stuck in the never-ending awful Anchorman 2. So little of our news coverage is actual news anymore. I think I honestly miss the days of evening news and reading a daily newspaper. 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Santa Bags

Yes, I'm already posting about Christmas, but only to give you time to plan ahead! I really recommend giving this idea consideration! 
Two years ago we accidentally stumbled onto a new family tradition!

Santa Bags!

The women have always been out numbered by the men in my family, but since Mom passed - that is even more the case! As you can imagine - wrapping gifts is not exactly a priority of my dear Father, Brothers & Husband.

It seemed so silly to wrap up Johns gifts when he either knew exactly what I was getting him or had a pretty good idea. There's just something depressing about working hard to beautifully wrap a gift for yourself, and if you've seen my husbands wrapping skills, you'd understand. My Dad & Brothers would have me wrap all the gifts to everyone else & I'd open my gifts from them from plastic grocery bags...

Never-mind the lack of desire to wrap gifts {or the lack of talent in that department}, have you seen the prices of nice gift wrap!?! I couldn't believe it!! As it is, to wrap gifts that were being exchanged with friends and members of extended family - we spent about $30 in wrapping supplies two years ago.  Read: $30 to buy Cheap paper that gets ripped to shreds then wadded up and thrown into a trash bag.
That's almost a tank of gas!!

And all of it becomes trash -
I'm not much of an environmentally aware individual - but who likes waste??

We have done the Santa bags two ways so far. The first year we each had our own Santa Bag, all gifts went inside and each gift had a sticky "to/from" tag. I made cute, personalized letters to identify the persons bag. We learned that even in the larger bags, it's tricky to get all their gifts (or larger/awkwardly sized gifts) into one bag.

Last year, we went more with the each gift gets a separate bag concept & we just used the "to/from" tags on the outside of the bags.

Each bag was roughly the cost of a large gift bag from Target. Check out Pinterest, there are great tutorials for making your own bags (with some minor sewing skills required)!
The first year, we got the felt bags from Bed, Bath & Beyond for $5.99 and the "fluffy" Santa bags were a little bit pricey {In my cheap opinion} at about $10.99 each (purchased at CVS). Black Friday last year we picked up more than ten more bags in some really cute colors & prints at Michaels Craft Store. I noticed the same thing though, they go quickly (at least around here) and as with all things seasonal... once they're gone, they're gone!

When we started this two years ago we didn't have a child yet (and weren't expecting), but we've already decided that we will likely make a Santa Bag exception for Cora and any future kiddos. There is just something so fun about watching a child rip paper off gifts! 

What Christmas/Holiday traditions do you have that make life easier? 
Do you use re-useable gift bags/Santa bags?