Tuesday, December 16, 2014

When Sick Why Not Shop?

Every week for the past three weeks someone in our house has been running fever. It hit Ava Jane and Emerson first. She ended up having RSV and a pretty good fever. Then Emerson started in with fever and a yucky nose. The next week Lawson started having a terrible cough and low fever, and this week, it got me. I've been running fever, having body aches and just not feeling well since late Saturday night. I went to the doctor yesterday and got a steroid shot, an antibiotic and nasal spray; they think I have a sinus infection. I was happy to learn that it wasn't the Flu.

We've had a lot of time to spend at the house, here's a little of what we have been doing. Ava Jane's new "smile" face is this. If I ask her smile for the camera, this is what I get.
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Emerson is learning his letters, their sounds and their shapes. He's beginning to recognize the letters and its fun to see him learning and growing.
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And when you're sick, hot chocolate always makes things better, hence the chocolate around his mouth. And using markers on paper is so hard to do, it's much more fun to draw on your face.
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And since Christmas is still coming even though I have been home bound, I decided I needed to take advantage of some cyber deals, so I finally broke down and did some online shopping. I've never been a huge fan of online shopping but it became a necessity this Christmas. So I made use of Amazon for sure and the free shipping that it offered. Shopping from the comfort of my home is pretty nice, now I just hope that all my packages arrive in time!

Speaking of online shopping, in the past few months I've found several new sites that have been super fun to shop at so I thought I might share some of my most favorite stores.

For my kids, specifically Ava Jane, I have loved shopping at Eleanor Rose. They have such cute things and its all really affordable. It's great because all their pieces can be worn throughout the year. All you have to do is buy one of their adorable long sleeved ruffle tops and it's good for winter and just put the long sleeved top away when spring and summer roll around. It's very multi-purpose which is awesome. I can put a pair of jeggings on Ava Jane with some boots and she looks adorable or for the warmer months bare legs and sandals are precious! I love clothes that pull double duty!
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They've even come out with some coordinating boys items which you all know that I LOVE!
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Here are some other website I enjoy looking at for Ava Jane:
Persnickety-tends to be more pricey, but has really cute clothing and coordinating headbands
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Appearal Tree- is another great site. I got a pair of these little ruffle shorts last summer and they were so cute.
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Sweet Honey- has really fun little things as well.
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As for myself, I've found several sites that I LOVE LOVE LOVE!
The Mint Julep has such fun things and is priced just slightly more then what you'd pay at Target. I'm loving the comfortable pieces that feel like pjs but looks like an outfit…that's what I'm going for these days!
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I bought these black riding boots back in the fall and have loved them!
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And how cute is this vest?
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A couple other sites I've enjoyed shopping for myself in are:
Simply Dixie- which happens to be a wonderful local shop right here in Little Rock. I've recently bought several slouchy sweaters and love them! I highly recommend this shop. Kathleen, the owner is a family friend and has some of the cutest things. It's affordable and trendy, you should definitely go check it out in person or online.
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How cute are these elbow patch shirts?
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Another site I've recently shopped a lot is Jane.com. They have everything from clothing and gifts to phone cases and jewelry, you name it they have it and it.is.cheap! I love that part! I've ordered long tank tops to wear under sweaters and tunic tops, as well as several pairs of leggings. This site has a little bit of everything! The only downside is that it changes every few days, so you can't always go back and get the same thing twice.
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Pink Tomato is also cute…love this tribal print dress.
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Impressions-is another site I've recently bought a skirt from and loved it. How cute is this red jacket?
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So there's a few of my favorite sites. I'd love to hear some of yours, so if you've got a favorite place drop me a comment. I'm always looking for new places to crush on!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Time Is Here

Christmas is fast approaching and it seems that there is something on the calendar almost each day, from now until Christmas morning, but what a fun time of year it is!  I love the Christmas music and of course all the lights! This past weekend we kicked off the holiday season with what's become an annual trip to Garvan Gardens. We went with many friends, and when I say many, I mean like 12 adults and 21 kids…along with half the state of Arkansas who thought it was also a great idea to go see the lights. We sat in a line of traffic for about 30-35 minutes before we even got to the parking lot. It's always beautiful and was totally worth the wait, though I must be honest, the idea of turning around in the middle of the road did get discussed.  But since there wouldn't have been another night to go, we decided to wait it out.

We all ate together, and it was pretty enjoyable, which is quite a phenomenal feat I must say, with that many kids needing something or turning something over con.stant.ly!! Purple Cow always delivers and somehow served all of us, piping hot food all at the same time…to me, that's impressive. Here's some of our little people coloring patiently while waiting for their food.
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Then we were off to see the lights. For several of the families in our group this was their first time to go….I think it's always fun to see people react to the beauty and number of light displays that are set up. It all was really so pretty!
Christmas lights - Hot Springs
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The ride home was quiet…everyone was a little bit tired from all the fun, which enabled Adam and I to enjoy a little bit of peace and Christmas music!
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On Sunday, we went to have brunch with Santa, the boys were super excited! This year, no one cried in Santa's lap, which is a big deal!!
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Ava Jane even seemed to like sitting in Jolly Ole Saint Nicks lap. How cute is she?!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cajun Pizza Recipe

I wouldn't say that we are snobs about much, but one thing that we have become quite opinionated about in our eleven and a half years of marriage is a good pizza!  Our "go to"-splurge of a pizza--used to be Papa John's (and I do still love their crust and garlic dipping sauce) and I'll always enjoy U.S. Pizza with their house salad, but the.best.pizza in town is hands down, Shotgun Dan's. The pizzas are huge (my family of 6 can get one large meat lovers (The Big Dan) and a large salad for about $32 and usually that's plenty of food. The other great thing is that you can call it in and drive through and pick it up, this has become a regular Friday night occurrence at the Head house.

But when we're in the mood for making homemade pizzas we let Daddy do the cooking!  While we were at Fort Benning, Adam started making homemade pizzas. We have tried many a different sauce, toppings, crusts, etc.  And I do believe that he has now perfected the cajun pizza so I thought I'd share his recipe here on the blog.  I'm not a huge fan of spicy food but this pizza has just enough flavor without pushing my taste buds to their limits.  I hope that you'll give it a try and see for yourself!

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Adam's Cajun Pizza
1-2 whole wheat Boboli crusts (thin or regular crust, we like both)
1-14 oz can of tomato sauce with several good shakes of cajun seasoning (Tony Chacheres Original Creole Seasoning)
2 cups of shredded Jack cheese
2 large andouille sausages sliced
1/2 green bell pepper diced
1/3 purple onion diced
1-2 fresh jalapeƱos diced

Preheat your oven to 350.  You'll spoon out your sauce to your desired amount (you won't use all of the sauce) then top with andouille sausage, bell peppers, onions and jalapeƱos then put your cheese on top covering all the way to the edges. You'll leave the pizza in for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted completely. Serve it with a salad and enjoy!

The other night we had a pizza feast and enjoyed Adam's rendition of sausage and mushroom, pepperoni and sausage (for the kids) and his very own cajun pizza. It was all good there were hardly any leftovers! What am I gonna do when I have teenage boys?  Right now they are only 8, 5 and 3 years old, I'm sure we'll be making a dozen pizzas no doubt!  Hopefully they won't eat us out of house and home!
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Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving

I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving has now come and gone. It feels like life is in warp speed these days. I'm pretty sure it was just September and now, some how, October and November are in the books! This year, for the first time, the Little Rock School District took a full week off from school. And I must say I feel completely spoiled now and to be honest, I'm not sure how long it'll take me (or the kids) to get back into the groove of things.

Our Thanksgiving Day was low key and really nice. I got the great end of the stick because I only had to make three pecan pies and two pans of green bean bundles. My Mom and sister did the other cooking so I really lucked out this year! Mom's organic turkey really turned out beautiful don't you think? And it tasted great too!
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The weather was so lovely that we had to enjoy a little time outside. The guys tossed the football around and the kids played out on the driveway.
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Ava Jane enjoyed being with Gigi while Lawson and G-Dad cuddled up to watch The Rescuers.
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We left for the Head's house in time for dessert. And there were lots of tasty goodies over there as well! Its always fun to see extended family and catch up on how things have been. The boys had a great time playing with their cousin and second cousins. We enjoyed some laughs and funny stories.

Over the Thanksgiving break there were leaves to rake, since the wind had been blowing crazy hard for several days. So the boys "enjoyed" helping with that project! And look, almost all the leaves are gone, just a few more left to shake loose. Its crazy (and wonderful) how the seasons come and go, regularly, with precision. I do enjoy watching the seasons change and am thankful that here in Arkansas, we do get to experience all four seasonal changes. This year, Thanksgiving held good times with family and I'm so thankful to have been able to spend time with those I love! I am so blessed! And there is so much to be thankful for now and in the month to come!
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Remembering...

Two years ago, this very night, we were scared, scared to death as thirty minutes turned into an hour and that hour turned into two more. I remember looking across the room at Adam and knowing in my gut that the exam was taking way longer then it should. As we awaited Dr. Abraham's analysis of Ava Jane's two and a half hour echocardiogram, we became extremely nervous. If you've followed her story, you may remember this detail, we thought we were there for breathing problems, but soon realized that her issues were much worse then the need for an Albuterol updraft treatment. The words Dr. Abraham spoke still echo in my ears.  He was a different ethnicity and had somewhat broken English but he clearly stated, "she have problem, she need surgery."

We were stunned…we had no words, just a rough, chicken scratch of a picture on the examining bed paper that showed what a good heart looks like and what our sweet baby girls heart looked like with its 70% narrowed Aortic Arch. Again, we were stunned.  Sometime around 8 or 9:00 pm I called my parents to let them know we were in fact not leaving the hospital and that she needed surgery AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

Somewhere around midnight we got moved up to CVICU and tried to settle in for the long hall. I'll never forget having a conversation with my good friend who is a CVICU nurse at about 2:00 in the morning and feeling such peace as she talked me through what we could expect.

As I sat reading back through all my blog posts from that very trying time in our life, I had tears welling up in my eyes. Reliving the oh so scary moments of not knowing whether our sweet little girl would survive was so surreal. Her RSV made her critical, she needed surgery immediately but because her lungs were so compromised she couldn't go on a bypass machine. The team of doctors waited a full week then decided they couldn't put it off any longer.

This is a picture of her within minutes of us going back to see her after the surgery. It's still hard for me to look at this picture with all the IV pumps as they tried to get her blood pressure and heart rate stabilized and then there's the blood transfusion bag at her feet. She was under a warming light to bring her body temp back up from its cooled down state in surgery so she had to have her eyes covered up. She looked so small, so fragile, so volatile with alarms sounding and beeps going off constantly…those moments are seared in our memory and will never be forgotten.
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You can read more of the miraculous details of Ava Jane's amazing story here, here, here, here and here. As we sit, in November of 2014, we are so thankful and so grateful for how God has fully healed her.  We just went for her six month checkup and everything looked great. There are still some things that they are watching with her mitral valve but Dr. Bornemeier was pleased with how things looked, so we were greatly encouraged!

Two years ago I was so thankful for the sweet baby girl that God had so graciously put into our family and now, two years later, I'm still so grateful for this precious little girl who is thriving and vibrant, sweet but a little bit sassy too. She has started talking a lot and it has been so fun to see that last bit of her development coming along. We praise God for the wonderful things He has done and the way that "(she) was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on (her), and not on (her) only but also on (us), to spare (us) sorrow upon sorrow" (Philippians 2:27).

We are so grateful for this little girl and for the story of how God miraculously held her heart open until the doctors could be His hands and help to physically repair her heart. We have loved each day and every moment that we have had with her. She brings us great joy and real pleasure. We love this baby girl!
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Time With Friends

Today, with the boys home from school, I decided to do a play date with friends. Initially I threw out the idea of going to the Trampoline Park, but when a friend suggested coming to her house to play and have a picnic since it is SUCH beautiful fall weather, we chose the later. And when I told the boys that a John Deere tractor ride was in the cards too, they were all about it.  (And getting to take the exciting ride with one of THE coolest teachers at school was pretty awesome too!)
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Last week at our BLOOM luncheon, one of our pastors was talking about things that he would like to pray for us mothers. It was a really encouraging talk but I think the part I walked away from with the most encouragement was when he said this, "give them grace to fight and rest". Fight for time in the scriptures, fight for quality time with friends, fight for quality time with their husband and kids." Those were all things that really hit home to me. These are all areas where I want to fight and fight hard. It was both an encouragement and challenge for me, particularly with the area of friends.  I realize that the group of women God has placed in my path is not always the norm, nor is it anything that I want to take for granted. There have been times (during several of our job moves) where friendships have wained or not been there to fall back on, but here, now, in this time, God has so graciously given me good, strong, Christian friends who build me up, challenge me spiritually and help call me to a higher standard. I am so thankful for the women God has placed in my life and I'm really thankful that we all have kids about the same ages who will hopefully be iron sharpening iron for this next generation that we're raising!

I love these women, here's a picture from our last girls trip. We definitely need to do another one of these soon! Ladies, I love you and am so grateful for each of you!
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