Friday Favorites – Hello Beautiful!

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Happy Friday and hello beautiful! I see you…Eyes too tired to open all the way, bags under your eyes dragging you down, in need of a little (or a lot) of facial “firming.” Well lucky YOU. You hit the blog jackpot because today is all about Beautycounter! Remember when I swore off products in one of my past posts? While it’s true I’m a self-proclaimed non-product user, I might just be singing a different tune after a few days of trying and sampling the BeautyCounter Countertime line from my sweet friend Tracy. Ever heard of the app “Think Dirty” or “Skin Deep”? It’s turned me into a somewhat panicked Mom, wondering what in the world am I putting on my body as well as my family. You may want to head on over to your Apps and download them both. Warning: You may develop a trigger happy finger once you start scanning and seeing how “toxic” some of your products are. Having heard someone describe the BeautyCounter line as Chanel meets Whole Foods makes complete sense.  Warning: Prepare yourself for a few startling facts below. Take it or leave it, but now you can say you’ve been informed! It’s so shocking to me that companies in the US are allowed to use known toxins-ingredients that have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, hormone disruption – all without us knowing. The nerve!

 So below… I tried several products and below I’ve listed a few of my favorites.

A few facts worth hearing:

  • There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry.
  • Only about 10% of the 10,000 chemicals commonly found in personal care products have safety data.
  •  The Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful (lead, formaldehyde, and phthalates) in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids every single day, day after day.
  • The United States has not passed a federal law to regulate the ingredients used in personal care products since 1938
  • The European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 ingredients, the US has only banned 11 to date.
  •  Beauty counter has banned more than 1,500 ingredients.

 

ONE

Nourishing Cleansing Balm – This feels like butter on your face. The Balm is the Bomb. Yep! It melts into your skin moisturizing as it cleanses and removes makeup. It’s also made without “fragrance” a much used moniker that may contain dozens of toxic ingredients. Bottom line: I put this on my face (dry, and over make up and all) rub it in, get in shower and let it steam while I wash my hair, etc. Then wipe it off with a wash cloth. Works like a charm and serves as your PM face wash.

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Soothing Face Wash – A few days was all I needed with this gem. This one was a wake-up call for me. I’ve been using Aveeno face wash for as long as I can remember and when I scanned it in the “Think Dirty” app, it had a high rating of toxicity which blew me away. Yikes!

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THREE

Radiance Firming Complex – Like a serum, but richer and creamier. It hydrates, while combatting wrinkles and discoloration. Let’s be serious, we could all use a little firming in our lives. And if you think you don’t, well I guess you’re already botoxed up so you may exit the conversation now. #byefelicia {Not hating on the botoxers, I haven’t taken the plunge yet, but I’m sure it’s in the cards} Most of us are 30 plus and our skin has seen better days. I curse the careless sun-hungry twenty something that I used to be!

Bottom Line: I put this on AFTER I wash my face with the balm and BEFORE the restorative night cream. Wah-lah!

 

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FOUR

Restorative Night Cream – This silky smooth moisturizer can be applied AFTER the Firming Complex. Bottom line: It’s a moisturizer and we all need moisturizing, it’s a no brainer.

Scary fact: This cream is formulated without butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), a toxic ingredient commonly found in anti-aging products that is linked to cancer. BHT is found in everything from nail polish to pain thinner.

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FIVE

Lustro Sugar Scrub – I put this organic brown sugar scrub on every evening in the shower. It makes my skin feel so soft when I get out. It buffs away dull skin cells while leaving a smooth and healthy finish.

No chemical fragrance here! The scrub uses real organic sugar and pure essential oils to exfoliate skin for a healthy glow.

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BeautyCounter Bottom Line —-> To get safe products into the hands of every person. I’m guessing by now you guys think I’ve turned into the all-natural everything, hippie loving Mom and NO that’s not the case. I will however do whatever I can to protect myself and my family against the harmful toxins that I know are out there.

**OH! And if you want to try out (why wouldn’t you) any of the products above (or any of the other BC products), head on over to my friend Tracy’s BeautyCounter page, she’s got you covered.

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Truth!

That’s all for this week! Have an awesome (all-natural) weekend! 🙂

As always I’ve linked up with Momfessionals and ALizAdventures for the FF’s!

xx-jv

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Chit-Chat [Resolutions & Goals]

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I’m linking up A Little Bit of Everything and Momfessionals for their January Chit-Chat. Today everyone is sharing about their New Year’s Resolutions and Goals.

To be honest I am not really a New Year’s Resolution kinda gal. I like the idea of a fresh start in January but it drives me a little crazy to hear everyone’s resolutions knowing good and well they’ll last approximately 7.5 days before the “new” wears off. However, I do aspire to be a better human being and thriving member of society so I had a few thoughts as we turned the page to a new year.

MY RESOLUTION

It’s always a goal of mine to re-prioritize things at the beginning of the year. Enter in, my quiet time. I need it, we all need it, but the struggle is real when it comes to finding a few minutes to sit alone (what does that even mean anymore?!), in peace and quiet (m-kay, sure.), and read/absorb/get lost in the Word. I totally struggle with this, and if I don’t force myself to do it bright and early, like before ANYONE is up, it just doesn’t happen.

My mother-in-law got all of us a copy of the movie War Room for Christmas and we finally got around to watching it last weekend. If you’ve seen it you know that it’s not a Hollywood mega-blockbuster(sidenote: it still did great in the box office) BUT it does have a powerful message. I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it, but the basis of the story deals with the fact that we are at war. Not a physical war, but a spiritual war. After watching the movie, I decided to go ahead and start on Priscilla Shirer’s book, Fervent. I’ve only just started so I don’t have a lot to offer on it yet (I mean come on, she’s the daughter of Tony Evans!!!) .  I can tell it’s going to be one of those books that pushes me a little outside of my comfort zone. After all, why wouldn’t we want to be armed and ready to defend ourselves, our marriage, our children and our thoughts against the ultimate enemy, Satan himself. He is attacking us from all angles. Hello do you WATCH the news. It’s all doom and gloom as far as I’m concerned and I’m in need of a serious pick me up. I’ll try and update as I read, but I.am.pumped.

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fervent book

MY ASPIRATION

I aspire to be a better Mom and a better wife. No – not the champion b.s. Pinteresty-Mom but a Mom that is always present (and not on my phone constantly #currentstruggle), and someone who can find the right ‘balance’ and not take it to far to one extreme or the other. I also dream of a life that is Mom-guilt free. Can I get an Amen! Not happening, ever, but a girl can dream. This one is high on my prayer list and I’ll be darned, I’ve got a real peace about it all right now. I’m happy that I’m in a season of contentment and knowing that I sure don’t have all the answers, but knowing someone else upstairs does. Sigh of relief.

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WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO

Right this very second: Watching the Bachelor Monday night on my couch! I’m participating in a Bachelor bracket at work and what do ya know I’m currently in 1st place. Yes!!!

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This Week: My hair appointment tomorrow. Hello much needed root touch-up. It feels like it’s been a year! Repeat after me: I will enjoy the 3 {somewhat wasteful} hours it takes to sit there and do nothing and get my hair done ha!

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This Weekend: A night out with our dinner club, husbands included. Josh and I are pretty good about not letting more than a few weeks go by without getting a sitter and doing something just US. I never like leaving sweet girl at home, but sometimes you just need a little adult time. Let the good times roll!

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flashback from our last dinner club

Next Month: My new niece or nephew arrive on or around February 19. Yay! MP cannot wait to meet her new cousin. And hopefully a little trip at the end of Feb…fingers crossed!

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Well there you have it…My first chit-chat and THOSE are a few of my goals and non-resolutions. 🙂 Happy Tuesday!

xx-jv

Friday Favs

This weekend MP and I are headed southbound 35 to see Aunt Hal and celebrate the ‘almost’ arrival of MP’s soon to be cousin. They aren’t finding out the gender {and it is KILLING me} so we have dubbed him/her ‘Baby H’. I can appreciate a good surprise, but this Auntie did not appreciate going shopping and not being able to find any cute gender neutral outfits. Alas, good ol’ Nordies saved the day and gifts are wrapped and ready. Josh is staying here to go to another wedding shower for us {i.e., catch up on his sleep and enjoy some peace and quiet}.

I’m linking up as usual with Momfessionals and A.LizAdventures, so here we go.

Friday Favorites 01

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ONE

This Eliza J dress caught my eye and has me day dreaming about a friends upcoming wedding in San Miguel. It could possibly be the perfect flowy number.  And, I mean…that pop of pink bow! Party perfection. Somebody get me a margarita stat!

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TWO

Sanctuary Flannel. The flannel addiction continues. I adore this button down and own it in black and white check. Unfortunately, that print is sold out everywhere, but I still had to share, because 1.) It is long(er) and covers my rear in leggings. {not super long, but long enough} and 2.) it is extremely comfy and I feel like it looks cute on. Size Reference: I have a SMALL.

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THREE

White jeans, Nude heels. Holy neutral outfit bliss. I love these Current/Elliott Stiletto Jeans in white. I have a pair of ‘The Stiletto’s and they fit like a glove. They aren’t low rise, but are definitely a tad lower than some of the pants I’ve been wearing since I had this little (I mean, big) baby. And cuff hits right at the ankle so that you can spotlight that new pair of overpriced kicks you just bought. Size Reference: True to size.

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FOUR

Ok, I’m having a  Kate Spade moment here. I keep eyeing these bags every time I walk thru Nordstrom. I don’t feel like they go with my every day routine since I’m usually hauling around a toddler and sticking a million crumbly snacks in my bag. But, I just keep thinking I want it.  The color is pretty perfect to me. Winter or Spring, AND it’s a cross body. I have so many bags and the one I always use is a tiny LV crossbody because it’s just so easy. Who knows, this one may be added to the collection next.

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FIVE

Front Porch Happiness. Disclaimer: Yes, this wooden monogram from Decked Outdoors is extremely southern, I know. But newsflash, we live in Texas and it’s perfectly acceptable to use it on your front door as long as you don’t go crazy overboard with a super obnoxious ribbon. But hey that’s just my opinion, what do I really know anyways.  I’m ordering the 36 inch in black because I have a red brick home with a white glass front door. Hoping to find a thick black and white striped ribbon to use to hang. I.can’t.wait.

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I thought the greenery behind the letters was a nice touch if you can’t bare to have the letters hanging alone. Not a fan of that blue ribbon, however. Just sayin’.

Double Doors with Boxwood Wreaths 12 in

And then there are these sweet as can be mats that I found at Target. The website shows they’re no longer available online, but I did snag one about two weeks ago at the Target in Dallas. Josh wasn’t feeling the red heart, so I opted for Home Sweet Home instead.

Smh, men!

 

Welp, that’s all I’ve got today! Have the happiest Friday, a stellar weekend, and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh – and someone QUICK tell me the traffic on I-35 won’t be that bad this afternoon. NO?! Sister we are coming for ya!

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xx, jv

Style Mini {Swimwear}

It’s a mini-me kind of Wednesday and I’m thinking summer! Slight stretch, eh? I live in a teachers world where we start counting down the sleeps until summer as soon as Christmas break ends. It’s true. I just can’t get these cute little swimmies out of my head. WHY am I even thinking swimsuits you ask? Because everyone knows the cute ones get picked over like THAT, and then you’re left with the so-so ones. Well, that and I’m enrolling little miss baby in swimming lessons in March and I want to get her in the pool before that so she gets acclimated. I ordered the hat and Rash-guard for MP and fingers crossed it still fits come summer. Hello, long/tall child problems! Just to be safe I went up a size.

  1. Pink Swimmy Sun Hat – Hanna Andersson
  2. Swimmy Rash Guard Bathing Suit – Hanna Andersson
  3. Swim Shoes – Hanna Andersson
  4. Patterned Flip-Flops – Old Navy
  5. Floral – Print Peplum Swimsuit

Happy Wednesday, xx!

Friday Favs!

Happy Friday, friends. This week and last week have been filled with three words: One.Year.Molars. So help me Jesus, I was convinced we might not survive last week, but we did and thankfully this week has been so much better. We were running on about two- three hours of sleep each night last week and this week sweet baby is {almost} back to her normal sleeping times of 7-7. Almost!

 

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This smile. Oh my gosh, what is cuter?! 

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No pictures, please. #overit  Top and Shoes: Old Navy; Sweater: BabyGap; Hat: Northface

 

ONE

This book – Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child – Another parent recommend this book when MP was an infant and it’s one of the few books I actually read. I’m all IN when it comes to getting more zzz’s so I kept a close eye on things and dusted this baby off last week. One thing I found that did help (even though she was teething) was trying an earlier bedtime. We typically are in bed at 7 (early I know), but over the holidays we were of course busy and some nights she wouldn’t get to bed until 8 or so. I tried moving her bedtime 30 minutes earlier and it seemed to really help. She slept the WHOLE night. 6:30-6:30. Which works for me since we have to be up and outta here by 7:15 every morning. I love the 6:30-7:00 bedtime because it keeps her well-rested and BONUS, Josh and I still get our evenings together. Making a Murderer, Real Housewives, The Bachelor, Netflix and…well never mind. Kids these days! 🙂

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TWO 

Hyland’s Teething Tablets – Maybe I’m the last person on earth to now know about these, but I must say they were key in helping us survive last week. I also used a drop of orajel and rubbed it on her swollen gums. Lots of Moms refuse to use Orajel, but before you point and judge it try a little drop. When you see the relief it brings you may even use it again. Gasp! Sidetone: I tried it on my own gums thinking I’d feel some sort of numbing, but feeling nothing, nada. Leaving me feeling perfectly comfortable with using a dab here and there.

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THREE

The zoodle! I’m so excited to get this bad boy in my hands. Hurry up mister postman and deliver it to me! Do you have one? If so what recipes do you love?

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FOUR 

Eye cream. And no I don’t sell it. It was a semi-NY Resolution to start taking better care of my skin and so here we are. But I do love it and if you’re needing a little pep in the eye area, I recommend. After my sleepless nights last week I was in desperation mode and this stuff seems to do the trick. Side note: My sister is a R&F rep just in case you don’t already have one and Im happy to put you in touch!

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FIVE

Girls Trip! This weekend I’m so excited and thankful (thank you sweet/wonderful/always accommodating husband) to get to go to HSB with my best girlfriends. Josh has MP all to himself this weekend and I’m hoping it’s all smooth sailing with no 3 am wakeups. Paige is in the home stretch with baby number four and she has promised us that we won’t have to deliver her 10 lb baby Ha!  But really I’m just excited to sleep in later than 6 am and have some spa time with these girls! A few winks of sleep tonight, an entire day of work/taking care of our kiddos (12 of them between all of us, plus 3 more on the way) and then we are Southbound 35 tomorrow! And…If all goes according to plan we’ll have a couple glasses of vino and all be asleep around 10:00. Watch out now!

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stay up

TGIF!

 xo, jv

Once again I’ve linked up with A.Liz Adventures and Momfessionals for Friday Favorites!

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Happy 2016! Friday Favorites

Hello, (Cue Adele) and HAPPY 2016!!! Cannot believe a new year is upon is. How did that even happen?! The last time I checked (like a year ago), I was racing around my house, sweating (thank you hormones) trying to squeeze in a 30 second shower, hoping my precious baby wasn’t screaming, and if I was lucky I’d manage to brush my teeth. A:Gross. B: Don’t Judge Me. You’ve been there too, I know it. {Sidenote: my friends with 2 and 3 kids would laugh in my face at my single kid problems, but hey, the new Mom struggle is REAL) Happy to say we have made huge gains since this little chunk was a month old. She is now a seriously happy, walking all over the place, into everything, loving, and VERY aware one year old. Bless it!

Because I know you have all of those Christmas Gift Cards locked and loaded I decided to save my favorite things (gifts) until after Christmas. Game on.

1 – EAR BLING

 

katespade glitter earrings

Kate Spade Glitter Earrings (pink sold out, similar here)

kendrascott iridescent

 

Kendra Scott Iridescent Drusy Studs (Iridescent sold out but I LOVE these; Platinum Drusy)

2 – ARM CANDY

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My Mom got me this bracelet and I love it! Perfect for layering with all of my other bracelets, gold, silver, you name it.

The Paris Bracelet (in pinky beige) : available at Nordstrom.

3 – VEST

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Love my new Athleta fleece vest. Total Score. Find it here, and if they don’t have your size, I saw similar ones at Saint Bernard Sports when I was there the other day.

4 – LEGGINGS – 40% OFF TODAY!!!

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I’ve posted about these before, but they are by far my FAVORITE comfy leggings (from Gap). I gifted these to my girlfriends at our annual Favorite Things Party and they were swooning (right girls?!). As a size reference, I got a small and they fit perfect. Not too tight, like perfectly perfect, with room to breath.

5 – My favorite Sweatshirtpenelope house

Hands down the softest sweatshirt I own. It’s the first thing I put on after I shower at night, no lie. And just in case you were wondering about WHAT it all means…

The Penelope House project is a fundraising campaign that was created to help put a stop to domestic violence.  Its founder, Marcy Simmons (a UP Mom), has designed a collection of clothing with meaningful messages of giving hope and peace on earth to these victims.  

With every product purchased, 100% of the profits are donated to The Penelope House, a battered women’s shelter in Mobile, Alabama. The Penelope House helps victims of domestic violence and their children by providing them with a safe place to stay. 

Please join The Penelope House Project today by giving hope one tee at a time. Get your amazingly soft threads here! As a size reference, I have a medium and it fits very comfortably. 

6 – BATH AND BODY

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THIS. I have to admit I’m not a big “products” gal. Confession: I use Aveeno face wash and coconut oil on my face at night. Gasp. I’m working on this area of my “life” as I do realize my skin is everything. A friend and Mom at school gave me this body scrub for Christmas and OH-MY-GOSH I couldn’t believe how soft my skin was immediately after I used it. What?! Seriously. If you want to try it, you can grab some here. Pretty sure you will NOT be disappointed. I’m dying to try the other products. Ah-hem, Tracy. 🙂

 

And in case you were wondering what we did all of December, here you go. I know, I haven’t blogged all month. I get it. I’ll try and do better!

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MP and Famous Northpark Santa, Check! Cried on Cue, check! Maybe next year you’ll smile baby doll.{I was secretly excited we got this action shot, but don’t tell her that!}

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Huey’s Annual Ugly Sweater Party. That folks is a bonified Squatty Potty. Not sure what that is, go ahead and google it. Josh won it for being the “best dressed”. Bam.

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Our cousins came in from Atlanta and Vermont for John’s wedding. It was the first time we’ve gotten all of the kiddos together. Will definitely treasure this picture.

Our little brother got married. Sigh. But we had SO much fun at the wedding and absolutely adore our new sister in law.

Christmas 2015 was very good to us. We celebrated Christmas Day at my parents in Bellville.

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After all the festivities, sister was plumb worn out. Sweet girl never falls asleep on me so I took full advantage. Bless her heart. Sweetness overload.

 

Cheers to you and yours as we enter a new year. I know that each year presents it’s challenges, and it’s ups and downs, and my prayer is that I can continue to face them with the help of the good Lord by my side.

Happy 2016!!! Next stop Aspen…JV and I are sneaking off baby free next week (Thanks Memmy and Coach)!  Whoop!

 

XO – JV

Friday Five

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Howdy friends! TGIF.  I can’t believe how quickly the first week of December has flown by. I mean seriously. We are Houston bound today to celebrate my little brother getting MARRIED. I.can’t.believe.it. How is it possible that my little baby brother is old enough to get married. Sigh. He’s eight years younger than me, so it’s safe to say by the time I graduated high school some of his friends were completely unaware he had a SUPER old sister in college. Ha! Luckily he had my younger sister to be his wing girl while I was away. Anyways, WE LOVE YOU Johnny Boy and can’t wait to watch you marry the girl of your dreams this weekend. Welcome to the fam, Ellen! I sent her the pic below earlier this week. Hello brides, we have all felt this way at one point.

Let’s land this plane! AmIRight?!

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ONE. A Very {Thankful} Thanksgiving.

Our Thanksgiving this year was a little different to say the least. Rewind to Wednesday evening and I noticed that MP was not putting any weight on her legs, specifically her left leg. In fact, she would not even attempt to stand up at all. Sound the annoying-overprotective-worrisome Mom alarm. She has just recently learned to walk and the weekend before she started cruising full speed across the house, so I knew SOMETHING was up. Josh convinced me that all was well and I went to bed hoping she’d wake up Thursday morning bright eyed and standing up in her crib. Nope. That wasn’t the case. I went to pick her up from her crib that morning and although she was smiling, she was sitting and refused to stand when I attempted to make her. Well crap. I finally decided to ring the on-call pediatrician around 8:30 and she called me back soon after and advised us to take her to Children’s ER, ASAP. She said it couldn’t wait until Friday…Ugh-great. So, just as we were about to walk out the door to go see the Grandparents, MP and I packed it up and headed to Children’s. I sent JV to Arlington with all the food and assured him we’d be fine until I knew more. There was no need for us to both sit in the ER for 5 plus hours. Right?! Fast forward a few hours, they inserted an IV (finally) after 3 attempts and two different teams of nurses. Sweet Lordy this was the most unpleasant and heartbreaking thing I’ve experienced so far as a parent. It was an utterly helpless feeling trying to help hold your terrified, screaming one year old down while they attempt to draw blood from her teeny tiny vein. After the blood work, they took x-rays of her leg and hip, which seemed to be the problem area. She would not straighten the left leg and squealed every time we tried. Tear. As I was sitting and waiting with her for the results she fell asleep like the precious little angel she is and my heart just broke. Not just for her but for all of the other babies and children that were in that hospital that day. We were a mild case compared to the other kiddos I saw. They suspected she had some sort of infection in her leg, and made the statement “don’t feed her just in CASE she has to have surgery.” Ummmm…excuse me, what?!” Insert panic and fear!

Fast forward to the results, blood work all normal. Praise the Lord! X-ray showed swelling under her left knee cap, possibly caused by a virus she had recently. Diagnosis: Toxic Synovitis. I say all of this (I know it was entirely too much info) in the hopes that if someone else experiences the same thing you won’t hesitate to take your little one in. Ours ended happily, and for that I’m so so SO thankful for. Thank you Lord! They told us it could be a full month before she regains strength to walk, however she is already scooting around with only a tiny limp.

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Sister was straight tired after all of the poking and prodding.

 

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Perked up once she saw Daddy came to the rescue.

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We made it to Oui Oui and Pops house after all! Happy girl!

TWO – MERRY MERRY! I snagged this cute little gem from Target and threw it onto my guest bed. Wah-lah!

merry pillow

THREE – ORNAMENTS. I bought one of these adorable ornaments this week. They’re from Feel Good Frames and they run about $40 with shipping and all but I couldn’t resist. Perfect to keep track of the years. I love looking at old ornaments from when Josh and I were growing up. Time to start the tradition with our own family.

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FOUR – Character Day at school was so much fun. Our kinder team dressed up as Splat the Cat.  If you have a kinder or first grade kiddo and haven’t checked out this series, you MUST. Cuteness overload. IMG_9716

FOUR – HAPPY BIRTHDAY JV! We celebrated this amazing guy a few times during his birthday week. I mean, why NOT. He deserves it and any chance we get to celebrate we should certainly take advantage. We went to Bowl Lounge (think 80s and 90s music plus yummy food and cocktails), so much fun!

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We also got to hang with these besties at Rahr & Sons brewery at a private concert that Al and her husband won during a raffle. Thanks A & J for hosting! Between the 6 of us, we live at every corner of the metroplex so it can get dang near impossible to get together. But it’s SO worth it every time we do. I love these friends to pieces! Cannot wait for our annual Girls Christmas Favorite Things party next week.

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FIVE – MY PEOPLE

Hello my two sweet loves. Could this picture be any sweeter?! It was taken on Josh’s birthday and we joked saying, “What else would you rather do on your birthday other than look at the ducks at Northpark?” Ha! Oooooh, how times have changed. IMG_9775

That’s all for this week. See you next Friday! Mwah!

xo – JV