Monday, February 19, 2018

Weekending: Road Warrior Style

Happy President's Day! Unfortunately, Brandon doesn't get this holiday off, so it's back to Monday business as usual for the boys and me. (Boo!) 

This weekend was a bit of a crazy (but so fun) one. It was my best friend, Lindsey's, son's birthday in The Woodlands, so Walker and I went by ourselves since we were only staying one night and that's a hard four-hour drive one way on a little guy like Knox. 

Anyway, I dropped Knox off with my mother-in-law on Friday morning and hit the road with Walker to my hometown. Walker did great in the car and we enjoyed some special one-on-one time together. (Brandon picked Knox up from his mom's house after work on Friday.) We had a little put stop at Buc-cees, and when we got into town, Walker and I made a quick stop to my mom's store; went out to visit with my grandparents; and then went to my parents' house to have dinner and spend the night with them. 

Saturday morning, we left bright and early to head to The Woodlands Children's Museum for the party! Again, Walker was a champ in the car and we had a ball at the birthday party. It was such a cute little place and it was so good getting to celebrate sweet Austin. After the party, Walker and I loaded up and drove straight home to Dallas. We drove 540 miles in 36-ish hours (shew!), but it was so much fun and I'd do it all over again tomorrow. 

It was so good to get home to Brandon and Knox, and we all went out to eat Mexican food because I most certainly wasn't cooking! 

Sunday was rainy, yucky and gross. Brandon let me sleep in until 8:30 a.m. (heavenly!) to recover from a long last few days. We had a day full of cleaning the house, running errands and laying low around the house. I made these delicious stuffed sweet potatoes (along with balsamic-glazed Brussels sprouts) for supper and it was a huge hit. 

I hope y'all have a great day!

Linking up with Biana 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! 

How was everyone's Valentine's Day? We were basically celebrating all week: Knox and I made Emily's Valentine's Day Snack Mix together on Tuesday and I got a ton of stuff done for Walker's class Valentine's Day party that day, too. Wednesday, we had a sweet little day: Bible Study in the morning, lunch at Chick-fil-A with our best friends afterward, and a fun day at home to round out the day. Brandon grilled steaks, I made Ina's spinach gratin, and my mom's "Chocolate Yum Yum," of which I'll share the recipe next week. :) Walker had his class Valentine's Day party yesterday and it was so cute. Here are some pictures from our week: 

Making snack mix together while Walker was at school

Matching jammies (find them here

Brothers on Valentine's Day!
(Knox's shirt is old from Smocked Auctions and Walker's is Old Navy, but it's sold out online)

When I try to tell two boys to smile for a picture at Chick-fil-A ;)
At Walker's Valentine's Day party at school 

Did you catch my post (or I should probably say, "novel") on Wednesday about my journey with Invisalign? You can read it here. Thank you to those of you who left me encouraging comments; y'all are the sweetest and the best! This is definitely a marathon and not a sprint -- and I have to remind myself of that daily. 

Walker said the funniest thing at Sprouts on Monday that I had to share here, too. 

I had to go in for two items and one of them was steaks to have Brandon grill on Valentine's Day. As we were passing through the meat section, he saw all the fish sitting there on ice. And then he proceeded to yell out loud for all the store to hear: "Mommy! Who is the mean guy who killed ALL THESE FISH?!?!" (Please note we aren't vegetarians or vegans or anything of the sort, so I'm not sure where he heard this?) People around us starting cracking up and I was half laughing, half mortified. 

And then, as we were checking out, he asked the lady ringing us up: "Ma'am, what does 'cray cray' mean?" Again, not something he heard from me! 

Out of the mouths of babes! 

I've shared the love on these before, but since I just had to order some more for the boys, I thought I'd share again! :) So many socks fall off of my kids' feet and have since they were newborns, and these are the only ones that stay on their feet -- and hold up well in the wash without getting pill-y. My friend Liz told me about the goodness that are Jefferies socks and I have been buying them for four years. Y'all need to get these for your kiddos! 

Is anyone else planning to do a little shopping with the upcoming President's Day sales? I'm so tired of anything long-sleeved and am dying to scoop up some cute spring clothes. I saw this dress at Old Navy and am planning to see if it goes on sale this weekend and grab it. It's so cute! 

I also thought this one was super cute, too! Clearly I'm loving chambray right now. ;) 

I hope y'all have fabulous weekends! 

Linking up with: April, Amanda, Andrea, Claire and Katie 

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My Invisalign Journey: Let's Start at the Very Beginning

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all! I'm going to share with y'all something completely unrelated to anything Valentine-y at all today: Invisalign. 

I had braces for six years. (Yes, S-I-X years.) Which, when you really think about it, is pretty ridiculous. They went on at some point during my 6th grade year and didn't come off until the summer before my senior year in high school. Talk about embarrassing. 

Quite lovely with the braces circa 2001 

My teeth were pretty messed up, and you can thank genetics for that one. I'm missing one of my laterals (the teeth directly next to your big front two teeth); my parents are missing both of theirs, and both of their fathers are missing both of theirs. And I got one. Thanks, genetics. So, because of that, I had a very sizable gap in my front two teeth growing up that had to be closed with traditional braces, and a tooth needed to be put in the missing lateral tooth's place. But here's where it gets interesting: I don't even have any bone in my gums where the missing tooth is; it simply never formed because of, you guessed it, genetics. 

To be honest, having just one lateral makes things pretty rough. If I was missing both of them, they could have {somewhat} easily moved my two K-9's to the lateral places, reshaped them and called it a day, post-braces. But since I have only one, they had to use braces to push my front two teeth together, then make a gap where my missing lateral was. Throughout junior high and high school, I had what was called a "flipper tooth" (basically a fake tooth attached to my braces that looked real, but wasn't) -- and that was really not embarrassing at all, let me tell you. #sarcasm 

Anyway, the summer before my senior year in high school, my braces FINALLY came off! (Insert the "Hallelujah Chorus" here.) I had a Marilyn Bridge installed for my lateral in place of an implant so I didn't have to undergo months and months of bone grafting (because remember, I have no bone there and in order to do an implant, you have to have bone...or build it) and then an implant during one of my busiest (and I'll admit, most vanity-induced) years of school. Life was grand. Except that my orthodontist didn't give me a top retainer, as he said the force of putting it in and taking it out each day would cause my Marilyn Bridge to fall out. He did give me a bottom retainer, and, like many other stupid teenagers, I thought I didn't need it as much as I did. 

Fast forward 13 years and my teeth shifted. And horribly. One of my big front teeth was shifting over to overlap the other, which was also causing my Marilyn Bridge to come loose. It was truly a gamble as to when it would fall out, and I honestly lived my life nervous that it would: wrestling with the boys, eating corn on the cob or biting into an apple, or even just kissing Brandon. All things that are (and should be) normal, but I lived in fear of doing. I was also very self-conscious of how I looked and would only pose in certain angles so you couldn't see the overlap in the pictures. My dentist has assured me that getting this Invisalign is far more for my actual dental health than cosmetic purposes, even though, for me, it's mostly about cosmetics. 

Here's an example of how I posed in pictures post-braces and pre-Invisalign (always from a higher angle and always straight on)...but you can still tell my front left big tooth was sticking out straighter than the others: 

And here's an example of the crookedness and bridge that was very obvious to me: 

This past Christmas, Brandon gifted me with something that I'd wanted for a while: Invisalign. I know it sounds odd to give that to someone for Christmas, but hey, he's my husband, we've been together for 10 years (married for seven) and at this point, we're all about practical gifts. ;) And I am SO excited about it! 

To begin, they had to remove the fake tooth, and I'll admit that I cried. It was definitely like a security blanket to me, and I was afraid of how this whole "no tooth" situation would go. (And he had to take it off by numbing me with Novocain and then cutting it out!) But, my dentist is absolutely amazing (and has won numerous awards!) and decided to take a chance on me -- letting me get Invisalign and not have to undergo the traditional braces route like so many other dentists and orthodontists had in the past. 

So, I did the Invisalign scan in my dentist's office, which they do now instead of making you do those nasty molds from yesteryear. The scan looks a lot like 3-D ultrasound machine and they just scan every portion of your mouth, send it off to Invisalign, and they make your trays with a 3-D printer device, ultimately mailing your trays back to your dentist and then your dentist meeting with you to get them every month or so. 

Each Invisalign tray I have comes with a fake tooth on it. So, when I take it out, I quite literally look like a hillbilly: I have no tooth in that spot. But, it's more motivation for me to wear them often (more on that in a minute). Here's what I looked like the day I left my dentist's office, and I promise I don't normally smile like this: 

You can't even tell they're on, nor that I have a fake tooth in them! (But you can see the crooked teeth.) My dentist and the Invisalign folks are miracle workers, I tell you. 

So, after being in the Invisalign for nearly a month, here are some of my takeaways: 

1) You have to wear them religiously.
My dentist told me that the recommended daily timeframe for wearing them is 22 hours. In fact, his words were, "If you aren't going to wear them for 22 hours a day, you might as not wear them at all." I have 22 trays that I change out weekly (wearing the first tray for two weeks and then the others for one week at a time). 

Twenty-two hours a day is a lot, and it was much harder at first than it is now. I have to be very thoughtful when it comes to eating, and I've said goodbye to snacking. I get up in the morning, take them off and enjoy a cup of coffee, then go take all my vitamins, make a protein shake, brush my teeth and rinse off my trays, then pop them back in until lunch. And then I repeat the process for lunch and dinner, and wear them to bed. 

2) Your diet will change. 
It's not intentional, but it happens, because you're constantly wondering if you want to go through the entire process of taking out your trays, eating, brushing your teeth and rinsing out your trays, and putting them back in -- all for one Oreo. I've said goodbye to tasting what I'm eating as I'm cooking; sneaking the last of the kids' chicken nuggets they didn't finish at lunchtime; and stopping to get a cup of coffee at Starbucks. (So I guess I've saved some money on food, too.) I've lost about three pounds so far and it's just from not snacking, not having that glass of wine at night, and not eating whatever, whenever. I've also been drinking a lot more water and white wine, as my sweet dentist told me I had his permission to drink white wine and any other seemingly clear liquid with them in. ;) 

3) The Invisalign hurt at first. 
With each tray comes about 3-4 days (for me) of tooth pain. If you had traditional braces, it reminded me of the first few days after you got your braces tightened: just a dull pain that only feels better after taking some Ibuprofen and putting pressure on the area by clinching your teeth together. There's also the issue of the rough edges from the trays, of which I've had to file down a bit to ensure I don't have bleeding on the insides of my lips and cheeks, as well as funky sores on the tip of my tongue. I also have "attachments" on my top and bottom molars, which basically look like clear bubbles, that are used to help move my teeth -- and those feel really rough when my trays are more reason to wear them. 

4) You're going to get to know your dentist well during this process.
My dentist gives me month's worth of trays at each visit. I change them out weekly and then go back to him after a month, where he checks my progress, assesses my teeth, and then gives me new trays. Of course, I still will go for my bi-annual cleaning and X-rays, etc., and they are awesome to make those appointments at the same time as my visits when the time comes. Since the boys both go to preschool together on Tuesdays, the sweet ladies at the front desk have blocked me off for Tuesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. each month. (Gotta love when they work with you and your schedule!) If I'm not making progress he'd like to see, my dentist will reevaluate, go back to Invisalign and maybe add a tray or two to tweak a tooth placement during the process. 

5) No one knows you're wearing them unless you tell them. 
Being self-conscious of my teeth is pretty much normal for me, so for some reason, I felt the need at first to announce to anyone I was with that I had Invisalign on and apologize for not being able to eat in public (I get weird about the whole "no tooth" situation) and also the slight lisp I had the first few days. My girlfriends assured me that A) They knew I hadn't turned anorexic and instead reminded me to bring light-colored protein shakes with me if I know I'm going to lunch or will be out around lunch; B) That I didn't have a lisp after about two days; and C) You totally couldn't tell that I had anything on my teeth unless you were all up in my face. 

I mean, I have them on in this picture and you cannot tell a bit: 

So, sorry for the novel, but I wanted to share this journey with y'all. I promise I won't show you gross pictures all up in my mouth, but I did want to share with you some things I've learned along the way and how this process goes for me. If you have any questions for me about Invisalign or the process, I'd love to answer them for you. And, if you've gone through this process yourself, please comment and let me know your results! 

Happy Wednesday, friends! 

Linking up with Jessi and Jenn

Monday, February 12, 2018


Happy Monday, y'all! Whew, we had a fast and furious weekend and to be honest, I need one more day to recover. :)

+ Brandon came home from a week-long business trip to Canada, and we were all thrilled to have him home! 

+ It was National Pizza Day, and since we usually have pizza on Friday nights anyway as a little family tradition, we thought it was no better night to pop in a DiGiornio. ;) We ate it while watching the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics. (Side note: Does anyone else eat ranch dressing with their pizza like I do?!) 

+ We {finally} celebrated Walker's fourth birthday party! He got sick the week of his actual birthday and, not wanting to share our germs, we decided to reschedule for this past Saturday. 

I decided to just let it all go this year and instead of planning a "Pinterest Perfect Party," I let him pick the theme and the location and went with it. He chose a firetruck theme at Chuck E. Cheese's. Done and done. By no means was it anything that anyone would ever want to "pin" or replicate, but it was the happiest I've seen Walker at one of his parties -- and the least stressed out I've been in four years planning a party. That's what it's all about at the end of the day anyway: a happy kid, a non-stressed-out mom and precious memories made. 

All I had to do was book the venue and amount of pizzas online; order a tablecloth, cutlery, plates, napkins and favors online (Oriental Trading and Amazon to the rescue); order a themed shirt for him on Etsy; and call in an order of cupcakes from our favorite local bakery. I've linked the things below just in case your little one is having a firetruck-themed birthday party coming up soon!  

We all had a complete ball celebrating our sweet four-year-old with family and friends and are just so thankful for everyone who loves him -- and us -- so well. It truly takes a village and we are so thankful for ours. 

+ Saturday night, we went over to our friends Liz and Chris's house to visit, let the kids play and eat dinner. And again with easy: I took a bottle of wine over and we called in an order of Mexican food once we got there, sent the guys to pick it up and ate at their counter while we visited. Love having friendships that are just easy -- and those where you can show up to their house in yoga leggings and a bun! ;) 

The kids had a ball playing together and we had fun catching up with them -- and Brandon and Chris had a little looksie at their leaky dishwasher, too. Ha! We got home so super late and past our bedtimes, but fun was had by all. 

+ Y'all, Texas weather is so bipolar: it was 70 on Friday and sleeting on Sunday morning. I can't even begin to understand it. We all slept in until 8 a.m. (all the praise hands!) and enjoyed a very lazy, warm day at home watching the Olympics in jammies all day cuddled by the fire, and I did a ton around the house: three loads of laundry, putting birthday gifts away, writing thank you notes, changing out the boys' clothes of outgrown clothes, cleaning the house after a busy weekend, etc. It was a productive day! 

Walker's Birthday Party Sources: 

Linking up with Biana

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! 

I wanted to share with y'all my latest cheap beauty obsession: L'Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara. Holy moly, y'all. This stuff makes my eyelashes look so long and so thick -- and it's only $9.99! This totally rivals (to me) to Dior's Diorshow Mascara -- that is $29.50. Go getcha some! 

If you love farmhouse décor and "Fixer Upper," you need to check out my post from yesterday: my favorite farmhouse décor you can find on...Amazon!!! Who doesn't love getting their stuff in 2-3 days? (And who also has been so spoiled by Amazon Prime that, when things take longer than a week to arrive, you practically camp out next to your mailbox?! Ha!)

I have found the cutest things on thredUP lately, y'all: a Lilly Pulitzer long-sleeve blouse (new with tags) for $31.99 and my favorite styles of J.Crew sleeveless blouse (also new with tags and perfect to wear in the hot Texas summer) for $15.99. I love shopping there because I feel like I'm not completely breaking the bank -- and I'm getting absolute steals. Click here for a referral link to thredUP; you'll get $10 toward your first order and I'll get $10 toward my next one. (Not sponsored, just obsessed.) 

Did anyone watch both "This is Us" episodes this week? Y'all, I'm not sure I can emotionally handle two episodes in one week. Whew! Without giving too much away, I'll just say that I was staring at the TV and could barely breathe on Sunday and Tuesday nights. Shew. This show gives me all the feels -- and I love it! 

I truly can't remember if I have mentioned it here yet or not, but we have moved Knox to his "big-boy bed" {AKA: took the front off his convertible crib}. I was so very nervous at first (because I absolutely loathe change) but he has done great and I've been super impressed. It took a bit of getting used to the first week, but he's definitely my more easy-going, go-with-the-flow kid, that's for sure. I'm so proud of my little guy!

I hope y'all have wonderful weekends! 

Linking up with: April, Amanda, Andrea, Claire and Katie

*Some affiliate links used. Thanks for supporting this blog!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: Farmhouse Decor Finds on Amazon

Who doesn't love "Fixer Upper?" I'm raising my hand high up in the air over here. Having gone to college in Waco (before Chip and Joanna Gaines were a "thing,"), it's so fun for me to see the big craze around them and their décor -- and I've been sucked down the rabbit hole of farmhouse décor, too. 

But of course I don't have an endless budget (and I'm all about getting my online orders in 2-3 days), I have rounded up some farmhouse décor finds on, what else, Amazon! 

Here are my favorites: 

one || two || three

four || five || six 

seven || eight || nine 

Linking up with Jessi and Jenn

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Weekending: First One for February

Happy Monday, friends! Is everyone awake this morning after the Super Bowl and "This is Us?" I'm for sure dragging, but alas, it's Monday and my kids certainly don't care that I'm tired...ha! 

We had a busy, fun weekend. Here's a peek into what we were up to: 

We didn't have any plans, so I took the boys with me to run some errands, and then we capped it off with a visit to Toys 'R' Us to peruse the toys and grabbed Chick-fil-A for lunch. 

My brother and his girlfriend were in Dallas from Waco and came over to visit with us and play with the boys for a little bit. Walker and Knox loved having their Uncle Parker over and thoroughly enjoyed having him play with them. 

That night, our babysitter came over and we had a date night to one of our favorite local farm-to-table restaurants, The Ranch. It was so nice to have a much-needed date night...and the food was delicious. 

I had a "Front Porch Swing" to drink and Brandon had one of their local beer flights; we shared the fried green tomatoes to start; and then I had the filet with a side of goat cheese grits; Brandon had the prime rib with a side of their famous macaroni and cheese; and we shared the Route 66 pecan pie -- which had a cinnamon roll crust. It was all so delicious! 

Saturday was fast and furious: we started our day at a birthday party for Knox's best friend, Sawyer, at Chuck E. Cheese's. Walker and Knox are so blessed to have brothers, Smith and Sawyer, as their best friends! 

After an afternoon of naps for the boys and lots of laundry for me, we went to Brandon's brother and our sister-in-law's house for their gender reveal! 

We are so excited to share that they're having little boy, due in July! This baby was our family's "tie breaker"; Brandon's older brother has three girls, we have two boys, and now Todd and Nikki have two boys. We can't wait to meet him! 

Super Bowl Sunday! After a very busy (and late) Saturday, we stayed home on Sunday morning. It was a much-needed day to be together as a family, and also a much-needed day for me to get our house picked up and cleaned, laundry finished and things prepared for the week ahead. 

We joined our friends Jared and Victoria and their boys Smith and Sawyer at their house to watch the Super Bowl and let the kids play. (And let's be honest, all I cared about was the Justin Timberlake Halftime Show!) And of course..."This is Us." 

I couldn't resist putting the boys in one last football outfit until August. I found Walker's shirt at Small Pockets (it's Mud Pie brand and currently on sale for $8.99) and Knox's shirt was Walker's when he was a baby and came from Target. 

I hope y'all have great weeks! 

Linking up with Biana