Friday, March 25, 2011


Friday afternoon and preparing to head to work for the weekend. House is cleaned, fridge stocked, babies happy, Daddy prepared. Spring is in full swing here in Louisiana, what little bit of spring we get (Louisiana's seasons are a bit different than the rest of the country, didn't you know? We have Summer, Unimaginable Heat End of Summer, 2 weeks of Fall or, as my grandmother called it, the "Cold Snap", Winter, and 2 weeks of Spring). We have been spending our days playing outside as much as possible as this gorgeous weather is just too perfect to miss. The tire swing has been swaying back and forth under the pecan tree, filling the air with little girl giggles. And the azaleas, nothing feels like home to me more than the blooming of the azaleas. The vibrant color of the bushes brings new life to our yard after a cold, dreary winter.

In other news, Brees has developed a yucky case of pink eye:( Poor little lamb, she has been cutting a tooth, got her 4 month shots on Wednesday, and then woke up this morning with swollen eyelids and copious amounts of drainage. It's not surprising that because of all this, she has not been sleeping well and howls any time we try to put her down. So, I have basically thrown all of my sleep training guidelines out the window and put her in the big bed with Mama and Daddy the last two nights. She slept much more soundly surrounded by all that comfort and love...Hopefully, with a little more Tylenol, the eye ointment prescribed for her infection, and lots of extra cuddling, she'll be back in business in no time.

Here's the little lamb and her oh so watery eyes:

Have a wonderful weekend!!! I will be racing around the hospital, spreading good springtime cheer!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Shawn and I have been grappling with some hard realities lately concerning Isabelle. She is in the first grade this year and, though she excels in her social skills and extracurricular activities, she has really been struggling with her academics. And by struggling I mean failing. We have watched her grades steadily decline since the beginning of the school year. Her behavior has also changed, causing her to get in trouble at school more often and subsequently affecting her school work. She has trouble sitting still and fidgets constantly, she loses her train of thought and has difficulty finishing a list of tasks. She loses interest in whatever she is doing very quickly and has begun to lose confidence in trying new things. This is such a change compared to last school year, when she made honor roll and earned several academic awards.

We have spent many nights analyzing and discussing possible causes of these changes. Could it be the new baby? Shawn being in school AND working and therefore being home less? A way to get more attention? These all seem like practical explanations, yet something in my gut is telling me that it is more than that. Something in my mommy soul is screaming DO SOMETHING!!!!! BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!!!!

Shawn has ADHD. He was just evaluated and diagnosed two years ago. Meaning he went his whole childhood and young adult life undiagnosed. Meaning he has struggled his whole life with school and even with some social situations because he honestly was incapable of focusing his attention and organizing his thoughts. He was labeled a "bad kid", a "trouble maker", when all he needed was some guidance and behavior modification. He finally got that at the age of 31 and, in his own words, "my life has completely changed. I can actually think clearly for the first time in my whole life. It's like putting on glasses for the first time."

And so as hard as it is to face the fact that our daughter may be suffering from the same condition, we owe it to her to find out if something is really going on. It is our job as parents to put our own phobias aside and do whatever we can to seek out a way to get her back on track, whatever that answer may be. But of course there's the social stigmas, the looks of judgement and tones of condescension you get from other parents when you tell them you are having your child evaluated for ADHD. "Don't you feel like maybe you are jumping to conclusions?". NO!! Actually, I feel like I am covering all my bases and searching for any and every possible solution for my child. Because I love her and I want a full and happy life for her. I want her to be armed and ready for this life with all the tools she will need. And I don't want her to suffer or do without because of what society thinks.

That being said, we are not jumping on any band wagons or rushing into anything. The straw that broke the camel's back was two weeks ago when she failed her hearing test at school. I questioned if she actually can't hear or if she just didn't understand the directions or lost interest during the test. So, yesterday we went to the pediatrician. She checked Isabelle's ears and confirmed that there is no wax build up, no infection, no fluid, eardrums are intact. Meaning: there is no structural reason why she can't hear. Next step: see an audiologist Tuesday to repeat the test to make sure she can indeed hear properly and rule out that that is not what is actually causing her troubles in school. We were also given surveys to fill out: one for Shawn, one for me, one for her teacher. I suppose this is to give a clear overview of her behavior from the point of view of those who spend the most time with her. We will then meet with a behavioral specialist on Tuesday as well where we will review all this information and she will be evaluated and observed.

Who knows, it could all just be nothing. But, it could be something serious that needs our attention as well. I want the peace of mind in knowing that we tried everything, that we gave her all we could. Doesn't every child deserve that? As much as it pains me to see her struggle, as much as it hurts me to think of her feeling sad and doubtful about her abilities, it's time to come to terms with the fact that something is wrong and it's time to do something about it. This little girl is too smart and too talented to be struggling so much. Her mind deserves to be free, her heart deserves to be full and strong and confident. And we will stop at nothing to make sure that she is given every opportunity this life has to offer.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We had a very peaceful weekend.

The azaleas bloomed and filled our yard with bursts of color.

We did lots of cooking, a little cleaning, front porch sitting, warm weather loving.

Isabelle went to a birthday party for one of her friends, Brees and I went shopping, Daddy worked and then came home to three girls who desperately love him.

And, a sweet little milestone:

Brees rolled from her back to her tummy this morning! She's been working hard at it for days now but finally conquered this newest skill. She has been rolling back and forth all day, wiggling all over the living room!!

And since I am so far behind, here's a little Project 31:

Day 8. Have a beauty secret (e.g. hair tip, make up tip)? Share, please!

I must tell you about my favorite beauty product, Merle Norman Luxiva Foundation Primer. I always thought of Merle Norman as a line for older women, probably because my grandmother wore it. But I tried it after a good friend recommended it and have be in love for the last three years. I wear the mineral makeup line and have noticed a dramatic difference in the texture of my skin as well an overall improvement in my complexion. The foundation primer is an essential part of my skin care regime. It makes my makeup last all day, withstanding even a 12 hour shift at the hospital. It reduces oil and shine, gives your skin a beautiful glow, and reduces the appearance of fine lines. It has a pretty shimmer in it that catches light and makes me feel pretty. I never leave home without it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I found this ring today and have been dropping hints to the hubs at what a perfect Mother's day gift it would be...What a beautiful piece of jewelry...

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Exersaucing Baby

We recently got Brees her very own Exersaucer. Belle absolutely loved hers when she was a wee one and we thought it would be a great way to not only stimulate her mind and curiosity but also a great way to exercise her feet and practice putting weight on them. We bought her one of the "walk around" models because I like the concept of it being a play station and walker in one without the worry of her scooting all over the house. I like controlled chaos:) We put the Exersaucer in our kitchen since that is the main hub of our home. Now I can cook, Belle can do homework at the table, and Brees can have lots of fun with her cool new toy. So far, she loves it and really seems to enjoy all of the brightly colored toys and noise makers. There's even a family tree and we put little pictures of all of us in it for her to coo at. Shawn has pronounced that it is the best baby toy investment so far. I just can't believe she is already big enough to sit up in the little seat and hold her head steady and look around so intently. My oh my how fast it truly does go.

Here are a few pics of the little lamb in her big girl toy:

Girl Power

Project 31

Day 7. Write a blog to encourage another beautiful woman.

There are so many beautiful, strong women in my life who encourage me everyday and inspire me to be a better person. I wonder if they give themselves credit for how beautiful they are? I wonder how many times a day they feel down and don't realize how special they are?

In the last two years, I have watched so many of my girlfriends and family members go through some very difficult times. Divorces, break-ups, depression, addiction, low self esteem, financial difficulties. I have seen some of the women in my life fall to their knees, lose all hope, forget who they are. We have cried on each other's shoulders, prayed for peace of mind, hoped for better times.

And I have watched them grow because of it. And I have grown because of it. Through these hardships, we have come out stronger, more courageous women. We have redefined who we are, grown closer in our relationships with each other, refocused our energies on more productive efforts.

I have learned so much these last two years about what it means to be a true friend. This thing we call life is not always beautiful. It can be a hard row to hoe, as my grandmother used to say. But I have learned that in the face of sadness and trying times, hold your head up high, remember who you are, what you stand for. Look around you and count your blessings and consider your hardships as lessons to be learned. Wear them as badges of honor and courage. We may not be perfect, but we were perfectly made. We all have an individual purpose and countless gifts just waiting to be shared.

Thank you to the beautiful women in my life for inspiring me and filling me with so much love and support.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thoughts and prayers going out to beautiful Japan, to the people affected by this terrible catastrophe. May recovery be swift. Shawn and I lived in Japan for three years while we served in the Navy and it breaks my heart to think of the devastation that has occurred there today.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Good night, my little lambs...

May your dreams be sweet and bright and joyful...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Waiting on my Weight

So, my post-baby weight loss get-my-body-back mission is, well, going. I gained a total of 30 pounds while pregnant and since having Brees, I have actually lost 33 pounds. I am working out 3-4 times a week, depending on how motivated/exhausted I am. I am doing a mix of cardio and weights, walking, and ballet exercises. Two of my new fav workout videos are "Xtreme Timesaver Training" with Jackie Warner and "The Inside Out Method" with Bob Harper. Neither of these is for beginners so BEWARE. They are both an intense mix of cardio and strength training, exactly what I need to get my muscle tone back on track.

I definitely notice a difference between this postpartum period compared to my first. The weight came off super easy thanks to breastfeeding but my muscle tone and belly are going to take a little longer than the first time around. But really, I just gave birth to a 9 pound 11 ounce baby. What do I really expect? You can't go from this to a 6pack in a matter of minutes:

What a big beautiful belly!! Thankfully, I survived yet another pregnancy without a single stretch mark and my postpartum skin has been clear and maintained a healthy glow. I am still taking my prenatal vitamins religiously and drinking tons of water. Breastfeeding forces me to keep my diet in line and keeps my health habits intact.

I must admit, though: we've been cheating on our healthy eating habits lately:( It's Mardi Gras time here in Louisiana which means one thing: King Cake! One of my favorite indulgences, this rich, gooey cinnamon and cream cheese filled confection only comes around once a year. Just so happens that this year it comes right when I'm trying to be good! Also, Isabelle has taken up a serious interest in baking. Hey, if our little girl wants to cook Mama and Daddy brownies every night, I'm not going to suppress her creative urges!!

Which brings me to Project 31:

Day 6. Jaded beauty. Has the world’s definition of beauty ever jaded you?

Yes, yes it has. I am jaded in thinking that I have to lose all of my baby weight in record time. I read magazines and see celebrities on the red carpet days after having a baby a part of me thinks that I should be able to do that, too.

But that's ridiculous and I know that. I am a real woman with real curves. I am southern to the bone and food is an art to my family and I. We gather around the kitchen table and have some of the best meals imaginable. And I don't want to give that up just because society has set unrealistic expectations for me. I don't want to teach my girls unhealthy habits and give them negative ideals regarding food and body image. I want to eat healthy, exercise, get rest, and enjoy myself. Eat a little king cake if the occasion arises, enjoy a Superbowl party without counting calories.

So, I am waiting on my weight. Working hard but playing a little bit, too. And that is a-okay with me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A warm, sunny afternoon sitting on the front porch...One of my favorite past times...

Daddy played guitar and sang to his girls...

Isabelle laughed and chattered boxed away...

Brees cooed and chewed on Sophie the Giraffe...

And Mama drank her tea and thanked her lucky stars...

Oh, what a nice afternoon it was...

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I am obsessed with this little vintage kitchen playset! I am dying to put one right in front of our island in the kitchen. We have a large open space and it's just itching for this adorable set. I can imagine the girls whipping up gourmet meals right alongside Mama. Or complete disasters, which I am also frequently prone to. This is such a departure for me, a former OCD minimalist. Five years ago I would have cringed at the idea of a toy kitchen taking up shop in my neat, organized space. Funny how children change you, make you softer, reshape what is important. Because really, what's the point of having all this space if you're not going to use it?

Project 31 is taking me longer than 31 days, but I'm still doing it! It's hard to blog after a 12 hour shift at the hospital, so my 31 days may end up being more like 70 days. Regardless, taking time out of your day to reflect and meditate on positive thoughts is a worthwhile experience no matter how long it takes.

Day 5. Write a blog thanking someone who has made your heart come alive.

Thank you. Thank you to the three people in my life who love me unconditionally and make my heart come more alive everyday.

Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being married to a man who was not only the love of my life, but who was my best friend. I dreamed of having lots of babies and creating our own little family, starting our own generations of love. My own parents divorced when I was three and so for most of my childhood, it was just Mama, my baby brother, and me. We never had a shortage of love between us, always made the best of every day. And I wanted that with my own family, all of that love and then some.

And somehow, even though I still question how deserving I am for all of these blessings, somehow I have it. A man who believes in me and pushes me to be the best I can be. Two beautiful daughters who inspire me and fill my life with purpose and love.

We have a sign hanging in our kitchen that reads, "All because two people fell in love..." My heart sings everyday for what we have created together. We work so hard everyday to build a life that is full of love and meaning and purpose. And we are blessed beyond belief. Even on our hardest days, through our darkest times, we are blessed because we have each other.

And my heart and soul are singing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Learning Curve

Brees was born with an orthopedic condition known as metatarsus adductus, or in-toeing. In laymen terms, she was born with both feet bent inward, like two little kidney beans. Her condition in particular is very, very mild and we were so fortunate that her pediatrician noticed it the very first time she examined her when she was only two hours old. She explained to us that this condition is thought to be caused by the baby having to accommodate for lack of living space in the uterus. Because Brees was such a big sweet potato (9 lb. 11 oz), she ran out of room and compensated by pushing her feet up against the side of my uterus. This caused her feet to turn slightly inward. Our incredible pediatrician (she really should have her very own superhero cape) wasted no time and referred us to a pediatric orthopedic specialist at Children's Hospital in New Orleans.

We first saw Dr. Heinrich when Brees was only 6 days old. Shawn and I were both overwhelmed with anxiety, not sure of what to expect from this appointment. I had researched Dr. Heinrich before we went to see him and was very happy with his credentials and testimonials from his patients. But still, when you have to bring your 6 day old baby to see a specialist, it's just not a good day.

We quickly learned upon meeting Dr. Heinrich that he was a pretty thorough dude. He ordered x-rays and a sonogram and studied her little feet like they were fine pieces of art. Shawn and I whispered silent prayers as we watched him look over her with a fine tooth comb. After a very long morning of tests and assessments and questions, he gave us her diagnosis and big pats on the back. "Don't worry!" he nonchalantly told us. "She'll be just fine. You are very lucky that we caught this so early. Her bones are so soft right now and will form into proper shape in no time with the right treatment".

What was the right treatment? Well, Brees would have to wear special shoes to correct the inward curve of her feet. For the first month or so, she would have to wear these magic shoes for 23 hours a day, allowing us to take them off just for her bath and for little night time foot rubs. At about 3 months, she would only have to wear them for 12 hours a day. He would follow up with her every 4 weeks to make sure she was progressing. Dr. Heinrich assured us that this condition was totally fixable and if we followed through with the shoes, it would not hinder her development in any way. This was all good news!!

Yet I couldn't help but cry my eyes out as I sat in the bathroom nursing her. I looked down at this innocent little angel, so fresh and new to the world, already experiencing her first hardship. The nurse in me knew that everything would be fine, my brother and I both had this same condition when we were born (we were both over 10 pounds, my poor mom!) and we turned out perfectly healthy. I've been dancing since I was three and have never had any problems with my feet. But still, I didn't want this for my child, I didn't want her to have to struggle in any way. Don't we all feel that way?

As I was walking out of the bathroom, though, I walked right by the most beautiful little blonde girl. She was pushing herself in a wheelchair and was talking to her mother. She was so pretty and giggly and something about her just caught my attention. And then I looked down. And saw that she had no legs.

I was crying because my daughter would have to wear special shoes for a few months and here was a little girl with no legs. How selfish could I possibly be? We are so blessed that Brees was completely healthy and had a small condition that could be treated and fixed. This was no reason to cry, no reason to mourn for our little girl. It was time to be positive, to count our blessings and see the possibilities that awaited her in her big vast future. To think of how many elements go into conception, the development of a child in utero, a non-eventful delivery. It really is a miracle. I allowed myself that moment as a mother to feel for my child, but then I knew it was time to move on and do whatever we had to in order to get this fixed.

So here we are, three and a half months later, and her feet are beautiful! She is progressing right on schedule and had made a 75% improvement on the curvature of her feet. We just went to visit Dr. Heinrich today to check in and he was very happy with where we are now. She bears weight on her legs and stands on both feet flat just as he would have hoped. She will continue wearing her corrective shoes at night for a few more months because the left foot still curves in a slight bit.

Here are a few pictures of Brees and her magical shoes:

Not the most fashionable shoes in the world, but hey, they work!!

The most common question people ask us about these shoes is "Do they hurt her?" The answer is no, not at all. She has been wearing them her whole little life so I really don't think she knows any different. She has never once cried or winced in pain when we put them on her and we are very careful to make sure her toes aren't scrunched or pinched. We also give her lots of foot rubs when we take them off. Now that she's only wearing them at night, she gets to stretch her feet out during the day and wiggle those toes around.

We also often get asked "Are her shoes on backwards?". No, but they sure look that way don't they? They are purposefully like this in order to gently push her feet in the correct direction.

Brees' journey through life has only just begun. She has a life full of possibilities and opportunities ahead of her. And now, thanks to a team of doctors who not only are good at what they do but are passionate about it, my little girl will be able to walk through that journey on two sturdy feet. She will be able to play soccer or run marathons or follow in her mama and sister's footsteps and be a ballerina. The sky is the limit for this angel and we will be forever grateful to these people who cared for her enough to not only treat her, but believed in her.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Defining my Style

Project 31

Day 4. Style 31. Post a pic of you in your favorite outfit.

I must admit, I felt a little silly taking a picture of myself and my outfit. A little insecure, actually. But, I suppose that is the point of this 31 day quest: to recognize your own beauty, to meditate on the things you appreciate about yourself, to see beauty in your surroundings and the people you interact with.

I didn't want to get all dressed up for this post. I wanted you to see what I look like on any given day. Who I really am.

I would define my style as Bohemian. Ultra casual, comfortable and cool. I am a blue jean baby and love flowy tops and feminine blouses. I am drawn to earth tones with big bursts of color, particularly jewel tones. These particular jeans are my absolute fav, especially considering they are my "skinny" jeans! You know, the ones you are dying to fit into again after you've had a baby?! I love a good straight leg jean and believe that jeans are the one article of clothing worth investing a decent amount of money in.

I am a jewelry fanatic and have a large collection of earrings, many of which were hand made for me by my lovely girlfriends. Nothing spices up an outfit like a pair of super chunky earrings! This particular pair was purchased in a little Indian shop in the French Quarter.

Freshly painted toenails make me feel fresh and clean. Thanks to the tropical climate Louisiana so kindly offers us, I wear sandals and flip flops nine months a year. I would really just rather go barefoot.

I love vintage botanical prints and little accents like the ruffle at the bottom of this blouse. I have a large collection of vintage cardigans passed down to me from my grandmother that I love to wear year round.

I am still navigating my way through my postpartum wardrobe. I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight but am still not completely comfortable in my new skin. I am a work in progress and try to just focus on feeling good and enjoying my purpose. Most of my outfits now have to accommodate breastfeeding and therefore have to be easy to pull up or down and have to not wrinkle too easily. If something says "dry clean only", it is most likely NOT going to find a home in my closet. My goal when I get dressed in the morning is to express who I am and feel pretty and feminine while also being practical about toting around an infant and keeping up with a busy 6 year old.

So this is me. A girl who never quite got over her love affair with Kurt Cobain and all the grunge he brought with him mixed with a little Bohemian spirit.