Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Inspiration & Realisation? You rock my socks.

Have you heard of Inspiration & Realisation? It's one of the blogs that I faithfully stalk. Donatella (LOVE that name!) is such a sweetheart, and always comments on whatever crap I post. Buddies like that in blog land are awesome. 

On her blog, you'll find a TON of fabulous knock offs of clothing and jewelry designer pieces. Who wants to spend $200 on a shirt, when Donatella will show you how to make one for under $10? There's a ton of DIY's on there like that. 

Want to see some of my favorites? 

Donatella knocked off a Phillip Lim necklace and makes the tutorial look super easy. I heart this necklace, I want Santa to put it under my Christmas tree.

And I want one of these in my Christmas stocking. How fabulous would this be in turquoise and red?

And how about these? She took an ulgy $4 pair of capris, chopped them and added some grommets, and voila! So fabulous I want to go steal them from her.

And this, where she saw a shirt on Project Runway, and made a version for herself?

Donatella just hit 500 followers not long ago, congrats, chick! And she's promised to start doing some great giveaways (which I totally plan on winning). Go check her out, you won't regret it. She's awesomesauce.

You've been featured, Donatella, grab a button a shout it to the world. You officially rock. 

Life, Crafts and Whatever



Monday, August 29, 2011

Totino's pizza winner!

Woot! Another giveaway has ended, and we have a winner! 

And that makes the winner....


Congrats Jessica! You entered in every way possible, and it paid off, chick! I'm off to email ya!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Highs and Lows 8-28

It's time for Highs and Lows. Pretty simple. Share the highs and lows of your week.

Life, Crafts and Whatever


  • I was asked to model for a make up school on Friday, it was supposed to be from 12-6. I showed up at 11:45, and the instructor didn't even greet me, just looked at me and continued to talk to his 5 students. Other models showed up around noon, and we were assigned to each make up artist. By then, it was 12:30. The instructor then brought in food for his students (and none for the models, which I thought was completely rude) and the artists then stopped talking to us to eat lunch. Seriously? I mean, you guys started school at 9, eat before we get there. By the time the artists started on our make up, it was 2pm. They were supposed to do 3 looks for their portfolio, which would give them 2 hours per make up look. So the first look was done by 4pm, photos taken, make up removed and move on to the next artist. I let the instructor know that I had to leave by 6, and he acted really put out. Second look done, photos taken, and I get ready to leave. We were promised a make up gift bag as a thank you gift, which I had to ask for (glad I did, since it had 4 MAC eyeshadow pigments in there). 
I just found it really unprofessional. Noon start time should mean noon start time. I'm not getting paid for this, and if I'm scheduled to be there from 12-6, don't get pissy that I'm not willing to stay until 9pm for free. I have other stuff to do. You want to pay me to be there? Rock on. Not paying me? Sorry, I'm not hanging out there for 9-10 hours cause you can't get your act together. I act like a professional, I expect you to do the same.


Ava officially said her first word, "dog". She says it every time she sees him, so I'm counting that as a word. She also calls our parrot that too, LOL.

  • Had a couple of really great dates with my husband. One on Friday night, we went to Outback Steakhouse when the girls stayed the night at my mom's. Then we went to 5 Guys for lunch on Saturday before we picked them up. I'm starting the Dub Lane Kettlebell Fitness Challenge on September 5th, so we're cutting down on eating out.
  • Went to a friends house for lunch after church. Love you Erin! Our other friend Jenny came over too, it was great conversation, and all the kids get along.

Got a new haircut, which I totally love. I've been stopped constantly while I'm out, strangers are telling me that they love it and wish they could rock it.

  • While talking to my hair stylist, she was talking about adoption, and how her family sponsors two kids through Compassion for $38 a month each. Hubby and I have been talking about doing it for forever, but then life happens and we forget. We decided to get online right then and sign up. We are now the proud sponsors of Maira, a 7 year old girl from Rwanda, and Dimas, a 4 year old boy from Indonesia. We just browsed through the kids who have been waiting the longest, and waited till we found two kids that felt right to us. We're still waiting on our packets from Compassion about our kids, but we are excited. Life is always going to be expensive, but I feel like there is more we can be doing. People are so amazing to us with all of Ava's issues, I feel like it's time we give something back.
  • Started working on a care packet for the Johnson family. Nothing too crazy (I know we're all tight on money). Just some headbands for the girls in their favorite colors, and a book for Owen. I want to get him something else, but I don't know what. I don't know, I just feel compelled to do something. I want to say I can't imagine what they're going thru, but I also know that most people would say that they can't imagine their 12 month old having her 7th surgery, but that's what I just went thru with Ava. Such is life, right?
  • A fabulous photographer I know named Jill dropped off some clothes that her girls had outgrown. And when I say "some" clothes, I mean "all clothes ever made in existence". Seriously, like, around 100 pieces of clothing, all super nice stuff. My girls were so excited. Jasmin kept asking me if she could wear the furry Christmas dress to school, LOL. That girl loves her dresses.

Both girls started school last Monday, and they both love their teachers. They both ride their bikes to and from school, a bunch of the neighborhood kids ride together, it's like a little bike gang, LOL. 


Friday, August 26, 2011

New Do! Again.

So, I got my hair cut a month or so ago. I've been rocking a bob since forever. A photo of an "edgy pixie" in Cosmo (or Glamour?) made me decide to chop it. After getting a horrible haircut at Jour Salon in Rockwall (shame on me for being over anxious and not waiting for my normal stylist) my awesome fabulous stylist, Holly Green (HIGHLY recommend her if you're near the Rockwall area) fixed it. 


BUT, I've been cursed blessed with hair that grows too fast. So after a month, it got too long to spike, or I'd have some weird part thing in the back, and I ended up with the dreaded "mom" hair. Never mind the fact that I look super tired in this photo, yuck.


It took me a minute to get used to the short hair, but I freaking LOVE it now. So easy to style, doesn't take me an hour to blow dry and straighten it. I can be out of the shower and done in 15 minutes. It does take some confidence to rock it though, there's no hair to hide behind.

So I knew that I wanted to get it cut short again. But what to do? I kept seeing these photos EVERYWHERE, I guess you'd call it a mohawk? I don't know, the sides aren't shaved close, is that still a mohawk?

So yesterday, I had my haircut appt, and now I am rocking this do. 


I freaking LOVE it. I'm going to let the top grow out a little bit more, but I'm super excited about it. I can style it up and crazy, or brushed down over my forehead, or tousled and messy. Thanks Holly!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Soap scum? How I hate thee.

My friend Megan (like, real life friend, I've known her since I was 15) pinned this the other day, and I gave it a try today. 

"Remove obstinate soap buildup from glass shower doors by sprinkling a few drops of water onto a used fabric-softener sheet and scrubbing."

I'm actually surprised to say it works. It's not "just bought the house" super sparkling clean, but it did make a difference. Rubbing in circles worked a lot better than up and down.

Now, every now and then (probably not often enough if you asked my OCD clean freak husband), I'll decide that the soap scum is pissing me off, and I'll attack it with Kaboom and a scrub pad. But, it's still not as clear and clean like when we first moved in. 

Granted, we have more glass than a normal shower door. Plus, the shower door is right next to two bigger windows (hello neighbors!), so the sunlight really highlights the soap scum. Yuck. 

PLUS, we have really hard water, so I have hard water stains. Hmmmm. I wonder if I'm buying products to fight soap scum, when hard water stains are my problem. 

Before I go out and buy the entire cleaning aisle at Walmart, what works in your home for banishing soap scum/hard water stains?


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Highs and Lows, 2 weeks worth

So, this week's highs and lows will be longer than normal. I didn't do an official one last week, since my kid decided to try and die and all.

Life, Crafts and Whatever

I normally do highs first, and then lows. But a couple of people that link up do their lows first so they can end on the highs. I dig that idea, so I'm totally going to jack it.


  • You know, the whole Ava almost dying thing. I joke about it because it's how I deal with stress. Not that I take any of it lightly, it's just a sanity, self preservation thing. 
  • You know that 6 days we stayed in the hospital with Ava? Apparently there was a bottle in my purse (that I use as a diaper bag) and it leaked. I didn't realize it until I was at Old Navy on Friday with my bestie Candace, and I couldn't get away from the smell of spoiled milk. Umm, yeah, that was totally emanating from my purse. Jessica Simpson awesome pink purse? Ruined. Febreeze is useless. And yeah, those Febreeze commercials where they show the people sitting in a old, flooded junky house, and they can't smell anything bad? Apparently there isn't spoiled milk there in those old houses, cause I can't get rid of the smell. 
  • The thought of another large hospital bill makes the back of my throat close up. We're still paying off the bill from Ava's RSV hospital stay from a few months ago. And that one was just 3 days and no surgeries and 6 billion xrays. And with our pathetic excuse for insurance, it just makes my head hurt. But, it's only money, right?  

  • Ava didn't die. Biggest. High. EVER. The emergency surgery was a success, and she's pooping like there is no tomorrow. She's finally back to eating normally, smiling, etc. 
  • Had a little surprise birthday party for my father in law. Originally planned on doing it the day after Ava's party, and I had a few things planned, but with Ava's hospital stay, we had to move it to the hospital. But he was surprised, and from what I can tell, loved the pillow I made for him. 


I have been absolutely obsessed with these shoes since I first saw them a few months back. I found them for $24 with free shipping. Score.

I found a show that I am utterly, completely, head over heels OBSESSED with. It's a UK show called Misfits. It's about a group of kids on community service who get struck by lightening and have super powers. There are two seasons out now, most of which you can watch on Hulu. Season 3 doesn't come out until November, eek. Warning: lots of cursing and sex, but the epic awesomeness cancels those out. I want to find someone who can screenprint or something, I have to have that picture on a shirt. Like, now. 

  • Kinda goes along with the whole Ava not dying thing. But sometimes it takes something huge to remind you how blessed you are with the friends you surround yourself with. Our friends were INVALUABLE. My girlfriends Candace and Christy watched my older girls so Jake and I could be at the hospital together. Julie drove over to Dallas (twice!) to keep me company and bring my girls Happy Meals and coloring books. Other friends brought foods to keep us awake, like Cherry Coke, Dr Pepper, chocolate, homemade cupcakes, energy drinks. Seriously, it made a horrible situation just a little bit easier.  

  •  I scored some awesome earrings at Old Navy for $2 a piece. Booyah. I love long dangly earrings, especially with my hair being short.

Speaking of short hair, I'm going to go shorter. I love her hair. I just stinkin' got mine cut, and it's already too long to spike, so it's bordering on "mom" hair. I've been cursed blessed with hair that grows super fast, so having short hair is always a challenge. But it's just hair, and I figure, I may not have short hair again, might as well have fun with it while I'm still young enough to pull it off.

  • Got the pic back from a shoot that I had a month or so ago. I wasn't sure I liked the proofs (first shoot with short hair and I wasn't confident in it yet) but I freaking LOVE the final, edited pic that the photographer sent me. Those of you on my personal page friends list know what I'm talking about. 
  • Ava's party had to be rescheduled (she was actually having surgery on the day that she was supposed to have her party) so now it's on the 3rd. We're doing a photobooth, hubby designed an awesome background for it. But the printer went down and it wasn't going to be fixed until the Monday after her party. So I was going to have to go with my backup plan and get some fabric. Since her party got rescheduled, we'll be able to use the one he designed. 
  • This one is a mixed high and low, soon to be high again. My mom said that I could pick out a purse as an early Christmas gift since mine is possibly ruined. So we went to Macy's, and I found an adorable Nine West purse for just under a bill. The lady checking out ahead of us had a 20% off coupon, and my mom, Ms Thrifty herself, asked her if we could use it too, and the lady gave us an extra one that she had. So the purse came out to $78. Score. I love it. Came home to do this post and add a pic, and found the exact same purse on the Nine West website for $35, AND I found a coupon for free shipping. So I will be returning the one she bought me today, and ordering the cheaper one. So high, turned low, turned high when it arrives.

  • I went up to Kohl's yesterday to find some shorts for my 8 year old (had no luck since all the shorts I found were prosti-tot length.) But on the way up there, my mom called me and said to go spend $50 on each girl on school clothes from her. The girls were able to get some cute stuff, I let them pick out clothes that cost more than I'd normally spend on each piece. But I figure, I already did most of their clothes shopping, so this was an added bonus. I spent $100.58 and got $20 in Kohls cash back. Woot. 

I won a $100 gift card to Target over at DIY showoff. So those $40 owl lamps that I've been eyeing for my bedroom? Oh yes, you will be mine.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Totino's pizza? Giveaway? Yes please!

Do you know what box tops are? And I know you know what Totino's pizza is. 

 Have you heard about the Totino's "Learn a Ton When School is Fun" sweepstakes?

This school year, Totino’s® is giving away one million Bonus Box Tops (equivalent to $100,000) to help bring fun ideas to life both inside and outside of the classroom, through the "Learn a Ton when School is Fun" sweepstakes! This school year, four participating schools in the Box Tops for Education (BTFE) program will each win 250,000 Bonus Box Tops, equivalent to $25,000, from Totino’s to help fund a fun project at their school. Visit www.BTFE.com/Totinos to view official sweepstakes rules.

You can start (or continue) to earn cash for your kid’s school by collecting Box Tops coupons from hundreds of products, including Totino’s!

AND, this back-to-school season, Totino’s® Party Pizza® and Pizza Rolls® Snacks will feature double Box Tops on select varieties, to help you earn even more for your kid’s school!

Want a head start on collecting those box tops? Want some extra goodies? Totino's sent me some awesome goodies, and coupons for free Totino's, and they'll send a lucky winner the same goodies too! 

Want to know what you'd be getting? 

a Brain Quest Smart! Game
Micro Rubik’s® Cube Key Holder
a draw string backpack
coupon for a free package of Totino’s Pizza Rolls Snacks, 
coupon for a free package of Totino’s Party Pizza
coupon for a free package of new Totino’s Pizza Stuffers.

Wanna win?

Required entry: Let me know that you're a follower (cause you have to be to win) and let me know if you're a box tops collector. If you're not, that's okay, I'm not either.

Want more ways to enter?

Follow me on FB

Blog/tweet/facebook about this giveaway, leave me the link (one entry for each)

Giveaway ends next Saturday night!

"Disclosure: The information and prize pack has been provided by Totino’s through MyBlogSpark."


Friday, August 19, 2011

6 boxes of Kix giveaway winner!

The winner of the Kix cereal giveaway is...


Congrats Karina! I'll be sending you an email! Thanks to all of you who entered!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Yes friends. After 6 days in the hospital, my Ava Grace was discharged last night. The dr came in at 3:30, and said that Ava was doing well, she was eating and had great bowel sounds, and there was nothing that they could do there that we couldn't do at home. 

She said she needed to get the surgeon to come up to remove the tube in Ava's chest, and I asked her if it was going to happen before 4pm. An amazing lady named Christy was watching my girls, and I told her that I would pick them up at 5. Her husband works with my husband, and I hate the idea of watching my kids was going to interfere with family time when her husband gets home at 5:15. The dr said she'd find out and let us know. 

The surgeon comes in at 3:40 (yay for small favors, at least we weren't waiting around for 7 hours for him like the day before) and pulled out her tube. Ava of course was upset and screaming, I hate those parts. We were told that she needed to stay there an hour to watch for bleeding, so I texted Christy and she said it was fine for the girls to stay. I was extremely thankful, because if they couldn't, then I'd have to drive 40 minutes to go pick them up, and then 40 minutes back to pick up Jake and Ava, and then 40 minutes to go home.

So right at 4:40, after changing the gauze since she was still bleeding a bit, we signed the papers and we able to go home. Ava fell right asleep in the car. We got home, hubby made grilled chicken and green beans (SO sick of eating out), Ava went to bed at 7pm, and I went to bed at 8pm. 

I'll tell you this now that it's all over. There was a part of me that was convinced that somehow this was my fault. Not that I can cause her to have adhesions from her gastroschisis. But when she was trying to throw up, and they said her bowels were obstructed. I was convinced that I did something wrong, and that's why she was in pain. Like I didn't vacuum enough, or she ate too many dust bunnies or a Polly Pocket dress, or something. It wasn't until after surgery, and her surgeon said it was adhesions related to her gastroschisis, that I finally stopped blaming myself. So not only was I dealing with the stress of almost losing my daughter, I was internally beating myself up, thinking it was my fault. Seems silly now, maybe it's a mom thing. You always just want to keep your kids out of harm and pain, and you feel so helpless when you can't. 

Thank you for your prayers, the emails and comments there were far too numerous for me to reply back to all.

We had friends that kept us company in the surgery waiting room, had people come up to stop by for a short visit and bring candy, drinks, cupcakes, gas gift cards, presents for Ava. Girlfriends who watched my older kids so we could focus on Ava. All of those things made a horrible situation just a little bit easier.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day six and done?

Today is shaping up to be a good day! It's day six, and hopefully we will be able to go home tonight. I don't want to get too excited, but I'm still optimistic. 

Ava had the Torodol pain medicine yesterday, and then switched to Tylenol, and now she's pain med free! Yesterday I felt her tummy rumbling, and then she pooped! Which is an amazing thing for a baby that had an obstruction in her bowels. She pooped two more times yesterday. Nothing huge, since she hasn't eaten since Thursday night, but it still was wonderful to see. She started acting like her normal self. Smiling, clapping, talking, cheesing. It was wonderful to have her back. 

Yesterday was a day that tested my patience though. Ava pooped at 10:30, and the surgeon said to call him when it happened so we could proceed. He didn't call back until 7:30, which seemed like forever. But I kept telling myself that he was probably saving the life of someone else's baby, so not being a emergency was a good thing. But when he did call, he said that they could remove the ng tube and give her pedialyte. She was really excited to see the bottle, but kept pushing it away when she realized that it was water. She's never been a big water drinking so it didn't surprise me.

She had a great night, went to bed at 8:30, slept until 3:20. Then after her vitals check, slept until 7:30. She of course, slept in bed with me. It's funny, when it's my husband's turn to stay here, she'll sleep in her crib. But with mommy? No way. She would even start to scream when I would get up to use the restroom and the nurse was standing there watching her. She said that Ava is really sensitive to where I'm at. It's nice to feel needed though. 

So the dr came and looked at her this morning. Said that since Ava wasn't digging the water, that we could go ahead and try formula, so I called Jake and had him bring some. Ava was super excited to see that bottle, and chugged the whole thing. We have to start slowly though, so it's just 1.5 ounces every 3 hours to make sure she can handle it. Plus she pooped again this morning, the biggest (and smelliest, yuck) one yet, which is awesome. The dr said that if all goes well that we can go home tonight! It's so hard not to get over excited. 

Thank you again for your continued prayers, it's been the longest week in history. 



Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 4 in the land that time forgot.

Day four in the land that time forgot. I think that's the most fitting way to describe a hospital. 

This morning was BAD. Probably one of the worst mornings of my life. Ava didn't sleep at all last night. The dr took her off Toradol (a pain med) since it's an aspirin and she needed a blood transfusion yesterday. He put her back on the morphine, but on a continuous drip with a push button for an added boost if needed. The morphine was making her really itchy, she was rubbing her eyes so hard that she was breaking the skin around it. Plus, every time she would rub her eyes, she'd bump the tube in her nose, and a couple of times, almost pull it out. 

She could have benadryl every 6 hours, but it was wearing off in 5 hours, so I would have to deal with trying to hold her hands down for an hour until she could have it again. The dr decided to try another pain med (in the same family as morphine) and Ava had a really bad reaction to it. She was writhing on the bed, clawing at her face, her heart rate was shooting up and her oxygen levels were dropping. I called my husband to see where he was at (we alternate nights that we stay with her) and he was pulling into the parking lot. He pulled right up front, hopped out and let my father in law go park the car. 

The dr decided that Ava had such a bad reaction to it that they didn't want to give her any other meds until it had worn off. At this point, it was 9:15, so she said we had to wait until 11 to give her something else. Plus, with her oxygen levels dropping, they didn't want to give her any more benadryl since it's a sedative. So for almost 2 hours, my husband, father in law and I had to take turns holding down Ava's arms, trying to keep her from moving too much (she did just have abdominal surgery) and listen to her cry out in distress. It was fucking awful. Sorry, that's the only way I can describe it. 

She started to settle down, and the nurse got the okay to put her back on the toradol and benadryl. So Ava had those at 11:15. She still seemed really antsy and wouldn't sleep (even though she had been up since 7pm the night before) so my father in law suggested that maybe Ava was bored. We got some toys for her and she started to play with them. I did have to hold her up in a sitting position, but it was so wonderful to watch her be "normal" again. 

So right now it's just after 2pm, and she finally fell asleep. Jake did have to get the nurse to shut off an alarm (Ava had a lead attached to the wrong place on her chest) and I told the nurse that if anyone came in and woke her up, that I might have to kill them. Not even joking. 

So that's where we are, folks. Thank you for the continued prayers. I apologize that I can't personally write back each and every one of you who has commented and emailed me personally. But know that I appreciate it, so much. 

So, we're still waiting on poop before they can feed her. They're not hearing bowel sounds yet, but the morphine does slow down the bowel (another good reason to take her off it). The hemotologist just came by and said that Ava's blood levels are better, not perfect but on the low end of normal. At this point, I'll take it. 

I get to go home and sleep tonight, hoping hubby and Ava has a good night sleep. The support of our friends has been amazing. Food, gas gift cards, drinks, magazines, toys for Ava. As much as I'm hurting right now, I still have a lot of blessings to count. 


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Highs and Lows, kinda

Thank you to all of you who sent us your prayers yesterday. Since you're praying for us, I thought it only fitting to update you.

Ava's surgery went well. The surgeon said she had a lot of adhesions in her intestines that he had to remove. She was fine in the recovery room, woke up a few times, but nothing too bad. But when we got back to her room, Ava was really uncomfortable, kept writhing on the bed, crying, whining, etc. Even at one point, sat up in the bed and flung herself over. All of which is not normal after a surgery. We kept telling the nurses that she needed more pain meds, but they kept saying that she's had what they can give her. The charge nurse came in and tried to tell me that this was normal, and I told her that this isn't Ava's first surgery. It's her SEVENTH. I know what the hell is normal for my daughter and what isn't. They finally called the surgeon, and got the okay for extra pain medicine. 

I understand that nurses don't have the power that doctors do. But I also know my daugher, and I'll walk thru fire for her. Which means that I'm not going to stand there and say okay when she's in pain. Tough shit, lady. You're dealing with a momma bear.

So the up her pain meds, and give her a different kind. My father and law and I left for home at 6pm, after hubby and I took the girls out to a mexican restaurant. He said that we needed to get out and clear our heads and it was really nice to do so.

So now I'm sitting here while Ava sleeps in my lap. I'm pretty sure I should just put on a diaper. The only time I put her down, she got really distressed and it just wasn't worth it.

So since I'm asking for your prayers, let me show you what you're praying for.

Happy girl during the day on Thursday.

Friday morning at 5am, after being up all night. Crazy how fast things change.

Still waiting in the ER to get admitted.

After the IV and ng tube were inserted.

Saturday morning at 5am, before her surgery at 8:30. At this point, I had been awake for 48 hours with only 5 hours of sleep

Waiting to get wheeled down to surgery.

After they gave her the valium to relax. I know she's only smiling because of the drugs, but it's the first smiles we'd seen in days. Drug induced or not, we were over joyed to see them.

Our awesome friends came to see us and brought us an entire convenience store :) Cherry Coke, Dr Pepper, candy, sea salt and vinegar chips, energy drinks. Everything you need to stay up for days on end.

Me and my father in law with Ava, Sunday morning.

So that's the updates. Waiting on a blood transfusion since her white blood cells and platelets are low. No clue how long we'll be here, a week at best? No idea. Thank GOD our wonderful friends are going to be watching the older girls Tuesday-Friday during the day so Jake and I can be up here together. Then we'll alternate nights. We learned with Ava's RSV that there is no sense in both of us being sleep deprived.

So thank you for your continued prayers for Ava. She just had her seventh surgery. Like, 7. And she just turned one last Wednesday. I know some people who haven't had that many surgeries in their entire lives.

So that's my version of highs and lows today. Everything else that I could bitch or brag about just seems so petty at this point.