Friday, March 22, 2013

I love Pinterest!

I absolutely love Pinterest!  I must admit that sometimes it can be overwhelming.  I have to remind myself that it's ok if every single thing I do is not "Pinterest worthy."  For someone that loves to be creative and crafty it really is a wonderful resource!  I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner so I thought I would share some of my favorite Pinterest inspired crafts as well as recipes.

I see people decorating with windows all the time on Pinterest.  We bought these old windows from a man selling them on Craigslist.  Jonathan cleaned them up a little and then we glued pictures behind them.  I love the way they turned out.  

The picture of Lydia with the crocheted Minnie Mouse hat was actually Pinterest inspired as well.  I saw a picture of a baby wearing one and my friend, Bethany's mom made one just like it! 

"Santa" made me this shelf for our living room and I just love it!    

I used several different ideas and tutorials that I found on Pinterest to make Lydia's crib bedding as well as her mobile.  

I loved the idea of putting leftover fabric in embroidery hoops on the wall.  My friend, Whitney made the adorable picture of the zebra.  This is on the wall right over the changing table and Lydia LOVES to look at it while I'm changing her diaper or getting her dressed.  

The color isn't real great in this picture, but I once again used a combination of tutorials to make the this ruffled valance for the nursery.

Now time for the fun stuff.... FOOD!  I have tried quite a few recipes off of Pinterest and most of them have been really good.  Here are a few of my favorites (all of the pictures are taken from the linked site).

I added chicken to this and it was delicious!

Use less cocoa if you don't like dark chocolate

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What do I say?????

"My friend just lost their baby.  What do I say to them?  What do I do?"  This is a post that I have been meaning to write for some time now.  I wish I didn't need to.  I wish I didn't get this question as often as I do.  Losing a baby is something that I wish nobody else ever had to experience, but we live in a fallen world.  A world in which there is sickness and death.  When someone you love loses a baby you want to help, but you may have no idea what to say or what to do.  There have been several times that I have referred people to this series by Molly Piper about how to help a grieving friend.  It was always hard for me to imagine being in a place where I would be able verbalize my own feelings about what helped me the most during my time of grief.  I remember feeling like I would always be the one needing help and that I would never be able to give advice to others, but here I am.  I miss my Isaac.  I think about him every single day and I still have my moments of sitting in my room just crying because I wish my baby boy was here.  It's different now, though.  My emotions don't overwhelm me as often.  My head isn't in a continuous state of fogginess.  I don't feel the constant pit in my stomach.  I feel like I'm ready.  Ready to help others help others (clear as mud, right?)  Some of this may be similar to what Molly talks about on her blog, but this is what I found to be the best for me.

1.  Be Sincere - This is so, so very important.  People can tell when you truly care about them and when you're just doing something because you feel like you have to or you're worried about your appearance.  They know that you may not know what to say, so just say exactly that.  Saying something like "I really wish I had the words to say right now, but nothing seems right.  Just know that I love you so much and am here for you if you need anything" can be just what the person needs to hear.  If they were able to physically hold their baby asking specific questions about that experience is a really good thing.  Your honesty and sincerity will show and your friend will feel so loved and comforted by that.

2.  Remember that each situation is different - It's true that you may have lost someone very close to you, but saying "I remember how sad I was when my dog died" is not really going to help your friend.  There are definitely instances in which sharing your own story is completely appropriate and may be very helpful, but just be aware of whether or not the time is right.  We live in such a competitive world that unfortunately I think we even try to compete when it comes to who has the sadder story.  Turning this time into one of competition is not what you want to do.  Acknowledging that their own story is unique and important will really mean a lot to them.

3.  Ask the hard questions - If this is a very close friend of yours it may be necessary to ask some really difficult questions.  For example, my friend that I mention on here often, Heather asked me one evening, about a month before Isaac was born, if I had thought about what I wanted his memorial service to be like.  It meant so much to me that she had the courage to talk to me about this.  Not only did it remind me that I probably should start thinking about these details, but it also showed that she truly cared.  A mommy wants to plan and prepare for their baby, even if it's not in the way she would have hoped for.  Heather would also frequently ask me about clothes I was taking to the hospital for Isaac to wear or when I was going to make Kadynce a "Big Sis" shirt for when he was born.  I know talking to me about these things was not easy, but by doing it she was telling me that she loved my Isaac and she loved me.  She was treating him just as she would any of my children, but not denying the fact that he was very sick and probably would not live for long.

4.  Be Positive - I realize that our specific situation was a little different in that we knew ahead of time that Isaac would probably not survive for long outside of the womb.  We made the decision very early on that we were going to approach his life with a positive attitude and find joy in this blessing that the Lord had given us.  I still really appreciate when people talk to me about Isaac in a positive manner.  I received a text from a friend the other day that said she was thinking about Isaac and it made her smile.  This absolutely made my day.  He was and is my baby and he brought me more joy than I ever thought possible.  If the family you know is making an effort to approach the situation with joy it is important to be respectful of that and to try to do the same, even if you may not understand.

5.  Don't be afraid to cry - On the flip side, one of the things that honestly meant the most to be is when people would cry with me.  Not out of pity and not out of just feeling sorry for me, but because they were truly taking on some of my pain and grief.  There are times that your friend will need someone to be strong for them and keep their composure for sure, but there are also times that they need to see that you really are hurting for them.  I'm not talking about falling apart into a sobbing mess, but just being vulnerable and real.

There are so, so many others ways that you can help those going through this time of grief.  These are some of the ones that I consider the most important and maybe something that you haven't thought of before.

Something I also wanted to say before ending this post is to never downplay your role as "friend" in a person's life.  Heather attended part of the session for those that have lost children at the Dotmom conference with me.  When she told one of the ladies that she was "just there as my friend" the sweet lady told her not to downplay that role.  I thought this was a wonderful thing to say and important to remember.  Even if the person going through a loss has a wonderful family, they need the support of their friends.  Don't just assume that because their family is there everything is taken care of emotionally and physically.  We have an AMAZING family that supported us and loved on us better than we could have ever imagined.  You know what though?  They grieve too.  I have to believe that when they know that their daughter or son has a good support system in their friends it helps their grieving process as well.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break!

In the back of my mind I knew that spring break was quickly approaching, but I kept thinking it wouldn't really effect us since we don't have any "school-age" kids. It wasn't until Miss Anne Marie announced at ballet that she would see the girls after spring break that I realized Kadynce wouldn't have school or ballet the following week. Kadynce was very quick to express her intense dislike for this so called spring break. After all, she is her mommy's daughter. She absolutely loves school and ballet. In her opinion the more opportunity she has to socialize, the better. I tried to hype up how fun it would be to spend all week with me and Lydia and I suddenly got a not so pleasant glimpse of what I picture life being like in about 10 years. Oh boy are we in for it haha. Much to my little princess's surprise we had a fun-filled week and made lots of memories along the way.

The first weekend started off with a quick visit from Aunt Susan. She was making the rounds to see family, with her final destination being Valerie's (Jonathan's younger sister) flute recital in Oklahoma City. We were so glad that she came out of her way to see us. We grilled out Friday night and Jonathan  again blew us away with his mad skills. Saturday we decided to try out Kerbey Lane Cafe for the first time. We had a delicious brunch and will definitely be going back. After Susan got back on the road that afternoon we went to Kadynce's friend, Micah's 3rd birthday party. Micah's Dad and Grandpa just built the kids an awesome play fort in the back yard and Kadynce was so proud of herself for climbing up so high to play in it.

Tuesday we went shopping with my mom. We hit up a lot of different consignment stores then had a delicious lunch at Chili's. After we ran home to get dinner in the crock pot we headed back out to the park to meet some friends. It was super crowded because all of the kids were out of school and it was an absolutely gorgeous day!

Wednesday we met Tori and Taryn at Joann's to pick out some fabric for Taryn's curtains. Then we had lunch at LaMadeliene's. Tomato Basil Soup anyone?

Jonathan took off work on Thursday and we met the Adler's at the park. We took Logan's 3 year (I can't believe that) pictures by the train track, had a picnic, and played and played. Those kids just couldn't love each other more.

After a delicious lunch at Torchy's on Friday we came home to wait for Grandma and Grandad (Jonathan's parent's) to get here. They too, like Susan, had gone to Valerie's recital and were making their way around to see everyone. We are so glad they came down to Round Rock as well. Once again we grilled out on Friday night. Yes, I take full advantage of my husband's love for grilling.

Saturday we headed out to the Star of Texas Fair. It was so much fun! Kadynce was in heaven. She got to ride a pony, pet the animals, eat a hot dog, ride carnival rides, and eat an ice cream cone. All while spending time with her grandparents. What more could a 3 year old want?

They were selling little ice cream cones with animal food in it to feed the animals.  Kadynce said she wanted one so Jonathan bought her one and handed it to her.  She immediately dumped the food out in front of a goat then proceeded take a bite out of the cone.  This picture was after we pulled it out of her mouth and promised her one that she could eat at the end of the day.

 This "donkey" was her favorite.  She insisted that's what it was because of it's "really big ears."

Saturday night we decided to go to dinner at the Oasis since Jonathan's parents had never been and the weather was perfect. The food was great and the scenery even better. I just love Austin!

It's back to the normal routine this week. Kadynce will be excited to see her friends and mommy will enjoy getting the house back in order (well, I'll enjoy it once it's done lol). I'm so thankful for the time we had with our family and friends enjoying great company and the beautiful weather during Spring Break 2013!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Favorite Vacation Spots

Today I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner for favorite family vacation spots.  I think I've mention this on here before, but growing up I can't remember a summer that we didn't take some sort of family vacation.  Sometimes it was far off and extravagant such a Disney World.  Other times is was an hour away to Six Flags and a Ranger game (I'm pretty sure my parents were the inventors of the now ever so popular "staycation").  I know it's cliche, but for us it wasn't just about the destination, but the trip as a whole.  My brother and I both looked forward to the overall experience.  McDonalds for breakfast, "Wild America" on the TV that Dad propped up in the back corner of the minivan and plugged into the cigarette lighter, and the search for the perfect hotel.  Keep in mind this was before the internet.  We had a few bad experiences with booking a hotel that sounded great, but was actually "the Roach" as my Dad would say.  My Dad then made the decision to wait until we arrived at our destination to book the hotel.  This not only allowed us to see the hotel first, but it was also great for that wonderful Cummings spontaneous gene.  Yes, the one that causes you to drive through the night to a whole different state than the one you intended on visiting.  Not that that ever happened or anything.  Don't worry usually after about the 20th hotel that we stopped at we found one that had vacancy.  (Just kidding Dad, you know I loved our adventures ;)).  Anyway, back to the point.  I am so thankful that no matter what was going on in our lives family vacation was made a priority.  I have so many wonderful and priceless memories from them.

Over the years we have visited A LOT of wonderful places, but there are a few that we found to be wonderful for the family without completely breaking the bank.  Our number one place right now is Buena Vista Colorado.  My Grandparents have a "summer" house there so we have the privilege of staying with them.  This is where we went on our first family vacation with Kadynce and we can't wait to take Lydia this summer.

Summer of 2011 we drove up to Estes Park and camped for a few days.  It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

This was last year in Cripple Creek.  I just love the history of that little old town.

The Summer of 2010 we went to Branson, Missouri.  This is one of my all time favorite vacation spots.  it's just great for any age.  Kadynce wasn't even a year old and we were able to lots of fun things to do.  We went to Silver Dollar City, Noah the Musical, and the Dixie Stampede.  She loved the Dixie Stampede and I'll always remember that she had her first real bite of chicken there.  Haha oh the things that stand out in a mommy's mind.   

Another place my family has always loved to visit is San Antonio.  This is a picture from when we took Kadynce to Sea World in May of 2011.  When we go we love to visit the River Walk and the Alamo as well.  I have also heard that they have a great Children's Museum and Zoo.  Those places are on our list for future visits.  It's so nice to only be about an hour and a half from there now.  

This is a big year for us as we have quite a bit of traveling planned.  My "baby" brother is getting married in Lubbock in July.  From there we are headed to Colorado for 2 weeks.  The first will be spent at my grandparents and the second will be at a family camp with our church.  I'm pretty sure Jonathan is counting down the days to this.  Two solid weeks in the mountains is pretty much his definition of heaven.  Then at the beginning of December we are loading up with my family and heading to Orlando.  That's right, we are sooooo excited to be taking a trip to Disney World.  I honestly don't know who is more giddy, me or Kadynce haha.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Avocado Chicken Salad

Yesterday Jonathan made the comment that he wished chicken salad could be made without mayonnaise or salad dressing.  I told him that I had seen some recipes on Pinterest that used avocado, but that I hadn't really paid attention to the specifics.  Today my ever-so-talented husband came up with the most delicious recipe for a "Mayo free" chicken salad.  I asked him what Pinterest recipe he based it off of so I could give them proper credit and he told me he didn't look at one at all.  This stuff is seriously so yummy I just couldn't resist sharing.

1 can chicken
1 avocado
1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp finely chopped pickles
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp lime juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mash all ingredients together until avocado is no longer chunky.

This is the package for the bread pictured above.  We buy it at Sprouts and it is our absolute favorite.

I topped off my chicken salad with some freshly made pico and a slice of pepper jack cheese.  Mmm, Mmm good!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

This and That

This is going to be a pretty random post full of random thoughts about our daily happenings.  It's so funny how to me how one day can be so different from the next.  Monday was one of those days where you feel like you can't catch your breath.  It wasn't that anything bad happened, it was just one of those days.  I felt like the whole day was either spent trying to get Lydia to nap or cutting vegetables (I told you this post was going to be random lol).  When I left for bible study at the end of the day I felt that all I had managed to do was feed my family.  I know that's important, but so is clean underwear...

I took this picture after I finally got Lydia to sleep in her crib.  Yeah, that only lasted 20 minutes...

After bible study I headed to Starbucks for our weekly coffee.  I had a feeling that I might be the only one there because I knew several of the other ladies were busy.  I was right, but it was so nice to just sit in the quiet and enjoy my coffee and this great book "Sparkly Green Earrings."  I am about 3/4 of the way through it so far and I would highly recommend it.  The author, Melanie Shankle (aka Big Mama) was one of the emcees at the DotMom conference two weeks  ago.  She is hilarious!

Tuesday was a complete polar opposite of Monday.  Kadynce went to school and I watched my sweet friend, Valerie's little girls so she could go to a meeting.  It was one of those rare days that by the afternoon the house was picked up, carpet was vacuumed, dishes were done, laundry was washed and folded, both girls were napping, and dinner was in the crock pot.  Oh and not to mention Downton Abbey was on TV.  It was bliss for this mommy and I tried to savor every moment because I knew it may be many, many days before the stars decide to align in that way again haha.  Anyway, I'm just thankful for the Lord's new mercies each day.  You never know what adventure the day will hold (or how much patience you're going to need).

This is a picture of Kadynce and Bella before ballet this morning.  I know it's blurry, but I really liked it.  Kadynce has just recently taken a big interest in helping care for Bella and it's so sweet.  When we come in the house from the garage she gets on the floor and holds Bella back from running into the garage.  Not too long ago Bella would have taken great offense to that because, after all she is the boss.   I think she actually likes Kadynce giving her the extra attention now (obviously somebody needs to, I mean just look at her hair haha).

Last random thought of the day... Why do people have to be so mean?  When I was turning into the parking lot at ballet this morning the man behind me laid on his horn and then proceeded to give me a not-so-nice hand gesture and I'm not really even sure why.  I know I'm not the best driver and a lot of times I do dumb things, but all I was doing was turning left from a little two lane road.  I know I shouldn't let it, but it seriously hurt my feelings.  Then, not even 10 minutes later one of my best friends calls me close to tears because of the rude and unthoughtful things people have been saying to her.  I just don't get it.  In the extremely wise words from the movie "Bambi" "If you don't have something nice to day, don't say anything at all."  Ok end of soapbox :)

I hope you all have a wonderful day!  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blessed By Trisomy

It's been almost two years since we found out that we had been "blessed by trisomy." Although my first reaction was not necessarily to consider myself blessed, I soon learned how deeply blessed I truly was. I remember when we were told that there was a strong possibility that Isaac had Down Syndrome Heather said "well, we will just love every little extra chromosome that this baby has." He did indeed have an extra chromosome and we did in fact, and still do love every single one. I don't think it was a coincidence that we learned first hand about Trisomy 13 in March, Trisomy awareness month. So, memory of Isaac and in honor of this month Jonathan designed the below shirt. He is working on a men's version that I will post soon. $15 covers that cost of the shirt plus shipping. If you would like to donate more, proceeds will go to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, an organization that has meant so much to us.