Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favorites: All About CARTER!

For this edition of Friday Favorites, I'm focusing on my sweet and handsome little man! (Sorry girl moms...this one's for the boy!)

1) Our Discovery of Paw Patrol

Praise the sweet baby Jesus, our Caillou phase is OVER! Gone are the days of the whiny bald (seriously, why IS he bald at age 4?!!) kid, and welcome are the days of the sweet and heroic band of rescue pups! Hallelujah! This show is SO sweet...even little Kate gets excited for "Paw Papole" :) If you haven't watched it with your toddler yet, check it out! You can find it on Nick, Jr.

2) His Current Obsession with Basketball

We were in Dick's Sporting Goods one day, and Carter found a Texas Tech (ahem, excuse me while I vomit) basketball, and he proceeded to beg for it because it had "Daddy's team" on it. I gave in, and this kid is DETERMINED to learn how to dribble. This dumb $14 basketball occupies him ALL DAY LONG. We moved our indoor goal outside to the driveway, and he will spend a good 30 minutes out there by himself shooting hoops. And my favorite part is that every time he scores, he jumps up and down and yells, "Two points!" Bless him.

3) His Insistance on Doing Anything I Ask "Because I Love You"

Lately, if I ask him to come sit with me on the couch or watch a movie with me or play trucks with me or do just about ANYTHING with me, he agrees with a big smile, and then (be still my heart) he says, "Sure, Mommy, I'll (sit with you/play with you/whatever I ask) because I love you." I have NO CLUE where he learned that, but it NEVER gets old. This guy's a keeper.

4) He's Regressing

Lately, he's been asking for things using Kate-speak. If he wants me to open something, he'll bring it to me and imitate his sister by saying, "opa, opa" or doing the sign language for please. I make him repeat it using big-kid language since he's almost four, but MAN, it cracks me up! Oh, and he's been throwing tantrums again...probably because she is. That part is definitely NOT on the favorites list.

5) Little Critter Books

His favorite book series right now is Little Critter, and it just makes my heart happy because I LOVED those books growing up as a kid, too. (And it doesn't hurt that they are pretty quick reads at bedtime!) We have a few that were Blake's that his mom passed down, and those are Carter's favorite..."because Daddy read these books when he was a kid." :)

6) His Newfound Love of Performing

This is a new one that really only happens in the privacy of our home with no audience, but I LOVE watching this kid rock out into his Bubble Guppies microphone and dance. He's got some KILLER moves...including the most amazing little leg twist/kick thing. Cracks. Me. Up.

Couldn't love this little man more if I tried! Happy weekend, friends!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

In honor of NEDA Week...

In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I wanted to take a few minutes and share a little bit of my heart for anyone who is struggling or knows someone struggling with disordered eating. If you don't know my past, I shared my story in depth a few months ago, so I hope it encourages you if you've not already read it. If you find yourself struggling with body image or disordered eating, let me encourage you that there IS hope for recovery from this addiction. You can find my recovery story HERE.

When someone struggles with an eating disorder, EVERYONE around that person is affected - friends, siblings, parents, co-workers - so, today, I want to take a different perspective. Today, I want to share a few things that friends and family can do to help and support someone who may be engaging in these unhealthy behaviors. Often times, it is very confusing and frustrating to know what to do or what to say when you see someone walking a dangerous path like anorexia or bulimia. I am hoping that I can help you navigate those waters if you are concerned for a friend or family member today. To make it easier to navigate, I'm going to give you a few DOS and DON'TS.

(DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nor am I a medical professional. I am simply sharing my own experiences in the hopes that it might help someone break free from the cycle of disordered eating.)

First and foremost, know that this disease is NOT about food. People used to tell me all the time when I was struggling to "just eat a cheeseburger already!" OH, if only it was that simple! The eating (or lack thereof) is a symptom of a problem that is MUCH deeper than food. These diseases are incredibly complex, and while developing a healthy relationship with food is a necessary part of recovery, leave that part to the professionals. Cheeseburgers (while tasty) are not the solution.

When someone is struggling with an eating disorder, it is a very isolating experience. The disease tends to take over so much of his or her time and focus that relationships often suffer because of it. Friends do not really know what to say to the person or how to handle their new behaviors. The best thing you can do is simply be there for her. Talk with the person about school, family, relationships, sports, or, heck, reality television if that's what they're into. It doesn't matter how you support her. The bottom line - try to be a friend. He or she needs one now more than ever.

 Do not google, Wikipedia, or WebMD treatment options for a friend. There is a reason that this disease requires treatment from medically-trained professionals. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder are not offer your own personal treatment plan. Leave it to the people who understand what they're doing. 

Let your friend know that you are there to listen if she needs to talk...but leave the initiation of the conversation up to her. If there is one thing I know for sure, it's that recovery is not possible until the struggling person is ready to ask for help. I spent many years fighting off people who thought they could "cure" my eating disorder. It wasn't until I made the decision and committed myself to treatment that things began to turn around.

Nothing feeds the demon more than a comment on someone's changing body size. I completely understand that it can tend to be an "elephant in the room" - but trust me when I tell you that a comment on her changing weight, baggy clothes, or protruding cheekbones can drive a friend to engage with the disease even deeper. Nothing encouraged me further in my quest for perfection than someone telling me that I looked "sickly" or "bony" or that my pants were about fall off me. However, if you do feel the need to express concern...

If you truly feel that your friend's life or health is in serious danger, and you feel the need to express concern, use "I" statements. Start a conversation by stating, "I am worried about you." Use factual statements such as, "I have seen you avoiding lunch lately." Or simply say, "I miss you. I would love to talk about what's been going on in your life lately." Accusations, threats, and blaming do not help the situation.

And last, but not least, if you are a spiritual person, pray for your friend. Encourage her to attend church and social events with you. Keep including her, even if it gets hard because she seems a million miles away. Keep in mind that this disease, while frightening and deadly, CAN be treated. It may take some time and hard work, but you WILL (God-willing) get your friend back one day, and you will regret the loss of that friendship if you abandon her now.

Eating disorders are HARD...but it IS POSSIBLE to overcome them with the proper treatment, a support system, and a little hope.

For more information on eating disorders, visit:    

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favorites: "Beauty" Edition

TGIF friends!!!

I don't know about you, but I am SO ready for the weekend, and I am so excited for another Friday Favorites! This week, I'm focusing on "beauty" products. (Those that know me well are laughing...I'm not exactly known for my make-up and beauty secrets...) 

First, let me explain the quotes around "beauty." To be honest, I couldn't find a good catch-all term for what I'm showing you today other than the fact that they are all in the bathroom...and I really didn't want to call my post the bathroom edition. So, "beauty" it is. Let's go.

I got quite a few comments last week on the leave-in conditioner I listed that is a major lifesaver for Kate. (The struggle is real, girl moms.) What I didn't share was the second half of our stress-free hair routine: the wet brush. My amazing hair stylist, Jo, was talking with me about Kate's hair (because it's insane), and she mentioned this to me as something that she used with younger clients. When I happened to spot a tiny sample-size one at Babies R'Us a few weeks ago, I thought I'd give it a shot. Cue singing choirs of angels. Game changer. No lie. I have no clue why it works, but I'm a believer. I bought the large one for myself!

2) eos lip balm
These have been around for a while, so this one is probably not news to anyone, but I was so curious about these absurdly large bulbs of lip balm I kept seeing at the Target check-out, so I threw one in the cart. It's pink, it smells amazing, there's no rolling it up and down, no tiny top to lose, it's organic (if you're granola like that), and it makes your lips feel amazing. Worth the extra buck for the good stuff during these cold winter months.

3) Olay Regenerist Cleanser

So, for those of you that don't know me personally, I turned 30 this summer. Up until that day, I didn't wash my face. No, really. (This is why my friends will laugh wildly at the fact that I'm doing a beauty post.) I took my makeup off at the end of the day with hot water on a rag, but that was truly my whole "routine." Well, I turned 30, my second baby turned 1 the following week, and I noticed lines on my forehead the week after that. OUCH. Triple whammy. So, after I cried and drowned my sorrows in guacamole, I went to the drug store, and I swallowed my pride. I came across this product, cried again at the fact that I was purchasing an "anti-aging" cleanser, and brought it home. I got the courage to try it a few days later, and after just one wash, my skin felt noticeably smoother. It has these amazing little beads in there that exfoliate your skin, and it feels instantly healthier. I am now proud to say that I am a daily cleanser who is CONSIDERING a moisturizer. (I know, I know. Baby steps.)

4)OPI Hey Baby

How precious is that name?!! This bright pink is so perfect for the season right now. It is a little Valentine's Day, a little spring, just right for mid-February. (Although it's really fun for summer, too.) It has quite a pop and lasts FOREVER if you do a topcoat over it.  

5) The Scale...Or Not...Whatever.

Ok, truth, I don't own a functioning scale. BUT, this was too funny not to share! My love affair with Tex-Mex runs DEEP, and this just cracked me up. :) 

And, of course, I leave you with some preciousness...because I can. And just to keep it on topic, this was a special night where we let the kids bathe in our big tub. 
Happy weekend!!! :)
Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Show & Tell Tuesday: How We Got Engaged

I'm linking up with Momfessionals again today to share for Show and Tell Tuesdays! I am excited to read today's posts because who doesn't just LOVE a sweet love story?!! This week's topic is on how you met or got engaged to your spouse, and since our story about how we met isn't super exciting (mutual friend at happy hour), I am going to share our engagement today.

The story really begins after just six months of dating when, unbeknownst to me, Blake had asked for my parents' permission to propose in February of 2009. He knew we needed to secure a date with the church WAY in advance because I was a teacher at the time and had to get married during the summer, and on top of that, I wanted to get married at basically the most in-demand church in Dallas, Highland Park United Methodist. So, after a mere six months, my parents gave him their blessing and they secured June 19, 2010 as our wedding date. (Note to future son-in-law...we most likely will NOT give a blessing that quickly. Now thinking as a parent, that was SO fast!)

Flash forward to May, and he went on a family vacation with me and my parents out to LA to visit my brother, Stewart, and his wife, Gillean, for Memorial Day. The trip was going very smoothly, and Blake had decided to propose on Saturday night when we all had reservations at the Chart House, a beautiful restaurant in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean. My parents were in on it, but my brother and sister-in-law were not, and he was planning to surprise them. 

That morning, we took a bike ride through Santa Monica where Stewart decided we should pull a prank on my parents and started devising a plan. Gillean and Stewart are MAJOR schemers and love pulling jokes on people, so as we rode down the bike path, he started convincing me and Blake to have a very serious (and loud) pretend fight and break up at dinner that night. I played along and thought the plan sounded hilarious, but looking back, I remember Blake being very ambivalent and almost irritated at the whole idea of a prank. We concocted a whole story, and I clearly remember Blake simply smiling and nodding...he was clearly NOT excited about this idea. ;)

Throughout the rest of the day, we perfected the plan, and Blake continued to play along, all the while knowing it would never come to fruition because he had an even bigger surprise. As dinner approached, I remember my mom making a BIG deal about what I was going to wear, and we got into an argument because she wanted me to wear heels and I wanted to wear flats. She was ADAMANT that I needed heels, and I remember being so irritated when I caved and then Gillean picked us up in flats. (Girl mom problems!)

As we were getting ready to leave, I remember Blake insisting that he needed a jacket. (It was 75 degrees out...and Blake is NEVER cold.) I remember we got into a little scuffle because I absolutely detested the windbreaker he had brought, and I did NOT want him wearing it to a swanky Malibu restaurant. I ended up reluctantly relenting,although I was quite angry during the drive there, and little did I know, he needed the jacket to hide the ring!

As we arrived at the restaurant, we walked in to check in for our reservation, and Blake immediately asked me to come outside "to take a picture." I told him sure, but that we needed someone to come with us to take it. He insisted we didn't, I protested (I'm stubborn, y'all), and he finally just pulled me outside. Blake had never been to this exact restaurant before, so he didn't really know where he was taking me, but we walked around the side of the a parking lot.

Lucky for Blake, there was a little bench there for the valet customers, so he sat me down there. I kept asking about the picture, and he kept talking about how special the last nine months had been...said a lot of things I don't remember...and then, all of a sudden, there he was, down on a knee. In a parking lot. On a cliff in Malibu.

I don't remember exactly what I said, but Blake swears that my answer to his proposal was, "Duh! Of course!" 

Who says "Duh!" when they get a proposal for marriage?!!

This girl.

 (My brilliant answer became the theme of a few engagement parties.)

As Blake went to open the box and put the ring on my finger, his hands were shaking so much that it dropped onto the ground. We both absolutely PANICKED because were up on a cliff in the dark with nothing but ocean below us, and we were both convinced it was a goner. Thankfully, Blake has eagle eyes and found it, and as we stood up to kiss, the four valet guys erupted into applause.

We walked back into the restaurant, and to the absolute SHOCK of my brother and his wife, I proudly displayed my gorgeous new ring. The prank died pretty quickly after that, and we spent the rest of the night eating, drinking, and sharing the news with our family and friends.

I could not be more blessed to be married to a man who proposed in a parking lot and almost lost the ring. :) 
Link up and share your story!
Monday, February 16, 2015

Ahhhh naps...

We've suffered a major loss in our house recently.

My son has given up naps.

Moment of silence for the loss of my sanity, please.


If you are a stay-at-home mom like me, you understand that the proper functioning of all members of the house lives and dies by the nap schedule. For most families, the hours of 1pm-3pm are sacred. SACRED, I tell you. When a well-meaning, typical older family member invites the family over for the dreaded late lunch (and by late I mean noon), the question for the parents of littles is always, "But what about nap time?" Awkward conversations begin amongst the extended family about how kids these days are no longer "flexible" and need to learn to "go with it" a little more. (Easy for you to say, Aunt Sally. You don't have to deal with the exhausted little minion come 5pm!) Some parents begin bargaining for who will attend with the older children and who will keep the little ones home for naps. Some parents drag along a pack and play (which initially requires four grown men to assemble) and hope for the best. It's a whole thing.

(And don't even get me started on those of you who schedule birthday parties at 1:30pm. Yeah, I see you.)

During a sleep regression or serious teething, most normally put together moms can be found around 4pm in their sweats, aimlessly wandering Target while chugging a latte because nobody napped, daddy's not home yet, and everyone has to endure at least 3 MORE BLESSED HOURS until the holy grail of bedtime. (Which may or may not even go very well.)

(Again, sigh.)

Naps really are important. These are the things that nobody tells you when you're pregnant. When you have a newborn, it's a non-issue because they spoil you and sleep anywhere and everywhere. The older ones (say 3 and up) can typically go without, and it's no big deal. The age where it becomes a truly critical puzzle piece in your day is from about 6 months to 3 years. 

So, what's a mom to do?

Today, I'm sharing the three keys I've learned to nap time success.

1) CONSISTENCY is the absolute key to our nap time bliss. Putting the baby down at noon one day and 2pm the next will not work out for ANYONE. Over time, their little bodies develop a rhythm, and they can adapt to whatever schedule you set, but you have to set it. And stick to it. That's the hard part...because it is SO tempting on a beautiful afternoon to push them too long at the park or on a busy Saturday to run "just one more errand" or on a holiday to throw the schedule out the window because they're having fun. But, OH, there is always hell to pay. And unless you're raising the dalai lama, the overly tired kid will fall asleep in the car for 10 minutes, wake up either hysterical or wired, and won't go back down until bedtime. Or you will have missed the window completely, they'll raise hell in their crib for an hour and be up until bedtime. Or, and this is just pure evil...they'll sleep for the most dreaded 45 minutes and wake up screaming like a mental patient.

 And ain't nobody got time for that.

2) THE PROPER ENVIRONMENT - At our house, blackout shades and white-noise machines are a must. We love this noise machine by Graco, but anything that makes noise will work. (A box fan, for example, if you're rolling on a budget.) There have been many days where 30 minutes into nap time, the next door neighbor decides his lawn needs a trim, and the white noise has been a savior. Turning on that noise signals sleep to my kids, and I am convinced they sleep harder and longer because of it. Blackout shades are just common sense. Darkness equals sleep.

3) A NAP TIME ROUTINE - Let's keep it real here - by nap time, I'm spent and really ready for a break. I would love nothing more than to just plop my kids in their beds and walk away. But I've learned the hard way that after a full morning of play time, that just doesn't work for my kids, and the extra 5-10 minutes of a wind down routine is really worth the effort. We do a very abbreviated version of our bed time routing which includes a diaper change, book, song, rocking (if age appropriate) and going into the crib (or bed) awake. If I take the time do help them wind down, they are usually down within 15-20 minutes, and the afternoon is much smoother for everyone.
(Don't let this picture fool you - it's from October...the last time Carter actually took a nap.) 

So, here's to happy napping and the preservation of our sanity, mama! Good luck!
Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favorites

I'm linking up again to share my first Friday Favorites! These are always such fun posts! I love seeing what other bloggers list as their favorites, and I've tried many of their suggestions, so now it's my turn!

I'm old-school when it comes to calendars, and every August, I agonize over which one to buy. I'm typically disappointed with the set-up in one way or another when I buy the store bought planners, but this one does NOT disappoint. It's definitely a splurge as far as planners go, but I seriously can't find a flaw. It has tabs so you can easily flip between months, monthly views, weekly views, stickers for birthdays/meetings/travel/etc, a pocket in back to store handouts, TONS of notes pages, a zipper pouch for pens, everything you need! And my favorite part is that you can customize it! I kept it simple this year and simply chose a quote and put our family name, but the possibilities are endless. If you are still living in 1995 like me, check it out!

2) Baby Nikes
We are some Nike-lovin' fools in this house, and my sweet girl is FINALLY big enough for her first pair. I was torn between the pink and the grey pair, but I'm glad I went with the grey, as they are a little less loud. These are a five, and although they are still REALLY big on her, we can get away with them with socks when we go to the park. (She has the tiniest little feet...the other day, she found some old silver Mary Janes in size 6-9 months, insisted I put them on her and they fit. She's 18 months old.)

3) Speaking of Nikes...
I am OBSESSED with my new running pants and shoes! I'm seriously convinced I run faster in these simply because they are so FUN! The pants are black and white, so they truly go with anything on top, although this top is my current favorite since it's been cold. (I've always loved red, black, and white together.) You can find these in multiple colors here.
4) The best detangler...seriously EVER.
Girl moms, if you haven't found this stuff yet, go NOW! It has made a WORLD of difference in getting Kate's hair combed and done in the morning. Combing her hair used to be a total battlezone, but this is life-changing. The brush or comb literally just slides through it, it smells amazing, and leaves her hair super soft. You can find this pretty much anywhere - Target, Walmart, Kroger, wherever you shop!
5) Girl Scout Cookies
 This box right here is the lone survivor of our four box purchase about two weeks ago. Delicious, and they support a good cause. Need I say more?!!

Oh, and just because I can't possibly leave you without a cute pic of the kiddos, here is our new favorite afternoon activity - walk up to the big field by the park, practice some soccer, and run around like crazy town. LOVE.

Happy Friday!!!
Monday, February 9, 2015

It's Tough Being One...

So, Kate turned 18 months old today, and there are SO MANY things I love about this age...and there are SO MANY things that I loathe about this age. Let's see how many of them my mom friends understand. :)

LOVE: She absolutely adores me.
HATE: She absolutely adores me...because she expresses her love by never leaving my side, following me everywhere I go, and throwing a fit if we are not physically touching each other at all times.

LOVE: She is becoming more verbal by the day, and she can actually verbalize to me what she wants or needs instead of grunting and whining all the time. 
HATE: Her "needs" consist of snacks, fruit snacks, and more snacks. If she's not eating, she's asking for food. ALL. DAY. LONG.

LOVE: She wants to use utensils.
HATE: She wants to use utensils.

LOVE: She is beginning to understand the concept of sharing.
HATE: She thinks sharing is a one-way in, everyone has to share with her, and she has to share with NO ONE.

LOVE: She can eat the same meals that we more "baby" foods for her!
HATE: She typically chooses not to...and 10 minutes later is back to asking for snacks. Sigh.

LOVE: She is really beginning to enjoy "girly" stuff like dress-up and baby dolls. 
HATE: We don't own any girly stuff, and Daddy can't understand the need for buying clothes that aren't for wearing in public.

LOVE: Her spirit...happy Kate is HAPPY Kate.

LOVE: Her adoration for her brother...she wants to know where he is at all times.
HATE: The adoration is not typically reciprocated.  And sometimes ends in time-outs.

LOVE: She can ask me for help with something if she needs it.
HATE: Half the time I do what she asks, she ends up melting down anyway. (This morning, Carter gave her a go-gurt, so she brought it to me and said "open." I opened it, and she melted to the ground in a hysterical puddle. Cue confusion.)

LOVE: She can now truly enjoy outings to the park, play areas, etc.
HATE: I have to get her the car...which means confinement. Oh, how we loathe confinement.

LOVE: She is very social, and she gets very excited to play with other kids.
HATE: She spends half of the time we are with friends begging for snacks, and the other half of the time chasing kids around begging them to "share."

LOVE: She loves the outdoors.
HATE: She loves the outdoors at 35 the rain...and Mama doesn't do cold. (Or mornings.)

It's tough being one sometimes...
Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up: Almost Perfection

If you live in North Texas like I do, you know how perfect the weather was this weekend. We had a pretty packed weekend of birthday parties, soccer games, church, and other kiddie hoopla, but we managed to spend as much time outside as we possibly could between those things.

It was still pretty cold Friday morning, so we ventured out to the Coop to play. The kids wore themselves out and looked pretty cute in their dress-up clothes.

 (Surprise #438 about having a girl: Dress up starts YOUNG. I thought I had at least a few years before this would be a thing.)

That afternoon, we went on a glorious walk to the park and then had dinner at Rosa's...because that's what the Ezells do on Fridays. And Tuesdays. And any other day that we feel like it. Ezells love them some tacos.

Saturday morning, Blake took the kids for donuts while I got in a quick run. (He's a keeper y'all.) We then battled the masses at Ikea for crap treasures before regrouping for lunch and naps before heading out to our first birthday party of the weekend. It was SO CUTE and TUTU-themed. I die.

We hung out in the backyard for a little while before dinner, where Kate was adorably cheesin' it up for pictures and Carter was trying to perfect his dribbling.

Sunday morning, we got outside again after church and then spent the afternoon at Carter's last soccer game (where apparently the refs whistles were too loud) and at another birthday party.

We capped off the weekend with a trip to the park and ice cream sandwiches.

Kate is force-feeding me ice's a tough job sometimes, but somebody's gotta do it. :)
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