Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Know, I Know.....


I'm ok with that. Part of me wants to stop blogging altogether, because rumor has it that blogging has lost its' flair. And my schedule just hasn't been too blogger-friendly, with all the design appointments and cooking time I am logging with this "Clean Foods" diet.

But for now I will continue...Here are my excuses for slacking lately on the blog:

1. Moving back home took a lot of energy.

2. I had a rush of clients at years' end...and I LOVED it.

3. It was the Holidays, for crying out loud!

To sum things up, the update is:
We moved back home...and it has been fun to reorganize and set up rooms in different ways than they used to be....

We moved straight from "Getting Settled" into "Christmas Shopping" and the crazy end-of-year schedules.
It was so fun to spoil our boys this year with gifts targeted to their ironically different age groups.

Stayton got a Kindle Fire HD...
This photo was one of the last ones I had to take with my iPad! Anthony got me an iphone for Christmas, and the photos are far better!!

And Jake got a very slow 4-Wheeler!

We got lots of great quality family time with both my side of the family, as well as Anthony's side. Jake got more cousin time than he bargained for!!

We decided as a family that at the New Year (once we arrived home from travels) that we would venture into the world of "Clean Eating." That basically means zero processed foods. And also tons of time in the kitchen. Which is ok! I love to cook, but it's the clean up now that is constant. But's worth it if we all feel healthier!

Some photos from our transition:

Like I said....CONSTANT kitchen clean-up now! Whew....

We are now, as a family, moving fully into 2014 with high hopes and goals. Stayton is trying hard to keep his grades up and work hard. Anthony is making strides in his career, and I am so proud of him. Jake is trying to talk, of which "uh-oh" is his best and favorite word. ha!! And I am busy setting goals for 2014 for Sleek to Chic Interiors! So far I am loving 2014 and all the work that has come with it.

My business celebrates 1 year today! I can't believe how blessed I have been this year to meet 34 clients and get over 550 Facebook likes within the first year alone! I am loving every minute of my work, the paid and unpaid moments. And I am so blessed to have a hubby who is proud of what I do and fully supports my business! Today, I am launching another Giveaway on my facebook page, so make sure you stop by there and check it out! (Search Sleek to Chic Interiors).

I was ready for change, and the little changes going on right now are feeling great! What are some goals you have for 2014? What are you loving about this new year so far?

Take care~


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Learning to Find the Silver Linings

As someone who thrives on order and routine, these last 8 weeks have been very rough for me. While many, many good things have happened (the silver linings I will address), I am fairly certain that my stress levels were lower when I worked full time than they have been these last two months. I'm not kidding.

It all began on a Friday morning when I awoke to see this happening, coming from an unknown source.
I don't know about you, but when I see standing water on real wood floors, I'm thinking that's not so good. So I call the hubs at work, and he blows it off. Oh, It's nothing. It'll be fine.   :)

Ok...after more conversations we decided to call insurance and a plumber to see what was going on. Two trips out by the plumber (because the first time they couldn't locate the leak) we discovered that a pipe in the wall behind the washer and dryer had a pinhole leak. Insurance came out and determined that indeed they would cover the repairs and replacing the flooring. (SILVER LINING!!) New wood floors? SCORE.

Next came the restoration process, which looked like this:
Now, multiply those machines by 5 because that's how many it took to dry out our walls and floors. It sounded like a jet plane was sitting in our house.
So, we packed up and headed to a hotel since it was SO LOUD and not safe for a crawling baby either!
Well, it turns out that sucked. Too close quarters, too much baby stuff to lug to and from home, and it smelled like mildew. So....what's the point?? We came home to our loud house the next day.
A few weeks went by before we were able to go select our new flooring and get stuff moved into storage for the flooring replacements (although those weeks were packed full of meeting a million different contractors and plumbers and such...). Well, the day the movers came to "pack-out" our belongings, we were actually out of town to attend the funeral of my husband's grandmother. A sudden, unexpected loss in the midst of this mess. Our hearts were ripped out and it was so hard to say good-bye to someone we didn't get a chance to while they were living. She was the most amazing grandmother ever. We loved her so much and will miss her.
With heavy hearts we made the trip home to our empty house. When your heart is already sorrowful, it isn't any comfort to come home to an echo and nowhere to sit. So we packed up what we would need over the next couple weeks and moved in with my parents 20 minutes away. It was almost time for the repairs to begin.
The next day, foundation repairs were set to begin. We needed interior piers and that ruins your what better time to place the foundation piers than while the floors were already ruined. Here is a glimpse of that!

Once the foundation was finished, it was time to rip out the existing damaged flooring. Which looked a little like this:

And that is where we are today!
Things still left to do on the house before mid-November....texture a room's walls, paint all new baseboards, install new wood and carpet, have movers bring everything back, and hire a maid to help me deep clean post-construction.
While all of this has truly been a pain in the butt, and a major inconvenience and interrupter to our are some highlights of the last couple months:
I got my nose pierced and LOVE it!!!
My newest little nephew Silas was born!!!
We got to hang out at friend's houses while we did our laundry there!!!
This handsome nugget learned to walk and had fun at the pumpkin patch!!!
Daddy took Jake to the park to play!!!
We got to ride a carousel at the mall that we usually don't go to!!!
We have lots of time with family while we live on their side of town!!!
Our oldest son Stayton took his driver's test TWICE...and passed it the second time!!! He has REALLY been enjoying his driving all over town. And secretly, so have I. No more taxi mom for a couple more years.
Stayton also snagged a date to Homecoming and had so much fun last weekend!!!
So, as you can has been VERY busy. Lots of rough times, but I am learning to "go with the flow", rest in knowing I still have what matters family. There are so many things we have to be thankful for. I catch myself in a fit of anxiety and stress over my house....and then I remember...I HAVE a house. When many in this world do not, I do. How blessed we are, truly. Six months from now we will remember what things inconvenienced us, but we are even more likely to remember the highlights more. And so I can confidently enter the month of November and have a truly thankful heart. Thankful for my loves, time with all our family, and the unexpected updates to the house. Try to see your silver linings...they are there!


Friday, August 30, 2013

What's Your Problem, Anyway?

Warning: personal medical information below. Read on with caution and be respectful to how personal this is for me.

In the past I have been asked what the cause has been for our infertility, and I can honestly say that I have only really told a handful of people. Not because I wanted to keep it to myself, but it's just so darn complicated and I just figured people would tune me out after the first two sentences anyway, so why bother. But this has been bothering me a little in the back of my mind, that our story isn't truly shared and able to reach those in similar situations if the full scope isn't shared as well. So I am going to attempt the best explanation that I can here.

After two years of trying with no medical assistance and no results, we finally decided to see a specialist in Houston. I was careful to choose the best doc with the best stats and reputation, so we drove into the heart of Houston for every test under the sun. (I am choosing not to refer to my medical records for this post because, well, it just brings back too many sad memories for me. So I am trying to remember the best I can.) Dr. M came back to us after each and every single diagnostic test run (and some were unquestionably embarrassing) with the results: NORMAL. Some results were even better than normal. So our diagnosis was "Unexplained Infertility." Not something you want to hear after 2+ years of no baby. I think that is why my depression over it went so deep for so many do you explain nothing being wrong with still no baby?

I had laparoscopic exploratory surgery as well as a Hysterosalpingogram (HSGTest  completed in the summer of 2006. The laparoscopy is where a scope is inserted into the abdominal cavity to check the structure of the reproductive organs. The results of this test were that I had a few tiny spots of endometriosis that had adhered my uterus to my colon. The doctor burned the spots away and separated the two from one another and other than that, we were told that was quite normal and no big deal and shouldn't have any bearing on our fertility before or after. So needless to say, we were pretty hopeful after that. The HSG test is where they shoot dye into your uterus and into your tubes to check if the tubes are blocked. Mine were clear and had perfect structure. I had this test done twice over a span of several years, with same results.

In the summer of 2007 we moved to DFW area from Houston and decided that we just needed a break from all of it. At this point we had been TTC (trying to conceive) for over 3 years. I was so "over it" and just utterly devastated, and this is when I began to sink deeper into depression over it all. I was definitely in the denial phase. I got on the pill for a year or so here. When people asked "WHY??" I always felt like they were implying "It's obvious you don't need birth control..." But what they didn't understand is that to have true closure to a hard chapter in your life, you need that finality. It helped me to never wonder "Could I be???" and get me back into the vicious cycle of hope/let down/hope/letdown that just hurts so badly.

Well, after I turned my back on TTC and pushed onward with the other things in life that I dove into headfirst and with husband decided he wanted to try again. He was ready....I was NOT. But after some prayer and discussions, we did decide to get off the pill and just "see what happens." I was like "HA! See what happens. What a crock of you-know-what." But that was when God stepped in and began plowing the hardened droughted soil of my heart and spirit.

That very month that we stopped taking the pill, I got pregnant. We were absolutely shocked!!!!! No medical intervention, no doctor involvement, just "easy" like everyone else out there. Speechless was a good way of describing it. Well, at 6 1/2 weeks I began cramping terribly and had to be taken to the ER. When we got there, the bleeding began, and "inevitable miscarriage" was on our agenda for the day. Talk about a roller coaster. Highest of highs to lowest of lows in a couple week's time span. I won't go into the details of this time period today, and will save that for a future blog post. But just two months later, the SAME THING HAPPENED again. Another easy conception, only to lose this one at 5 1/2 weeks.

So the doctor sent me for labwork. Ten vials of blood drawn, and all results in: only 1 was abnormal. I happen to have elevated Antiphosphatidylserine iGm. The only symptom of this disorder is recurrent pregnancy loss. So I would have never known I had this if I hadn't ever conceived. Basically what this means is that ONLY in my capillaries I have a blood clotting issue. So when the placenta begins to form and attach to the uterine wall, blood flow is blocked and therefore all nutrition to the baby is lost, therefore killing the baby. There is treatment for this, which involves giving yourself blood thinner shots into your pregnant belly daily for your entire pregnancy. But the trick is catching a pregnancy in time to get the positive test from doc, the prescription filled, and begin administering the drugs all before the baby dies. Since the diagnosis I have had 1 other positive preg test at the doc, but lost the baby before I could even make it to CVS.

This was when we decided that we would rather not count on my body for carrying a baby. Someone with this issue I just don't see how it can be wise to try IVF and pay thousands for it to inevitably end in miscarriage and heartache. This is just how WE feel and what is right for us...I am not speaking on behalf of everyone else. The repro doctor we were seeing here in Plano, who repeated all the same tests that our Houston doc did, gave us "Unexplained Infertility" as a diagnosis as well, and KNEW we had the miscarriage diagnosis, yet he still pushed us towards IVF numerous times. This just made me sense in it other than the doctor trying to make several thousands of dollars off of us.

In the end, I am so grateful for the things that hurt us along the way. Without them, we wouldn't have chosen to adopt.  And without the beauty of adoption, I wouldn't have this precious little nugget who rocked our world, and hasn't stopped since! I know God's hand was in this all along, and am so grateful for the journey he had us walk.

 Let me know if you have any questions regarding our story, fertility questions, adoption questions, or anything at all. I don't mind helping other couples seek their path.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Birthday Boy

I'm a little late posting about Jake's birthday party. But not to worry...I want this blog post to be for many purposes. I want to commemorate my big boy, remember what the party was like and all the details, tell about how we did a lot of it on a budget, as well as give a shout-out to each person who helped it all come together! Believe me, there was no way I could have pulled this off without each of them!

It's really hard to believe that Jake is over a year old now! Where did the time go? So much has changed this year...what an amazing year it has been!
Jake is sitting in Anthony's vintage high chair from the 70's!

So handsome!

Our happy lil nugget!

Mommy made my cake, as well as the bunting banner!

There are no words for this cuteness.....
The above photos were all taken by my favorite photographer Maria Angeles Photography. She has done our Christmas card photos, as well as the 1-year photos above and the party too! We already have her booked again this year for Christmas! She also has a FB page too.

As far as the party goes, I put a ton of thought into it. I believe I began planning it when Jake was 5 months old. Ha! I may or may not have been excited to get to throw a first birthday shindig! Originally I wanted to have it at a location other than our home. But when I also thought of all the costs involved with my ideas, something had to give. So we had the party at home. It actually wasn't too bad!

The theme we went with was Vintage Rock. (It was easy to get Anthony on board with planning and helping since it involved guitars and rock.) It was easy to save money on decorations simply because Anthony collect guitars and amps anyway!

Mason Jar Snack Bar (not very healthy, but oh so fun!)

This right here is a CAKE, folks!!! That's right. We ate it.
My friend and neighbor Lauren made it in exchange for a design consultation!
Gotta love bartering!

Pom Pom balls made by Courtney Sanders. Pallets obtained at no cost and stained for $5.
Burlap bunting banner custom made $15.

I made the cupcakes. The guitar pick toothpicks were purchased on Amazon for $8.

Jake's Growing Timeline made by me!

Our favorite adoption book.

Popcorn! Get your popcorn!

Vintage Soda drink bar (sale items at World Market)

These labels were free printables online. I tied grosgrain ribbon and handwrote the names.
Mason jars were a new pack so very inexpensive for a dozen. 

Party favors from dollar store.

The world's most amazing pinata! For real.
My friend Jenna own The Merry Pop Shop on etsy and FB.
This was her gift to Jake! It even says Jake's greatest hits! WOW.

Wreath made by my momma! Isn't she rad?

A little unsure about this....

REALLLLLLY not happy with waiting while we sang to him!

Oh the wonder!!!

This is his "Let ME do it!" face.....

Annnnd look how tired that baby is. He missed quality sleeping time that weekend.

Three of my favorite women. My sisters and my cousin who might as
well be my sister. SO love them!
Overall, it was a hectic weekend and whirlwind day...but we had so much fun! My biggest shout-outs go to my husband, who actually got excited with me and helped me plan and set up and clean up and host and made three batches of homemade ice cream and parent well (He is a wonderful partner!), and my cousin Katy who LITERALLY worked her tail off all day with me while we got ready to celebrate. Thank you ALL for the hard work and help! And to all who came to celebrate with us, DEEP thanks! We love you all and can't wait to see how the next year unfolds!