Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Our First Home

Soon after getting engaged G and I decided to make our first big purchase together......a home!  I was paying nearly $1,200/month to live in a 900 sqft apartment in Midtown.  So, we figured we might as well put our combined rents towards a mortgage. 

5718 Kansas was still in the process of being built when we first stepped foot into it.  We both knew right away it's where we wanted to live.  Gordon continued to look on a weekend I was working but nothing compared.  Our future first home had the lay out we were looking for with beautiful finishes.  It was in a developing area that was getting nicer every year.  In the back of our minds we hoped to one day make some money when we sold it....and we did!  The neighborhood is by no means perfect but we would be in a gated area, downtown and the galleria were both super close and the med center was easy to get to.  There would be no commuting for work, we could still enjoy all of our favorite restaurants and we even had a little side yard for Gus.  We were sold! 

On May 5, 2010 we signed on the dotted line.  It is one of the best decisions we ever made.  Over the last 42 months we have made countless memories.  I made our first dinner as a married couple here, I've spend many hours during bed rest staring at the walls thinking about our unborn baby, the kitchen is where I told Gordon we were expecting, we've had a ton of get togethers with some of our dearest friends, we went on a million walks with Gus and most importantly it's William's first home. 

We always knew we'd move when our first baby was one or two.  Honestly, we would have stayed longer if the housing market wasn't so great right now!  Our old realtor kept emailing G asking him if we were interested in moving.  After casually looking around in Katy we stumbled upon the perfect home.....big lot, cul-de-sac, game room, lots of room to grow (hint hint Gordon...haha), an open lay out, great school district and a park and pool 3 blocks away.  SOLD.  We even got in early enough to pick all our finishes.  I'm sure I'll be doing a post soon about the new casa! 

We put our home on the market on Saturday, June 29th.  I was a bit anxious starting this process with a baby.  But things went great!  It was shown 10 times on the first day!  Gordon and I were so excited that we called Ms. Melissa so we could have a date night.  While we were at the movies we had 4 offers come in!  The next day the house was shown another 6 times and another handful of offers came in.  The first offer we excepted came in at $5,000 over asking price.  Long story short the deal didn't work out.  While we were in Rosemary Beach the first contract was terminated.  So, we moved onto a buyer that had been interested at the beginning.  After another round of inspections and appraisals, on September 6, 2013, we sold our home.  We are so blessed to have gotten so much positive feedback (and so quickly).  I will say that I am super grateful that we did all this when a) we only have one child b) I'm not pregnant c) we don't have a newborn.  There have been some trying days but we are nearly done. :)

Here are some pictures taken by our realtor!


















So today I will cry.  I hate change.  I really hate unknowns.  I hate leaving so many precious memories.  But I have pictures....lots of pictures!  I'll remember this house forever.  So many firsts.  So much happiness.  Thanks 5718 for a fabulous 3.5 years!  Our new home in Katy has a lot to live up to.  :)


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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Red Raider Homecoming

Thirteen years ago Gordon and I attended our first Red Raider Homecoming game.  It was October 2000 and freezing.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  SAE and Kappa had worked on their homecoming float together that year so we'd made lots of buddies over the course of the month long preparation.  G and I went with a group of my Midland friends (who were his new pledge brothers).  Now, thirteen years later we cheered on the Raiders on a warm and sunny Saturday while my grandparents watched our sweet baby boy.  W really loves his grandpa and GG!   
We flew into West Texas on Thursday so we'd have all day Friday to play in Midland.  Gordon went to the deer lease, I had a massage and after dinner with the family G and I hung out with an old friend.  It was a fun filled, relaxing weekend. 


  • Dinner at Cagle's
  • Going on a horse ride
  • The Raiders kept us on our toes the entire game!
  • With his nana and papa
  • Checking things out with Uncle D
  • Night on the town!  Overlooking the stadium :)
  • Back in Midland playing
  • Wreck 'Em Tech (6-0)
Mommy & Daddy time
As always, we had a great weekend!  I love being back in Lubbock and remembering all the fun college times I had.  I can hardly wait to take William to a game later in the season. 

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Milk Donation

Last week the Donation Coordinator, Laurel, for Texas Children's Mother's Milk Bank contacted me about being on their virtual milk bank donor wall.  I told her we'd be honored to be included!!!  So, here we are!  You can check out the website here.   


The website is full of useful information ranging from breast pump rentals to the benefits of breastfeeding. 

I am a huge supporter of milk donation.  Working with the TCH milk donation program was so easy.  They were great about telling me how much I'd donated and sending boxes whenever I was ready to donate more.  The program is such a blessing to those tiny little NICU babies. 

They even took the time to send me this sweet letter in the mail:
 
Words cannot express our gratitude or convey the magnitude of the impact your breast milk has on our tiniest and most fragile patients.  You have literally given of yourself to help another family's precious baby have the best possible outcome.  We thank you on behalf of all the mothers with whom you have shared so selflessly.  The 1,021 ounces of breast milk you donated will provide a premature baby at Texas Children's with approximately 128 days of optimal nutrition and development. 

I hope this post helps encourages mothers to donate that are capable.  I was very blessed to produce as much milk as I did and the donation process was easy.  Having the TCH milk bank send such sweet words makes my heart smile.  Pumping can be time consuming (especially during a busy work day or when you're exhausted at 2am) but knowing that I helped someone made it so worth while. 

One of the first things the NICU doctor asked us before William was born was if he could get donor breast milk.  Since I wouldn't produce milk for a couple of days and William wouldn't be able to nurse it was donor milk or formula.  The decision was easy for us.  We immediately signed a consent for William to receive donor breast milk.  There are studies showing the protective effects of breast milk against necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious intestinal infection. Read more here.

So if you can DONATE!!  It's easy.  I did a post back in February about the steps you take to becoming a donor.  Read here.   

After contacting the milk bank you:

  • Fill out a form with about 50 questions of past medical history
  • Have blood drawn
  • Test your freezer temperature
  • Start collecting milk
  • Once you are ready to send your milk you request a FedEx delivery box. 
  • It's sent to your home within a week
  • All the instructions are inside the box (you freeze some ice packs for 48 hours....after that, call FedEx to schedule a pick up, load up the milk and the freezer packs and tape up the cooler and box! 
  • The box is picked up at your door step

Blow by oxygen during his first bath!  Short legs.  Big head.  Dark hair.  Preemie.  :)

He loved to hold daddy's finger.

Just a little guy at 3lb 8 oz.

There's a mom out there that helped feed my baby when I couldn't.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you!  I am so glad I was able to give back.  What a cool generation we live in that mothers can help each other out this way.  :)  TCH you rock!!!!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

We Love Breakfast

This moving stuff is really putting me behind in the blogging world!!  BOO.

I may be behind in that part of my life but overall Gordon and I have tried to keep things as normal as possible for the little guy.  To be honest, staying in a semi routine helps us all!  We even stayed up late on Friday night for date night.  One of my sweet friends is moving to Dubai next month so we went to her going away party and then headed to the movies to see Captain Phillips.  We both really liked it (G says it ended a bit differently in real life).  I cried of course.  I knew what the outcome was since the movie is based on a true story from 2009.  I was so glad the Captain survived but sad about the pirates.  What they did wasn't right but I feel so sad for the life many of those people live over there.  A large part of the hematology department at TCH are sickle cell patients.....and many of these children are from Nigeria and surrounding areas.  They come to America with their parents for medical treatment.  My heart breaks for the parents and children that aren't lucky enough to come here.  But, that's all an entirely different post for another day.  :) 

Back to moving......

One of the things we will miss the most about living "inside the loop" are the restaurants.  Especially our favorite breakfast spots.  Here are a few of our favorites!

Rustika Café- Located off of 59 and Buffalo Speedway.  Gordon and I started coming here when he first moved to Houston in 2008.  A patient of mine at M.D. Anderson recommended Rustika.  They have to die for banana crepes and they make the most beautiful (and yummy) cakes.  Here are a few of the cakes they made for us..... here (30th bday cake), here (gender reveal), here (baptism).


Rustika before church

 
Barnaby's-  This is our #1 favorite spot.  They have several locations (I'm praying they open one in Katy soon).  We go to the Barnaby's on Shepherd for breakfast and the Galleria location for lunch.  Everyone at Barnaby's knows us.  Even the customers.  They know William's name and he makes sure to wave hi and bye to everyone every weekend.  Thinking about not going every Saturday morning makes me sad.  :(  I love everything on their menu!  Our favorites are the Annie's Burrito, Bob's Healthy Plate, the home fries and the blueberry pancake.  If you're in Houston you must go.  Make sure to get the fresh squeezed OJ too.   
Even the toast at Barnaby's is super yummy!

Backstreet Café- Located in River Oaks off of Shepherd.  This is one of our "before baby" places.  It's in an adorable, cozy house that's shaded by big beautiful trees.  I could sit outside and drink mimosas here ALL. DAY. LONG.  The Lobster Sliders on the Brunch menu are delicious. 
Beck's Prime- Looking for something quick and fun?  Head to the Beck's Prime at Memorial Park! We love grabbing a breakfast taco before going on a walk and/or hitting golf balls.  Baby boy loves watching all the people and running around in the grass.  If you're looking for a good burger this is your place! 
Doesn't get much better than playing with sticks at breakfast

Empire Café-  Off of Westheimer between Shepherd and Montrose.  I love all the outdoor seating they have.  Their specialty eggs benedict is fabulous and they have some of the yummiest French Toast I've ever had. 

Love the cookie your coffee comes with. 

 As you can see, I'm already going into Houston withdraw!!!! 

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kentucky

Last month William and I took a little trip with my parents to Kentucky.  Kinda random, right?!  The  national APHON conference was held in Louisville, Kentucky this year so we headed north. 
Gordon has been traveling once a week for work so he wouldn't have been able to take baby boy to school and pick him up while I was gone....so, baby boy came!  My parents were sweet and offered to come along to watch William for me. 
The night before we left town my parents babysat William so Gordon and I could celebrate our 3 year anniversary.  The next afternoon we headed to Kentucky.  The trip there was pretty rough.  To be honest, it was actually awful.  William has flown 10+ times and done GREAT.  For whatever reason this flight hurt his poor little ears.  He screamed for 25 minutes straight.  stressful and sad.  By the time we got off our first flight (in St. Louis to change planes) we were worn out and I was terrified of how the next flight would go.  I'll have to do a post on flying with baby tips!  Long story short, we never got on the next flight.  Southwest delayed the flight to 12:40am.  Nope.  Not doing that!  So, we rented a car and my sweet daddy drove us to Louisville!  We finally crawled into a bed at 3am.

BYE Houston!

The APHON conference was great.  I love being around other nurses that do what I've been doing for 9 years.  It's a tough profession.  It's sad.  Getting to hear others stories and just be with people that understand is nice.  They get it when most people don't.  Being the emotional basket case that I am lately I cried a few time .  But, I learned a lot and I had a great time with my family and W.
Kentucky was beautiful.  To be honest, I'm ready to move there!  The weather was great and the homes were beautiful (and reasonably priced....yep, I checked it out).  I have no idea what people do for jobs up there?!?!  I do know that I was a tad jealous. 

So, what did we do when I wasn't in meetings?  Well, The Ohio river separates Kentucky from Indiana so they have lots of beautiful scenery.  We had dinner on the water one night and did a lunch boat cruise one day while I had a long break. 


These pictures describe William perfectly:
  • oooooohhhhhhh!
  • Always pointing and looking at you in amazement
  • Rubbing those eyes when he's sleepy (Papa had someone draw W!)
  • Walking with Papa looking at the ducks, bridges, cars, water....
 On our last night we ate at Hard Rock Café.  My meeting was held in the downtown area so we stayed down there and went to an area called Forth Street Live!  There were a ton of restaurants that looked fabulous.  Baby boy loved the Mac 'n Cheese and the music.  He danced the entire time we were there!

Being a mommy and wife will always be my first priority.  But staying educated is also important to me.  I want to continue to grow and learn.  I want to be a good nurse to the sweet patients and families I care for.  Knowledge is power.  For me, being well rounded in all areas of my life makes me the happiest.  I've always liked the saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket".   Most of mine are in the family basket but I keep a few reserved for my friends, work, my brain and body. 
So, thanks TCH for allowing me to attend this years conference!


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Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Celebration Weekend

To say we had an eventful weekend is an understatement!  We were busy bees from Friday through Sunday.  Our weekend got off to a fabulous start a little sooner than usual.....we finally closed on our house at 2 pm on Friday.  I'll post more at the end of the month about our home buying/selling process.  For now I'll just say I'd much rather buy a home than sale.  It has been a bit of a headache but it's finally over.  Signing those papers took a lot of weight off our shoulders.  Now we just have to focus on packing up the house and getting the next ready to move into!  We bought our house on May 5, 2010 and sold it on October 4, 2013.  Just one day short of 41 months. 







Gordon and I had a quick celebration drink at the Galleria Tasting Room! 
 
 
Here's what William thought of selling the house.  Shocked and loving his new slinky.  :) 
We did our normal Barnaby's breakfast and run to the grocery store before heading out to Katy.  My best friend, Alison, had her baby girl last week (more on that later too!) so we ran by their house to drop of a pasta dish.
 
 
On our way back home we stopped by Buffalo Wild Wings to grab lunch and watch a little Red Raider football!  William never watches TV.  We rarely have the TV on and when it is he's not interested at all....except for football!  He's mesmerized!
 
 
Last night we continued the celebrating and had date night.  Sweet Ms. Melissa watched William while we had dinner at Coppa
 


 I had the chicken "under the brick" and Gordon had the spaghetti carbonara.  Their signature bellini was delicious and G didn't complain about his fancy whiskey drink! 


Yesterday was also our two year "baby anniversary".  We found out we were expecting sweet William on October 5, 2011 (read more here and here).  The past two years have been filled with more happiness than I could have ever imagined. 

Here's what we've been up to over the past 12 months:

October-  William celebrated his first Halloween as a frog and started eating cereal!
November-  Baby's first Thanksgiving in Texarkana.  We had our Christmas card photos taken during this weekend too.
December-  First Christmas in Midland (William started sitting up on his own too).
January- Headed back to West Texas for George Strait concert and William got his first fever at 9 months old.
February- Celebrated mommy's birthday at Tony's.
March- St. Patrick's Day and yucky hand, foot, mouth infection.  :(
April-  1st birthday at the zoo, Emily/Grant's wedding and Easter in Texarkana.
May-  Back to West Texas for Duck Dynasty, lots of swimming and San Antonio for Mom's Day. 
June-  Put house on market and signed contract on new home!
July- Lake Houston and Rosemary Beach.
August- Mommy had surgery. 
September-  Canyon Lake, 2nd wedding anniversary and baby's first time to Kentucky. 


Such a fun weekend!  NOW we have to get busy packing....
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