Sunday, March 30, 2014

Project 52: Week 2014.13

This week is all about our little girl Lulu.  The month of March was a difficult month for Lulu.  She started showing the same symptoms of back pain that she had last summer.  We quickly took her to our vet to see what we needed to do, other than try to keep her from moving around too much.  At the recommendation of Dr. Webb, we started Lulu on laser treatments for the inflamed area which was much lower than where her surgery was.  It was really amazing to see how the treatments relieved her pain and inflammation.  In total Lulu received 4 treatments over two weeks.  That along with a ton of rest and cuddles brought her back to her normal self!  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Retirement of Sorts

When Benjamin and I got married, I knew full well that I was signing up to support our family while he attended dental school and orthodontic residency.  After each move to a different city, God was faithful in providing me with great jobs.

This Monday I turned in my two weeks notice stating that I would be ending my career as a member of the Well Technology team at Hess.  While this decision took some by surprise, to others they knew it was just a matter of time.  

It has always been a goal of ours that I stay home with Winston when the time was right.  And now is that time!

Knowing that this decision was right around the corner for us, I started looking at my Fridays off through different lenses:  Could I stay at home with Winston day in and day out?  Would we be able to survive each other?  While depending on both of our moods and how the day's activities played out, there were times in the middle of it when I just wasn't sure... But at the end of the day when I was recanting Winston stories to Benjamin, I knew how much my heart desired to be with my little guy.

The decision to retire from the corporate world is a bittersweet one for me.  I am happy in my job; it challenges me daily.  I know that I add value on the projects that I am apart of.  I get a long with my boss and enjoy everyone on my team and the people I interact with daily.  I am well paid and have amazing benefits.  I mean, I don't have much to complain about when I only pay $2 for a large Starbucks cinnamon dolce latte!  

But put all of that against the cutest boy in my world and the decision is easy.  He wins every time.
Benjamin and I are thankful that we are able to make this transition to my staying at home.  It is not a decision we take lightly.  We know that there will be long days and tough days.  But the rewards that come will cancel those days out.  Even after turning in my letter, there were moments I doubted my decision.  I'm a people pleaser and I don't like disappointing or letting others down.  However every person has told me that I am making the best decision of my life.  And God, in his faithfulness, kept affirming again and again that this indeed is the right time.

Not only do I get to be with Winston {and Lulu!}, I am now able to relieve Benjamin of his morning caretaker duties.  Since the first day that Winston was in daycare, Benjamin has been the one to get Winston up, feed him breakfast, dress him and take him to school.  With me staying home, we all look forward to a new morning routine!   

Proverbs 31:15 says, She gets up while it is still night; she provides for her family...  While up until this point my getting up and taking care of my family has meant that I wake up at 4:30 and go to work, it will soon mean that I will get up and take care of them in a whole new way that I am excited to unwrap!  

In all of this, I am thankful for the career that I have had.  I never would have imagined that my resume would be peppered with a wide range of experiences.  Looking forward, I am super excited as to what the future holds for our family and the everyday adventures I get to have with my side-kick! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chalkboard: March

Yes, I realize that March is almost over, but just for documentation sake, here is our chalkboard for this month.  It is Romans 12:12.
This verse has been our mantra.  A reminder of how to be, how to love others.  A comfort.  I wrote it out on an afternoon that Benjamin and Winston were out running errands.  Benjamin came in and said, "Well, that about sums it up!"  What verse has been your comfort this month?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Project 52: Week 2014.12

Winston's trick of balancing a water cup on his feet!  He gets such a kick out of it!  We also were able to get a few snaps of our own leprechaun who has brought us more joy than a pot of gold ever could!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thought on Tuesday


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Project 52: Week 2014.11

On the Friday that we stayed at home this week, Winston and Lulu enjoyed playing with the water table.  Winston was more interested in watering the grass and Lulu was all about drinking what he was giving!  Winston and I often enjoy a break at Starbucks now and again for Petite Madeline's and a green tea.  Benjamin had to answer over 400 questions for a psych test, so he printed me a copy so that we could compare answers!  It was also a big week for us because Benjamin became Board Certified!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Project 52: Week 2014.10

Each day Winston gets more interested in using a fork and in this night in particular he aced it with his fish sticks and 'ronis.  For a kid who absolutely loves hats, Winston does not enjoy the hood on his hooded towel... so this was a rare moment of Little as a shark!  Benjamin and I inhaled three-fourths of this king cake...and never found the baby so I am left to say that it was in the portion that we did not eat.  Mom and I went to the theatre and had a nice time watching The Wizard of Oz!  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Houston, We are Board Certified!

This afternoon on my way home from work I picked up the mail and text Benjamin this image:
Upon arriving home, he burst upstairs into the bathroom where Winston was getting a bath and exclaimed, "I'm Board Certified!"  The excitement and glow of accomplishment beamed from Benjamin's face.  This achievement has been a goal of his since before residency.  It was one of the things he wrote that he wanted to accomplish in personal statement that accompanied his application letters and one of the main reasons that Houston was a such a good fit for him.  

Not every orthodontist that graduates residency is Board Certified.  It requires work above and beyond the requirements of satisfaction for graduating the program.  It requires countless hours of perfecting patients teeth, examining and re-examining their progress, writing and re-writing case files and being sure that, as an orthodontist, you can defend and give sound reasoning for treating this particular patient the way you did.  And you have to do that for six different cases.  It requires caring models of teeth in a padded case all the way to St. Louis, setting them and the write ups out carefully and then waiting for the next day when a team of Board Examiners ask question after question about the cases sitting before them.  Being Board Certified is an accomplishment that only 20-25% of orthodontic specialists can claim.

To my husband: I am so proud of you for this accomplishment!  Your faithfulness to trusting God's plan for your life has been rewarded in so many ways.  I am in constant awe of how humble you are in the midst of accomplishing great things!

To the Class of 2013: Congrats to all who have completed your journey to Board Certification!  You all kick butt in the best of ways and we are proud to have cheered you along!
 The ABO insignia pin to adorn the lapel at official ABO and AAO events.
The official letter!
Even Luli took the time to read the letter and give her Daddy celebratory arm hump!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Donut licious for reals!

I keep seeing picture of fabulous gourmet donuts on instagram and other blogs.  I thought to myself, surely Houston has a few of these places as well!  So in my Google searching, I came across this article by Houston Press on 2013's Top 10 Donut Places.  While all of these places are now on my list to try, Donut licious caught my attention because it is just minutes down the road!

Tucked away off 45 Southbound and 2920 right by a UHaul rental place, a simple "Donut" sign is on the building.  Inside the shop is well decorated, clean and has plenty of seating for people who want to dine in. All of the staff was very friendly, greeting guests like old friends asking regulars about family members and discussing weekend plans.  It makes me happy when small business owners and their staff make people feel like part of their family!  

Benjamin ordered an Oreo donut and an Old Fashioned.  The vanilla frosting on the Oreo donut had a strong resemblance to the cream filling of an Oreo cookie!   
I had a Strawberry Cheesecake donut and a small sausage and cheese kolache.  The Strawberry Cheesecake donut was a delight to my tastebuds!  Not too overwhelming with the strawberry flavor - a perfect mix and a definite repeater!  The kolache was exactly how I think kolaches should taste which was very exciting to me because it had been years since I had one this good! Donut licious also serves good coffee - an extra bonus in the "we will return here" bucket!
 Winston had colorfully sprinkled, chocolate covered donut holes.  He was in heaven!
He was saying "cheese!" while enjoying his second breakfast.  You know a donut is good when you have chocolate all over your face!

All in all we had a very successful and enjoyable trip to Donut licious and will go back often if I have a vote!  Make sure you look them up for a yummy treat if you're in the area!
Donut licious
1535 Spring Cypress Road
Spring, TX 77388

Oh!  Another neat thing about Donut licious is that they also do special orders on donut letters to spell out messages!  Storing that away for a fun treat in the future!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Happy Birthday, Noahy J!

Today is Noahy J's birthday!  
Happy Birthday to the guy who became my built in best friend, travel buddy and own personal comedian!  You changed all of our lives when you arrived and we are thankful everyday for you.
You are going to have a cute baby and be a great Dad! 
Love you!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Printable

With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, here is a printable for the occasion! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

24 Hours of Happy!

Have you heard Pharrell's song Happy?  
Man,  this song is my jam!
It gets my hands waving and my feet tapping.  It gets my head bobbin' and my lips singing right along side of Pharrell and whatever choir he has backing him up.

Have you heard it?
I dare you to defy me and say that this song does not make you happy!

Did you know that this song has a 24 hour music video?  Again - just awesome!  Visit and when you do, the video will immediately correspond to the clock on your computer showing people just getting down and having a good time to the song.  There are cameos by Steve Carrell, Magic Johnson, Kelly Osbourne, and others.  The video is revolutionary and a true compilation of dance.  I can honestly say that I may have listened  to {and watched} this video for over an hour the other day.  I just couldn't get enough of it!  

Every time I hear it, I start going through a list of what makes me happy.  That List of Happy ulitmately leads me to being thankful that I know The Source of True Happiness.  Whoever trusts in the Lord, he is happy.

So now, I ask you...can you tell me....
Leave me a comment and let me know what happiness is to you!  I'd love to hear what makes your heart happy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

These two...
 are having a baby!!!
We are so excited to have a new Little join our family!  Noah and Salem are super excited and Salem has successfully carried the wee one through the first trimester!  She had good health through the first twelve weeks and we are continually praying that continues during the next six months.
I cannot wait to be an Auntie!  And it's going to be fun to see how Winston reacts to another tiny human being around.  Little Johnson will arrive in September, 2014!
Congrats, you crazy kids!  Y'all are going to rock as parents!

Monday, March 3, 2014

App-solutely Fantastic: Cartwheel by Target

In this segment, Benjamin and I would like to share with you apps that save you money, keep your organized, or are just plain fun to have!
First up: Cartwheel by Target.
By a fluke, I came across the web-version of Cartwheel a few weeks ago and was intrigued by it.  Then two weeks ago, at the suggestion of a Target employee Benjamin downloaded the app and was able to save an additional $50 on a TV that was already on sale!  The next shopping trip I had at Target, I was able to save $12 and the next time an additional $14!  On top of my coupons, on top of my 5% on the Target card!  I love the Cartwheel app!
When you log into the Cartwheel app, this is the front screen.  You get a bar code and it keeps track of how much money you have saved!  Starting out, you get 10 spots that you can add coupons into.  

When you go to the Main Menu, there are different options to find the coupons on the Cartwheel.  You can search through all of the offers.

They are listed out by categories.  Or by Trending, New, or Expiring.  Or you can use the Scan feature.  The last time I was in Target, I scanned every item in my basket (looking like a crazy person in the aisles) and ended up finding extra savings I hadn't considered!  Once you have found a coupon you'd like to use, simple save it to your Cartwheel by clicking on the face of the item and pressing "add."

The more that you use your Cartwheel app, the more spots you get for coupons!  When checking out, simply tell the cashier that you have a Cartwheel and present your phone to be scanned.  Cha-Ching!  As a note, many of the deals have a limited number of scans so make sure you use it often as you might find that offers you have saved may be expired.

If you are a Target frequenter, I highly suggest that you download this app today and enjoy extra savings!  The app is free for download in the iTunes store.  

Happy Savings!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Project 52: Week 2014.09

On Sunday, our sweet friends Luke and Kala welcomed their first little baby into this world - Brooklyn Laurali.  Benjamin and I had the privilege of getting to meet her on Monday.  She is perfect in every way.  At a little over 8 pounds and 20 inches long, Brooklyn felt so small and delicate in our arms compared to the little boy that Winston has become.  It's hard to believe that it was about a year and a half ago that he was that wee.  We are thrilled that Brooklyn arrived safe and sound.  We know that Luke and Kala will be rock-star parents and are looking forward to soaking up as much time with our "niece" as possible!  Auntie Sara and Uncle Ben love you!! 
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