Category Archives: Random

Ain’t gonna Anthro-pologize

I posted the following to Facebook a while ago when my husband and I were on our way to Houston for my birthday weekend.

Shaun: “The Woodlands Mall is the next two exits.”
Me, staring blankly: “So?”
Shaun: “They have an Anthropologie there.”

That there is true love, folks.


It got a fair number of likes, presumably because a) y’all like Anthro too or b) y’all like husbands who are nice enough not only to look up the location of their wives’ favorite store but to then point it out instead of just cruising right by. (I’m guessing it was a bit of both).


{Oh, and did I mention that we went to not one but two Anthros during the course of the weekend?}

Seriously, y’all, my husband gets me. I mean, having a wife that loves Anthro as much as I do could be a very scary thing for a man. Or, more specifically, for his pocketbook. But my thing for Anthro really has nothing do with whether I actually buy anything there or not. Because the truth is, that even as seldom as I go, I usually don’t buy much at all. And if I do, it’s the cheapest thing I can find that I actually want.     anthrobday11

{See that coral lace dress that that has a similar vibe to the one my friend, Lindsay, bought for my birthday? Yeah, the Anthro version cost $190. Choke).

It’s just that there are so few stores that qualify, not just as a destination, but as an experience–and a unique one at that, since each store gets its own decor.


Yes, their prices are ridiculous. As are some of their clothes and furnishings. But it’s all combined so artistically and with such an eye for that illusive boho-chic style that only Anthro does quite that well, that even the most bargain-minded girl (that would be me) sometimes finds herself staring at a tag and thinking, “Hmm…this ruffled tank is only $29.99 on sale. That’s not too bad.”anthro collageFortunately for me, the haze that all of those yummy smelling candles casts over my mind usually fades before I get to the register, and I realize that–oh yeah–I would never even consider paying $30 for a tissue thin, ruffly cream-colored tank top (never mind that it was originally $79) if it weren’t nestled amongst so many other pretty, perfectly styled pieces that make it look so much better than it really is.


{Mugs for daaaaaaays}

And then I go back to perusing the wall displays along the store’s periphery (I completely ignore practically the entire center section because it’s comprised of full-priced outfits that I will never buy), content to be inspired by the kind of creativity that apparently snookered convinced the girl in line in front of me to drop $238 on a hat and maybe one other item (I didn’t see what else she bought, but the bag she left with was far from large).

Me? I was happy to use my 15% off birthday discount to buy a $12 mug + an $11 set of ceramic measuring spoons that I’m going to try to keep my kids from breaking.


But mostly, I was just happy to have completely guilt-free time to wander, peruse, and admire without any intention of buying.


Two things about this picture: a) that bag of clothes from GAP was pretty much entirely for him, since the man refuses to buy clothes unless I’m with him or get them for him, and b) this is my husband happily reading a gardening book from the sale section at Anthropologie. And you thought it was just a store for women.

Of course, the Anthro in the Woodlands did have one thing going for it that made the whole experience just a bit sweeter.



That would be a loaded cup of chocolate hazelnut fro-yo from Pinkberry that I split with Shaun and then wished that I’d had all to myself (s’okay, we got more before the weekend was over).

Ohmuhgoodness, y’all. If every Anthropologie had a Pinkberry nearby, that would be a lethal combination.

Because at Pinkberry, one does not simply browse. Oh no. One samples (and samples) and then buys a very large cup of sugary goodness.

Amen, and bless it.

So, what about you guys? Are you Anthro admirers too? I know it’s not everybody’s (initial-embossed) cup of tea, and, as Shaun pointed out, how I actually decorate/dress is considerably different than the overall vibe of the store. But aren’t we always drawn to things that are maybe just a little bit of an escape from our normal, everyday life?

What about Pinkberry? I used to think that TCBY’s chocolate yogurt in a waffle cone was pretty much the zenith of all frozen yogurt experiences. But then all the locations near me shut down, and when they reemerged years later in their new, self-serve format, they had completely changed their chocolate formula, and, as a result, I’ve been off of fro-yo for years. Pinkberry’s chocolate hazelnut, though. Oh man. That was enough to resurrect my love and even converted my non-chocolate-ice-cream-loving husband.




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Kindred spirits

Turning 32 has been one of the more joyful and relaxing birthday experiences I’ve had in a while…mostly because I came into it with very few expectations.

I love birthdays and look forward to mine each year as it approaches. But this one seemed to sneak up on me out of all of the busyness of homeschooling and projects and soccer seasons starting. Oh yeah, and growing a tiny human in my belly.

And let’s face it–32 isn’t exactly momentous in the grand scheme of “important” birthday years.

But between my family and Shaun, I felt very loved and celebrated, despite the mundanity of the number.

And then, as a cherry on top of it all, I got the chance to go out for dinner with some of my best girls this past weekend (I’m a big fan of stretching birthdays out over at least a week; way more festive than blowing all your fun on one day :) ).

villa montez

{Here we all are outside one of my favorite local restaurants}

We spent the evening eating really good food and laughing really hard at silly things like when my friend Lindsay’s husband sent her this Hey Girl meme after she told him she wouldn’t be bringing him home any leftovers.

hey girl

But we also talked about more important things like motherhood and the way it forces us to face a lot of our insecurities as it strips away any facades we try to present to the public. (We all agreed that our kids are not in the least bit fooled when we attempt to pretend to the rest of the world that we’re nice mama or have it all together all the time).

We talked about the ways Jesus is working in our lives and forcing us to dig deeper or fall even flatter on our faces than we do on an average Monday.

And I came away from that dinner just so very grateful to have a core group of girls who will encourage me when I need it and, more importantly, will speak truth–even the hard kind–and pray for me when I need it more.IMG_5212

Friends who totally nail it when they buy you coral eyelet dresses that you can wear with your 30-week bump and beyond. IMG_5215

And friends who notice when you get really excited about a pretty leather Fossil bag at Ross and then make sure your husband knows about it in time for your birthday.IMG_5219

And friends who give you a whole bag of pretty utensils and dishes that match your kitchen redo perfectly because they totally get your style and know that stirring with a fun, aqua spoon can make even the most run-of-the-meal dinner prep way cheerier.

In other words, friends who get why celebrating 32 is a worthwhile thing to do and go out of their way to do it well.

I don’t have a lot of breathing room in my life right now for lots of close friends. I don’t say that snobbishly. I’m always up for meeting new people, and I definitely wish there were more hours in the day to spend getting to know cool chicks.

But since that’s not a luxury I have right now, I am doubly grateful for these fellow women, wives, mothers, sinners, and sisters in Christ (some of whom weren’t there that night)–in a phrase that my beloved Anne so aptly coined: “kindred spirits”–who, in their own unique ways, convict and compel me to be more like Jesus, whether or not they know they’re doing it.

In fact, I would say that I have zero complaints whatsoever, except that–really—if they were 100% perfect, they wouldn’t have let me forget to grab my to-go box with the half-burrito that wouldn’t fit past my ribcage (I mean, you gotta help the lady with the preggo brain out!).

But I’ll admit, if missing out on leftovers is my #1 complaint (especially when–ahem–I suppose a grown woman should take responsibility for her own doggie bag)  I’ve got it pretty darn good.

What about you guys? Any kindred spirits you’d like to give a shout out? She wasn’t there because she was helping watch my kids, but my sweet Mama is definitely a kindred spirit too, and I’m so glad I get to call her friend.

Linking up with Lindsey.

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I went on a date with myself, and I LIKED it!

Until I actually read about what defines the terms “extrovert” and “introvert,” I always assumed that I was an extrovert because I am talkative, expressive, and downright goofy sometimes. I’m not the least bit afraid to speak in public. And I like people. (Mostly : )).

In other words, I’m not shy.

But I don’t love crowds. I don’t naturally go out of my way to introduce myself to new people, and that part in church where they make you stand up, turn around, and greet everybody always makes me feel a bit twitchy.

Also? I really like being by myself (which is hilarious since I am almost never fully alone). Shopping, watching a movie in the theater, doing chores–it’s all good. I remember a vacation with my family when I was 20 or so where I spent a good chunk of it by the pool, completely alone, reading my book, and it was heavenly.

As much as I love a good party, I wouldn’t say that just being around people recharges me, which seems to be one of the banner qualities of a true extrovert.

All of which means that I don’t really know what I am. But regardless of labels, I do know this: when I tried to organize a trip to Dallas with some friends, and it kept not working, and I finally decided to just go ahead and go all by my lonesome, it was not a daunting prospect but rather an exhilarating one.

So, a few weeks back, I dropped off my kids at my awesome Mama’s house and set off for the Big D, armed with a list of specific places I wanted to visit and things I hoped to find (mostly for the house).

And you know what? I loved every second of it. I loved the drive in silence. I loved browsing the clearance racks at my own, pokey pace (seriously, don’t ever come shopping with me if you’re in a hurry; I’m a dawdler). I loved eating exactly what I wanted when I wanted. Some friends of ours let me stay at their house for the night, even though they weren’t there, and I even loved sleeping in someone else’s house all by myself. The better to raid their underwear drawers, right? (LISA! I’m kidding!!!! I did not open any closed doors except the refrigerator and pantry…thanks for the cereal + milk, by the way!).

Although, I did take a peak inside her kids’ adorable rooms and even snapped a few pics to share with you guys (with her permission, of course).


Isn’t that teal dresser divine? But wait, it gets better.


See that ah-mazing bedding? Lisa made that, triple-layered ruffle bed-skirt and all!

Before I even left for Dallas, I stopped at my favorite nail salon (that I hadn’t been to in at least 6 months), and this happened. dallas10

The guy doing my toes was hilarious because he overheard my neighbor asking me about kids, and once he heard how many I have and that I had one on the way, he proceeded to inform me about all of the lucky numbers that I should strive for and the sketchy ones I should avoid (apparently, 7 and 9 are good, but I should by no means stop at 6 or 8…oooooookey dokey).

We have a small outlet mall between us and Dallas, so my first shopping stop was the GAP, where I discovered this:

gap clearance-001

An additional 50% off clearance? Um, yes. I ended up buying two things for myself (one of which was a pair of white, stretchy, majorly vanity-sized capri jeans that should fit throughout my pregnancy all while “telling” me that I am a very skinny girl, indeed. I don’t usually like being lied to, but I’m pretty okay with it if I’ve paid a whopping $13 for it) and managed to find something for everyone else in the family, except Little Bit.

Even though I spent a long time gazing lovingly at this rack, I just couldn’t seem to find something I quite loved.

gap baby-001

Oh, and before I went to GAP, I ate half of this (and then inhaled the rest afterward; thanks to that whole pregnancy phenomenon of filling up really fast and then being hungry again 30 minutes later):


I got a late start on the trip, so by the time I finished with GAP and made it all the way to Dallas, I only had time left for one other store.

So, naturally I chose…anthro collage

Yup, that would be Anthro. I don’t think there’s a single other store I’m as content to browse in without buying.

I ended up only getting two tiny jars for $8 (total), but I strongly considered these:

anthro shoes

…and this top

anthro top dallas4

Which, coincidentally, matched each other perfectly.

Ultimately, though, I couldn’t stomach the (deeply clearanced) price tags, so I passed.

After a wonderfully uninterrupted night’s sleep, I set off for World Market, whose wares I’ve long admired online but which I’d never actually visited in person.

I wasn’t as impressed as I’d hoped to be, but a few things did catch my eye.

Like this table + tufted chairs set.


And this quirky lion plate. dallas7

Not to mention this colorful pillow.

world market

But, ultimately, the only thing I couldn’t live without was this:


Why, yes, those are two large jars of Nutella. From World Market. They were 50% off, y’all–a total steal!

After World Market, I headed to Ikea, which was a madhouse. I’ve only ever been to Ikea a grand total of maybe 6 or 7 times, but it’s been a madhouse every single time. So, apparently, I should stop calling it “madhouse” and just say, “I went to Ikea. It was normal.”


In keeping with my theme of sparse, rather unconventional purchases, I ended up at the checkout with only these items, all of which are conspicuously neutral and classic for a lover of funky color like myself. What can I say? I like classic too. (And Ikea’s fake plants = pure awesomeness).

I didn’t end up finding much of anything on my list, but I did make one surprise discovery on Craigslist that wasn’t even on that list.

Here’s a sneak peek.


Intrigued? Hope so because I’ll be showing you more next week (I know better than to think I’ll actually get it done this week).

I finished off the trip with my favorite burrito bowl from Chipotle:


(Goodness! I’m getting hungry!)

And then, just for the heck of it, as I was eating, I searched my GPS for other Anthros and discovered another one on the same street as Chipotle, 5 minutes away (totally unexpected considering there are only 3 in all of Dallas). I ducked in for a few minutes and walked out with yet another little $4 jar and this guy:


See my cow? No? Well, do you see my pig? Yup. I have to admit that I bought that butter dish from Anthro fully convinced I was bringing home a ceramic bovine, but my entire family informed me that it was actually a pig. (Moink!)

So, the big question is: does a solo trip to the city sound like fun or torture or somewhere in between to you? Don’t worry. I don’t think it means anything too terribly much about your character either way. But it’s an interesting question to ponder, right?

Do you know how to define your personality? In simplest terms, I would say that I’m an introverted extrovert…or an extroverted introvert…depending on the day. It’s complicated.

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And then, there were 10…

I’m afraid that I’ve been very remiss in the introductions department around here. You see, we have a new addition. Actually, make that three new additions.


Meet Whiskers, Ginger, and Scout (top to bottom).

They’re the cutest little invaders, and regardless of the fact that the twins have done their best to choke them to death on numerous occasions, the truth is we’re all very happy they’re here.

They’re really rather remarkable felines.

They like to quietly ponder life’s greater mysteries.IMG_1590

“I wonder how long I can stand here in peace before Scout and Whiskers ambush me?”


“Not long, apparently.”

They play piano.


Their favorite song? Why, “Fur” Elise, of course. {Groan}

They do magic tricks every now and then.


Behold the Genius Ginger, and his incredible two-tailed cat trick!

They even do their best to blend in with the decor.


But mostly, they just lie around a lot and chase each other’s tales.


Oh, and they make my kids smile.

IMG_1735 IMG_1732

And that’s enough for me.

What about you guys? Any new additions in your house?

Are you a pet family? We’re not. I mean, my kids would (theoretically) be all about it, but we’ve tried our hands at fish and now cats, and while the fish were, ahem, not entirely successful, we’ve had the kittens for a few months now, and the kids are still feeding and playing with them, so we’ll call that a win.

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A little of this and that…

Because several of you have asked about it and because I’ve forgotten or gotten distracted at least half a dozen times…

The winner of the Jord watch giveaway (from, oh, a good 3 weeks ago), is:

AMY, who answered the all-encompassing Parisian foot questions with: “He said, “Aaah, Cherie, your feet and toes are absolutely beautiful. I wish my wife’s toes looked as amazing as yours do!”

Thanks, Amy, I’m blushing. Oh, and check your email for deets!


Well, if you live in the States, I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day weekend!

We did…mostly.

We started off with a potluck lunch at Mandy’s house, where she snapped this family pic for us.


I’m not claiming it as our most photogenic picture of all time, but at least we’re all looking, which is always a winner in my book!

After a fun time with friends, we headed to my mom’s house for more food, swimming, and little-girl-scaring explosions of death fireworks.

Then, my mom kindly offered to keep our kids for us while we caught a late-ish showing of Dinesh D’Souza’s new flick, America: Imagine the World Without Her.

I would definitely recommend it if for no other reason than to provide an alternative perspective to the current popular political narrative. (If you have trouble finding it in your area, but they do have D’Souza’s first movie, 2016: Obama’s America, showing, then it’s probably actually the new one but mislabeled. That’s how it was in every theater that carried it in our area).

Sadly, by the end of the movie, I wasn’t feeling so hot, and by Saturday morning, I was in the throes of a full-blown stomach bug.

Honestly, though, if you have to get sick, there’s no better time to do it than when your husband and kids already have somewhere to go (I was supposed to go too, but, well…puking).

Shaun took the kids off to a celebration/get together at his parents’ house, while I spent the day like this:

sick day

I pretty much did nothing but alternate between napping and vegging on the couch, which got pretty old by about 8 PM but was definitely better than trying to chase twins and wipe bottoms when my legs felt like wet noodles.

And then, Shaun’s parents kept the kids on Sunday so I could fully recover without getting them sick since Shaun is leaving on a work trip this week. Which means I got another awesomely uninterrupted nap!

I tell you what: this getting sick business has its upsides! (Joking…sort of).

Which brings us to today,  when I had something completely different planned for you, which, due to all the aforementioned upchucking and nap-taking, remains in half-finished form.

I’m feeling tons better today, though, so I plan to back in full fighting, er, writing form tomorrow.

See y’all then!

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I’m back! (Sort of)


Hey guys! We made it back (eeeeeearly) yesterday morning, and I slept a whopping 10 hours (9PM-7AM) last night, so I feel…mostly human. I think.


My house looks like a cyclone went through it (there’s a reason for that that I’ll tell you about soon-ish), I have more laundry than I care to think about, about 3,456 pictures to edit, and some extremely clingy twins to hold.

So! I promise I’ll be back for realsies very soon. But for the moment. I’m going to plod over to the washing machine with a toddler on my hip and stare at the dial for a good five minutes before the words finally start making sense again (yawn).

I can’t wait to tell you about our trip, though. Let’s just put it this way: I was really looking forward to going on it, and then it totally blew any expectations that I might have had for it sky-high…in the best possible way.

Yeah. It was gooood.

Allrighty, so…I’ll be back soon.

Now, can someone point me in the direction of the laundry room?

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Win my watch! + a little story about my feet…

Well, this was supposed to be posted yesterday, but, well, vacation. So, there you go.

Anyhoo, remember Wednesday’s post about my Jord wooden watch?

Well, one of you lucky ducks is going to win one of your very own!

But first, a story:

Yesterday, as Shaun and I were on a food tour in Montmartre (which was amazing and included the most incredible, dream-about-it-delicious crepe I have ever, ever, ever tasted), we were walking along a picturesque French sidewalk minding our own business…

When an older man approached and began waving at my feet and jabbering (in French, of course).

I stopped dead in my tracks and looked down at my feet it horror, sure that some giant Parisian bug had thought my big toe was a delectable crepe and was about to take a chomp out of it.

But instead, I saw this:


(my sandals were handmade in Greece; sorry if you got your hopes up that they are local to you)

Before I knew it, he was crouching down near my feet, and gesticulating enthusiastically at them, all while continuing to speak in rapid fire French.

I didn’t catch a word of it, and neither of our tour guides were close enough to translate.

So, I did what you’re supposed to do with crazy overly enthusiastic people and backed slowly away, smiling politely.

Shaun saw the whole thing too and both of us spent the next half mile of walking puzzling over what-in-the-blue-blazes that guy said about my feet!

Which is where you come in.

If you’d like to win a Jord Fieldcrest in Maple watch of your very own…


…simply answer the following question in the comments:

What did the man from Montmartre say about my feet?

P.S. Please include your email address so I can contact you if you win.

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The Twins are 18-months-old!

Two things:

1) Thank y’all so much for your sweet comments on Monday’s shelf post. I’m glad you guys thought it was as awesome as I did. But darn you all for wanting a tutorial! Just kidding. I did want to say, though, that I will do my best, but since my husband made it all sneaky-like, I won’t have much in the way of pictures, so be prepared to try to understand my convoluted written directions.


2) GOTCHA! I can definitely say that Tuesday (April Fool’s) was one of my most enjoyable blogging days to date. As the, “I totally fell for it!” comments came rolling in, I was practically chortling (just used that one in Words With Friends, so it’s fresh in my mind) with glee. I just love the fact that I received a concerned text from a friend because she hadn’t had a chance to read all the way to the end of the post. And then there were the obviously-didn’t-actually-read-it shares on FB that  went something like: “See?? I KNEW it. STOP THE OIL PULLING.” Snort. I even fooled my pastor, y’all. That was fun. Of course, now you’re expecting it, and I think it was the very fact that I’ve never done a post like that before that made it so believable, so I’ll probably never do another one (or will I?….muahahaha).

Anyhoo, thanks for playing along and being such good sports with my little prank. Y’all are rad.

In other news, last night, I watched Nola sitting in a big person chair eating Lil’ Smokies out of a big person bowl, simultaneously all nonchalant and, “Hey, look at me and bad self” and wondered when my baby morphed into a little girl.

At one point, she almost knocked the bowl off the table but stopped it and pushed it back from the edge and then resumed eating with even greater nonchalance and bad-selfness. And I almost shed a little tear for the fact that my “twinnies” (Della’s word for them) are babies no longer.


In fact, at 18 months (as of the 24th of March), I’d say they’re officially toddlers. And, although I am at a complete loss as to how I ended up with identical twin toddler girls when I am absolutely certain that they were tiny and bald and utterly helpless, like, yesterday, it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve got a couple of awfully cute little girls (babies, no more) on my hands.

Here’s proof:


{Evy, pink; Nola, blue}

You may recognize this bridge from my Sisters post. Not only do I like the look of it, it’s basically in the back yard, so to speak, of the gym where I work, which makes it awfully convenient as photo shoot locales go.

All of these shots were taken in a whopping five minutes, both because the girls tend to yank any bows or clips out of their hair in much less time than that and also because, well, they’re two 18-month-old toddlers. Photo sessions lasting longer than 5 minutes are met with much resistance (aka: weeping and gnashing of teeth + elaborate escape attempts). Plus, I had to go teach class right after we took these pics.


Even so, I managed to snag a few cute ones, although I’m pretty sure this may be the only one where they’re both facing me (although not both looking; that would be asking too much, apparently).


{That random black thingy by Evy’s feet? Yeah, I didn’t notice it until we were almost done}

I think I just happened to catch Nola in this pose, but she might actually be admiring/showing off her adorable Joyfolie shoes (which I received at a steeep discount for a review way back before the twins were even born). Both the twins are shoe-obsessed and will find random pairs in all shapes and sizes around the house and bring them to you and thrust a foot out with plaintive little, “Schoooo, schooooo?” requests.


{Their dresses were a recent clearance buy from Old Navy, by the way}

For some reason, I really love this next one. They’re both just focused and in their own little adventuring world.


Sometimes, that’s pretty accurate, but they’re usually a bit clingier than that. Or at least one is at a time. They trade off. Fortunately, although they’re Mama’s girls (which I love), they’re also content to be carried by/played with/fussed over by their big brothers and sister, all of whom happily oblige.


“You coming, Evy? Oh, and quit making that face, or it might freeze like that, and I would totally be the prettier one for keeps.”


“See? Toldja.”


Honestly, they are pretty much the best babies toddlers (choke) imaginable. They sleep all night (in the same crib) and never make a peep at bedtime (probably because they can’t wait to get in bed and whisper secrets). They also take awesome naps during the day and wake up happy and jabbery.

They eat well (Nola, especially; I think she’s just trying to maintain that pound-ish lead she’s always had on her sister), play really well much of the time, have the sunshiniest personalities, and are very liberal with their kisses.

But for all their similarities, they are also vastly different. I’ve mentioned a few of their distinctions before, but most notable is Evy’s tendency to close her mouth primly and emote with her eyebrows and eyes, whereas Nola’s mouth is almost always open (usually because she’s shoveling food in it), and she is prone to gesticulate wildly and bounce around in her seat. Their voices, too, have become different enough that unless both are crying at the same time, I can tell who is who even from another room. Evy LOOOOOOOOVES to “draw” (I have to really stay on top of her because she seems to have a radar for markers and pencils), and Nola is big into baby dolls (she walks around most of the time with one tucked under her arm). 


Mostly, though, they are both just huge blessings in our lives. I know I’ve said it many times before, but I will say it again: I was so shortsighted for thinking I didn’t want something just because I knew nothing about it, and it sounded hard, and I’m so glad the Lord paid me no mind. Hard, it is, sometimes, but it’s always so, so worth it.

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An open letter of apology to my readers about oil pulling…


It’s really embarrassing to admit this, but…

I think I jumped the gun when I wrote my post praising the virtues (or at least the potential) of oil pulling a little while back.

I mean, I knew that I was writing a bit prematurely since I had only been doing it for 2 1/2 weeks, but I had seen such improvement in the whiteness and cleanliness of my teeth that I just couldn’t resist.

Lesson learned.

A little less than a week ago, I started noticing some odd, mottled yellowing beginning along my gum line, especially on my bottom teeth, and within a few days, more and more discoloration started to show up on several of my upper teeth as well.

As much as I don’t want to show you this, I really feel like it would be better if you had a realistic expectation of the side effect you could experience if you started oil pulling as a result of my post (sorry!) or have been doing it for some time.

april fools 1

{It’s way too embarrassing to show you a closer up picture, but this one is gross enough to give you an idea, I think}

Of course, I freaked out and ran to the trusty (or not so much?) internet to self-diagnose.

And this is what I discovered: apparently, some people can have a weird reaction between the coconut oil and the plaque build-up on their teeth, producing this unsightly brown discoloration.

In fact, awesomely enough, there seems to be some sort of connection with exercise, so the more you exercise, the more likely you are to have this reaction.

Just my luck.

And the awesomest part of all? It takes (at least one) trip to the dentist to fix it. Some people said theirs only went away with expensive professional whitening.

Y’all. I am SO sorry to have led you astray like this. I promise to do a better job in the future of vetting my information (I don’t know how I missed all of this during my initial research). And I reeeeeally hope none of you who have started as a result of my post have experienced any of the same issues I’m having.

Really, that’s all. I feel so bad.

But before I leave you totally depressed and down for the day, I did just want to say one more thing…






april fools

P.S. To be very clear, while I am in no way claiming that oil pulling is the cure-all for, well, anything, I have experienced zero adverse effects from using it and continue to see the same good results that I reported in my initial post.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

(I’m off to plan something maniacal for my children!)

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A spontaneous trip to the Big D

The last few weeks have been busy. Like BIZ-ZY. (Because misspelling and capitalizing it conveys my point so much better). I feel like I say that a lot, and I probably do. After all, we are in an incredibly busy season of life. The fact that we have five small children, two of whom are involved in soccer at the moment, and we are required by some unspoken law to, like, feed them multiple times (insert eye roll) would be enough to keep us hopping most of the time.

But throw baby showers and spring break and house projects and rental house repairs and trips to visit family and extra work for Shaun into the mix, on top of the usual gym classes, blogging, home schooling, full time jobs, church, and—oh yeah—the constant food-making, and things get a bit out of hand. (P.S. I did a fun interview with Kelli of Eat Pray Read Love a little while ago about how I don’t really do it all if you want to check it out).

The week before last, Shaun was slammed. Last week, I was (okay, he was too) because I can’t just throw a baby shower. Oh no, I have to clean out and organize my refrigerator, my pantry, my breakfast nook…even my Tupperware drawers, for crying out loud. I have to replant my flower beds and spray paint everything in sight and sew new pillows and hang wall art and sort through all my kids’ clothes. What does any of this have to do with baby showers, you ask? Um, nothing, as far as I can tell. But between that whole advent of spring business (doesn’t sunshine just make you want to scrub things?) and the fact that having people over always gets me in a frenzy of unrelated but much-needed activity, things have been cuh-razy up in here.

The shower went great (I’ll show you pictures soon), but by 6 PM Saturday evening, I was done. Like “I’m going to lie on the couch and rest my eyes for just a sec and keep an ear out for the twins crying while I wait for Shaun and the older kids to get home…whoa! Did I fall asleep? They’re already home”…DONE.

So, Sunday morning, we woke up and kind of said, “Hi, remember me?” all around, and as Shaun and I sat on the couch mustering the energy to bathe and dress five children for church, we looked at each other and said, “What if we did some sort of family day today since we’ve all been passing in the night and running ourselves ragged?”

Less than an hour later, we were on the road to Dallas loaded up with snacks and toys and the double-stroller.

First stop?


In-n-Out Burger! We only recently (and by recently, I mean 3 years ago) got these in Texas, and I hadn’t been in 11 years (since a visit to one in California), so we made a beeline for it when we saw a sign for one around lunchtime.

Honestly, it wasn’t as yummy as I remember, and Shaun said the Dallas version didn’t measure up to California’s standards, but it got our bellies full.

The best part , though (and the part that I am KICKING myself for not having a picture of), is that, as we were all piling out the door to leave, the person coming in the door said, “ABBIE!”

I looked up and saw a face that was so familiar, but because of being taken by surprise and having zero context for it, I just stared, dazed, for a second. And then it came to me just as she said, “Hey, it’s Emily from 52 Mantels!” Emily and I have been blogging buddies for over two years now, but we have never met in real life. She lives in Dallas, so there’s that, but otherwise, the odds of our running into each other on that day at that time are so stinkin’ slim. It was awesome! When I finally managed to express to Shaun that I’d literally never met her in person, he jut stared at me and said, “Wow. That’s crazy.”

Next, we headed to Northpark Mall, home to—da da DA!—the LEGO store!


Do you think they’re maybe a wee bit excited to be there?

After the boys had found something big to share, and Della had instantly picked out the girliest LEGO product ever  (a mini princess castle), we went to my version of the LEGO store: Anthropologie.

Sadly, my phone battery died before we even got out of the car at the mall (that’s what happens when your phone gets lost in the midst of shower preparations, and then you spontaneously run off to Dallas without having a chance to charge it), so I kept having to borrow Shaun’s phone to document everything. I wish I’d grabbed it and snapped some pics of that Anthro store because they had outdone themselves. There was a life sized  elephant (okay, maybe more like baby life sized, but still) made out of some sort of plastic-y scale thingies (technical jargon, right there) that was just too rad.

But not nearly as rad as the fact that my husband wrangled kids while I spent 45 minutes rooting through the clearance racks and trying things on.

Here’s what I wore to Dallas.


(A sweater, jeans, and boots because, even though it was March 23rd in Texas, it was 55 degrees and windy)

And here’s what I tried on:

anthro collage

Wanna guess what (if anything) I actually came home with? You’ll find out if you were actually right on Wednesday.

After Northpark, we headed to Ikea.


This was only maybe the 6th time that I’ve ever been to Ikea, and we had never used their childcare, so I was kind of excited to be able to shop while the kids played.

However. Apparently going to Ikea on a random Sunday afternoon is akin to doing your Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. Everybody, their dog, their cat, and their goldfish was there. Which means that we got waitlisted for childcare. The first girl told us 15-20 minutes.

So, of course, we got ice cream.


{Oh, Ikea, you’re so clever with your automated ice cream dispensers}

And then we tortured our little sisters with our ice cream.


{After seeing this and the above pictures, I promptly French braided Della’s hair; it was a mess}


{“Mama! Della has ice cream and she keeps dribbling it on the floor all around me but won’t give me a bite!”}

The ice cream venture killed about 10 minutes. Then a series of field trips to the bathroom ate up another 10 (at least).

And still they hadn’t called our name.

So, the boys perused their complementary Lego magazines.


And I changed poopy diapers.

By this point, we had spent at least half an hour distracting 5 children just so three of them could have the privilege of entering Smaland.

So, I went back to the check-in desk to see if we’d somehow managed to miss our name being called. The girl shuffled through all the paperwork and informed me that 8 children were in line ahead of ours, so we were looking at another half hour of waiting.

Ain’t nobody got time for that. So we set forth with our brood, creating a mini roadblock everywhere we went. And let me just tell you: we were there for an hour and a half because, hello, it’s Ikea and you can’t get out of there fast, even if you try (I heard a lady loudly complaining to the air about how irritated she was that there wasn’t a shortcut to the checkout because she had been “tired for the last five MILES!”), and during that 90 minutes, various names were called on the intercom to come to Smaland either to deposit or pick up their children.

But ours never was.

Which was fine. Because they had tunnels to wriggle through in the kids’ bedroom displays.


Honestly, this picture represents maybe 5 minutes of our 90 minute trek from top to bottom, and even though the kids do remarkably well with stores after many, many  epic trips to Walmart and Sam’s with me, they were pretty sick of it by the end, and the twins were worn slap out, while still refusing to nap in their stroller.

We made it out alive, though,  and immediately did a GPS search for the nearest park so the kids could run off their pent up energy.

This is what we came up with:


{This is Hope Park in Frisco, Texas. Can you spot Shaun and Nola?}

Seriously. This park was the coolest kids’ hangout that I have ever seen.


It was HUGE, with multiple sections and everything from every type of swing imaginable to makeshift pianos and pipe drums. Not to mention myriads of slides and benches and pavilions and…Sigh. It was kid heaven and the perfect end to an enjoyable day ( just don’t ask Shaun’s honest opinion of those 45 minutes in Anthro and the last 20 minutes or so of Ikea :

)). dallas

{In case you’ve ever wondered how to get cardio exercise while pushing kids on a swing, try running from one swing to the next while holding a baby!}

We capped off the day with a trip to a local frozen custard shop (it was delicious!) and watching Frozen in the car on the way home (well, the kids did, while Shaun and I sat in the front and tried to recreate this hilarious video).

Want to know the best part? We got home a little before 10, dumped the kids in bed, and then got in bed by 10:15 ourselves. After a solid week of mild sleep deprivation, getting a solid 8 hours was just plain glorious!

And now you’re officially caught up on the events of our spontaneous Sunday foray into the big city. Do y’all ever just take off for the day and do something unexpected? We don’t usually, and I have to admit that I almost chickened out because I was tired, but I’m so glad Shaun stuck to his guns. Our family needed it.

What’s your equivalent of the LEGO store? Mine is definitely Anthro, even though I’ve only ever bought a few articles of clothing there ever, but my runner-up would definitely be Paper Source or any other pretty stationery store.

Any guesses on what I bought at Anthro? You might be surprised.

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