But we didn’t go to Charleston either.

So, yes, I’m still alive, for those you that were worried. (Thanks for the sweet messages, by the way).

But only barely.

Okay. So, that’s a bit on the dramatic side, but I am on day five of thee worst head cold I think I’ve ever experienced. Couple that with the fact that there has been almost zero margin for rest the last four days (Monday: Homeschool co-op all day, Tuesday: all-day appointments + gym classes, and Wednesday: homeschooling, house-cleaning, and more gym classes, yesterday: the same), and I have been collapsing on the couch as soon as I get home and staying as still as possible, until dragging my aching body to bed every night. This morning, I finally woke up feeling a little more like a human being instead of a walking zombie, so praise Jesus for that!

ANYHOO, there’s no way to know just how coherent this post will be, but I thought I’d give y’all an update on what we did do to celebrate the super-monumental event of my turning 34-whole-years-old.

We were waffling back and forth until the last second on whether to chance Charleston, but when they started evacuating folks, and the airlines declared a weather advisory, that pretty much made the decision for us.

Thankfully (for us, not for Charleston), because of those two things, both our Airbnb rental and our flights were refunded (or at least credited, in the case of the latter), so it looks like we’ll still get to go. Just not quite yet.

My sweet mama was cool with keeping our kids anyway, so we headed to Dallas last Wednesday to do exciting things like eat Thai food, sleep on clean sheets we didn’t have to wash, and check out tile stores and bathroom faucets.

I know. What party animals we are!

But seriously. After months of go, go, going for our family, it was such a relaxing, rejuvenating 48ish hours with my man.

Before we ever made it out of Tyler, we stopped for lunch at The Grove.


I’d heard good things but had never been, and I was pretty blown away by the rad interior design. They put some serious thought and effort into getting everything just so.


{Those chandeliers made us think of alien vegetables, which…normally wouldn’t be a good thing; but it totally worked in this space}


{Coolest lounge ever}


{Aren’t you just so thrilled that I managed to capture this creepy down-lighting shot?}

Thankfully, the food was just as yummy as the decorations, so I left a very happy pregnant lady.


{Shaun loves few things more than a good balsamic glaze, and this was a very good balsamic glaze, so I was not the only happy camper}

On our way to Dallas, we stopped by Paul Michael, a big warehouse style decor store in Canton, Tx (home of the famous Canton Trade Days, in case that name rings a bell) and wandered…then wandered some more.


We didn’t buy anything, but I was sorely tempted by a 1/2 off giant pedestal table (that still cost $600…nope). It was a fun little jaunt just the same, and at least a chunk of the wandering was due to Shaun’s having to take phone calls (more on that in a minute), but I certainly wasn’t complaining.

That night, we ate the aforementioned Thai (if you’re in Dallas uptown, check out Malai Kitchen—SO good), watched a movie (Queen of Katwe…it was good! Not life-changing, but sweet and clean and well-acted), and ate some super-tasty gelato (can’t remember the name of the place, but it’s right beside the Magnolia Theatre).

I mentioned Shaun’s being on the phone a lot. So, remember all of those flooring samples I showed y’all?

We found a (much) better price online for the laminate (yup, we took some home, made a little mini-“floor” and tested it out for a week and reeeeeeally liked it) than the local place, but I asked Shaun to contact the local guy before ordering, since he had been so helpful, had already spent over 3 hours with me, and I wanted to at least give him a chance to make the sale.

Shaun did, and what ensued was a two-day-long bidding war between the online guy and the local guy for our business. It actually got a little comical toward the end, and Shaun was pretty much completely stressed out and wishing it were over by the last 6 calls or so…


The fairy tale ending is that 1) we ended up going with the local guy because 2) he MATCHED the crazy-low price the online store had dropped their already crazy-low price to (assuring us that he was still making money on it) and agreed to store it for us until we need it, AND 3) because my bro and sis-in-law were also ordering the same laminate in a different shade for the house they’re building (hence the bidding war; it was a big order), we saved $$$$ between the two of us on flooring that was already very reasonably priced and which we were fully prepared to pay the online price for in the first place. Praise the Lord!

Thankfully, it wasn’t all phone calls and negotiations, even as exciting as the outcome was.

My actual birthday started out with a trip to The Boulangerie in Greenville Ave. for breakfast


They have amazing croissants!


{Shaun got me a Fitbit Blaze–complete with an aqua band, of course–for my birthday; the better to track just how many steps it took to burn off all {okay, my half} of those pastries)

Plus, their decor is such a feast for the eyes as well.



{It’s hard to tell what’s going on here because of the glare, but a lady saw us praying over our breakfast and thought it was a cool shot, so she snapped a pic. Kind of a fun shot to have}

The next few stops were a bit on the utilitarian side, since we stopped at a tile store and a faucet store, but after doing most of my house-researchonline, it was fun to be able to see and touch real! live! stuff!

Again, we didn’t buy anything, but we didn’t come away with a good idea of what we want to do in the master bathroom. Which is my favorite. Not the master bathroom. The knowing. I enjoy researching and finding the best deal, but my favorite part is that big sigh of relief when you land on the final decision and can just move on.

And the NEXT stop was a complete happenstance but a  very happy one, indeed. As we were on our way to a cool-sounding antiques/salvage shop, we spotted this giant brick building with the words, “Uncommon Ground,”  on the side.


Turns out, it’s kind of the mother of all antique quirkiness and decor awesomeness. Again–you guessed it–we bought nothing (because the cheapest thing I saw there was an old spoon, and it was $8), but it was still such a fun little (um, big; it was BIG) find.

Am I just under a rock that I’ve never heard of this place? Because it was rad.


{Couldn’t leave without snapping a pic of just one of the G.I.A.N.T rather dour-looking cats who clearly ran the place}

Our last decor stop of the day was the salvage shop I mentioned, which was more reasonably priced, not quite as rad, but still worth the stop (hmmm….can’t remember the name at the moment…sorry!). Aaaand we bought nothing.

Lunch was an authentic New York Style pizza place called Mimi’s–where the nicest guy with the thickest New Yawker’s drawl told Shaun he was: “Real classy…taking the lady to a dive like Mimi’s on her birthday.”  But seriously. Good, good pizza, y’all.

Sensing a carb theme to this birthday? Apparently Baby #7 is keen for mama’s hips to GROW!

Our last stop of the day was our traditional jaunt to Anthropologie.


I am completely happy 99% of the time to just browse and get ideas, but this trip, I found a dress I loved on sale (and then an extra 40% off) that will work the rest of the pregnancy and poooosssibly beyond? So, that was a fun surprise. I tried to snap a pic of it, but my phone battery gave the fateful “extremely low battery” signal literally as I opened the camera on it, so you’ll just have to wait for that one. Nail-biter. I know.

The day ended with another super highbrow carb fest of chips, queso, and Torchy’s Tacos (because NOTHING says classy like ordering a taco called “The trailer park” and being asked if you want to “make it trasy”–i.e. add queso) and a very sweet reunion with my babies.

Honestly, it’s one of the best birthdays I can remember in recent years (and they’ve all been good!).

There’s nothing quite like a super-relaxing time away with your love–with a bit of deal-haggling and house productivity thrown in for good measure!

And there you have it!

Consider yourself caught up for the moment. I had a good birthday. And then I got sick.

The end. (Anybody else wondering why I didn’t just write that?)

Y’all have an awesome Thursday!


  1. My mom and I are taking my almost 3 year old son to a wedding in Lindale right before Christmas. I was looking for restaurants, and the Grove was the first that popped up. Do you think we could take my son to eat there, or would we get the stink eye? 😉 Any other things we could do/see to keep him entertained in between wedding festivities? It looks like Tyler will be the closest biggish town to Lindale.

  2. Beautiful shots of The Grove. The green glass chandeliers in the main dining room are Murano hand blown with each piece of glass numbered. I think your children would love all the outdoor activities they had for young ones. Happy Birthday !

  3. Happy 34th Birthday, Abbie! I recently celebrated my 30th and was blessed with the best present ever; the birth of my 6th child!
    I stumbled across your blog while pregnant with Eleanor (who’s now, unbelievably, 8 months old!) and have followed you ever since.
    I forget exactly what I was Googling, but was likely searching for inspiration regarding natural childbirth, because the first post I read of yours was Theo’s birth story, which in turn linked me to the twins birth story.
    I just wanted to thank you for being so willing to share your experiences and let you know how much of an encouragement you were to me.
    There were three things that gave me strength and got me through the natural delivery of my 6th child, 1) Praying to God, 2) Visualizing “riding the wave”, and 3) The reminder that you naturally delivered twins, so surely I could naturally deliver “just one” (I know you naturally delivered four singletons as well, but delivering twins was awe inspiring. I had also delivered naturally before, but didn’t know if I had it in me to do it again!)
    I have had many combinations of labors and deliveries (Induced without epidural. Spontaneous with epidural. Spontaneous without epidural. Induced with epidural. Three deliveries with midwives, three deliveries with an OB/GYN) so I do not judge others for their choices or childbirth experiences, I just wanted to have a natural delivery this time around and you were like my labor coach without even knowing it!
    Also, ironically, all of my previous labor experiences had lasted 4-6 hours from the start of my first true labor contraction to delivery. Reading your birth stories where labor lasted for hours/days on end, I just couldn’t imagine. But sure enough, my sixth labor went exactly as so. Starting on a Wednesday at 7a.m., having hour long episodes of true labor-like contractions, only to peter out, start again, peter out, then finally 5 hours of consistent contractions ending in the delivery of my sweet baby girl on Thursday at 7:02a.m. It was quite an experience!
    Still, I had a very manageable labor thanks to you! I broke my tailbone during delivery (a first for me) so that is for another conversation! Still waiting for the amnesia to kick in! Haha

    I’m so looking forward to reading the birth story of your newest addition! Congratulations on your 7th! I know you have some time before you’re due but I’d love to hear any advice you have on managing labor, and especially delivery!
    Also wondering if you have committed to a name for this baby and your policy on sharing baby names? Your children have beautiful names so I can’t wait to see what you come up with! (I’ve done it every way: kept names a secret until after the birth, shared names as soon as we’ve decided, and even “claimed” names before being pregnant!)

    I didn’t mean to take over the comment section, but couldn’t let any more time pass by before saying thank you, and thought the most recent post would be the most appropriate place!

    I hope you’re feeling better!

    (Mama to Mallory 12, Leanna 10, Amelia 8, Delaney 5, Oliver 2, and Eleanor 8 months)

    1. Hey, Amanda! I’ve tried writing you a response several times on my phone, and parts of it keep getting erased, so sorry for the delayed response.

      Thanks so much for such a sweet comment. I definitely feel inadequate to deserve such praise, but I am grateful that my birth stories were helpful to you in your labor. And a broken tailbone…OUCH! I hope the amnesia kicks in SOON!

      Honestly, I don’t know that I have great labor/birthing advice because I don’t do tons (other than pray) to prepare for mine. I have learned that, for me, the simpler the better (this is true in all things in my life, though). I don’t really want music or candles or anything terribly structured. I don’t like a lot of people around (just Shaun and my midwives), and I don’t need tons of cheer leading. Just a calming presence when things get especially tough. I tend to be very internal when I’m in lots of pain, but as soon as the contraction eases, I go back to talking and tell jokes (until it gets really bad, of course) because that’s how I relax and reset my mind for the next one. I will say that my body is very tight–tendon/muscle-wise–so I’m excited to try some of the stretches that my midwife has “prescribed” me this time around to loosen up my uber-stiff everything and hopefully hurry labor along just a bit.

      I can’t really explain any of them to you adequately right now. But I will try to remember to ask her the website that has diagrams of them and everything. They’re just supposed to help with alignment and stretch things that need stretching so that your body has to do less “warming up” to have the baby. I’ll be interested to see if they help this time. 🙂

      Thanks again for your comment!

      I TOTALLLY see a name parallelism with your children, by the way. And it has a lot to do with the letter “L.” 🙂

  4. Happy 34! I’d love to actually “see” the countless things I’m considering for our house. We are very rural around here so getting to an actual store without all the kiddos doesn’t happen often. I turned 35 last month and literally the only thing I remember about it was I made chocolate no bake cookies …..for myself …..right before I went to bed

    1. Ha! I’m sorry your last birthday was so “low-key.” We basically make birthdays an excuse to take breaks from “normal” life. I always think: this is kind of funny to make such a big deal of just being born, but at least it gives us a reason to relax. Definitely got spoiled.

      And yeah. I pretty much never get to an actual store without all of the kids. They’re just used to being dragged around looking for lighting or flooring. 🙂 Which! Is why I’m looking online so much.

  5. I have 8 kids and have noticed my worst colds have occurred during pregnancies. Also, the only ear and sinus infections I’ve had as an adult have resulted from pregnancy colds. So, I feel for you. Hope you are feeling 100% very soon!

    1. Thank you! I can definitely tell that my body has been more susceptible to sickness this pregnancy, especially. I’m pretty much the one that NEVER gets sick, even when everybody else is puking and sneezing, so this has been weird/not fun.

I love hearing from you guys!