Monday, February 28, 2011


nos·tal·gia: a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period.


Matt and I were watching House Hunters International tonight (love this show!!) and this young family was looking for a home in Northern France. It was so beautiful and reminded me so much of the quaint little villages and countryside we loved so much.  I've told Matt a million times that I wish we'd had this blog while we were over there to document our adventures, we made so many wonderful memories and I feel like we're starting to forget some of the fun and quirky details that come with living in a foreign country.  I don't often feel a strong longing to be back in Lux or France but it's been on my mind a lot the past few weeks.  I miss the leisurely days, the breathtaking scenery, the amazing food, the always interesting trips. So here is a glimpse of our life abroad.  First in Luxembourg and then France. (Actually this may be a two or three part post!!)

I hope you (the 15 people that read this blog!!) enjoy the photos but really, I just felt the need to journal some of our time overseas.  It was such an amazing experience yet very trying at times too.  We learned so much about each other and grew together, I think these two years provided a very strong foundation for our marriage. 

 This picture was taken the day after I arrived in Luxembourg, I was still in such a state of shock and had such severe jet-lag I honestly don't remember this picture being taken!! This is our Renault Megane, a funny little car that really struggled to make it up the hilly terrain of Lux, used a card (think Visa card) to start instead a key and only had a cassette player!!! Funny thing though, I loved this little car!!

I wish we had a picture of our grocery store, Auchan.  It was more like a mall and I will never forget the first time we tried to go grocery shopping.  Matt had been in Lux for two weeks before I got there but never ventured to Auchan.. he ate out every meal!  So when we went he didn't have a clue either.  It was the day after I arrived and the previously mentioned jet-lag didn't help.  All I wanted was some fresh fruit.  Everything else was foreign to me, fruit sounded comforting.  Wrong idea. Who knew you had to weigh your food and tag it in the produce section?? NOT ME.  We went to check out and the very friendly (sense the sarcasm) clerk repeatedly told me in French, Luxembourgish (yes, an actual language) and probably German that I had to weigh my food first.  I of course had no clue what she was saying and just stood there staring at her hoping her words would somehow sink in.  After a minute or two a kind shopper took pity on us and explained in English.  We left Auchan with no fruit and many tears.  

Our lovely little home - "The Elephant House".  That's me standing on the top balcony which was the best feature of our little apartment, ha!!! I use the term apartment lightly.  Dorm room is probably a more accurate description!  We had a large open bedroom and shared a kitchen and bathroom with other two other 20-something foreigners. Benoit from France and Veronique from Belgium, both were extremely sweet and wonderful people.  It was a good way to meet people and forced us out of our comfort zone a bit, it also was in walking distance to the beautiful gardens and City Center. 

I think I could spend hours every week just wandering through the beautiful gardens and parks (which is exactly what we did!)  I had never seen such vibrant flowers or detailed architecture. Lux really is like a fairytale town.  Every home is perfectly kept, every garden perfectly manicured.  No graffiti, no garbage, just beauty everywhere you look. 

 This is the Grand Ducal Palace in the City Center of Luxembourg.  We walked passed it everyday on our way to lunch and I was in awe everyday. 

Some of my favorite places in Lux:

Vallée des Sept Châteaux
Beautiful countryside just minutes from our home..  This was such a peaceful and relaxing drive through about 15 miles of winding country roads.  Along the way are signs for the seven castles (sept chateaux) we definitely missed a few but with nowhere to be all day, we took our time exploring and enjoying the gorgeous scenery!

American Military Cemetary
One of our first tourist stops when we arrived in Lux.  This cemetery is about 10 miles outside of the city and was built in honor of American soldiers who lost their lives during WWII.  General Patton is buried here, it was really special to visit a military cemetery in a foreign country, definitely made us feel proud of our country and the men and women who have died for our freedom.  

The festival of Schueberfouer is held once a year in the City and is basically a giant carnival and great excuse to drink way too much beer!!  Luxembourg beer of choice: Bofferding

 To be continued...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Phone Photo Challenge - I Heart Faces

I'm not really the type to link up with all of these blog challenges but I just love this picture of Avery so I thought I'd share it today... it makes me smile every time I see it. One, because I love her and I smile every time I see her.  Two, because I love how much she loves being outside. Three, because I'm not a photographer nor do I claim to have an eye for photography but thanks to my Retro Camera app, I end up with fun, edited pictures in seconds!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

This Weekend

This weekend we....

Our neighbors have two very yippy dogs that bark constantly every time we're in the backyard.  Hopefully by putting up this second fence they won't be able to see us through the slats anymore, I can't handle the barking again this summer.

Working hard!

 Pretty proud of myself

Almost done! Nice boots babe!


Oh, so fun!

Gotta get both hands in there


I cannot believe how grown up Avery looks in these pictures.


Posing :)

Check out those teeth!

 Happy girl

What a great weekend!! Hope you had a good one too :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prayer Request

Earlier this week one of my co-workers became a grandfather to a little girl born at 24 weeks.  She was born weighing 1lb 12oz and is 13 inches long.  Baby C is stable and was taken off the ventilator yesterday, she seems to be a strong little girl and a fighter already.  Her doctors initially expected to have to take her to a Denver hospital (she is in Montana now) to have a small hole in her heart monitored but her little heart is beating remarkable well and they are hopeful she won't have to be transferred to Denver. 

Please pray for little baby C and her family.  Please pray that Baby C's mother will find strength and courage in God, please pray for wisdom and steady hands for her doctors, please pray that this tiny girl beats the odds. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Bear with me here... long story but I promise I'm going somewhere with it...

Last Wednesday night I put Avery to bed like always, she had been in a great mood all evening and went right to sleep.  Around 9:30 we heard her crying, I listened for a minute or so, expecting her to go back to sleep like she usually does but she was beginning to cry harder so Matt and I went in to check on her.  When we walked in we immediately knew something wasn't right, Matt turned on the light and she was sitting up, covered in vomit.  My heart just dropped, it was everywhere.  She threw up three more times that night, it was a sleepless night for all of us.  I stayed home with her on Thursday because Matt woke up feeling like he was coming down with something. Avery stopped vomiting but continued to have tummy issues all day.  Matt continued to feel worst and worse as the day went on.  By Friday he was in pretty bad shape and Avery seemed to be on the mend.  Saturday, same story.  Saturday evening I realized my sweet husband had given me the cold he had (which he was still fighting) so we both spent the majority of Sunday laying on the couch and trying to entertain little miss without sharing the cold with her. 

Monday morning we woke up and told each other a very nasally Happy Valentines Day in between sneezes and coughs.  I had told Matt all weekend that I didn't want to do anything for Valentines this year.  I just wasn't in the mood.  Between various events from the past couple months and both of us still sick, it just didn't sound appealing. 

Monday was one of those days where you just feel like going back to bed and trying again tomorrow.  Nothing was going right.  I finally got home a little after six and was concerned that Matt was going to have some big dinner planned.  Instead I got just what I needed that evening... a loving family.  

There were two cards on the counter, chocolate covered strawberries in the fridge and my hubby, baby and puppy, all at home just wanting to hangout and be together.  We spent most of the evening playing in Avery's room.  She absolutely loves playing in there.  It felt so good to just spend time with my family and not worry about everything else going on outside the walls of our home.  I think I laughed harder last night than I have in quite awhile. 

After we put Avery to bed Matt and I just sat and talked... something we haven't done enough of lately and it meant more than any gift or dinner or flowers.  I'm so lucky to have a husband that loves me unconditionally. 

It wasn't the most conventional Valentines Day but it was exactly the Valentines Day I needed. 

Our little family. Not the best picture but at least we're all looking at the camera!
Love this little girl to pieces

Cash's favorite place in the whole world, as close to Matt as possible

This is her really excited/laughing/screaming face.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Best Baby Basics

My friend Ashley is hosting a blog hop today and asking all moms to share their favorite baby items.  I thought this would be fun because I know (think?) there are a few of you who read my blog from time to time (thanks!) and are expecting a little one in the near future.

 The first few months after Avery was born are very blurry... imagine that!  But there were a few products that definitely helped me keep my sanity and made life with a newborn much easier. 

1. Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor
Angelcare Deluxe Movement Monitor - Angelcare  - Babies"R"Us
A friend of mine told me about this amazing monitor and I knew I had to have it!  The Angelcare monitor has a sensor pad that you place under the baby's mattress that detects the slightest movement... including breathing. If it doesn't detect movement for more than 20 seconds an alarm goes off.  Ours went off a few times which was terrifying but it was only due to the sensitivity not being adjusted correctly.  I would rather have a few false alarms than worry about the alternative.  This product allowed me to sleep at night (ha!) and gave me the peace of mind I desperately needed the first few months.

2. Sleep Gowns

Product Image Newborn Girls' Gerber 2pk Pink Cotton Gown

I received a lot of cute PJs for Avery but she usually ended up in these soft sleep gowns.  Snaps can be a pain and yes zippers are easier but the gowns are even better!! Even daddy can handle pulling up the gown in the dark!!

3. Boppy Billow
Product Image Boppy Pillow with Park Hill Slipcover - Green

I nursed for the first few months so the Boppy was a lifesaver and around 5 months I pulled it back out as a support pillow for Avery while she was learning to sit up.

4. Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack
Product Image Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack
I know this probably seems silly but when you are washing what seems like a million bottles a day it is so nice to have a cute drying rack that doesn't take up a ton of space.  I used the Dr. Browns bottles that have the internal vents to ease gas and with all of those extra parts this was extremely helpful.

5. Dr. Browns Bottles
Product Image Dr. Brown's Newborn BPA-Free Feeding Gift Set

Speaking of bottles, there are so many options out choosing a type of bottle can be overwhelming.  I absolutely loved these bottles.  They come in silicone or glass and multiple sizes.

6. Mylicon
Gas Relief Drops - Original, 0.5 oz

This should actually be number two because it solved so many problems but I'm too lazy to go back and re-number!  I think Avery had a very sensitive stomach during the first month or so and while mylicon didn't ALWAYS help, it seemed to give her relief most of the time.  We tried the generic brand (from Target, I think) first and it didn't work for us.  We spent the extra money on the real thing and her gas issues decreased.  A lot of people I know swear by Gripe Water, it didn't really work for us but as a new mom with a fussy baby, I'd recommend giving it a shot!

7. Bumbo Chair
Bumbo Baby Sitter, in Blue

What a great idea!! I loved that I could sit Avery up as soon as she had good head control.  She didn't like it much at first but after a few times she realized how much more she could see when sitting instead of lying on her back.  It was great while I was cooking or trying to get other things done.  She grew out of it fairly quickly (the girl has some meaty thighs :)) but we still got a lot of use out of it.  I think there is a recall out there right now because kids have been left in them unattended and fallen but honestly, use a little common sense and this isn't an issue.

I know there are many other things I'm forgetting about but I hope someone out there finds this helpful!! When I was pregnant I received a few care packages from sweet friends (shout out to Lyndsey and Kim!) with little ones and I can't express how much I appreciated the insight from mommies who had already been through it.

I have to mention one other thing I just loved having for Avery.  No, it's not a necessity but I love having personalized or monogrammed stuff for her.  It's just so fun to see her name on itsy bitsy onsies and bibs!! If you need anything monogrammed checkout Etsy, it is the most amazing website, I am ADDICTED

Monday, February 7, 2011

Nine Months!

Sweet Avery Lynn,

I don't know what is harder for me to believe, the fact that you are already nine months old or that you will be one YEAR old in three short months.  You continue to amaze me everyday, I had no idea I could be so head-over-heals in love with you.  You are such a busy little girl and so interested in the world around you, definitely a little observer!  You crawl EVERYWHERE now! And you crawl FAST!  We've developed this little bedtime routine where I strip you down to your diaper and then you crawl away as fast as you can. You get about halfway down the hall and then turn around hoping to find me or your daddy crawling after you.  I think this is your absolute favorite game.  You squeal and laugh and shriek every night. When I catch you we put your shirt on then you crawl away again.. this process is repeated until you are fully clothed and ready for a bottle.  I absolutely love this time with you.

You now have TWO teeth and will wave on a (somewhat) consistent basis.  You've started saying dadada, mum-mum, mamama which your daddy and I love!! I know you don't understand what these words mean but when you come crawling up to me and try to pull up on my leg and say mum-mum my heart melts and you without a doubt know I will pick you up.  How can I say no to your big blue eyes and sweet grin???  Speaking of pulling up... you are standing up all the time.  And then you sit down and repeat over and over again.  It was so funny to watch you learn how to sit.  You definitely took a few spills but have mastered it to the point now where it's hard to get you to stand for more than 2-3 seconds.  You are crusing around a bit, taking 3 (at most) steps while holding on.  

Ever since May 5, 2010 my life has never been nor will it EVER be the same.  I look at you every single day and wonder why God decided to bless me with you.  I fall more in love with you everyday and thank God for trusting me to raise this sweet child... his child.  You are and will always be his first...but I am so thankful to be your mommy.

Love you to pieces sweetheart!


Friday, February 4, 2011


Wow, we definitely experienced a real winter storm here in Dallas this past week.I have to say, I'll take a foot of snow over an inch of ice any day!  I worked from home Tuesday and Wednesday, having a laptop is both a blessing and a curse. I don't feel obligated to try and get to the office when we have inclement weather but I never get snow days.  Well, Thursday I made it in and it took me almost an hour and a half each way!!! Driving on ice is exhausting!

It was so nice to wake up to snowflakes this morning, our yard looked beautiful until a certain yellow-haired pup went bounding and rolling through the snow.

I know everyone is definitely feeling cabin fever and ready to get out and back to normal.  These two have been staring out the window all day...

The snow stopped around noon and shortly after... beautiful blue skies!!

We  wanted to take Avery out back to play in the snow but of course her boots are nowhere to be found and I was only able to track down one glove.  So, we snapped a few pictures, threw the ball for Cash and headed back inside!