Sunday, August 19, 2018

Kindergarten


It was just yesterday that we found out you were a BABY GIRL! We shot an artsy video in France while Aunt Kiki was in town and played it via Skype for all the grandparents as our big GENDER REVEAL!

We JUST took your baby passport pictures and walked through St. Emillion like rookie parents with a stroller on a cobblestone street.



It was just yesterday that we moved across the WORLD with a 12 week old on an 11 hour international flight back to Texas.  (You slept the entire time!)



It was just yesterday that we drove 2 hours per day in a borrowed car to take Daddy to and from work because we had sold our cars before France and had nowhere to live and no money to buy a new car.


I still remember taking you to Square 1 at Watermark and meeting a ton of Mommas who actually live in Richardson and many are starting kinder with you this year!

I remember how "busy" you were.... You were an incredible sleeper but naps weren't really your thing. You and I ran all over town running errands and you were my little buddy.  Every time we got in the car I would announce "Stella! Time to go on an adventure!"

We moved to Lakewood in a tiny duplex that didn't have a BATH TUB so your whole first year you had to shower with me or your Daddy.  You still prefer showers to baths. :)

I still remember taking you to Baby Bounce at Northpark and it was an EPIC FAIL.  All these moms with well behaved children while you ran around in and out of the babies with your scarves over your head and wouldn't listen to one thing the music teacher was asking you to do. We never went back!

Then we had your first day at Mother's Day Out.  We would drive and get matching smoothies at Smoothie King or split a muffin at Starbucks and then I would drop you off, work as hard and as fast as I could and come back to pick you up.  You loved school from DAY 1.

You are also super flexible as we have moved 7 times in your 5 years of life so far.  When we lived in Lakewood you had this AMAZINGLY bright and cheerful bright turquoise room.  It was my favorite place in the world.

I still remember your 1st Halloween and your cute ladybug costume and how you charmed all the neighbors with how cute you were. Then we had your "ladybug" themed first birthday party in honor of your nickname Stella-bug :)



FAST FORWARD TO this week when I took you to get your nails painted and have your first proper tea party and Daddy took you to play your first round of Putt Putt and you loved it, despite the 99 degree heat.  It is a week of FIRSTS....




I am not sure how we got here, but tomorrow we send you off to your FIRST DAY of Kindergarten.  Each year you have grown, changed, made new friends, and become more and more your own little person.   You are ready.  You are going to be a light. We are SO proud of you. We know this is the right school and you got the perfect teacher.  We are praying for her and for sweet, lifelong friends during these elementary school years.

Soar, baby girl.  You were made to fly. We love you.




Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Itchy Fingers and the Birth of a Dream.

It's been a few years in the making. 

What is MY PURPOSE? 

I am OKAY at quite a few things... but not an expert at anything...  

WHERE should I focus my time. My energy. My creativity?  

How can I diversify my income doing something I love? 

How can I continue to stay home with my precious kiddos but also itch the entrepreneurial side of my brain while helping my family get ahead faster? 

The only way to describe it, was I had itchy fingers and was pregnant with a swirly cloud of potential looming over my head.  It was a ball of magic and glitter that was completely out of focus.  If only I could zoom in a bit... figure out WHAT exactly it was. 

I prayed.  I read a LOT of books. I took classes and attended seminars. 

I kept coming back to writing. 

Writing for me, is like breathing. It pours out of me as naturally as having a conversation with a friend over a caramel macchiato.  

I really enjoy the CHALLENGE of marketing a service or product.  I have over 10 years of experience in retail, hospitality, and for the past 5 years, skincare! (Side note: I am still going to sell Rodan + Fields... I am hooked on those products for life!) 

But I wanted more... I was feeling creatively burnt out and now that my baby boy is SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT (ALL THE PRAISE HANDS), I felt like I had the time and mental clarity to start something. 

Earlier this year, I was approached with a freelance writing opportunity with a nonprofit called VOMO.  My friend Rob Peabody is the CEO and put my name in the hat to become a freelance writer for their blog.  Through that process, I found out that many small businesses, non-profits, and churches do not have the overhead to support a full-time salaried position to create content or run their social media accounts.

And the wheels began to turn...

What if I could offer this service to companies? Create fun and engaging content for their blogs, Instagram, and Facebook accounts and post on their behalf.  

I could set my own hours, continue to work from home, and use my skill set to do something I LOVE and help others along the way. 

And just like that, my swirly cloud of a hazy daydream clicked into focus and Dear Abby Marketing Co. was born.  

Once I had the name secured, I cast my vision to my friend Medea who created the most beautiful logo and business cards.  Then I taught myself how to build a website, because #whynot ? 

I am happy to announce that my website dearabbymarketingco.com is now LIVE! 

You can also keep up with our projects on Instagram @dearabbymarketingco 

Thank you ALL for encouraging this multi-tasking Mama of 3 to chase her dreams! I am excited and feel so in line with God's calling on my life.  It is a wonderful place to be. 

We all know that the BEST form of marketing is word-of-mouth and referrals so if you hear of anyone looking to outsource their social media accounts or need writers for their blog, I am your girl! 



Monday, April 16, 2018

The Miracles Behind Mohawk

I haven't been able to tell the masses the full story behind our recent move so I thought I would take a minute this morning and walk you through how it all happened... IN SIX DAYS.

In order to do so, I need to back up.  61 days before Andrew was born, our landlord told us that he wanted to put our house on the market and we needed to be out in 60 days.  This was my SECOND time to move in my third trimester and I was a mess about it.  Due to the timing, we were not able to be picky about the neighborhood or the house.  Thank God we had a couple from our community group who had a GORGEOUS rental home available right away! It was (and still is) the nicest and most updated home we have ever lived in.  They were so gracious and didn't make us sign a lease or put down a deposit.  We had no idea how long we would be in that home and it felt nice to just LAND somewhere and figure out the rest later.

Fast forward to February of this year.  My sister was approaching her due date with her first baby and the second she went into labor, I was going to hop in the car with my Mom and Andrew and drive to Illinois to be at the birth.  As we were all sitting around waiting for Dottie to make her appearance, I was able to go to our neighborhood Kindergarten roundup.  Originally, I was not supposed to be in town for it.

But God...

TUESDAY 

I will leave out the name of the school, but I left kinder roundup crying.  Although we were living in the most beautiful home, I did NOT have a peace about the school.  I also put our name in a lottery for the local magnet school, but there was no guarantee that we would get into that school.  The beauty of that school was that we would not have to move so Logan and I started researching the school, taking tours, and going to info nights there.

For some reason I STILL did not have peace.  Paperwork for the magnet school was in but I was not settled in my spirit.  The VISION I had for my family was to live in a neighborhood with a lot of young families.  I also dreamt of a "front yard neighborhood." One where people were outside and interacting with each other instead of isolated within their homes.

WEDNESDAY 

On Dottie's due date, I  got a text from a good friend of mine that Mohawk (which historically NEVER has spots for incoming kinder) had an unusually small kinder roundup and that I should get my transfer paperwork ready.   I talked to several folks within the district about transfer approvals in RISD.  Well, let's just say... They don't happen.  You have to have a family member on staff or a signed lease or contract on a house in the neighborhood in order to transfer to a school.  The reason behind this is to encourage neighborhood kids to attend their neighborhood school.

So transferring was out of the question and I nervously brought up the topic of moving (AGAIN) with Logan.  It was the only way I knew we would for sure get into the school.  Now I know that for some, kindergarten is not a huge deal.  Logan was not thrilled but he could tell that putting Stella in the RIGHT school was very important to me.

THURSDAY

My friend Ashley told me about a rental house ACROSS THE STREET FROM HER.  I went to look at the house by myself on Thursday night.  It was essentially a 1965 home that had been minimally updated but possessed a ton of character.  It was hard to grapple with going from a very updated, modern home to what I endearingly called a "grandma house" but my friend reminded me that this decision needed to be for STELLA and NOT for me.  Humbling and SO true.

Logan told me that night that he would be open to seeing it but he was not about to sign a lease on a home if I had never stepped foot inside the school.  So Thursday night I called and left a message to see if I could come take a school tour sometime soon and that we were considering moving to the neighborhood.

FRIDAY

On Friday, both of my parents made the decision to go ahead and drive to Illinois since Katy was now several days PAST her due date, it was the weekend and that would ensure they would likely be AT Dottie's birth instead of in the car.  I knew that I needed to get this kindergarten thing wrapped up so I told them to go ahead without me.  Funny enough, the PRINCIPAL called me on Friday and asked if I could come in for a tour with her later that afternoon.  So I said YES!  Meanwhile, Logan found a ROUND TRIP AIRFARE TO ILLINOIS FOR $90.  That is including taxes. WHAT ON EARTH!!! This was not only in our budget, but saved Andrew and I from 2 very long car rides that I was anxious about with a baby.

I completely clicked with the principal during the tour and by the end, I was completely drinking the Koolaid.  Everything about their approach to education to the fact that most families walk to school every day, had me SOLD!  I left giddy and came home and told Logan I don't care if we live in a shoebox but our kids need to go to this school!

SATURDAY

Logan and I went and looked at the house and filled out a rental application.  Word was getting out that Mohawk had kinder openings, so there was increased interest in the property and we were just praying it would work out in our favor.

SUNDAY

We got chosen for the house and had the lease emailed over to us.

MONDAY

I went up to Mohawk and enrolled Stella in kindergarten.  ALSO THE SAME DAY THAT MY SISTER WENT INTO LABOR!!!!

TUESDAY

My $90 flight was already scheduled for Tuesday morning so I got to meet Dottie when she was just 24 hours old!

MIRACLE UPON MIRACLE. 

Some may call all of this coincidence, but I know it was God very clearly directing my steps.  I think Dottie going past her due date was all part of His plan.  Had Katy gone into labor the week before, NONE of this would have happened and the rental would have gone to someone else.  I think the wisdom my friend Ashley spoke over me. The timing of the school tour. The rental house. The $90 round trip tickets.  ALL OF IT. He orchestrated FOR ME.

God is in the details, friends. He cares about every aspect of our lives. And I have never been more certain that this is where He has us.

We couldn't be more thrilled with our new neighborhood.  We have had cookies, brownies, a goodie basket and candle delivered as Welcome gifts.  Neighbors continue to come over and introduce themselves.  My kids played basketball with our backyard neighbors this weekend and we found out that they also go to our same church.  Never in our 8 years of marriage have we lived in such an inviting and warm neighborhood. The house might be more outdated than our last house, but it feels like HOME. We intend on PLANTING here.


Friday, October 20, 2017

DIY Unicorn and Elsa Pumpkins



I saw a precious tutorial video online about how to make a Unicorn pumpkin and just knew I needed to replicate for Stella!  I figured if she could make a unicorn, we could attempt to make an "Elsa" for Chloé.  I couldn't find any tutorials online for Elsa, so we kind of made her up but I think she turned out cute! 

SUPPLIES:
- spray paint
- jewels
- glue gun
- crown (for Elsa)
- black + glittery stock paper (find this on the scrapbook aisle)
- felt
- "fur" for the unicorn // you can typically find this by the felt
- 2 pumpkins

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Go outside and spray your pumpkins whatever base color you have decided.
2. While they are drying, come inside and cut out eye lashes for your unicorn and Elsa with the black stock paper.
3.  Use the glitter cardstock paper to cut out the unicorn horn, inside of unicorn ears, and lips for Elsa.  (The horn is a triangle with a rounded base that you roll and then use the glue gun to secure)
4. Use the felt to create the outer part of the unicorn ears.

After the pumpkins dry...

FOR ELSA
1.  Use the hot glue gun to secure the crown, eye lashes, and lips.  Use jewels to "bedazzle" accordingly. We created a "hairline" and did a nose and cheeks.

FOR UNICORN
1. Use the hot glue gun to secure the horn first.  Then wrap the "fur" around the stem and secure with a hot glue gun.
2. Glue the glitter cardstock ears to the bigger felt ears and then attach to the pumpkin/ fur. It may help to make a tiny 1/2 inch vertical cut at the base of the ears and bend them slightly forward to make them a bit rounded.
3. Glue the eyelashes on and use the jewels to create the nostrils and anything else you want to sparkle.  My daughter added "earrings" a smile and bedazzled the horn.

This would be a GREAT Fall craft for a birthday or Halloween party or sleepover! I definitely think this will be an annual tradition of ours.  I hope you enjoy making them as much as we did!



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

HOW TO DO THE TEXAS STATE FAIR WITH TODDLERS



We ventured to the State Fair this year with a 4.5 year old, 2.5 year old and 4 WEEK OLD! Yes... you read that right! I was not willing to give up one of my favorite fall traditions so we strapped Andrew to my chest and went for it!  I wanted to share a few things that made our time at the Fair enjoyable and FUN as a family!

#1 - Weekday.  It is substantially more crowded at the fair on the weekends.

#2 - Plan 3 or 4 things that you want to accomplish.  There is no way you are going to be able to SEE and DO it all.  Our list included:  1) See Big Tex 2) Eat a Fletcher's Corn Dog & Cotton Candy 3) Ride a few rides  // Although my hubby would have loved to walk through the Car Show and see more exhibits, we adjusted our expectations for this year so that no one left frustrated or in "meltdown mode."



#3 - If you have a wagon or double stroller, BRING IT! With 3 kiddos under the age of 5, we were able to easily keep track of everyone by having the girls in the wagon and wearing Andrew.

#4 - Pack water bottles!!! No need to pay for drinks at the fair.  Pack your kids their favorite thermos and spend your tickets on the food and rides!

#5 - This changes every year, but we brought canned goods on Wednesday and each got in for $4! The State Fair can add up, so this was BIG Savings for our little clan!





We went at 4:30 and left by 7pm.  It was genuinely an ENJOYABLE and beautiful night for our family and Gigi!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Our Newborn Photos: Andrew Moose


Cydnee Jex is the lovely woman who took both Chloé and Andrew's newborn pictures.  I wanted to write a post and praise her work because she has given us pictures (now twice!) that we will treasure forever.

Pictures for me and really important so I was wanting to find someone that would fit our budget and also do beautiful work and Cydnee was that person for us.

Some things that I love about her new in-home studio:
+ She has a HUGE assortment of blankets, props, swaddles, and backgrounds to make your creative vision come to life.  Also NO NEED to buy lots of hats and headbands... she has you covered. (See below!)
+ She has a connecting bathroom complete with a changing table, wipes, pads for Mom (since you are likely 7 to 10 days postpartum) and anything else you could ever need!
+ She keeps the room really warm and has a "Shhh!" machine to help keep the baby comfortable and asleep.



Some things I love about working with HER specifically:
+ She likes to meet with clients at least one time before the shoot to get to know you, the nursery theme and colors, and any Pinterest-inspiration you may have for her to tailor your shoot.
+ She is SO calm and LOVES babies.  I was SO stressed that morning (especially when Andrew started crying) and she never got phased or made me feel rushed or upset.  She let me nurse him for awhile until he was good and full and went back to making the magic happen.  She literally spent 45 minutes calming him down so we could get a certain shot I wanted for the birth announcement.
+ She has an assistant on set to help her so that you can relax or take care of the other kiddos!
+ She does ALL family photos first so that if you do have toddlers, you can get them over with and let them go play while she finishes the shoot.
+ The Photo REVEAL! She had me come to her studio for the reveal and had all the pictures printed out and matted/ displayed on the wall so I could see them, touch them, and choose my favorites.  I got to go home with the printed 5x7 images and she later uploaded the online gallery to share with my family and friends.
+ She has packages for every budget.


A few other facts:
+ She has the option for you to bring in one of her hair/ makeup ladies to prep you for pictures.  Likely since you are sleep deprived, you may not have the time and energy to spend on yourself.
+ She is located close to Little Elm so although it was a bit of a drive for us to get there, it was worth it!
+ She has GREAT printed options such as leather books, photo memory boxes, and some various rustic and modern frame options.  All really high quality.
+ She has built a really impressive portfolio of MATERNITY sessions and has lots of beautiful gowns to choose from if you want to look into her using her for that!  You can also use her gowns for your postpartum shoots as well since they are very loose and forgiving.

Below are a few of my favorite images.  I am saving the Birth Announcement images until we get them printed and mailed out because its my FAVORITE one! It was really hard to choose.


Thank you Cydnee for these priceless images.  So appreciate everything you have done for our little family.

You can find her here:

Website: http://www.cljphoto.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cljphotography/

Instagram: @cljphoto.tx

Email: cljphoto.tx@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

It's a BOY!


I am THRILLED to announce that we had a little BOY last week!

Tuesday, September 5th at 7:54am little ANDREW MOOSE MISEGADES came into the world while Hillsong's "Oceans" was playing.

He weighed in at 8 lbs 7 oz and was 19.75 inches long. (Our shortest but heaviest baby!)


We hired a photographer to capture the moment Logan told me as well as Logan's proud waiting room moment... Both of those experiences were exactly WHY we wanted to do surprise gender this time and it exceeded all expectations! Before I share all of those the pictures, I did want to explain the details behind his name.

ANDREW -

This is a story I have only shared with a handful of people.  Because we weren't sure on the gender, I was a bit insecure on sharing this yet.  In 2015 I was sitting in a sermon at our church in Southlake.  Chloé was only 5 months old so there was no future baby on our radar.  During the sermon, our Pastor was actually going through all of the disciples and how they died a martyrs death.  When he got to Andrew he choked up as he explained that "Andrew was whipped severely by seven soldiers in Greece and then crucified. His followers reported that when he was lead towards the cross, Andrew said these words 'I have long desired and expected this happy hour.'  He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he died." I don't know how to explain it but at the very moment I had the thought WOW what a man of faith, I feel like the Lord downloaded a promise into my heart.  In my heart and spirit I feel like He told me, You are going to have a son and his name will be Andrew.  From that moment on, I have held onto that promise.  I wasn't sure if Andrew would be this baby, a future biological baby, a future adopted baby, or a future boy that we mentored.  What has been cool is the timing of all of this.  He told me this is August 2015 and my anxiety/ insomnia started in September of 2015 and then last summer I had all my health scares surrounding my voice and swallowing.  I remember the darker days when I wasn't sure if I was going to make it through or wondering if I was about to receive a terminal diagnoses... The Lord would gently remind me that He was not through with me yet because I still have a son to be born named Andrew.  So in those valleys, I had a flicker of hope.... The promise of THIS little boy.  Andrew has never been on Logan's or my radar as a name ... ever ... but we obediently named him Andrew and it couldn't be more fitting because of the meaning and the Promise behind it.  He is our redemption baby.

MOOSE -

Moose is actually Logan's Mom's maiden name (Sherilyn Moose).  Pictured below is Grandpa Moose who Logan had a really special relationship with.  Growing up he was always jealous of his cousins who got the last name MOOSE because he thought it was so cool.  We are hoping our boy thinks the same thing! I mean he's bound to be cool with a name like THAT!  Another funny fact is that Logan out of all his siblings favors the Moose side of the family versus the Misegades.  So THERE is the mystery of "Moose" explained for everyone.


People have been asking what to call this little man of ours.  I want it to be organic.  I will refer to him as Andrew but we already have a pretty big fan club calling him Moose.  I am sure the "Moose" popularity will only increase over the coming years, especially when sports get introduced, ha! 



"Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." LUKE 1:45 

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