Sunday, January 31, 2016


All parents know how hard it is to get a little one to pay attention to the camera for pictures. My daughter Dottie is always on the move, never making time to stop and smile for mommy when I want a cute picture. That's why I was so excited to work with the fine folks who make lookielookies. 

This amazing little contraption attaches easily to your phone or camera, looks cute (hello little bunny!) and even has a light that flashes with different colors to grab baby's attention for photos! 

A few of my favorite things about this product, besides the obviously amazing packaging: 

  1. Easy to use. You just attach the suction cup to your screen (in my case, a cell phone), and press the button on back to activate the flashing light. 
  2. It definitely grabs baby's attention with the cute bunny. 
  3. It's probably the most adorable cell phone accessory I currently own - and that's saying a lot! 
If you kiddo is anything like mine, they get so tired of you calling their name for photos, and it simply stops working after a while. With lookielookies, since it's only pulled out during special photo sessions, it never loses it's charm! It's like a new toy to check out every time I bring it out to take pictures of Dottie, so she pays attention every time she sees it - score! 

Taken with lookielookies - she's paying 100% attention to me while in a distracting room.

Want some helpful tips and tricks on using lookielookies? Look no further, they have a section on their website specifically for that! 

Be sure to check out lookielookies on Instagram, and visit their website for your own lookielookies kit!

Find Dottie and the rest of my gang on Instagram and let us know what you think of lookielookies! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Small Dottie Update

Dottie at her GI appointment enjoying a snack and water. Something that 5 months ago, she was unable to do. 

A couple of really big things have happened for Dottie this past week. She's started walking, and can walk up to 8 or 9 steps at once.

We also visited her GI on Thursday and were told to go down to 0 g-tube feedings, yay! Her next appointment is on April 6th, and assuming she keeps her weight maintained, we will be removing the g-tube.

I can't even express to you how excited this makes me. 14 months ago, at the age of 2 months when she went into surgery to haveher g-tube placed, I could have never imagined this day being so close. I'm really thrilled as her mom, for what this means for her freedom.

Janet, Dottie's Occupational Therapist

She also graduated Occupational Therapy this week. It's because of OT, PT (Physical Therapy), and ST (Speech Therapy - which she is also a recent grad of) along with all of the support she has had from birth, that she's able to do all of the little things that most people take for granted.

She's gone from barely lifting her left arm when she came home from the hospital at almost 3 months old, to having a great range of motion for any kiddo, NICU graduate or not. She's eating 3 meals a day, plus snacks, enjoying loads of formula and whole milk, plus water every day. She even takes her meds by mouth, sometimes after a little coaxing, I must admit. Her Periactin, which controls her vomiting, is particularly bitter - so I can't blame her for not being a fan of that one.

I'm so proud of all of the amazing progress she's made in the last year since coming home from the hospital. I hoped, but never did I imagine in my widest dreams, that she'd progress so quickly catching up developmentally.

Thank you everyone for your love, support, prayers, and well wishes. Your support and encouragement, along with the support of my immediate and extended family, has been the biggest blessing on the hardest of days. I am so thankful and appreciative.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Mama Gangs

When Dorothy was born and had so many health issues, besides my husband, the biggest support system I had was fellow moms. One of my fellow blogging mamas made a meal calendar and other moms volunteered to make or buy and bring us meals. It was so thoughtful and comforting to know that there were people out there who were concerned for us enough to not only reach out, but to take time out of their day to do something like that for our family.

I had moms that I'd only met through Instagram, never in real life, send Dorothy and myself care packages. A $50 Starbucks gift card for me and a handmade knitted winter hat for our Dottie girl. As simple as these gestures may be, they meant the world to me. They made me feel like I wasn't alone. They made me feel, to my core, that even if these other moms had never been through exactly what we were going through, they felt my pain and wanted to help in some capacity.

I'll never forget the encouragement from fellow moms. These moms made me feel like they understood how hard and long the road was going to be. And they were there for me, and are still there for me. Celebrating every small victory, and there are many. Letting me know that they're still there with every small bump in the road, of which there are also many.

That's why when I was approached by Paula of to write a few sentences on Mama Gangs, I couldn't possibly turn her down. With all of my Mama Gang experience, I was excited and honored that she'd ask me. Please check out her article Support Your Local Mama Gang Today; 22 Inspirational Women Doing Good Work.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

It Runs In The Family

Far right, Louis Benjamin Tyus, my grandmother's father as a little boy. 

I have to say, it's probably rather cliche but very true, the older I get the more I feel a need to know about and celebrate those who came before me.

I'm so lucky to have family who live only a couple of hours away, and with older generations passing on as the years go by, I feel I need to tap into that familial connection more and more every year. I love taking the kids to meet and catch up with extended family, the ones who saw me grow up and were by my side emotionally during Dottie's time in the NICU. The ones who my kids are named after.

It's so important to me that our rather small family stay close knit and don't forget where we come from. I try to make trips to Mexia a couple of times a year, but definitely find myself yearning to make those trips more frequently as my babies get older.

I want them to know how many people love them and as they grow, I want those same people to be able to tell them stories about those who have passed. I don't know every story, not by a long shot. But together we can paint a picture of what these people were like, and what characteristics they bestowed upon the rest of us, simply by being who they were.

I suppose what I really want, is for my babies to care about family the way I do. I want them to also feel deep connections to the past, as well as the present. Only time will tell if I will succeed. In the mean time, I plan to do all I can to make the past part of our every day and to inspire them to understand and accept the feeling of unconditional love and support that comes from allowing yourself to be loved and doted upon simply because you are family, and for no other reason.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Connecting To The Past

When we took Uncle Jay home yesterday, I noticed only a couple of little cement feet sticking out of the dirt near the house. I then pulled this fella out of years of decayed leaves and dirt. He's got some paint missing, and I love him all the more because of it! Every time I make it down that way since my Granny passed last November, my uncle lets me pick out a few things that were my grandparents to bring back with me. Every piece gets a special place in my home, or used every day, like the prayer bench my Pawpaw and his brother made. It sits in our massive hallway near the front door. The kids' sweaters and coats hang above it. Their backpacks sit on it. Our shoe basket beside it. It's used and loved every single day, and reminds me every time I pass by it, how much the people who made it and used it (my Granny) mean to me. I hope I can also find a prominent place for this cement fella and admire his imperfect, yet fully loved self. 


Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Binkie Battles Have Ended!

I know this may not be a very big deal to those of you who have successfully broken your littles of a pacifier habit, but over the past week Johnny hasn't had his binkie once. This is a BIG deal in our house! We planned on having him off of it not long after his sister was born, but with her complications and the stress everyone was under, it just didn't seem very fair to him.

I had planned on having him off the binkie by the age of 3 at the latest (don't judge me!). With him having some speech issues, I thought the sooner he was broken of the habit, the better.

He was only getting it at nap times and bed times as of about 3 months ago, then only at bed time. Since he hasn't been asking for it at all at even bed time, I thought it best to not even offer it. And now we've been going on two weeks of no binkie bliss!

A small victory, but I'll take 'em where I can get 'em!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bare Branch Jewelry - CLOSED

Often times, when I'm looking at jewelry, the most simple and classic designs tend to catch my eye. That's why I really do love Bare Branch Jewelry so much. 

Melanie of Bare Branch Jewelry creates lightweight and truly feminine pieces. Her designs are timeless and great for every day wear. 

All of Melanie's designs are created with sterling silver or hypoallergenic argentium silver. She also throws in a good mix of freshwater pearls and precious and semiprecious stones, making sure there's a piece for every occasion and taste. 

These Bar and Ball Stud earrings are made to order, out argentium silver and come with hypoallergenic rubber earring backs. I've worn and loved wearing this set for over a week straight now. I'm allergic to anything other than silver and gold, so I was curious as to how argentium silver would be. Thankfully, they have a higher silver content than even sterling silver, and my ears have been happy this whole time! 

Being someone who loves simplicity in my jewelry, these are a fabulous pair to have. They're so very dainty and lightweight, yet pack just enough punch to get noticed - and complimented! 

One of the most amazing things about Bare Branch Jewelry, is that it was born out of a need. Melanie's mother had an accident in 2004, prompting Melanie to quit her day job to be a full time caregiver to her mother. 

She eventually found her passion and voice through creating these handcrafted pieces. Bare Branch has been a blessing to Melanie, because she's able to not only do what she loves, her schedule is flexible enough to allow her to not only work and contribute to her family financially, but also be there to still care for her mother. 

Her story is amazing, just like her jewelry! 

I'd like to thank Melanie for sharing her love and creativity with me, I just love her story. She's truly an inspiration to so many of us who have a loved one who needs a high level of care, yet still need to be able to provide for our families. 

Be sure to follow Melanie on Instagram (she takes some pretty fantastic photos), visit her Etsy shop, and check out her Facebook page. 

Want your own piece of Bare Branch jewelry? Use promo code TTTSHIPSFREE for free shipping for 1 whole month! 

Win your own Bar and Ball Stud earring set! 

All photos and opinions are my own. Bar and Ball earring set provided by Bare Branch Jewelry for review.