On Step at a Time

Just a little party prep, trains, reading and browsing the mini boden catalogue that they sent us recently.
Pretty great week.
We also had "Second Look" this weekend, where the residents who want to come to Tyler for residency come down and double check that this is really where they want to come.  They bring their spouses and we have lunch, play volleyball (I really dont know why this is a tradition.  Imagine interviewees with possibly zero athletic ability feeling the need to spike a ball to make sure they have a spot in this residency.  It is a hilarious combo of stress and fun),  and go to a physicians house with all the residents, faculty and new interviewers to eat and drink.  Oh, and a babysitter for all the kids upstairs. It was really nice.
It reminded me of when we came and did this same thing three years ago.  So crazy how fast everything goes.  (It was just last year that I had my hairmageddon and couldnt be seen in public so I couldnt go to second look.  vain, I know.  It was bad, though, people. Bad.).
I was so so nervous to come to Tyler and for everything to end up like my first year in Lubbock where I was depressed and alone (until ashley and crew changed my life).  I was determined for this time around to get myself and my kids, out there.  So we did.  We went to every playdate and I got my kids in a preschool.  We did things with our neighbors and had them over almost every day. I wanted to be involved.  (Well, I just didn't want to be depressed, mostly.)  Then, as we have all seen, I made the best friends I could have asked for.  I have a core group of spouses that, together, we have guided each other through our ups of new babies, downs of constantly working husbands, exhaustion, keeping a budget, over eating at mcdonalds, and everything else.  I could not have asked for better people to walk with through this time.  I know that God knows that I am fragile and that I need good friends, real friends, more than I need running water and He always always provides.  Always.  Thank you Lord.
Thank you Tyler.  You have truly been a blessing and I will be more sad to leave than I can ever say.
Jeff officiallyish has a job in the dallas area and we will be moving in July.  I am in complete denial about having to leave my people, my neighbors, my running streets and my little white house.
 I am sad.
But I am so so thankful for Jeff's job and the new opportunities that are coming with that. I have always wanted to be back with my family and my friends there, so I could not be more thrilled about that.  And hopefully this transition will be the easiest one yet.  So, again, praise the Lord for this new life and new opportunities and all that our life holds, coming this summer.
And, at the risk of sounding more cheesy than I have, I just wanted to thank you.  Thank you for reading, commenting, encouraging, emailing and being there for all of these transitions and moves and starts and ends.  It means so so much.
Until then, we are living in the moment so we dont miss our last days of east texas trees and walks down to the neighbors.  I am trying out not emotionally prepping for this move.  We will see how that goes...


Valentine Printables

 I have pretty much ignored all tasks that are required of me lately and just made valentines with dorky dollar isle toys that we dont need.  I dont know why, but making tiny valentines with powerpoint and glue dots is cathartic and exciting for me on a very dorky level.  I just love it.
So, in the spirit of valentines day, I want to share all of my dorkiness with yall in case you want to print them off yourself and grab the dollar isle essentials that go with them.  I did find some of the toys at the party store in the party favor isle (it was local but I imagine places like party city have them) or you could get some at oriental trading company (the cameras are easter ones for some reason, but still cute).  The eraser that fly/dig/race and the pencils are from target and the rest from the party store.  They were all pretty cheap and easy.
picture perfect valentines
How cute are these tiny cameras that actually have little pictures you can see through the viewfinder?? I love them.
red camera valentine
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You can get them here.
eraser valentines
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These erasers are just so well made! They are sturdy and just so cute.
You can get them here.
frog valentines
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The frog ones are pretty basic, but frogs are so easily available everywhere I feel like.  And so much fun for kids to play with. (here)
pencil valentines
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The pencils were also at target.  I feel like these are kind of exclusively for girls, but I could be wrong.  They are covered in hearts and avery is obsessed with them.  They would be cute if you punched a couple of holes in the valentine and put them through.  I used glue because it was out but I think the other way would be cuter. (here)
fish valentines
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And the fish ones could be a tag to use on a small carton of goldfish, swedish fish or any kind of fish.  I love that fish are everywhere. (here)
And my you can get the mini slinky valentines, the you make my heart saur valentines, the stuck on you valentines (and you can get the sticky hands from oriental trading co too), and the bouncy ball valentines.
Woo Hoo! I cant wait for Feb 14!


Barbie Organizer

Oh Barbie.
You have so many clothes and tiny shoes that just seem to always be everywhere. 
I googled Barbie organizer in hopes of finding something wonderful and easy to keep everything together in one place. Our current plan of two baskets was not working anymore. Barbies were overflowing and needed something new.
I saw that lots of people use a shoe organizer hung on the back of doors to store all the Barbies in. Pretty genius idea. It got them all in one spot and off the floor. The only issue was that I couldn't hang it on the door because Ella wouldn't be able to reach them all. So, I bought a shoe organizer, cut it in half and hung it on the wall. It lasted for about 2 minutes before it fell down. It was too small so I decided to make my own version of a shoe/barbie organizer.
I used white denim for the main piece. The clear vinyl was not my favorite to sew with but I loved using bias tape for my first time. It was perfect for hiding my many uneven lines.
So far it has held up and Ella loves it!
Sorry for all the Barbie nudity in this post. 


Day with Aves

Avery had friday off of school and the twins did not.  I have to admit that I get nervous with just one child at home.  My initial thought is excitement that I get to spend time with said child, but then I get so nervous about what we will do.  Will they have fun with just me?  Will I be boring?  What do they like to do by themselves?? I dont even remember! I am so used to having an entire team of reinforcements of fun that I dont know if I am equipped alone.  Of course, once the day rolls around it is always so much fun and they seem to like just being with me.  Fears are usually quickly quelled.  
Lucky for me for this time, avery had an entire day planned.  She made multiple lists of things that we needed to get done for her party, fully equipped with boxes so we could check each item off once we completed it.  
What would I do without her.
I really didnt know this was in her.  She is kind of lazy laid back and go with the flow in certain areas and doesnt seem to have a desire to check things off of a list.  I dont really have that desire, so maybe I am not very good at looking for that quality.  I am terrible with time management and always end up having to make a list because I cant keep everything in my brain, but then I never look at said list.  Or, when we grocery shop and I make a list on my phone- I still forget about it.  I am so scatterbrained.
Needless to say, her list was amazing for our day together and checking everything off of it was so much fun.  She would make us wrap up tasks so we could move on to other ones.  It was fantastic to have an actual leader in the room versus a very scatterbrained mom. 
She was also so excited about the party stuff, which I just love.  Up until this year she has had ideas of things we could do and loved to help, but this year she has a vision.  You know what Im talking about- The one where you have seen it in your brain and you must work tirelessly until it looks like that vision in your head? She had it when we did the surprise for jeff, too and I just love it.  I have visions of how I want things to go and it was just so fun seeing avery have hers.
Avery also wore her her homemade sofia the first crown, high heels and a princess dress the entire day. Talk about dressing the part.  I just love her sweet 'party everyday' kind of spirit.
It was a fantastic day and when the kids got home we did more party prepping and just had an overall great day.  
I am so thankful for days off to spend getting to know the kids better as individuals and see how they are growing up to be.
I had seen this pom pom hanging thing on pinterest and just loved it.  I thought it would be great as a backdrop for a food table or something with gold pom poms and avery jumped right on board.  I really love how it turned out but do think I should maybe add more poms to make it fuller? I dont know.  We will see.
Here's to more days off and many more pom poms...


McKenna's Goody TWO Shoes Party!

I still can't believe she is 2.
We celebrated sweet little McKenna this last weekend and it was so much fun!
We all know there was matching shirts, so we'll start with those.
I used my heat press machine to make them and I put our own shoes on each shirt.
I cut footprints onto adhesive vinyl and stuck them to the floor walking in. Are you having flash backs to McKenna's Busy Bee party? I guess I love a trail...
Click here to see details on making dance floor and boogie shoes.
I also used the adhesive vinyl for the saying on the wall. It peeled right off no problem.
GoodWill shoes at their finest.
I had fun making some stickers to put inside each shoe. 
The kids loved trying on different boogie shoes and dancing.
Aly just got a new puppy and he got to come too! He was SO cute!
I set up a craft table were you could make your own Goody TWO Shoes. I bought all the flip-flops at Hobby Lobby.
The kids loved decorating the shoes. 
My mom got the most delicious strawberry cake from Legacy Cakes. They matched the shoes that I put on the invites. 
I filled a mason jar with barbie and polly pocket shoes. Everyone took a guess at how many shoes there  were. The top two winners won a shoe tie game and Pete the Cat book. (It's a great book if your haven't read it)
There were 130 shoes in the jar. Anna and Matthew were the 2 big winners!
We had (almost) Footlong Hotdogs and Shoestring chips for food.
We had a bounce slide in the backyard and it was a hit! I love looking at the huge smiles on all the kids faces.
For the favors, I made a memory match game with different pairs of shoes. It was an idea that sounded so easy to make in my head but actually ended up being a very time consuming project. I spent hours trying to line the front and back images to print the same and I finally gave up and printed the goody 2 shoes image on sticker paper and just stuck it to each card. I got them laminated at a teacher supply store. That is defiantly the cheapest route when it comes to lots of laminating. I do love how they turned out and the kids loved them! I got the little tins at Michaels in the wedding favor aisle. 
Julie had the idea of displaying shoes from McKenna growing and I thought it was such a great idea! So above the favor table, I hung six pair of shoes that I will always save and remember.
We ended the day with some more cake. (and maybe started the next morning with some too)
Thank you to everyone that came to help celebrate our sweet McKenna!

(To see more party prep, go here.)
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