Catching Up

Well hello there! Long time no blog and for that I apologize. Or at least wonder where the last two months have gone because I know I wrote more recently than that…right? Oops, wrong.

I should write a bunch of detailed posts about what we’ve been up to lately but I’m still getting my gears grinding so a haphazard update with a few pics will have to do. Here goes nothing!

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We had my grandmother’s memorial in Dallas and it was beautiful. I was surprisingly not as emotional as I’d expected, partly because I had my hands full with the kids I’m sure. But also I think because I had such closure with getting to say goodbye to her, had no regrets about the time we had together along with visiting her many times while her health was starting to decline, and of course knowing that she’s with Jesus now. All eight of her kids were able to be there so it made for quite a fun family reunion afterwards. Grandma Bonnie, I miss you dearly but know that I’ll see you again soon enough.

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On a more upbeat and unexpected note, Jason and I got to attend the Coldplay concert when they came to DFW. Long story short…I called and won a little Coldplay prize pack on the radio and was then entered into the drawing for the grand prize tickets plus a meet & greet with the band. I stopped by the station office to get my guaranteed prize but while I was there, found out that I was the grand prize winner for the show the next night! Mind blown. They proceeded to whisk me (and baby Catherine) away to their studio upstairs to record my “live” reaction and a little promo spot. Thankfully I was able to get help from family to watch the girls while Jason and I enjoyed a last minute date night and boy was it one for the books! We arrived at AT&T Stadium and got a full tour of the facilities by the band manager, were able to go on stage, ate a delicious dinner with the tour crew (including Chris Martin, whaaaat!?), had a quick meet & greet with the whole band, then enjoyed a truly amazing performance. Is this real life??? What an amazing night it was. I’m glad I made that one impromptu phone call while at a red light on the way to Hobby Lobby!

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Speaking of hobbies…there’s one thing (besides married life and the kiddos) that’s consumed my life as of late. Cookies y’all. My life is overflowing with cookies. I could post a bazillion photos of the projects I’ve done lately but will give you one quick photo collage instead. (Lots of photos can be found on my cookie FB page if you’re curious!) Business is definitely booming which has made life crazy but amazing. It’s been a balancing act and learning experience for sure, figuring out how to prioritize with my other obligations and responsibilities but I’m loving it. Minus the late nights, but that’s what coffee is for right? And I have a baby anyways, so what’s a little extra sleep deprivation a few nights a week? PS: I’m thankful for moms and word of mouth, because kids birthday parties have apparently become my market lately!

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Jason and I were able to attend the Encounter Young Adult Conference down near Houston a few weeks ago. Clare stayed with family while Catherine tagged along with us and it was a truly beautiful and enriching weekend full of great speakers and break out sessions plus lots of time for fellowship and the ever important Sacraments too. I saw lots of familiar young adult faces and even got to finally meet an online friend in person. (hi Andrea!) All in all, it was a much needed getaway to recharge my spiritual batteries. Props to Steubenville and Adore Ministries for hosting this great event!

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Something that Jason and I have felt called to pursue and finally took the plunge to start is a weekly “family dinner”. We knew about it from friends in Houston who established the concept a while back in their area where basically you give an open invitation to folks (usually it’s a young adult/family scene) to come over one night a week for dinner. The host family provides the main dish and everyone that comes brings a side or dessert. Come if you can, no need to RSVP, and bring the whole family plus other friends you think would like to attend. We really wanted to build community and friendships in our area including our actual neighbors in the neighborhood. So if you’re ever in Fort Worth on a Friday night and want to join, just let me know! (PS: that photo isn’t at our house, but at a family dinner in Houston we attended recently! Maybe someday our backyard will be that awesome. 😉 )

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Lastly, today is our 8th wedding anniversary! My how time flies. I could’ve swore it was just last month that I was 21 and saying “I do”. Jason has a surprise dinner out planned for tonight while my MIL watches the girls, so I’m super pumped for that. Love you Jason – here’s to many many many more!

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Other things we’ve been up to but I don’t want to make this a novel include: Jason’s 31st Birthday, lots of play dates and story time at the library, painting our guest bathroom and updating our front and back garden beds, and us girls going to the Luke’s Diner promo event for the upcoming Gilmore Girls episodes. Life has surely been busy but beautiful!

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CWBN Texas 2016

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This time last week, I was heading down to Fredericksburg, TX for the first ever Catholic Women Blogging Network (CWBN) Texas conference. After months and months of planning, it was hard to believe that the weekend had finally arrived. We were actually supposed to have the event last October, but then crazy Texas hurricane weather throughout the state deterred our plans and we decided to reschedule for the spring. As much of a bummer as that was (I seriously had my car loaded when we made the call to cancel – womp womp womp) I felt at peace with the decision and just knew that it was God’s will that we postpone the event.

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Special cookies for the swag bags!

And as awesome as the fall conference would’ve been I’m sure, as I drove into town last weekend, I knew that it was meant to be at this place and time. Fredericksburg in the spring is amazing, y’all. I headed down from Fort Worth and picked up Haley at the farm on my way. I may have had a brief fan girl moment as she’s one of my fave bloggers but Haley, you are so easy and fun to talk with and I had a great time with you as my copilot! And hey, I can proudly say that I used the infamous compost toilet. It wasn’t bad, I promise! 😉

We took winding back roads and got to see the gorgeous terrain of the Lone Star State along the way. As we entered Fredericksburg, we saw tons of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes plus found out that F-burg is home to lots of beautiful vineyards and is famous for their peaches. After running a few quick errands, we met up with a small group of ladies who were also already in town for dinner at Hondo’s, enjoyed some mighty delicious burgers, and started getting to know each other. Afterwards, we walked down quaint Main Street and chatted, checked out an art gallery, then met up with Erin and Katie who made it safely from Louisiana.

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Haley kicking off the day with her talk!

On Saturday, we heard amazing talks from Haley, Erin, and Kathryn and had some great discussions about topics ranging from being an authentic writer, finding your voice as a writer, social media, time management, and online privacy issues. We had some free time for lunch and shopping in the afternoon then after wrapping up the final talk and discussion, enjoyed a quick happy hour then headed to a phenomenal dinner at the Farm Haus Bistro. On Sunday, those of us still in town went to mass together at the beautiful St. Mary’s and then had brunch at Vaudeville (best crab & asparagus quiche, btw) before heading our separate ways.

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The beautiful St. Mary’s on Divine Mercy Sunday

Needless to say, like most of you who’ve hosted events before can understand, my attention was a bit torn. I put so much work into planning and running the event and wanted it to succeed so badly, that I found myself working to balance Mary and Martha mode the whole time. I wondering if I should take notes during the talk and discussion like most everyone else was or just try to soak it all in. Then I checked my phone to make sure we were on time with our schedule for the day. Then I was thinking about our budget. Then I found myself going through my mental to-do list for the next thing on the docket. Then my attention was back to the speaker and the words of wisdom she shared.

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Erin’s captivating talk about humility

Along the way with planning, gearing up for the big weekend, and even while I was there, people were asking me why I took on this big task, especially in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy. (35 weeks now, wow!) At times, I honestly doubted my ability to successfully pull it off with everything else already on my plate and felt a little nervous about being in charge of things for such an awesome group of bloggers. But the whole experience was a true lesson in using the talents that God has given you and taking a leap of faith.

 

 

Before becoming a stay at home mom last year, I worked for many years in the hospitality industry and helped plan tons of events at various venues along the way. So when this conference was in the beginning stages and a call for help was issued, I felt moved to raise my hand. God was totally nudging me toward this great opportunity to use my experience and skills. While it was a lot of work, I’m so glad that I trusted God to use me and my talents in this little way for the benefit of others. Now if only I could say “yes” without hesitation to what Christ asks of me all the time! Baby steps, right?

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Kathryn discussing her love of sweet tea & Dr Pepper…among other things 😉

 

Thankfully the event ran really smoothly – the only negative was that I wish we had more time together! To all the ladies that attended, I truly appreciate your kind and easy going attitudes. It was a pleasure to meet and connect with all of you and I hope to do it again! And to Kate, my partner in crime during this whole thing, thank you for the teamwork and help with getting this all together. You’re a rock star!

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What a wonderful & beautiful group! (Photo cred – Kathryn Whitaker)

If you’re interested, here are the blogs of the ladies that attended. Check them out!

The Rhodes Log
Erring on the Side of Love
Cajun Texas Mom
The Salt Stories
Humble Handmaid
Team Whitaker
The Littlest Way
Re-Visions
The Catholic Wife
Making History Today
Carrots for Michaelmas

PS: Huge shout out and thanks to our sponsors for the event! Charity Mobile and eCatholic