Have a great weekend.

What are your plans for the weekend? Crazily enough, we're actually getting back on a plane to Atlanta for a long-awaited trip to visit Alex's sister! The weather forecast predicts storms, so bookstores and movies may be in order. If you're in a giggly mood, Demetri Martin's hour-long special premieres on Comedy Central this Saturday at 10pm. He's hilarious, don't you think? Hope you have a great one, and here are a few fun posts from around the web...

Sweet wedding moment.

The Queen talks back to her mom.

Fargo is becoming a TV series!

Antelope Canyon? Holy smokes.

What beautiful street style.

Daydreaming about these shoes.

Lasagna without noodles.

Cute birthday card.

Bill and Hilary's wedding day.

Choosing colors for your home.

What it feels like to fall asleep to a DVD.

Bravo! Diapers.com created a new site featuring only natural products.

Plus, three past posts you might have missed:
* Marshmallow willpower.
* Romantic comedies.
* Breastfeeding in public.

24 hours in San Francisco

This past Tuesday, I flew to San Francisco for 24 hours. The reason for my trip was to give a work presentation, but luckily my twin sister also lives there, so we turned it into The World's Shortest Vacation! Here's what we did...
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Fun Friday--Connect to Bloggers in Your Area

Last week's post was a ton of fun.  I'm still checking out different sites.  Right now I have 8 sites pulled up to paruse after I finish typing.  I love handmade items and you people are a talented, craft group!

This week should be a lot of fun.  I'm really looking forward to getting to know some of the bloggers in my area.  This is quite simple.  In the text part of the comment, you need to write your city, town, county, area.  Whatever you think will best help other bloggers find you.  For example you might want to write "Tipton County" or the" Dallas/Fort Worth area."  Maybe you want to venture out and say something like "Center Arkansas."  That part is up to you.  Then, all you have to do is add your blog address.  It's really that simple.

I wanted to share with you a local blogger that I have gotten to know a little over the past few months.  We first met at LeBonheur where her son was receiving out pateint PT/OT while Lucy was there.  She has a really neat website and I thought you might want to enjoy checking it out. You can find Lisa at All That and a Box of Rocks.

I'd love to know if any of you strike up a friendship or two after this.  Keep me posted!

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A Better Day and Another Field Trip

Sorry for the pity party yesterday.  After I cried myself to sleep with a near migraine, I woke up feeling a little refreshed this morning.  All day long I have appreciated reading the encouraging comments that you guys left.  Thank you for your compassion.  God has laid it on my heart to change my prayer for this situation.  I'm going to stop praying for Lucy to be "normal" again.  What's normal anyway?  I just want her to be happy.  My prayer now is that God would send her 1, just 1, girl friend who will be true and dear that she will have a meaningful friendship with.  If God blesses her with 2 or 3 or 50 then great!  But 1 would do. We all need a friend to count on, right?

I want to add here that several little girls in Lucy's class have been very sweet to her.  I pray that some friendships will really take off in her class.  She has been treated with kindness and grace by everyone in her class.  I am so proud of the 13 children who take care of her at school.

She does have this one friend who will never, ever forsake her.  I know I am biased because he's my best friend's son but there is something very special about this little boy.  I cried on the phone today with Amanda (his mother) as I told her how grateful I was that he was in our lives.  Hyatt, Lucy's very best friend, is an amazing little boy with the heart of  ten giants.  He loves Lucy and protects her.  He worries about her, but also pushes her to be independent.  There is something about their relationship that I will never be able to explain, maybe because I will never understand it.  I don't guess I really have to, though. Seriously...I LOVE this kid!

This is Hyatt holding the door open for her as she went into lunch.  This was right after he helped her get out of the van and then proceeded to place his hand in the small of her back to make sure she felt stable while she was walking.  A perfect gentleman!

Today I was able to take Lucy on her first official Kindergarten field trip.  We visited the Fire Museum of Memphis and we had a great time.  Being at the museum brought back many bad memories.  I took the girls to a birthday party at the Fire Museum the Saturday before Lucy was diagnosed with cancer.  That day was the day that I first became truly concerned about her vomiting.  Ugh.  I get sick to my stomach even thinking about it.

But today was different.  Today was good.  After the tour was finished I took Lucy and Hyatt to grab some honey chicken from Pei Wei, our favorite lunch spot.  After it was over we decided to grab a couple of yummy Gigi's cupcakes.  Hyatt really wanted to get one to take to his mommy and surprise her at school.  After that I stopped at LeBonheur and donated the remaining boxes of Lucy's extra feeding tube supplies and formulas (praise God we don't need them) and medical supplies from her central line (yes!!!)  Hyatt opted out of a cupcake saying "I'm just not really into cupcakes" so I took him by the frozen yogurt place on the way home.  I'm a pushover I know, but I'd do anything for that little boy.

I'm not sure how kids even eat these concoctions that they make.  This is seriously the most disgusting thing I've ever seen:

Both girls had art lessons this afternoon and now we are starting to wind down for bed.  Sheesh!  I wanted to share this video tonight.  It probably doesn't mean a lot to you, but after the day I had yesterday it brought such joy to my soul to watch Lucy simply enjoying herself today.  She was giggling and truly having fun.

I guess God never lets me wallow in my own despair for too long.  Today was a better day for sure.  All of my children did things that made me very proud today.  Lucy walked all over the museum with her walker without me having to hold her, Jack went to the potty several times today and Ella created this super cute painting.  SPOILER ALERT----this is for her teacher, Ms. Emily.  I am SOOO jealous because I really, really want it for my house!  Isn't it so stinking cute?

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Marriage Do or Don’t: Changing your name

This past summer, I read a New York Times wedding announcement that made my eyes pop...
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Dog design

Psychologists say that pets make people happier, but even if you don't have one, you can still bring dog design into your home to make you smile. Here are seven cute pieces...

1. Dog-walker mug, $10.95.
2. Dachshund bookends, $150.
3. Wallpaper, $180. (How amazing is this?!)
4. Dog print, $38.
5. Brass dog for your desk, $28.
6. Glass, $6.
7. Custom pet portrait, $225.

Do you have a dog?

P.S. Puppy butt! Plus, dog names and more round-ups...

(Layout by Rachel for Cup of Jo. Brass dog photo from High Street Market)

It's Still Hard

Sometimes I choose to forget.  Sometimes I simple ignore it and pretend like it's going to go away.  But it's there.  Life.  And it's still hard.  Everyday I smile and put on the best face that I can in public, but sometimes, things aren't always as they appear.  Life is hard post cancer.  It may never the same, actually.

The past few weeks I've allowed myself to get swept away in a false reality that things are hunky-dory around here.  I've thrown myself into several projects and have been spending a lot of time at the girls' school.  I've let things slip around the house and unfortunately for us, once you get behind its almost impossible to get caught back up.  I don't think it's that I've been skirting my responsibility, but rather that I've been fooling myself thinking that I can do it ALL.  Maybe at one point in my life I could.  Throw in a child with special needs and a 2 year old and the whole ballgame changes.

Lucy had a major meltdown at school today.  I think it was actually more of an anxiety attack.  I don't know what triggered it, nor would she tell me what got her so worked up.  All I know is that after talking with her teacher and the assistant, we still have a long ways to go at school.  Academically she is doing great, but there are so many social challenges that she struggling with.  PE is a major frustration and her lack of independence/mobility really hinders her ability to play with and make friends.

Erik and I had a long talk today and we have decided to regroup.  We are refocusing our priorities at home. We both want so desperately to grab hold of a normal life but we just aren't there right now.  There is still work to be done to try to rebuild our life after cancer.  Lucy needs more of our attention to help her get physically stronger and Ella needs more structure in her night time routines.  The last thing I need is for her to get behind at school.  She needs to be pushed in math and that just adds one more priority to the list.

I've decided to simplify our lives for a while.  No Pinterest experiments, no taking on extra volunteer projects and nothing extra at night unless its absolutely mandatory.  Life for us may be very regimented for a while, but its what we need.  It's what my children have to have.  I know Lucy is at a school where she can thrive and she is protected, and for that I am so very grateful.  We've just got to figure out how to help her be the best Lucy she can be, despite her limitations.  We are hunkering down and getting serious at our house.  We've got some major work to do and we are determined to succeed.

On a completely unrelated note, I have never been so proud of Ella than I was this morning.  I drove up to help Lucy maneuver school pictures and this is what I saw:

The little girl in the back ground is Ella praying at our school's See You At The Pole.  My precious girl is totally unashamed of her love for God.  And praying...wow!  She can say a prayer that will humble you and melt your heart.  She is an awesome child.  All three of my children are.  They deserve more than I am giving them now.  I just have to figure out how to give more.    
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The Best Potato Chips You'll Ever Have

Here's a bonus best recipe for today for anyone who loves potato chips (and who doesn't?). Nikole from Herriott Grace has discovered the best recipe for a homemade version—crispy, salty and perfect alongside any sandwich. And how great would they be at a dinner party? Here's the recipe...
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The Best Pesto You'll Ever Have

A few years ago, Alex made pesto for dinner from scratch. Until then, we'd only had pesto from a jar, which was dark green and tasty. But this homemade pesto took it to the next level. We couldn't believe how bright and vibrant it was, and it tasted like we were eating basil right out of the garden. So I'm thrilled that Kelly from The Best Remedy is sharing her favorite recipe (and it's easy!)...
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Dressing the part

Today I'm flying cross-country to San Francisco! I'll be giving a presentation on Wednesday morning, so my trip is just 24-hours long. I haven't taken a business trip in like five years, and it feels exciting. Also my twin sister Lucy lives there, so we'll be jam-packing some quality time into one evening together. (We're thinking Italian food and Mindy Kaling.)

If I could pack anything in my suitcase, I'd choose one of these shoes or bags. J.Crew has been nailing it with their new handbag and shoe shop. They'd transition well from work to play, and wouldn't they lovely for fall? See the full collection here.

Yahoo, San Francisco, here I come! (I've been told not to call it San Fran:)

(Top photo by Max Wanger; graphic design by Rachel for A Cup of Jo)


I've been feeling a little overwhelmed this week. Sometimes it's hard being a grown-up, especially an anxious one. But then my mom sent me this poem, and I'd love to frame it on my desk. It speaks so beautifully to the strength we can carry with us.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!
—Rudyard Kipling

How are you feeling these days, my loves?

P.S. Are you, too, a worrier?

(Banner from Secret Holiday & Co.; top illustration by Marc Johns, via Swissmiss)

I Am....

Very tired.  As any mom can attest to, when you have a sick baby you get no rest.  Jack....asthma....another sinus infection....lots of vomit.  Fun times!

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My mom's tomboy style

My mom recently sent me some old family photos of our cousins, summer vacations, all sorts of things—but what stood out most was my mom's incredible style. She wore Wellington boots, flannel shirts and my dad's sweaters, and her pieces were loose and relaxed. Yet through her tomboyish style, she still exuded grace and femininity. I'm so inspired by these beautiful photos and am going to try to shop my closet to see if I can create some similar outfits. What was your mom's style like?
P.S. Having babies in Paris, and my mom on her wedding day.

Motherhood Mondays: Princess crown braid

This month, I'm excited to feature back-to-school hair tutorials for girls every Monday. (And of course we grown-ups can wear them, too:) My friend Reagan of Hairdresser on Fire did a princess crown on adorable five-year-old Stella. What a pretty fall look, and I loved Stella's goofy personality! Here are Reagan's steps and more photos...
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Eat at Chili's for Lucy

This child is a miracle.

My heart overflowed with joy as I watched Lucy receive her Bible at church today.  It wasn't but a few months ago that I was planning her funeral.  Today, she stood with 14 other children and accepted the Bible from which she will learn to read, understand and memorize scripture.  What a beautiful day.

Thank you God for your healing grace.  And thank you all for your prayers.  Thank you also to everyone who donates money to St. Jude.  Without you Lucy would not have had a chance at life.

Tomorrow, September 24th, is a big day for St. Jude.  Tomorrow is the day when Chili's restaurant will donate 100% of its net profits to the hospital where my daughter got a second chance at life.  In 2006, Chili's  pledged to raise $50 million dollars in 10 years.  With the money that Chili's has donated to St. Jude thus far (over $41 million), St. Jude was able to build and equip the building where Lucy received her radiation treatments and her stem cell transplant.  We spent 4 long, hard months housed in the Chili's Care Center.  It's an amazing facility and became a comfortable home away from home for our family.

If you live close to a Chili's, please eat there tomorrow.  Lunch, dinner...both!  Dine in or carry out.  Either one.  Just please do your part to help support St. Jude.  I borrowed this image from the Chili's site.  This is just a tiny sample of every day expenses for a child at St. Jude.  A child like Lucy.

Every Donation Counts

Every Donation Counts

Every dollar donated to St. Jude makes a difference. See how your contribution can help a child in need.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Chili's is doing its part.  Are you?
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Have a great fall weekend.

What are your plans for the weekend? Tomorrow is the first day of fall! Looking forward to crisp breezes, apple cider and wool sweaters. (Time to bust out the moccasins:) This weekend, we're also taking Toby to see Mary Poppins. It will be the first play he's ever seen, and I'm curious to see how he likes it. Thank you also for all the helpful feedback on the redesign; I appreciate your comments so much. Have a wonderful weekend, and here are a few fun links from around the web...

A new movie about Detroit.

The best word ever.

French wedding dresses.

A fascinating article about a high-school cheating scandal.

Would you do spider lashes?

Peanut-butter-cup brownies.

Cutest rooms.

Wow, now that's a bike-riding mama!

Awwww, what a face.

Tomboy style.

How Toby feels about sandwiches.

This restaurant predicts your dessert with a magic trick.

If you're in a shopping mood, don't forget this.

And, on a more serious note, the wonderful Jenny has been in the hospital this week. Thankfully, I heard from her husband over email that she's getting much better every day. Sending lots of love her way. Update: Yay, a note from her!

(Photo by Nikole Herriott/instagram)

DIY: Colorblock ballet flats

If you have an old pair of plain flats in your closet, why not freshen them up? My friend Meg Allan Cole created this genius tutorial for making your own colorblock flats. Here's how to get the adorable look...
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What Do You Make/Sale

Alright!  This is going to be fun.  I can't wait to see what you guys make or sale.  Here's your chance to showcase your eBay/ETSY/Website.  I am so excited about this linky party and I hope you all have a great time shopping!  Once upon a time I used to sew the most adorable clothes for my girls.  I even sold a ton on Ebay (back in the day), but when Lucy got sick that all went by the way side.  Now, I just enjoy doing a little shopping on Etsy when I have a chance.  So...show us what you've got.  Our debit cards are ready!

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Ella's Field Trip

Today I went on a field trip with Ella.  What a wonderful place to be in life where I can feel safe leaving Lucy at school, and then with my mom, and being able to enjoy my time with my oldest daughter.  I am so thankful to be here.  Don't get me wrong, I checked in at school at least three times and Erik actually went up to lay his eyes on Lucy after she complained about a tummy ache.  That's just how we roll at our house.

The 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes at our school went to the Memphis Botanic Gardens.  We had a really nice time and the weather was beautiful.  I don't think we could have asked for a more perfect day.

There were a lot of hands on activities--all about bugs and nature--right up Ella's alley!

These girls could have played by the Koi pond all day.  The fish are so accustomed to being fed that Ella could literally drop food in their mouths.  She was even able to touch some of them.  It was a wonderful day and I am so grateful I had the chance to spend the day with Ella. 

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