Thursday, October 11, 2018

National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Month 2018

October is National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Month. A time set aside by President Reagan to honor families whose babies have died and to provide resources.
Praying prayers of comfort and thankfulness for all of you touched by this month of rememberance. What an incredible tangle of sorrow and beauty this month will hold for your family as you remember your precious babies but also celebrate our God who is working ALL things for good and His glory. This is the reality for our family, too . . . sadness that our son, Chance, is not living life with us here, but true contentment and joy knowing this isn't the end of the story.

A few resources:
Loved Baby Devotional Book
Hope Mommies 2019 e-book - coming soon!
Desert Song - my journey of claiming joy despite circumstance

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,“ - Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)

How will you be honoring your loved baby this October? Don't forget to take a photo of yourself or with your support group friends and share it using the hashtag #HopeMommiesOct15!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Announcing Our 5th Annual Cohen Syndrome Association Fundraiser

Clara is getting excited for our fifth annual Cohen Syndrome Association (CSA) fundraiser!

Each year in November we hold a fundraiser to honor Clara's diagnosis month (diagnosed in November 2013), raise money for CSA, and celebrate the special needs community. Due to the rarity of Cohen syndrome (less than 1,000 cases worldwide), the CSA does not quality for grants or like funding opportunities, so parent fundraisers are so important to keep the Association running. 

For our local friends, mark your calendars for Sunday, November 11th from 2:00-4:00pm!

Noonday Collection is partnering with the Cohen Syndrome Association again this year to honor Clara and her sweet buddy, Katherine Christoff. We will have a fabulous jewelry trunk show, silent auction, and array of fall goodies and beverages. This is the perfect opportunity to get ahead of your Christmas, teacher appreciation, or birthday shopping and do some purposeful purchasing. Your purchases will not only be supporting women and children around the world through Noonday Collection, but our very own Clara and Katherine, who were both diagnosed with Cohen Syndrome. The funds raised will go directly to the CSA (not the Blackburn or Christoff families). 

If you are local and have not received an invitation to the event, please let me know and I will get details to you! 

If you cannot attend, please consider supporting this fundraiser by shopping our online trunkshow link here:


How the fundraiser will work . . .

We pray that you can join us and help fund raise by bidding on silent auction Noonday items that will be on display starting at 2:00pm. We will announce highest bidders at 4:00pm. During the silent auction, trunk show items will be available for sale as normal. Items can also be purchased online in advance as mentioned above. A portion of proceeds from silent auction and commissions from the trunk show and online purchases will go to CSA.

Thank you for partnering with us year after year! It takes a village and we are so thankful for ours. 

More information . . . 

What is Cohen Syndrome? 

What is the CSA? 

What is Noonday Collection? 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Things Aren't Always As They Appear

Camille's last first day of preschool was last week and like all the other mama's who have kids going back to school, I somehow remembered to take a few snapshots of the girls in their matching back-to-school (unicorn) shirts that Camille picked out.

Because when you are a four-year-old female your entire world is unicorns.

How I even remembered to pull these shirts out of their closets is beyond me.

Anyways, Clara goes to school year round, thus I try to mark her school years and milestones as well by following Camille's school calendar.

Back to that morning last week.

Please reference the pictures below. The girls look cute! They are smiling! It looks as though we are having a grand old time on the first morning back-to-school in our adorable matching tees and front-of-the-door photos.

Can this just serve as a friendly reminder that things aren't always as they appear?

That morning last week was literally bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. (Who's now singing Gwen Stefani?)

And it was all my fault.

And I was being a grouch of a mom (even though it was all my fault).

I got up late and then sat on the couch for far too long. It all went downhill from there (because I, the person in charge, started the whole morning routine late). Insert bickering with Camille about her skirt choice and reluctance to wear her hair down. Insert more bickering when said child was taking too long to do anything and everything I asked.

After skirt battle 2018, I looked down and the clock read 8:00am and I realized Clara was still asleep (we need to leave no later than 8:20am - again, my fault). Insert more rushing and griping and annoyance and then guilt that I am sending them off to school in all the ways the parenting books and professional child development people tell you not to.

There were no cuddles or affirmations or morning prayers over funny face pancakes.

So yeah, things aren't always as they appear.

I know we know this. I know this. I don't think for a second that Instagram shows the whole story or that anyone's life is perfect and I know, full well, that we are looking at the best moments of Sally's day when she posts a selfie while peacefully working in her flourishing garden with her kids smiling on the swing set behind her. I get it. Sally doesn't Instastory when said children are freaking out about sharing the coveted green swing and thus she accidentally says a curse word so loud the neighbors hear over the fence.

But really, how cute are they???

I don't even know where I'm going with this other than the encouragement to not put too much pressure on yourself to get it right all the time.

Even mamas of kiddos with special needs have moments of utter frustration and loss of control. (I say this because sometimes the constant messaging to us special moms is that we are saints or superheroes or walking Mother Tereseas all day everyday and well, I hate to break it to you, but we are just regular humans with regular brains and regular tempers that flare up from time to time.)

Things aren't always as they appear on the first day of Pre-K, no doubt.

But the good news?

There is a second day of Pre-K followed by a third and a fourth and a fifth.

And many, many more days after that to wake up (on time!), greet your children with a hug and a smile, and try again.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Our Trip to San Fransisco With Pack Up + Go : Day Three & Four

To catch up on our trip to San Fransisco with Pack UP + Go, click here and here

Day three started with a walk from our hotel to Jane The Bakery. Talk about delicious baked goods. Jane, you did not disappoint. It is a good thing you don't have a shop in Houston, Texas. 

Next up? Lombard Street. It was just what you would expect, steep and curvy. :)

Lunch on Sunday was at Park Tavern. This was the second reservation that the company had set for us. Fun atmosphere and yummy food, although our server was having an off day. By the end we just had to laugh. No big deal. We all have our days of stress and confusion!

When we learned the Giants would be playing the Rangers on Sunday afternoon, we snagged tickets for $24. Fun time! Our seats were in the sun and while it was only 68 degrees, we were sweating to death. I felt awful even complaining since we are from HOUSTON and all. In San Fran one minute you are freezing and the next you are hot. 

Dinner Sunday night was at Nopa. Our favorite eating experience of the trip (wait, have I said that already??)! Seriously, it was such a fun atmosphere and the food was out of this world. If you click on their link above, you can see where we were sitting -  upstairs in the far right corner. It was so fun to people watch from above and not to mention the hustling of chefs in the kitchen. 

Goat cheese spread on crusty bread. I would eat this daily. There is a fancier name for "crusty bread" but I can't remember so just go with it. 

Nopa is famous for their pork chop, so of course Brandon had to try it. Did not disappoint! 

I ordered a small plate of brisket. Yep, just meat with corn salsa on top. It was amazing. 

After dinner we decided to walk back to see The Pained Ladies one more time. You can't tell from this picture, but this road is very, very steep.
I ran the whole way up and about passed out once I made it to the top-ish. :)

The Painted Ladies in evening light. 

From there, bowling! Brandon researched and found a six lane blowing alley that is 21 and up in the evenings. It was so nice and even with others there, we felt like we had the place to ourselves! A great end to another great day. 

I woke up Monday already having withdrawals, since I knew later that day we would be boarding a plane back home. Since you don't get fancy breakfasts everyday, we had to make the most of our time! We found a local crepery but opted to share the french toast instead.  

Coffee again because, duh. 

View from our hotel. Had to document. 

We spend the morning back at The Hayes Valley Neighborhood (where we had the food tour on day one) browsing the shops that we didn't get to explore on Friday. Lots of cute boutiques! 

Lunch was at Souvla (as if we really needed more food at this point), which was actually Pack Up + Go's top choice for Mediterranean food in the area. Incredible! 

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel to grab our bags and catch an Uber to the airport. What a fun trip! I will be forever grateful for the time away with Brandon and to both sides of our family that cared for the girls in our absence. 
We have zero complaints about our experience with this company. Food recommendations, hotel, suggested activities, it was all incredible. They literally do most of the work for you! 
We hope to do it again in the future. 
If you are feeling adventurous or a little edgy, give it a try
(and then let me know where you end up)! 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Our Trip to San Fransisco With Pack Up + Go : Day Two

For a recap of how our surprise trip to San Fran came to be, click here

After a glorious 12 hours of sleep, day two started at Sweet Maple. I am not being dramatic when I say that Brandon's breakfast sandwich below was the best breakfast sandwich I have ever tasted.  Even he agreed and he is a food snob. Sweet Maple is famous for their millionaire's bacon, so we had to partake (bacon you see on the sandwich). It was unbelievable, a bit sweet with a hint of heat, slow cooked for hours with brown sugar and spicy peppers. #amazing

After stuffing ourselves with the world's best bacon, we headed by foot to take a look at Cottage Row and The Painted Ladies (you will likely remember from the show Full House). 

Cottage Row is well, a row of quaint cottages that used to fill San Fran in the mid-1800's. 

From The Painted Ladies, we headed to the Ferry Building Marketplace (huge indoor/outdoor farmer's market with eateries and shopping etc), Bay Bridge, Alcatraz (to view from afar, tours were sold out until September), Pier 33/39, and Fisherman's Wharf. 

Next up? The Golden Gate Bridge. We walked the entire bridge and back and despite it being extremely chilly and windy, it was a fun experience! Well, at least for me. Brandon was hoping to catch an Uber on the way back (ha-ha-ha, does he not know his wife??). 

We were sore and stinky after a full day of walking so we headed to the hotel to clean up and relax for a bit before dinner. Pack Up + Go had reservations and a gift card for us at Barbacco that evening. Delicious Italian dishes in a super cozy, trendy setting. We kept looking around saying , "I don't feel cool enough to eat here." Ha! Highly recommend it if you're in the area! 
Didn't snap a picture of the main entrees, only of dessert. 
(Happy anniversary since this is the big trip we never took celebrate year 10, or 11). 

Day 3 & 4 coming up next . . .
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