Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Blessed Life

Another October has come and gone and I can’t say that I am sad to see it go. October is a very hard month for our family. Most of you who read this blog are my friends, so this should come as no surprise to you. For those of you that I have met over the past month, I will share my story with you. On October 6, 2007, our precious baby girl, Chloe Elizabeth Harrison, was born exactly one month early. I had a very normal pregnancy, and was so excited to be having a girl after chasing around Charlie for a little over a year.  Rex and I expected everything would be perfect. New home in the works…one boy…one girl….one dog. What more could anyone ask for? I went into labor early that morning and knowing that I would not be eating for the next several hours, I had Rex take me to Junior’s to get a kolache. We were laughing on the way to the hospital while I was chatting with Ryan on the phone giving her a play by play between contractions. When I was admitted, the nurse informed me that my doctor was out of town and that another doctor would be delivering the baby. This sent me into a frenzy as we are very close to my OB, and he SWORE that no matter what, he would be the one to deliver. My mom was on a flight home from North Carolina, and my dad was taking care of Charlie. I called on my parent’s friends, The Dimmicks, to be there as Gregg Dimmick is our pediatrician and I figured Debbi could help Rex and me if we needed anything. We were not prepared for how much we would need them. The delivery itself was easy and uncomplicated, but before I could even see Chloe’s face, I saw her foot and sheer horror filled my body. I can’t really describe what it looked like except that it was completely mangled. I started screaming and I remember Gregg coming over to me, trying to provide words of encouragement, but at the same time letting me know that realistically, the foot would be the least of our problems and that they would be making a call to Texas Children’s.

In a nutshell, Chloe had a medical condition called cloacal exstrophy. It is very rare and occurs in about 250,000 births. As is if this wasn’t enough to digest we also learned several days later that Chloe was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Ip36 deletion syndrome which encompasses a myriad of problems: non-verbal, developmental delays, heart defects, mental retardation, etc., etc.

Chloe was in and out of Texas Children’s Hospital from the day she was born until May 16th. We were only home a total of 3 weeks during that time and most of the time we were home, she was sick. Fortunately when we came home for good, Chloe shined. She learned to laugh, she learned to sit up, she rolled over…all things no one thought she would ever be able to do.

I decided not to have a first birthday party for Chloe, but rather to have her baptized the week before her birthday and celebrate both events that day. To be honest with you, and to myself, I couldn’t face the thought of other little one year olds, normal one year olds, running around my house when my baby had just learned to sit up several months before that.

Sunday, October 5th was just like any other day in our house. I decided to take off work the next day to be home with Chloe on her birthday and enjoy the day with her. While Charlie was napping that afternoon, I dressed Chloe up in a new yellow dress and decided to take some birthday pictures of her. Her feeding tube was out and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity. Please realize that my photography skills are horrible, but somehow I managed to take some stellar photos that day (see below).

After the “photo shoot”, I put Chloe down for a nap. When she woke up I  saw that she had thrown up all in her bed. I called for Rex, called the pediatrician, and started the Pedialyte. Standard procedure. By that evening things were not any better and we all decided that we should take her in to the TCH emergency room. We were savvy enough to know to wait until midnight when the ER had cleared out so that our wait time would be cut in half. As we made the hour long drive I remember looking at the time and bursting into “happy birthday”. Our baby was one. When we got to the ER, we knew the drill all too well. Standard stuff. Get some fluids, wait to be hydrated, go home. However, this time we never made it home.

Chloe stayed in ICU for two weeks, had two bedside surgeries, and never regained consciousness after she was intubated that first night. We had sent countless prayer request emails out during that time and got so many in return, many from strangers, and many from different parts of the country. On October 20th, Chloe made her way into Heaven surrounded by Rex, my mom, myself, our pastor, some of our dear nurses and nurse practitioner.

As we all crammed into her tiny room, we tried to make small talk knowing that it could be thirty minutes or take several hours, but that she was not going to make it any longer. Around 8 o’clock or so, her nurse practitioner told us to look at her oxygen saturation and that it would not be long. As we watched the numbers fall down we started to pray and all joined hands and sang “Jesus Loves Me”. As we were singing, I felt Rex squeeze my hand and gestured to look at the oxygen count, it was rising, and rising fast. We repeated the verse and by the end it was back up to 100. Now I don’t have any sort of medical background, but can tell you that that is not normal. As soon as we were done, we all talked about the miracle we had just witnessed and then watched as the numbers slowly fell back down. It took a while to get back down to 20, and we all joined hands again and sang one more time. I think we all assumed that it couldn’t happen again, but God wanted us to be sure that we knew this was no mistake. By the end of the first verse, the saturation level had reached 100. As the song came to a conclusion, the numbers went back down, this time more rapidly, and this was the end.

I didn’t know how to share my story with you on this blog, but I want you to take this away with you. No matter how hard it is for a mom to loose a child, or see her child sick, whether it be with an ear infection, a slight cold, or cancer, you can always get through it with the help of God. Jesus showed us that night that our baby had come home to Heaven and  I know the angels were singing when she got there.

My friend Amy and I were talking yesterday about the Oprah episode on this week where a family lost their children in a car accident and how you don’t want to go on after a tragedy like that. But I am living proof that you CAN go on. I miss my baby girl every day, but know that she did what she was meant to do. She brought so many people closer to God and taught all those around her His grace.

I spoke at Chloe’s funeral and I want to share some of my words with you:

“Thank you all for coming here today to celebrate Chloe’s life. Some of you may think she had a short life, and some of you may say she had a hard life, but Chloe had a blessed life. I know that she had a blessed life because she touched everyone of you in here today. She taught us how to love unconditionally, she taught us it is okay not to be perfect. She taught us compassion, grace, and taught us to put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ”.

Two months after her death I found out I was pregnant. I was devastated. Our next pregnancy (if there were to be one) was going to be planned, and planned after lots of genetic counseling. But sweet Jack Hudson has just given us one more reason to be blessed. I am blessed with two rambunctious boys and blessed to have had Chloe as my daughter.

It is not always easy being a mom. Some days you want to pull your hair out, and some days you just want Mary Poppins to appear and take care of your kids so that you can sleep in. But know that there are so many people around you that can provide support to you. Trust in God, and He will provide a way.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13

Charlie’s Superhero Party

If you know Charlie, you know that he eats, lives, and breathes superheroes. Currently Batman is his favorite, but he could change into Spiderman, Iron Man, or Superman in an instant. A few weeks ago he insisted that Rex refer to him only as “Voltron, the lion”. This stage has been going on for about a year, and I am wondering how much longer he will stay in it. I have to admit, I am enjoying it. Put a cape on a little boy and their imagination runs wild.

Having said all of this, it was only fitting that he have a Superhero party. Being a high school counselor, I always have to administer the TAKS test the week of Charlie’s party so I prayed that I would have everything together and that the weather would be nice. I got everything together and although it didn’t rain, I don’t think 100 degree Texas weather is “nice”.


The minute Charlie spotted this cake at HEB, I knew it was over. No professional cake decorator services for us.


I ordered a banner, cupcake toppers, and stickers all from Ciao Bambino.


The capes were ordered from Sew Plain Jane. They were beyond wonderful to work with. I thought that I could make the capes myself, and less than a week before still had not even bought the material. Sew Plain Jane came to the rescue with capes and coordinating eye masks that arrived on my doorstep 3 days later!


Kids ( or moms) got to decorate their own capes and eye masks.


The labels on the lunch boxes were colored with watercolors. I bought sheets with four labels to a page, so I colored one page and then in the interest of saving time, ran them off on a colored printer. The copies actually did better than the originals! 


Charlie and Toxey Claire. I can’t wait for this picture to resurface when they are older.


and with Taylor.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Winter Coats

I hear there is a cold front headed this way!!! It may not be cold enough to break out your winter coats yet but at least we can start looking… I think this season Mod Cloth and Anthropologie are the way to go.


Cym and Ripple Coat, $188.00. I own this in black.


Take the Night Coat, $137.99 (limited quantities)


Cottage in the Woods Coat, $129.99 (out of stock, but too cute not to post. I am on the waiting list).


Phlox & Coral Coat, $288.00


A Fresh Coat in Hot Pink, $92.99


Just Around the Block Coat, $229.99


Toast of the Town Coat, $119.99


Frill Force Jacket, $188.88


Pixel This Coat, $114.99

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Cake

Ever since Charlie was a baby he has loved to eat. Rex would joke that his favorite room in the house was the refrigerator. My friend Lacey kept him once and said that he ate at her church luncheon and ate not only his full sized plate, but polished off all the others at the table. I had to beg his school when he was 18 months old to not give him three servings. All he wanted two years ago for Christmas was cheese and juice. When he was approaching two we asked him what he wanted for his birthday, his standard reply was “happy cake”. No toys, just happy cake. I think my friends and family would repeatedly ask him just to hear him say it.

We ended up getting cupcakes from Sugarbaby's and they did make all of the kids happy. However, had I found Cake Shooters, we would have been in heaven. To me, this is truly a happy cake. I have never tried them, but can’t wait to get my hands on one. I love the idea of taking a push up pop and filling it with scrumptious cake and icing. Although they have six flavors, I think my favorite would be the Sprinkles Signature. How perfect would these be for a birthday party?? No mess….no red icing on your furniture… worrying about the cake toppling over in the car….I could think of a million reasons. Just know that if you serve them at your next shindig, I expect an invitation. They look too good to pass up!



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shout Outs

I have been blogging for one month now and am having a blast. I can’t believe that I didn’t start this sooner! It is not only a way for me to organize the things that I like or find interesting, but it is amazing how many wonderful people I have met through this world of blogging. Four people have been very kind to help me get started and I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am.

This morning, the oh so fabulous Loralee Lewis featured my Mummy's Night Out party on her blog. Loralee designed the invitation which was the inspiration for the party decor. I don’t know how she does it… she runs her own company, has 3 young children to chase after, and throws wonderful parties! Visit her Etsy store to see all of her darling printables.

When I first decided that I was going to blog, I didn’t even know how to create a one. The only blog that I had spent anytime reading was P is for Party. Two of my friends told me about this blog at lunch one day after I mentioned that I was throwing Jack a milk and cookies first birthday party. Christi has an eye for design, incredible taste, and posts not only her own parties, but parties of her readers as well (Check out her son’s first birthday). She gave me some really good advice and led me to Carolyn after seeing her family blog design.

Carolyn Valentin…I know you will be reading this so thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your hard work and countless email replies. I had so much fun working with you on the blog design and appreciate your diligence and patience with me. Check out Carolyn's blog as she chronicles her life living in Austria. She has a great sense of humor and some mad design skills!

I would also like to thank Rex. It pays to have a computer genius as your husband. When copying images during my first week of blogging, I clicked on a link and instantly caught a virus. But, have no fear…Rex was to the rescue. He stopped the virus and had my laptop up and running in less than 2 hours. While this may sound like a heroic story it is NOTHING compared to the hot blogging tip he gave me. Three little words. Windows Live Writer. I can’t imagine life without it. It is phenomenal. I would not be blogging if it were not for WLW. If you are thinking about starting a blog, or have been tying in blogger, download this today. It will change your life forever ;).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mad Men Party

My dad turned 62 on October 9th and we wished him Happy Birthday in style. It was a night to remember as the clock turned back to 1962 with a Mad Men themed cocktail party. My parents love the show and thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate. My mom and her friend Marianna cooked all of the food and our friend Geraldine (who is really more like family) served Old Fashioneds, Vodka Gimlets, Manhattans, and Scotch on the Rocks.

Unfortunately, my camera was on the blink that night and I did not get a picture of the fabulous buffet table (Marianna sent one so you can see part of it). On the menu were deviled eggs, ham and rolls, a porcupine cheese ball, meatballs, crab dip, and breaded olives all served on silver serving trays. The piece de resistance was the pineapple centerpiece flanked by two silver candlesticks.

Mad Men - Mod yet Retro Custom Party Invitation. Option to Print.

Invitation,  Paisley Prints Etc..


A picture of the table when you first walked in. The picture is of my dad when he was Mr. WHS.



Marianna with her own vintage suit


The Porcupine


Homemade after dinner mints


The centerpiece


My mom found this oil painting of their good friend Joe from when he was a senior. Notice the old ads posted. They were framed in different areas of the house. I think my favorite was the old Lucky Strike ad that read “To keep a slender figure, Reach for a Lucky”. Can you imagine reading that today???




My dad and mom


Ginger, Mom, Sandy, and Betsy


Joe, Mom, Rex, and Debbi. I think Rex could have stepped right off of the show.


Betsy, Ada, Me, and Mom


Rex and me


Marj, Mom, and Donna


Joe and Bob

Of course you can’t come to a party with us without playing a game! Everyone was given a sheet of paper with ad slogans from 1950 – 1970. Guests had to come up with the product that matched the slogan. Debbi and Sandy won. He got a vintage skinny tie as a prize and she got the pineapple!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bilibo Toy

I ran across this toy months ago when looking for birthday presents for Charlie and Jack. I have to admit, it did catch my attention, but after reading to find out what it was I lost interest. My question is do kids really like this or will they too lose interest quickly just as I did reading about it. There is rumored to be a lot of hype about the Bilibo and the mini Bilibo on the Internet, but I am not sure that I am buying into it. The toy is touted as “magically attractive & deceptively simple” . The manufacturer also states that its unique form “arouses curiosity, stimulates the senses, engages the imagination and encourages creativity.” Suggested uses for the Bilibo range from rocking, spinning, or sitting to using it as a tunnel for toy cars and trains, wearing it as a helmet, playing with it in the sand or water, or as a cradle for dolls. Sold??? At $29.99, I think I will pass.

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Bilibo Toy, Toys R Us

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wine Tags

I love a good glass of Chardonnay. Right now, I am hooked on Cupcake. It has a great flavor and the price is dirt cheap. The only problem is that you can’t buy it in Wharton, so I just have to stock up every time I run into Houston. I got hooked on Cupcake last Christmas when my friend Ryan brought me a bottle as a hostess gift. Ryan doesn’t drink wine, but said that someone had told her that it was good. I have a lot of friends who don’t drink wine and I think bringing a bottle to someone who is a wine drinker can be a bit intimidating. These gift tags from Pop Tags take the awkwardness away. They are not only beautiful, but absolutely hilarious!

images via Pop Tags

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mummy’s Night Out

Last night all the girls gathered at my house for "Mummy’s Night Out”. I had a blast getting ready for the party and everyone had a great time. People stayed well after the witching hour and my cheeks hurt this morning from laughing. I do believe this may have to become an annual event!



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Lori, Me, Laura,Kaytee, Amy

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Laura with Batman

Photo 1: Invitation by Loralee Lewis