Saying “No” to make space for “Yes”

Saying “No” to make space for “Yes”

It’s hard to take a picture of yourself with a laptop. Do all blog posts need a photo? These are now the thins I’m wondering about. New blog post below.

I haven’t written a blog post since mid- January. That’s a little over two months since I’ve posted on this site and it feels a lot longer. Life, man. It gets busy and, for me, the things I want to do, like this blog, end up taking a back seat to all the things that “need” to be done.

Several years ago, I read Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes. In summary, she argues you need to say “no” to some things so you can give your best yes when the opportunity presents itself. I read this book because, as someone who likes to please people, I felt it was important to learn how to say no. However, at the time I read it I was a stay at home mom of one and I was involved in one playgroup. That’s it: one kid, one play group. Now looking back, I wonder what exactly I was learning to say “no” to. Living in a new state with a toddler I was accepting any invitation thrown my way. Literally, I wasn’t turning anyone down. Now, I’m in a different stage of life: two kids at two different schools with extracurriculars, a part time job, a husband with a long commute and more responsibility at work, a blog, and oh yeah… I’m starting to take online classes (more on that in a later blog post). [Side note: I know we are all busy. Every one of us. I’m not trying to post my busyness as badge of honor, but I want to point out how different my life is now versus six years ago. In fact, I’m currently doing all I can to be LESS busy. Being busy does not give you value.]

In this phase of my life I’m beginning to actually understand my “best yes.” There are going to be events, obligations, positions, etc. that I WANT to say yes to, but need to say “no” so that I can leave margin for the opportunities I truly want to pursue. And to do pursue what I’m prioritizing I need to exercise discipline to not overextend myself. An overextended Sarah is not good for my family. I turn into a crazy person. A really tired, crazy person. Just ask my husband. He might be scared to confirm, but prod him and he will come clean.

It’s a hard realization for me that I can’t do everything I want all at the same time. I bet you’re thinking about that one person who seems to do it all. I am. Comparison is another trap that hinders me from saying no when I should. I look at other people and think “She has three kids, works full time, works out, volunteers at her kids’ school and is involved in three other organizations. Why can’t I be like her? I should try to do more.” But I’m not her. I’m me. I have certain limitations that maybe she doesn’t. And honestly, you never really know the private struggles someone is facing. I can do what I can with the talents I have and comparing myself to someone who is different than me is like comparing apples to oranges.

I want to pursue this blog, but to do that, I have to say no to other opportunities which is tough because telling people “no” may disappoint them. I don’t like disappointing people. Remember, I’m a people-pleaser. It is really hard for me to say no. Once I say no I also think about the situation for an inordinate amount of time. “Did I say it clearly so they understand why I’m saying no? Do they hate me? Maybe I should have just said yes.” I had to tell my part-time job I couldn’t work there anymore. That was tough. I want to work there, but I want to blog, take these online courses, and be a better “family manager” more. I want to have margin in my life so when opportunities regarding this blog pop up I can take them. I want to have margin in my life so that when we have an unexpected free afternoon the kids and I can stay outside and play until it’s dark. I want space to say yes to the things I determine are the best use of my talents and will serve others well.

All of this to say, State of Sarah is back to being a priority for me. My plan is to do a small redesign and then begin posting at least weekly, but hopefully more.

Is there anything you need to say no to today so you can say yes to something that really stirs you deep down? Something to think about!

take care!

Athleta Sale

How are the new year’s resolutions coming along? I’m 10 days in and so far I’ve been doing pretty well! Remember the goal: Progress, not perfection!

On the professional side, I’ve been much more disciplined in working from home, logging my hours and pre-planning the blog. On the physical side of things, I’m back to tracking my food, exercise and water intake in MyFitnessPal. I also received my first results from the dietary testing I did at the end of last year. Once I meet with the nutritionist I’ll share my results! I want to make sure I’m speaking (typing?) about them correctly. On the financial side, any purchases I’ve made have been thoughtful, not impulse purchases. Today, I went to Athleta (I had a gift card) because they are having a sale! Below are my favorite sale pieces and 2 full-priced items I couldn’t pass up!

I loved this criss cross sweatshirt! It’s lightweight and perfect for throwing over my workout tank when I have to run errands after I work out. So, like – everyday.

My friend, Erica, loves the All In Capris. They aren’t my favorite only because of where the pockets hit on my leg (it’s a hangup of mine), but these navy leggings are under $40! If you like compression tights, you should grab these!
My personal favorite Athleta legging is the Contender. These white leggings are under $50!

So, of course, I still had to check out the new arrivals while I was there. (Psst… Athleta, can we get a store in Sugar Land? Thanks.) I really loved these navy Contender leggings. I can wear white, gray, pink or really any color tank with them to work out. Plus, they’re dark, but they aren’t black. It was an easy purchase.

BUT… I already have a white, gray and pink tank! But guess what color I don’t have? GREEN! How fun is this bright tank top below? I love green and navy together. Y’all should really check out Athleta’s new stuff because there are so many bright colors. Perfect to get you amped up about your next workout and make headway on your goals!

Remember you can shop these looks, by clicking on the images to the right or by following me on the app! If you have any questions about that app, let me know! I love it!

I hope your first full week back to your routine has been great!

Child Advocates Santa Wish List Program

Child Advocates Santa Wish List Program

A quick post on something that has been burdening me lately – gratitude. I mentioned that we are trying to work on gratitude in our house. Not just for the kids, but for the adults, too! I would give our family a C for hitting our “gratitude goals” leading up to Thanksgiving. Now, we enter a fun, but also sometimes tough, season – Christmas! The focus is always on what we want, especially for the kids.  While I think that is fine (children SHOULD enjoy the holiday season!) I’m hoping to elevate Christmas for my children a little this year.

Sidenote: I always thought we would be the family serving Thanksgiving to the homeless and doing all sorts of good deeds during the Christmas season. That hasn’t happened. Maybe the kids are too young. In the six years we’ve had children, we have donated a few items to Toys for Tots and brought some cans to a food drive. I’m not knocking those things. They are great! But I’m ready to do a little more to make these acts of generosity more personal for my kids.

My neighbor posted on FaceBook about the Child Advocates Santa Wish List Program. You can easily purchase items for children in Child Protective Services custody through Amazon or Target.  You can also host a toy drive or sponsor an individual child.  The drop off for the gifts for individuals are December 4 – 6 which is why I wanted to post this information sooner rather than later. This year, our family decided to sponsor an individual child. Her name is Zoey and she is 10 years old. We received her wish list via email and we plan to shop for her as a family on Friday evening. H & L have been pretending to be elves all week so I’m planning on telling them we are going to be Zoey’s elves. My hope is that we can bring some joy to Zoey’s holiday season. All children deserve that. I also hope that having a specific name and age will make an impact on my children and will spark conversation so they can begin to understand how privileged they are; not to feel guilty, but to feel a sense of responsibility that comes with privilege.

I’m not posting this for anyone to congratulate us on being “good” people (see above… a few toys and cans are all we have done so far!) I’m posting this to help keep me and my family accountable as we enter a season of “more, more, more.” What do you do during this season to keep gratitude in check?

I had to post a photo of my cute elves and I’ll  will post our shopping trip on my IG stories!

Stay Merry!


An Imperfect Pinkalicious Party

An Imperfect Pinkalicious Party

I’ve told several people this week I am not a crafty mom. I am an Amazon Prime mom, but for some reason for L’s 4th birthday I decided to move out of my wheelhouse and attempted to be crafty. I will say it was more fun than I was expecting because L was really excited. I did have to call on my craftiest friend, Brittany, several times for help! My biggest lesson… a glue gun is your best craft tool.

Don’t get me wrong… I love throwing parties and I think L does, too! She was full of ideas! L knows what she wants and declared in July that she was having a Pinkalicious themed birthday party… in November. It was a fairly easy party to plan because I just followed the book starting with…

The Outfit
Remember, I’m not crafty… and I definitely don’t sew which is why Two Bunnies Custom Sewing is my go to for Halloween Costumes. Emily is great and I knew she would do a wonderful job on a Pinkalicious dress! L loves it and I’m already planning on using it for future Book Character Days at school.



The Cupcakes
Sweet Stories made the perfectly Pinkalicious cupcakes! They look exactly like the cupcakes in the book! Tonia was so sweet to work with.



The Food
The party was in the afternoon so we kept the food light – pink popcorn, strawberries and raspberries, and pink jelly beans. We also had pink lemonade to drink! Of course, the cure for Pinkititis is green food so we also had cucumber and hummus, chips and guacamole, and green grapes.


The Favors
Instead of putting together favor bags, we ordered these paperback Pinkalicious books and included a label in the front thanking them for coming to the party.


When the kids arrived we had them decorate wands. This is where my glue gun came in! I bought pre-cut felt stars and dows. Glued some glitter ribbon on them and had stickers for the kids to decorate. We also had the kids play pin the cherry on the cupcake. This cupcake gave me fits, but once again… Brittany and the glue gun came to my rescue. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but when Lucy came home from school she gasped and said “OH! It’s perfect!” My primary audience was happy so I was, too!


Lucy loving my imperfect cupcake was a great reminder, too, because I think sometimes I do birthday parties (and similar activities) to somehow validate my own worth as a mother and I want it all to be perfect. If the party is perfect than I can be a perfect mom, right? Ha… if only that were true! I fail every day and I wish there was some magical glue gun for correcting parenting mistakes!

All in all, our girl had a great party and we are so thankful for all who came to celebrate with us!





Gratitude Before Gifts

Gratitude Before Gifts

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Be honest, have you started decorating for Christmas yet? I haven’t, but a few ideas about how I will decorate our new house this year are banging around in my head. I’m really excited for the holidays this year. We won’t be travelling much and I’m looking forward to all the holiday activities in and around Houston like Zoo Lights and the Nutcracker.

There is a part of me though that is reflecting on how we now jump from Halloween straight to Christmas. In the past I was OK moving right on in to the holiday season (I figured if I was going to put up all those holiday decorations I would enjoy them as long as I could!), but this year I feel hesitant to skip over Thanksgiving. I’ve noticed in the past few months that my kids are acting entitled. They want something, usually a toy or some candy, and they think should have it just because they want it. It doesn’t matter how many toys they already have at home or that they just pulled in a half ton of Halloween candy – they always want more. I get it… they are kids. But think about the entitled adults you know; they don’t have the childish charm to pull it off, do they? And isn’t it my job to teach my children how to be grateful for what they already have before they get inundated with more stuff at Christmas?

I’m constantly relearning the lesson that kids will do what you do regardless of what you say so if I want to teach my children gratitude, I need to look at myself. And yikes, y’all… that was a scary refection staring back at me. I want more. I want more clothes. I want more house décor. I want more vacations. I want more dinners out at nice restaurants. I want a nicer car. I want more money. Talk about entitled. My kids had nothing on me in that department. I need to be grateful for what I already have and when I think about it… I have a LOT for which to be grateful. So really, it’s just as important for me to spend the month of November giving thanksgiving. Here’s what we are going to do in our home to foster gratitude before the Christmas gifts come…

  1. Every night, either at the dinner table or before bed, we are going to tell each other something specific we were grateful for that day.
  2. We have a hand towel (from the Target spot!) where we write down what we are grateful for and it is in a place we can see it everyday.
  3. Everyday, I’m going to tell someone outside of my family that I’m grateful for them. This will be genuine, not just an item I need to check off.

How do you help your kids be grateful? How do you stay in a place of gratitude? I’d love to get more tip!

Have a wonderful Monday, friends! Find something to be grateful for!

My Menu: More Veggies!

My Menu: More Veggies!

My menu may look a little different this week. It’s not anything too crazy, but for a while I’ve thought grains may affect me adversely. I’m talking doubled over in pain at times. The best I have ever felt in my adult life was when I was doing a Whole 30. But, after the 30 days I never did the reintroduction phase properly. Anyway, the other day, after my initial appointment with a GI doctor, I thought… why do I keep eating grains if I think they affect me so much? I’m going to continue to work with my GI doctor and see if we can get some conclusive answers, but in the meantime, I’ll conduct a little experiment of my own. So, that’s why my menu looks a little different this week. And why I’m eating Brussels sprouts, sweet potato and avocado for breakfast! I’m cutting out grains, eating less meat and trying to eat more veggies. Unless it’s a special occasion, like L’s birthday, and then I’m having a cupcake!  Also, has anyone ever done the Everly Well Food Sensitivity Test? I’m really interested in doing it!

Sunday: Black Bean Soup with Kale and Quinoa
My friend posted this soup and it looked delish! You should follow her on Instagram – @wholefoodie_tx. We will see how well the kids eat this! I always keep a box of Annie’s Mac and Cheese in the pantry so I might make it so they can have both!

Monday: Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes
I love this because I can set it up like a baked potato bar (remember those were all the rage at early 2000s weddings?) and everyone can choose what goes on their sweet potato.

Tuesday: Baked Ziti with Spinach and Salad
So, I don’t really want to eat dairy, but I know the kids will eat this. I plan to get gluten free pasta.

Wednesday: Turkey Burgers (no bun for me) with Carrot Fries
The one vegetable both my kids will eat without a fight are carrots. I figured carrot fries might be more fun to go with turkey burgers than just plain ol’ carrots!

Thursday: Grilled Salmon with Avocado Bruschetta and Salad
My kids don’t really eat salad. L will eat cucumbers and I’ll probably throw some baby carrots on H’s plate. They will probably have some fruit, too – strawberries or grapes. Why is it so hard to get kids to eat vegetables? It’s pretty easy to get them to eat dougnuts!


J is gone for part of the week next week and then on Friday, my friend Erica from Mandeville is visiting me for the weekend! I’m so excited! We are going out to eat, just the two of us, on Friday. Any restaurant suggestions?

Have a wonderful Saturday! L and I are meeting up with my mom for some Holiday Card Shopping today! I’m hoping to knock out a good portion of my Christmas shopping.

xoxo –



October: Infant and Pregnancy Loss Month

October: Infant and Pregnancy Loss Month

It’s strange how pregnancy loss will follow you in unexpected places. Every time I go to a new doctor and fill out paperwork there are the blanks: How many pregnancies? I write 7. How many children? I write 2.

October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness month and today is National Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day.  I see this month come and go every year and think “I should say something,” but the something never comes. I think it sounds cliche. It sounds like a lot of other stories you have heard regarding pregnancy loss. But, I’m learning it’s helpful to hear other’s stories so you don’t feel quite alone if you are in the midst of pain. My story is a little different, because I’m one of the 1-2% of the female population who has experienced recurrent pregnancy loss.  This is defined as having 2 or more consecutive miscarriages before 20 weeks. Of these women, close to 75% will find no cause for the pregnancy loss. There may be some guesses, but no definite answers. For me, not having an solid answer was tough. I wanted a problem for which a specific solution could be found and administered.

The last semester Jordan was in business school I was so excited. We were talking about buying a house. We were talking about having a baby. All my dreams were going to come true. I had patiently waited while he finished his MBA (ok, maybe sometimes not so patiently) and now I was going to be rewarded. How selfish was I? And how wrong I was.

In January of 2011 I remember telling Jordan one Sunday morning I didn’t feel right and I was going to stay home from church that day. He left and I went and bought a pregnancy test from the drug store down the street. By the way, does anyone else make sure the store clerk notices your wedding ring when buying pregnancy tests? Or is that just me? Anyway, back at our apartment I sat there is amazement as I saw two pink lines show up on the test. I was excited. Nervous. I couldn’t believe this was real. When Jordan got home I showed him the test and we kind of just stared at each other. We went to Target and bought a onesie because that’s what we needed to have in our tiny apartment for 9 months, but hey – we were excited! A week later, I was sitting in my bathroom bleeding and crying. I thought the miscarriage was my fault because I caved and drank half of a Diet Coke the day before. This was an early loss, but it was significant to me because it was the only pregnancy I saw a positive test and had a sense of wonder. After that pregnancy, when I saw a positive test all I felt was fear.

The doctor assured me this was normal. I believed her and in March of 2011 I was pregnant again. I was cautious. There was no rushing out to buy onesies. We waited a while longer to tell our parents. We saw the heartbeat. I started to let myself dream about whether the baby was a boy or a girl. I started thinking about names. At this time we were looking at homes and I felt like it (whatever “it” was… my life?) was all coming together. At our 10 week appointment the ultrasound technician was oddly silent. I knew. I can’t remember the exact sequence of events, but basically she told me there was no heartbeat. They moved me into another room and started listing all the tests I would take. We scheduled a D&C. I started texting friends and family. I remember I had to cancel a Junior League appointment that evening. It’s strange the details you remember and the details you don’t.

The next few months were so incredibly difficult for me.  I didn’t want to see people. I didn’t want to do anything, but we were busy with end of year activities at Rice so I put on a brave face and went.  I had to undergo genetic testing. Jordan had to undergo genetic testing. I had blood test after blood test and we weren’t getting any answers. I was frustrated and angry. We had talked about announcing the pregnancy at Jordan’s graduation party. The day of the party I tried my very best to be excited for my husband and all his accomplishments (and I was!), but there were several moments I had to will myself to not cry.  I walked in to church on Mother’s Day 2011 already feeling so broken, but when I realized it was Baby Dedication Day I thought God was being cruel. I sat there while the rest of the congregation sang “you are all together wonderful to me” and refused to sing those words. I could not see through my pain. I couldn’t believe the things people would say to me. I couldn’t believe the people who didn’t say anything at all.  During this time period, when friends didn’t respond to my pain, I cut them off. I would think, why can’t they see I am drowning in despair? Where are they? Relationships were irreparable harmed. Looking back, it was the hardest time of my life personally. I don’t think at the time I realized I was in such a bad place.

The best guess the doctors came up with was that I have a MTHFR genetic mutation which causes a blood clotting issue. They told me to take a ton of folic acid and a baby aspirin every day. That seemed easy and, sure enough, I had a successful pregnancy with H who was born in April 2012. I thought I was in the clear. Two miscarriages following H, it became obvious I wasn’t. With each pregnancy we would add something else to my protocol. I miscarried when Hudson was 7 months old and that is when the doctor decided the baby aspirin wasn’t working. The following pregnancy, in the fall of 2013, I started giving myself daily Lovenox (blood thinner) shots. My next pregnancy was the pregnancy with L and I was on bed rest for 6 weeks and continued with the daily Lovenox shots. It was a hard pregnancy, but in November 2014 our red-headed fire cracker came into our lives on her own terms. Once again, I thought we had the “system” figured out until I miscarried again in July 2016. That was the end of the road. I told J that I couldn’t do it anymore. We were going to a be a family of four and, for that, we should be eternally grateful. And we are.

There are so many places to go from here. What not to say to someone who has miscarried. How to respond to people who say oddball things to you. How to respond to people who don’t talk to you about it all. What it does to your faith. What it does to your marriage. The guilt you feel. The gratitude you feel for those who walked this path with you and provided encouragement. The letting go of the family you thought you were going to have. I could write 20 blog posts on this. That’s the thing about recurrent pregnancy loss – it affects every part of your daily life and like I said at the beginning it pops up in unexpected places. It pops up in the doctor’s office. It pops up when a stranger innocently asks… you sure you don’t want one more? It follows me and it will forever. Recurrent pregnancy loss is now part of my story.

I have an urge to wrap this post up with a pretty bow and say something like “but I have the family I was supposed to have” or “Things work out the way they should” because people, me included, like closure. And, because I’m on the other side of this, I do have closure and I don’t think those statements are untrue. But, at the same time, I don’t think those platitudes would actually be helpful to someone in the midst of pregnancy loss. Instead to those who have or are currently experiencing pregnancy loss and reading this I’ll say – its hard. It’s really really hard. Acknowledge to yourself that it is difficult and do your best to take care yourself. And remember, you are so much stronger than you think you are because you are living through it.


Finally a Fall Menu!

Finally a Fall Menu!

It’s Fall! Well, it has been for a few weeks, but this week it is actually going to feel like fall! And you know what that means… chili! It’s on my menu this week for sure! And the photo above is a dessert I’m making tonight. It’s Ina Garten’s Tres Leches. I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out!

Next week is a fairly normal week for us, so dinner will be at home every night, which we actually like! J and H are heading out on their first scouting camp out so I think L and I will find somewhere fun to go to dinner on Friday night – just us girls! Does anyone have any suggestions for a fun restaurant in the Sugar Land area?

Ok, here it is – our menu for next week!

Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner. Not going to lie… I’m sort of phoning this one in. I love doing pretty much nothing on Sundays.  We have some Kerbey Lane pancake mix in our pantry so I’m going to throw those pancakes together and scramble some eggs and call it done. Isn’t it funny how kids just love breakfast for dinner?!

Monday: Quinoa Enchilada Bake. This is easy to prep ahead of time and then pop in the oven when it’s time to eat. Monday’s are our busy day, so this is perfect for us.

Tuesday: Paleo Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili. The forecast calls for rain and cooler weather so my appetite is calling for chili. This is my favorite chicken chili recipe because you just dump it and go. And it’s delicious.

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf. This was requested by J. It’s one of his favorite meals.

Thursday: Sheet Pan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Brussels Sprouts. If you can’t tell I love sheet pan meals. And roasted brussels sprouts!

This is our last lazy weekend for a while so tonight we are grilling fajitas and enjoying our back porch with friends!

Have a great Saturday! And Hook ‘Em!



Sleepless in Sugar Land

I used to pride myself on how well my kids slept, you know, like I actually had something to do with it. H slept through the night at a ridiculously early age. L was a little more difficult, but eventually she got it. Back in the good ol’ rested days, they would be in bed by 7 and then J and I would have our entire evening to watch tv, talk – whatever we wanted.

But now? Now my kids aren’t sleeping. They are 6 and almost 4 and I am up more now in the middle of the night than when they were babies. On Sunday night, L was up for two hours. TWO HOURS. Last night, H was up twice. L was up twice. The dog had a dream where she whined and my husband was snoring. I am tired. Straight up exhausted. Which means I am cranky and have less patience with everyone.  The kids are exhausted, too, which means they are cranky and acting a little bratty. Cranky, bratty, and no patience is a terrible combination. We all need sleep.

Let me go through the list of what we have tried. We have tried letting them sleep together in H’s room on his bunk beds. We have tried rewarding with sticker charts. We have tried punishment in taking toys away. We have tried not engaging them at all and putting them back to bed. This works with H. L is a different story. We are still figuring out what motivates her. We have tried no nap with her. We have tried ensuring she gets a nap. And sometimes, when I get those moments in the car where they want to talk, I simply ask… why won’t you stay in bed? Why do you think you have trouble staying asleep? We have had conversations about how they need sleep to grow, Mom needs sleep to stay sane, and Dad needs sleep so he doesn’t crash on his long commute, but none of that seems to matter at 3 am when I hear the door to my bedroom creak open.

My biggest fantasy right now is checking in to a hotel room and sleeping. I know this is not unusual for moms. My fantasy used to involve a plush hotel with really luxurious sheets. Now, I’d take a Holiday Inn. And not necessarily a newly renovated one. I just want to sleep. And my kids need sleep. Do you have ANY suggestions beyond what we have already done? At this point, I will try just about anything because I miss being a productive, patient, and positive mom who wrote blog posts.

Seriously Sleepy,




What to Wear Wednesday: Navy

Yikes! It’s been a while since a blog post! I am still getting in my groove with the start of school, extracurriculars for the kids, and a new part time job for me. That’s right… there was no Friday Finds this week because I found a job! Side note: Friday Finds will be back this week!

I’m helping out the business development team at Rockland Insurance part time and so far, I love it! Great people, fun work, and I do most of my work from home which is great because I’m a busy mom. In my new role, I had to pick out a couple of shirts if and when I represent Rockland. I ordered a shirt in navy. A fellow Rockland employee, we will call her Tangie, mentioned that she always thought about ordering a navy shirt, but she wasn’t quite sure what to wear navy with, which spurred on this What to Wear Wednesday post.

I think of navy as a neutral. You can wear it with almost anything! Here are just a few of the combinations I quickly threw together using clothes already in my closet. Key word – quickly! Like in 15 minutes. At 7:30 pm. The light was gone so I took these on the floor in L’s room! I’m working on the photos. They’re going to get there, guys. Just keep hanging with me!


A few combos I would have liked to include, but didn’t have are navy and gray; navy and animal print; navy and a floral print! I am on a search for new gray jeans. Any recs? What’s your favorite way to wear navy?

All the jewelry featured in today’s post is Virtue Jewelry – my favorite line! Their web site just launced – and you can use SOS20 to get 20% off your purchase. Do it! You won’t regret it!

And Tangie… order a navy shirt!