Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farewell 2014

2014 was a quiet year for Grable Tales.  I could blame it on having a baby, but shouldn't that have given me more content?  I have a feeling that Instagram has something to do with the lack of posts --- honestly, it's a lot easier to post a photo with a small comment then think of an entire post.  Regardless, this year still deserves some recognition:

January - *crickets*

February - my first post of the year was a Stitch Fix review: pregnant edition; I also shared how I was spending my time lately (hint: Sam Grable Photo, The Influence Network, and being pregnant for the second time); I announced my hopes of attending my second Influence Conference; and blogged about my love for 4moms.

March - I started the month off by writing out my monthly goals (and linking up with The Tiny Twig's Goals with Grace); I updated my about me page & began leading an Influence Network community group; and I talked about being a month out from meeting our baby boy (& shared his name)

April - I revisited my March goals + shared my April goals; and blogged about my thoughts of Brené Brown’s book - Daring Greatly

May - I looked back on my April goals + made a few May goals; introduced our baby boy, Calvin!; shared how different Mother's Day felt this year; started writing monthly letters to Calvin; and shared my first postpartum Stitch Fix review.

June - continued with goals for June; after flying across the country with a six week old, I blogged about some of the 'flying with a baby' tips/advice that worked for us; Calvin turned two months old; and Sam & I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary.

July - this month, I really started to give myself grace when it came to my goals for July; parenting definitely isn't easy, but on occasion it does make you feel like you have some super powers; another Stitch Fix review (I love this service!); my baby turned three months old; and I blogged about the community I found online.

August - still going strong + trying to be transparent with my monthly goals; I reviewed my birthday Stitch Fix; and Calvin kept getting bigger (four months old).

September - I finally realized that some goals will be repeats each month and that's ok; I (re)introduced myself in preparation of the Influence Conference; Calvin turned five months old; thanks to credits, I received a Stitch Fix before attending the Influence Conference; and then I recapped the conference for the second year in a row.

October - two posts remain consistent each month: goals + Calvin's letter (six months old this month!)

November - goals, goals, goals (sorry for the repeating); a photo recap of October; I shared my experience with essential oils; I turned to social media for help with this month's Stitch Fix review; Calvin turned seven months old; and I took some time to be thankful.

December - after nine months of goals, I shared my last goals (with grace) for 2014; blogged about Christmas traditions; honored Charlotte's second birthday and shared the way we chose to celebrate her; reflected on our second year without our baby girl; Calvin celebrated his eighth month of being on the outside; I blogged about the significance of a little giraffe; and reviewed my final Stitch Fix for the year.

This year brought a lot of joy + hope, as well as sleepless nights + tears. And while this space has been primarily used to review Stitch Fixes, write out my goals, and share my monthly letter to Calvin, but I appreciate the comments & community I've found through this space + social media outlets.  Maybe next year things will be different...

Until then... Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Seeing the Importance of Vision Health

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Vold Vision. All opinions are 100% mine.

When I was younger, I wanted two things: 1. to be older and 2. glasses. In my mind, if I wore glasses then I would appear older, so I remember asking my mom to get my eyes checked as often as I could. Fast forward to high school and my dream finally came true. At an annual eye exam, my doctor realized I needed glasses for far away. At the time, I wasn't worried about the health of my eyes, just wearing glasses, but over the years my priorities have definitely changed. In addition to glasses, I also wear contacts and both remind me daily of the importance of eye care.

Whether someone needs vision correction once in a while or every day, taking care of your eyes should be a priority.  And Vold Vision, a Vision Care center out of Arkansas, wants you to think outside the typical "glasses and contacts" options by increasing awareness for laser vision correction.  With an after hours event featuring a live LASEK procedure, Q/A sessions, and up to $500 off LASEK surgery for attendees, Vold Vision wants to shed light on the benefits of this type of correction, while showing what one might expect at the same time.

For more information, check out Vold Vision for dates & times.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Stitch Fix #12

This fix was a good one for me.

One of the most valuable Stitch Fix tips I have come across is that when you find a stylist that you like, keep requesting them in the notes.  And for me, this happened a couple fixes ago and since then, I've continued to ask for Carrie (my stylist).

For this fix, I also requested a vest, some comfy sweaters, and neutral pieces to add to my closet.  This is what Carrie picked out for me:

[left] Market and Spruce Shara Houndstooth Printed Vest
[middle] Tart Jenny Scoop Neck Striped Knit Top
[right] Olive & Oak Dwane Colorblocked Knit Top

Loveappella Evie Draw String Funnel Neck Sweatshirt + Octavia Gilbert Houndstooth Knit Infinity Scarf

I loved how all of my requests were met and I seriously thought about keeping my entire fix for the first time... but then I didn't. The top three pieces were totally cute & netural, but either the fit and/or pattern didn't fit well on me/in my closet and ultimately were sent back.  However, the sweatshirt & scarf have both made quite a few appearances since I received them (thumbs up!).

Obviously, I can't say enough good things about Stitch Fix (see past reviews here).  If you don't particularly like shopping for yourself or are looking for unique pieces, then Stitch Fix may be for you. Sign up today & you can have your first fix delivered right to your door in no time!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our Charlotte Giraffe

When I first found out I was pregnant with Charlotte, I immediately started planning the nursery.  Because I didn't know whether I was having a boy or a girl yet, I went neutral and based the colors on a bedding set I found with giraffes, elephants, monkeys.  Then we found out we were having a girl and giraffes quickly became her "animal" and her nursery was filled with outfits with giraffes on them, stuffed animals, art work, etc.

Fast forward to the day Charlotte was born: her nana (Sam's mom) brought her a gift which contained a little giraffe plush (above) and for her nine days of life, that giraffe hardly left her side --- if she was in her isolette, her giraffe wasn't far away; if she was being held, her giraffe was right there with her.  And when we went home without our baby girl, this giraffe was close to us & brought us a little comfort during the harder times.

Today, this same giraffe sits on a hutch in our living/dining room. When people ask about it's significance, we tell them it's "our Charlotte giraffe" and are able to share our story. It's not a big gesture or memorial, but it's something that makes us think of our baby girl whenever it catches our eye. And for me, that's enough.

We wanted to include Charlotte in our family photos this fall by incorporating her giraffe.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dear Calvin // Eight Months

Dear Calvin,

It's true what they say... things really do keep getting better with each month!

First, you now have two teeth!!  The day after you turned seven months, the first popped through and about a week later the second followed.  You are a much happier baby with those first teeth through, but I know it's just a matter of time before we are in the thick of teething again.

Not much new to report on the food front, however. You like to sit at the table with us, but when we stick some food in front of you, you tend to just push it around. If any thing does make it to your mouth, you are the king of funny faces, which definitely entices me to keep putting food in front of you.

You aren't crawling on your hands & knees yet, but you do have the army crawl down. Especially when you can see someone's iPhone, your dad's camera, or if I walk into the room. I'm sure you'll be crawling any day now...

Besides the developmental milestones, you also celebrated your first Thanksgiving! Although you weren't able to eat anything, you still enjoyed the company. We also honored your sister's second birthday this month.

We love you Calvin and are so thankful you are in our lives!


[two months]
[three months]
[four months]
[five months]

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Two Years #babycharlotterene

Just as Charlotte's birthday holds a special place in my heart, so does the day she went to Heaven.

While we were in her room saying our goodbyes, our family was in the Randall Children's Hospital NICU waiting room praying for her to meet Jesus.  The image above is one I look back on with a grateful heart because these same people (+ more) have continued to love on us, cry with us, and lift us up in prayer over the last two years. I pray that everyone has this kind of support system when they need it most.

Hands down, December 21, 2012 was the hardest day of my life, but knowing our baby girl is now healthy & perfect with our Savior makes things a littler easier.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

In Memory Of

The first year after Charlotte's death was all about survival. We were navigating unknown situations & questions that made some days more difficult than others. Honestly, simply learning to share a part of our story that either pushed people away or brought them closer was really hard at times.

The second year, the last twelve months, have felt different. We still receive questions that are difficult to answer without making someone feel bad, but more times than not, I've found myself thanking God for His little gifts to us: Charlotte's big brown eyes, the nine days we had to spend with her, a beautiful community that has continued to surround us with love + prayer, the opportunities to talk about her, and a healthy baby boy. And because of these gifts & more, I felt called to find something we could do as a family in memory of our baby girl's birthday this year.

Enter: A Giving Tree

Under normal circumstances, we would have been (birthday AND Christmas) shopping for our two year old little girl. Instead of passing it by all together, I thought it'd be nice to find a child in need who was around the same age as Charlotte would be and shop for them.

This year we chose a name off the local Salvation Army 'Tree of Giving', but my hope is that in the years to come, we can continue to find a child in need to help in Charlotte's name.  Calvin is still too young to understand what was going on, but in the future, his participation will help teach him about giving + his sister. 

While it's not nearly enough in my opinion, this small act has helped me to know Charlotte's (small) legacy is not forgotten. And there is a lot of comfort in that.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Happy Birthday Charlotte!

As cliché as it sounds, December 12, 2012 feels like yesterday and forever ago all at the same time. Two years ago: we were sitting in the hospital room full of family + friends, waiting to meet our brown-eyed beauty, full of butterflies & nerves, and completely unaware of what the future would hold.  It probably doesn't have to be said, but this day --- the day we met our Charlotte Rene´ --- will always hold a very special & present spot in my heart.

Happy 2nd birthday, baby girl!

daddy, mama, + your new baby brother, Calvin

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Traditions have been on my mind a lot lately --- What traditions will we carry on from my childhood? From my husband's childhood? What new traditions will we start as a family?

Over the years, Sam & I have celebrated the holidays with our immediate families, which has been wonderful & easy when it comes to traditions. But as we continue to grow our little family, the desire to make our own traditions & memories has become stronger and more important.

With this being the first holiday season we'd have a child at home with us, I found myself searching for our the memorable moments that could be carried on through the years, while reminding myself that we didn't have to go overboard by doing all.the.things.  So I did a little research...

I searched through some of my favorite blogger's past holiday posts.
I asked close friends for their ideas.
I even attended an online class titled "Holidays & Families Without Losing Your Mind", taught by Rachael Kincaid ((great class!))

And after exhausting my resources & talking them through with Sam, these are the Christmas traditions that I hope will become a part of our holidays each year:

  • Participating in an Advent plan // This may look different each year, but as long as we participate in one as a family, I'll be happy.
  • Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve // Growing up, my mom always allowed us to open one gift on Christmas Eve and it was always a pair of new pajamas, so this is a special one from my childhood.
  • Three gifts (like Jesus received) // I recently heard this one from the above-mentioned class and I loved it. Simply put: each person receives three gifts from their list and the special part is that you can incorporate the story of the gifts Jesus received as well.

Every year is not going to look the same, I know that. But finding a a few of holiday traditions that my family can look back on with appreciation & nostalgia is important to me and something I hope we can continue to carry on.

Any traditions that have become a part of your holidays?

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Goals

I've said this before, but these monthly posts where I outline some goals I'd like to accomplish are really good for the planner in me.  However, I have found that I tend to make goals that are not specific enough because I still want to say I did them, even though I'm not sure how to measure them.  Now that I am aware of this, let's see if I can put some definitive perimeters around each goal for December.

November Goals:

1. Set SMART goals for Sam Grable Photography with Sam. // This was harder than I thought it'd be, but we set some goals for the rest of this year and some tentative ones for next year. Now to get to work on them...
2. Continue to work on Internet/phone boundaries. // I felt like I made some improvements this month, but could definitely work on this more. My goals are feeling a little too vague/big, so I think I need to set some measurements to them...

3. Budget, budget, budget! // Again, this goal is too broad...

4. Get back into blogging (for me). // From only two posts in October to seven in November, this feels like a success to me.  I still have some more posts in draft form that I'd like to post, so I'm going to continue this one into this month.

December Goals: 

1. Research advertising avenues for Sam Grable Photo and decide on what we're going to do starting in January 2015.

2. Hide my phone from 4-7pm.

3. Post on Grable Tales at least 2x/week.

4. Find a (free/inexpensive) holiday outing/tradition to do as a family each week - go look at Christmas lights, visit a live nativity, find snow!, etc.

Linking up with The Tiny Twig // Goals with Grace