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Family

We have a family confession to make. We are closet house flippers. Those of you who have been with me awhile have probably noticed that we move and or buy a house more often than the average family. I have never really classified us as closet house flippers, but now that I think about it, we may need an intervention!

We started in Bucktown, a trendy little neighborhood in Chicago. Then we moved to Wheaton, a suburb of Chicago. Two years later, it was back to the city! Then we made the big move to Los Angeles. While renting in LA, we bought the Lake Arrowhead A-Frame.  That was our first major renovation/remodel (a process that we kinda fell in love with!). After selling our A-frame, we bought our current home. We absolutely love this house and had intended to stay here long-term. But this past year ended up being so crazy, as everybody knows. Working from home full-time and doing school at home full-time made us realize that we really needed more bedrooms and our super unique house wasn’t as kid-friendly as we had imagined. And as we longed to be within a day’s drive of our extended family, we made the hard decision to sell our beloved home. If only we could pick it up and move it with us! (We are actually making photocopies of the building plans – maybe we will one day rebuild it.) 

With that decided, we went through the stressful journey of selling our home, living in the house while selling, and holding off on purchasing a new home until our sale was more finalized. I’ve got tips and tricks for dealing with all these experiences at the end of the post!  

After we decided to sell, the big question was where to go? We took a quick trip to Tennessee, as it was pretty central to both our families. So many people have been relocating there and the housing market is hot, which we learned the hard way. Everything we liked was either pending or sold. Then my best friend, who had just recently moved herself, called while we were in TN. She said the house next door to them just came on the market.  We looked it up online and liked what we saw. It wasn’t quite where we were expecting to go, but the house checked so many of our boxes. We quickly revised our Nashville trip itinerary and woke up early Sunday morning to drive down to see it. Guess where we drove? North Atlanta! The drive through Georgia was beautiful and we totally got that feeling–it felt like home. The fact that we knew the neighbors was the icing on the cake. So we put in an offer and by the time we landed back in LA, the offer had been accepted. 

The new house is more traditional than we are used to. But we like to think we are purchasing this house with the kids’ quality of life in mind.  Our LA home didn’t really have a yard … really more of a cliff.  So we are trading in the beautiful California lifestyle for the green, wooded pastures of Georgia.  I was technically born in Texas, so I guess I am a southern girl at heart. We are very thankful for our life in California and the wonderful years we had here! We’ll definitely be traveling back often to continue the Shalice Noel line. More to come in the future, but for now, I’m off to pack! 

Tips for Having a House on the Market and Moving: 

  1.  Quick cleans are essential, but declutter first!! Quick cleans are much easier when there is less junk. Keep your counters clean throughout the week in case you have a last minute showing. 
  2. Strategize where you want to go. The easiest way to do this? List what is important to you! Community, Land, Design, Jobs? We are thankful for the North Atlanta area because we wanted land, but also access to a metropolitan area for Reid’s career opportunities. 

We can’t wait to share more of the house, the pool, and this process. Add your questions in the comments and I’ll answer. Thank you for being on the journey with us from Chicago to LA to now Georgia!

Lots of love.

xo

Shalice

Happy Wednesday! We were busy with school, picking up groceries, working, and grilling steaks on the patio.

I absolutely love matching with my kids, so when Levi needed new sneakers, I had to get him matching Swift Run Sneakers, I jumped on them.

Levi loves to run and jump and fall. Thankfully you don’t see the scuffs on these adidas sneakers.

I also love these in CHEETAH!

I compiled some other shoes for Levi here:

Happy Wednesday!

Mama necklace // Circle names necklace // Mommy and Me Bracelets

There’s so much you can get a tween from books to bracelets. However, Atalie loved this one from Tiny tags!! We were able to personalize them, “mama” and “Atalie.” I asked Atalie how she liked her bracelet and she said “It is very pretty and goes with everything.” I love matching my girls.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ve probably noticed I wear my gold Tiny Tags circle with all the children’s names – they were able to fit 5 names!

I will treasure these pieces for years.

Outdoor Firepit Essentials

by Shalice Noel

With the short days and long cold nights we have a rekindled joy for our fire pit.  We turn off devices and screens.  Fill our mugs with hot chocolate and grab a warm blanket.  With the fire crackling we curl up together and talk.  Yes.  Just talk.  So simply right!  We’ve found the time really special and now the kids want to do a fire every night.  (Unfortunately, we need to restock our wood)

I’ve linked a few cozy fire pit picks for your cool outdoor nights.    I like the modern geometric shapes juxtaposed with the rustic alpaca throws and rugged wooden trunk stool.  Which one is your favorite?  Mix and match as you please, but I did put some thought into the pairings.

Here’s a fire pit tip from Reid.  We use a quick start fire starter to get the fire going strong.  

Our firepit // Steel Fire Pit // Modern Metal Bowl // Tera Stool // Throw blanket // Chunky wool throw // Alpaca throw // Round Planters // Indoor/Outdoor Bench // Indoor/Outdoor Coffee Table

Our firepit linked here

Reid and I both looked at each other and said “wow did this arrive on time!” Let’s be honest. We are spending record amounts of time at home, and we are tired and running out of creative ways to keep the kids off screens and devices. Enter the Kiwico crates! They are genius ways to keep your kids busy with educational kits.

How do I order?

Click HERE for 50% off!

You can search by age, how easy is that? We were surprised to see that they have crates for ages 2 to 12+. Levi even got one and felt special being included. Atalie got a walking robot, Kate the spin art, Mathias the infinity mirror, Brooks kaleidoscope and Levi got a mail delivery crate. VERY exciting and fun activities for kids bored at home!

Bonus: we had our kids write about their activity, how it worked and why it worked. Check, science is done my friends.

Was it fun?

Their favorite part was how hands on it was, creating their craft independently and playing with it afterwards. Atalie’s walking robot was a huge hit!

Do you have a promo code?

I have a link! Go to KiwiCo and get 50% off, no code needed!

Would this make a good Christmas gift?

Yes! Perfect for any child, niece or nephew in your life! Just shop by age. Here’s my link for 50% off!

Big thanks to KiwiCo for sponsoring this post!

Reid’s Fitness Journey

by Shalice Noel

I’ve always been into fitness.  You could say since the age I started swimming at our neighborhood pool.  I swam competitively starting at age 5 and didn’t stop until the end of high school.  Swimming taught me a lot about self-discipline.  Going to swim practice after school was draining in middle school.  But going to swim practice before and after school was even more draining.  It was that routine that made me a morning person today.  While those training days were exhausting, I was motivated to always be better the next day.  The fitness lifestyle is just that.  A little improvement everyday. 

As a swimmer, you learn to push your endurance and that is much the same idea I use in my weight training.  I always try to do one more rep.  It’s really not about counting reps and stopping at a pre-determined number ie. 10.  It’s about pushing your body to the max.  Taking every last muscle fiber and killing it in order for it to grow back better and stronger. 

As a avid lifter and trainer, I also realized my nutrition is key.  Otherwise the time spent in the gym is futile.  Shalice has all the credit concerning my diet.  When we first got married she pushed me to stop drinking soda drinks.  I grew up drinking soda at least 1-2 time a day!  (I’ve been off soda for 10 years now?)  And I don’t get cavities anymore either.  Shalice also started me on celery juice.  See her celery juice recipe and benefits in THIS POST. I have a large glass of celery juice on ice before I eat anything else.  I also try to not eat anything until lunch time.  I’ve noticed my “dad bod” spare tire is deflating and that makes me happy.  Lastly, Shalice has me taking LIFE liquid collagen and the Trim in lemon.  How does Trim work you ask? Trim contains CLA which is conjugated linoleic acid. The most well-established benefit of CLA is a fat fighting power. CLA is clinically shown to reduce fat cells size over time meaning you can have a great impact on the visibility of cellulite. CLA also helps your body build muscle rather than store fat and has anti-inflammatory properties. As for the Biocell LIFE Collagen I take, here are some of the benefits: improves joint mobility and lubrication reduces joint discomfort, promotes healthy cartilage and connective tissue, supports cardiovascular health, promotes healthy hair, skin, gums and eyes.

Shalice’s code is this: 3697593, to get $10 off for first time customers.

It’s incredible the extra flex I get as a result in taking Trim and Biocell Life in the last couple months.  I noticed much more cut in my mid-section and at 42 years old, I never thought I would have an almost 8-pack.

I guess I’m proof that if I can do it, you can do it.

Needless to say.  I love working out.  I love weight training.  But without good nutrition, consistency in training and proper supplementation, you may not reach your goals.  Keep up the grind.  Push for one more rep.  Practice self-discipline and everything will fit into place.

Rise and Grind friends.

Family Fit workout

by Shalice Noel

Ideas for family fitness:

  • Play tag, swim, toss a ball, jump rope, hula-hoop, dance to music or even play a dancing video game. It doesn’t have to be sports—just get your family moving!
  • Walk the dog, go for a jog, go on a bike ride, take the stairs or head to the park and let kids run around for a while.
  • Celebrate special occasions—like birthdays or anniversaries—with something active, such as a hike, a volleyball or soccer game or playing Frisbee at the park.
  • Get the whole family involved in household chores like cleaning, vacuuming, and yard work.
  • Walk instead of drive whenever you can. If you have to drive, find a spot at the far end of the parking lot and walk to where you’re going.
  • Park farther away and count with your children the number of steps from the car to your destination. Write it down and see if you can park even farther away on your next stop.
  • Train as a family for a charity walk or run.

Boots (40% off) // Dress // Plaid Shirt // Bracelet

My in-laws are visiting and it’s been a HUGE blessing. They’re helping us with small projects and Reid and I go drop off donations, shoot campaigns, and keep the coffee shops in business.
Lots of exciting stuff coming up, like a top secret project. Until then, shout out to Brooks for matching with me in buffalo check!
I linked some more buffalo check for the whole family below!

Hi there! My name is Gabby and my husband Donny and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary later this month!

About 14 years ago, after having an “irregular” cycle my whole life, I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure…which basically means that for unknown reasons, I went through menopause early. After looking at my blood work, I believe my doctor’s exact words were, “you’re absolutely never getting pregnant.” As a 17 year old, it was heavy information to process. But looking back now, I’m thankful that I had so much time to come to terms with my infertility. The finality of it was a “death” of sorts, that I could grieve and process, and then heal from. When I was dating my future husband, we were able to talk about what this would mean for our family and processed the realization we wouldn’t be bringing biological children into the world together. We agreed that we wanted children, and knew that adoption would be in our future. 

A few years into marriage we got “the baby bug” and started researching adoption more seriously. There’s so much information out there! International, domestic, domestic private, foster-to-adopt and more! We were overwhelmed by the many pros and cons of each method…as well as the staggering costs associated with many routes. We eventually discovered the organization, Nightlight Christian Adoptions…and their extension, “Snowflake Embryo Adoptions.” 

When someone goes through in vitro fertilization (IVF) to grow their family, it often (hopefully) results in several viable embryos. Usually a doctor will transfer a fresh embryo or two to a woman’s uterus, and freeze the rest for potential future use. After a few years, when someone is done growing their family, they sometimes have frozen embryos remaining that they don’t intend to transfer. (this is often for a variety of reasons – dangerous pregnancies, several successful pregnancies so adding more children isn’t practical, cost, etc.). What to do with these frozen embryos is a huge dilemma many families face. Snowflakes matches families who have remaining embryos that would like to place them for adoption with families hoping to adopt. 

Because my infertility stems from my ovaries, my uterus could (theoretically) still carry a pregnancy. The idea is similar to surrogacy where a woman carries a baby for someone else…but in this case, I’d be carrying my adopted-non-biological child! Embryo adoption was appealing to me and my husband for a variety of reasons… the costs associated are typically much lower than domestic or international adoption, there are hundreds, if not, thousands, of frozen embryos currently awaiting adoption, and being able to experience pregnancy and childbirth was a joy I’d never even imagined I could have!

We embarked on our Snowflakes Embryo Adoption journey in 2014. It started with many applications, forms, background checks, and meetings – all the usual steps required in a traditional adoption.  Early in 2015 we received our first match! We adopted 8 embryos and started prepping my body for our first embryo transfer! It involved pills, shots, and many, MANY doctors visits. Then in April, in an overnight shipping container, our precious embryos made the journey from Florida to our clinic in Pasadena. Our doctor thawed 3 embryos and 2 were viable for transfer. It was heartbreaking to hear we’d already lost one precious life, but we were hopeful we’d get the news we were pregnant with twins! 

It takes about 2 weeks after a frozen embryo transfer to get a successful positive pregnancy test – so we did our best to wait patiently. The day I got the call from my doctor’s office that I was not pregnant, was one of the hardest moments of my life. I felt like my body had failed and that I’d let these children and my husband down. Statistically…only 1 in 3 transfers are successful, so we knew there was a good chance it wouldn’t work on our first try,  but it was still a deep loss we had to grieve.

We let my body heal for a few months, and tried again with our 4 remaining embryos. Once again, one of them did not survive thawing, and my doctor felt it was wise to transfer the remaining 3. “Triplets!” We imagined to ourselves, “What an adventure!”

Two weeks later, once again, the nurse’s sad voice over the phone, and again we had to process a huge loss.  We had started the process so hopeful! “8 healthy embryos! What luck!” we thought. The idea that we had ushered 8 souls into heaven was both beautiful and heart wrenching. It was time to step back and evaluate everything.

I couldn’t imagine putting my body through the meds, the lead up, the transfer and the loss AGAIN . . so we needed time to regroup.

We would also have to match with a new family and start that entire process again. But we decided, the “odds were in our favor” if 1 in 3 is truly successful, so we felt comfortable giving it one more final go. Snowflakes came back with a unique matching offer – 2 separate families that each had 1 embryo to transfer. They asked if we would be interested in taking both. So once again, embryos were shipped to our home clinic, one from D.C. and one from Chicago. 

We imagined the great stories of a twin pregnancy where the twins weren’t biologically related to us, nor each other… and this time when the phone rang, the nurse’s voice was joyful – we were pregnant! Words I’d never heard before! We still had a long journey ahead, since it was very early in a high risk pregnancy, but at that moment, I was pregnant!

At our first ultrasound there was one steady heartbeat – it was bittersweet. A healthy growing baby, and one more loss. All in total…we’d adopted 10 embryos and 1 made it to pregnancy. But what immense joy in the 1! By the end of my first trimester, my body had fully “kicked in” and took over the pregnancy. No more meds! No more trips to the fertility clinic! The day of my last visit to my clinic they sent me off with a baby blanket and a graduation certificate. I’d officially been transferred to a regular OBGYN for a regular pregnancy! It was wonderful and surreal! Since Embryo Adoption is not a technical “adoption” in the legal sense of the word, the embryos were our personal possessions up until transfer, which means there was no finalizing the adoption, and it would be my husband’s and my name on the birth certificate.

I was just a regular (albeit hugely swollen) pregnant woman! And at my 37 week doctor visit, my blood pressure had skyrocketed, so my doctor swiftly scheduled a c-section for later that week. 

On December 22, 2017 at 37.5 weeks pregnant, my son Deacon was born at a whopping 9 pounds, 12 ounces! 

So far we’ve had very little contact with his biological family. We know they live in Washington D.C. and he has a big sister from the same batch of embryos he came from. I know that deciding to place their final remaining embryo with our family was a gut wrenching decision for his biological parents, and I don’t take their gift lightly. We often talk to Deacon about his wonderful family in D.C. who loved him so much they let me be his mama! As he gets older, we want him to understand his history, and allow him as much or as little relationship with them as he wants.

Today, it’s hard to remember life without Deacon! His head of crazy blonde curls, his precocious personality and his love of all things green have brought Donny and me more joy than I could have ever imagined! We grieved those early losses so deeply, but know that it was preparing us to parent this incredible child, and I wouldn’t change things for the world! 

My girls love these mini backpacks! They brought them to church Sunday and put everything from lip gloss to snacks in there. I love seeing them matching in their mini backpacks. They boast an interior pocket and are soft with durable leather. They need to be durable bc we are hard on everything!

Have a great week!

x Shalice