the letter 4 sisters giveaway!

today is going to be a great day.

want to know why?

we have a super fun giveaway from:

these sisters are gorgeous and as sweet as candy. (truly!)




here is a little bit about them:


We are 4 sisters that grew up like regular sisters. Hogging the bathroom, stealing eachothers clothes, laughing about anything and everything. Now we have grown up and moved away from eachother and to be honest, we miss it! Our blog has been such a great way for us still be close again and share projects, ideas, inspiration, and happenings together. Each sister has different talents and taste, so really there is something for everyone in our blog.

Today they are generously giving away 
a custom print from their shop!!! 






How perfect are these?
I think Sookie needs the zebra heart print! ;)

Winner will receive their choice of a custom print,
yup, you guess it, completely customized! 

Here is how to enter:

Mandatory:
(Please leave a separate comment for each entry!)

Follow my blog and follow the letter 4 sisters blog. (one entry)

Visit the letter 4 sisters shop and come back to tell us your favorite item. (one entry)

Spread the word on facebook or twitter about this giveaway!
Example you can use:
I just entered to win a custom print from the letter 4 sisters shop on a happygirl.com and you can too here http://www.ahappygirl.com/2011/11/letter-4-sisters-giveaway.html
(one entry for tweeting, one for facebooking)

Good luck to all of you!!!
xo.

so much to be grateful for

Car keys hang from a sign proclaiming "home", as does a sunshine yellow purse and a teeny tiny teal peacoat.
 
I smile at this simple scene. It is my life. 



I climb into bed. A strong hand wraps around my hip and pulls me close as the man I've always had visions of, is existing, breathing, sleeping next to me.




when i was devastated after our return from the NIH
roar wrote this on our white board
and insisted i finished it
he pulls me up like that




Glass half full baby.
Glass half full.


To me, gratitude is about so much more than saying, "Oh I'm thankful for this, this, and this."


It is an every day, every hour, every minute kind of zest that cements you in the sheer brilliance of a moment; whether it is a big moment, a small miracle, or anything and everything in between that strings our chapters together in a tightly wound epic tale of the book of our lives.




my daddy and my girl.
infinite love.


There have been several moments screaming boldness lately and I find myself wanting to capture the feelings they elicit and bottle them up for those times when I feel weak and start to doubt my own power, my own importance, my own legacy.


I love the little things; childhood christmas songs (alabama & kenny & dolly baby!), sunshine, sparkly headbands, diet coke, sleep, a cozy bed, warm boots, food I was told to avoid, I am swimming in and finding delight in, just eating much slower, savoring every single last morsel. The big stuff: Roar being on our local news with is app company, and our girl taking her first pee in the toilet (!!!) 


And while I obsess over food lately, because I am stubborn and I want to eat all of my favorites for as long as I can...it hits me with the strength of gale force winds, this little girl in your arms? This solid person so open to the world, so gracious to everyone and anyone? The one that looks so much like you, except she is perfectly healthy? You have been blessed beyond all limits to coexist on the same time trajectory with her. 


Nothing has changed, but I'm feeling a little drunk on love & light tonight.


Happy Tuesday.
I hope it has been filled with many blessings!

la luce designs




i've been admiring la luce designs from afar for awhile now. my first glimpse of them was through a little blog you've probably heard of, enjoying the small things. can you imagine how my stomach filled with all sorts of fluttery goodness when sweet ashley emailed me and said she was interested in sponsoring the blog? i was thrilled to say the very least! i'm just dipping my toes into the waters that is sponsoring and i am very excited for the opportunity to work with ashley.

it is no secret we love headbands around here. you might even call us headband hoarders, but in my defense? there are much worse things to hoard. right? right. i adore them for the purpose of masking my crazy new growth of bangs. they are also nice to plop on sookie's head for that added dose of sass to her day. girlfriend's hair is all over the place lately, no matter how many times i comb it.








tahnie: the cassie
sookie: the aubrey


la luce also has rings and necklaces if your fingers and neck need a little refresh of decor.


wouldn't the dakota make a stunning christmas gift?






i think it is easy to get overwhelmed in the headband realm these days and you might even adopt the attitude of well, i've seen one headband, i've seen them all. but au contraire  my dear girl; ashley has this incredible knack for mixing the coolest fabrics with detailed and gorgeous metal pieces to create a truly unique piece that is just as easily paired with jeans, boots and a sweater or a little black dress for a holiday party. a giant added bonus to la luce headbands? they are so comfortable you will forget you are wearing them. honestly, if sookie can keep hers on for an entire day, you know they are a cozy head decoration.


*******


while i started this blog for sookie, i have found such incredible talent through my sponsors and it tickles me to band together to support each other. lifting each other up, offering words of encouragement and truly pushing each others' dreams forward? it is a remarkable feeling.


i would absolutely be honored to work with you to promote your blog and/or shop! all funds collected from sponsors go toward my immense and overwhelming medical bills. please contact me at tahnie@gmail.com if you are interested in sponsoring a happy girl in december.


xo.

home.

with the news last week that my esophageal and other swallowing muscles have started wasting, (due to complications from cystinosis), my brain has gone to some very dark places since we have been home. while my heart has been silent, simply too tired, battered and bruised to find the courage to fight for the light. i think such a key component to thriving with any kind of serious illness is that even when it does start to strip you of your basic human functioning, you have to channel the rage and heartbreak of that into making your spirit stronger. you have to. because if you don't and you let yourself start to disintegrate? it isn't good and you miss out on the beautiful life that is yours and yours alone.


and to put it simply: i love food. food is awesome. i do not like being told what i can eat. i'm not giving up my favorites just yet.


however...


it was the first 40 or so pages of jodi picoult's 'sing you home' and the matt logelin piece in the latest issue of mamalode that made me stop the tears of self pity and lift my chin up toward the sun.


i've had 21 months, 3 weeks, 1 day, and 10 hours with a magical little being who has my DNA dancing throughout her body. this fact and this fact alone carries the weight that i should be able to face losing the basics of existing, like walking, talking, hearing, sight, eating anything with grace.




there is something law defying about flying from a dark east coast toward the light out west. chasing daylight. it goes against what nature says and i found the irony in the situation about where i am with my health. it is not lost on me the fact my kidney and my heart are both looking great, and they are two things that actually can be transplanted.

there is so much i want to share.

roar made me laugh in the middle of a breakdown a few days ago. i was asking him how other people dealing with the unimaginable find their strength. his response? "maybe she reads your blog."
ooof. point taken. listen to your own advice. choose laughter. choose happiness. choose beauty. always.



home is our girl sleeping soundly in her crib while orange stars are scattered across her ceiling. home is laughing at dinner, while she scoops up ranch with her bare hands, and seconds later, the tears falling fast over a silly train song (i promise to sing to you when all the music dies) sucker punching me right at the opportune moment. home is sunday night grocery runs to target. home is morning adventures outside. home is knowing who i can fall apart in front of, and who won't judge me for doing so. home is throwing all vanity into the clouds, because really? what is the point of eye makeup when you are doing eye drops fifteen times a day. (yes, i wish i was exaggerating.) home is sidewalk chalk in november, because that is how we roll. home is my girl dragging around a purse bigger than she is. home is indulging in a burger from five guys, because i'm stubborn and a certain doctor told me not to. i'm not even that big of a beef fan, but in this case i had something to prove and i was not backing down until the mission was accomplished. home is the thrill of a fresh new good book. home is all of the breakdown moments that led up to the giant one of: i.will.not.quit.

home is where i get back in tune and in step with my authentic self.


*******
a few housekeeping items:
the winner of the bip and bop giveaway is... chelsea !!!
nicole is graciously offering you sweet readers 15% off with coupon code happygirl


could you vote for us on top baby blogs? thank you SO so very much.


xo.

judgement.

we all have the tendency to make snap judgements with one quick view into a stranger's life. whether or not the intent is malicious, i think this is a bad habit we all succumb to from time to time. this is something i have been striving to change about myself because once you start rolling down the hill with judgement, it can quickly turn into comparison and then your joy and delight in your very own fabulous little life can get lost easily.



to help combat this, i turn things inside out and remind myself what my story can often look like from someone viewing it beyond the borders.




from the outside, we surely looked like a disaster of a family at barnes and noble tonight.

from the outside, we were a little family of three at the bookstore. from the outside i'm sure several people made the judgement i was a teenage mom, due to my short stature and delicate baby face. from the outside, i was a momma who looked exhausted beyond all measure, no makeup, hair thrown back into a messy bun. a way too cute headband plunked on top of the haphazard strands, in an effort to regain a piece of my once always perfectly accessorized self. from the outside, sookie was a curious toddler running around, creating havoc in every corner she landed, ac/dc shirt, red pants, mismatched striped pink and teal sweatshirt and crazy red hair falling in her eyes approximately every 2.3 seconds.



from the inside? from the inside we are a family who has already beat so many odds, but that doesn't mean it gets easier to accept the tough news. from the inside we are a strong family who knows how boundless love is and how many oceans we would swim through in order to get to each other. from the inside we are a family who is tired. a family who spent the better part of their week at NIH trudging through test after test after test. from the inside, i am a momma who looks very young, but had to grow up quickly. a momma who has been thinking about her own mortality since she was four years old. a momma who wants nothing else in the universe than to be able to protect her daughter forever. from the inside there is a toddler who can sense her momma's fear and showers her in hugs and an abundance of kisses. from the inside, i can tell you that rory is the most incredible man i will ever meet; a daddy who goes above and beyond at every opportunity he gets and a life partner who never signed up for any of this, but who jumps feet first into whatever life has next for us, loving me through it all with a fierceness so tender, it makes me ache.

stronger.

today i remind myself i am stronger than anything this disease can throw at me.

today i will not be sad.



heart on, brain off.



today:
coffee. aloe & wheatgrass. channelling my inner badass. laundry. packing. chasing our girl. dropping everything to soak in a steaming hot bubble bath with epsom salts. utes game in a snowstorm with my love. catching snowflakes on our tongues.

tomorrow:
am flight to baltimore. my dear gem of a friend who knows my daily battle with this disease more intimately than everyone else. meeting new shining diamonds in our world. bonds that cannot and will not be broken.





monday:
nih. start 24 hour urine. (yes, i said urine. ;)
eye clinic to check the crystals in my eyes.
echocardiogram. more doctors.
shelby. bec. my cheerleaders.
two of my soul mates in this life will finally meet and the world just might implode at the beauty of it.

tuesday:
nih. bloodwork.
ekg. ct scan of head and chest.
renal ultrasound. swallow study.
shelby. bec. girls who have been with me through hell and back.
i will drink up their company and bottle up the laughter that fills the air while the three of us are together.

wednesday:
nih. bloodwork.
dentist.
pulmonary function test.
results of all this fun stuff with dr. g and team.
rush to airport. fly home.

thursday:
whole grain blueberry pancakes with organic maple syrup.
cuddles with my girl.
dance parties.
celebrating the magic all around us.
eating up the hope like ice cream
...LIFE.






happy weekend!
do something that scares you.
you will learn so much about yourself.

11.11.11

The power of choosing to move forward through love is infinitely huge. Thus? I refuse to let fear drive my life.

Going with this notion, I've turned a corner in blog land in terms of my insecurities and what I share. No more being painfully shy about the realities of my world.

My arms sting, burn, and ache today, but my heart and head are in a really incredible space and I'm GLAD. (Perhaps it is due to the fact I was inventive with my pajamas last night and wore my Harry Potter shirt with my Utes scrubs? ;)





a magical tea party was in order
to celebrate & embrace
11:11 am
on
11.11.11
wishes abound.
{linking up with dear lizzy}





Sookie has reinvigorated my authentic self that knows the heart of life is good, that knows joy is always an option, that knows there are times when you have to fight and fight for yourself because it is a fabulous test in this big awesome world. 
She challenges me every single minute to let that be the motivation behind everything I do and behind every choice I make. 
We are making a crucial trip to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) next week so I can have some tests done and meet with a doctor who is so incredibly smart he makes me believe in the impossible. More on this trip later, but I am bursting with excitement that this is happening, I feel like words won't convey, no matter how deep I dig for them. SO much had to come together for this trip and I will not only have Rory's moral support during the three days, but through nothing short of divine intervention, we will be able to take our girl with us and my mom will be able to watch her while Roar and I are at NIH during the day into the afternoon. 


I'm pumped, a little nervous...but like I said, it is a HUGE blessing and I have to cherish that for everything it is worth. I'm hoping against hopes for some very creative suggestions from the world renown Dr. G to fight back against muscle wasting. I'm even ready to try growth hormone and risk losing my transplanted kidney, because...well, sometimes you have to do what you have to do.




Linking up with the lovely



What are your 11:11 {11.11.11} wishes?


Happy happy Friday!!
Look for the good, because there is always, always something!
xo.

i want

I want to fix everything for everyone with the snap of my fingers. I get sad, angry, and frustrated when it simply can't be done.










Important things are brewing in circles I'm very involved in and I am the blunt one, speaking truth even if it isn't the popular avenue. I believe you can have hope and see reality at the same time though. I'm a brutally honest woman and I am damn proud of that.












I want to give as much as I get. 
No, I want to give more than what I get.
I want to live loudly.
I want to fight for better treatments of Cystinosis, because what we have now? Is ridiculous and hasn't changed since 1977. We are losing lives faster than research can save them and I will never accept that.
I want my daughter to live her days through the filter of magic, albeit not to the point she is deluded or out of touch.
I want to create a movement; of living in the now, eating it up, soaking it in, and never ever thinking we are entitled to anything past our current breath. 
I want everyone to know that my daughter conquers the impossible every single day simply by existing and I had to make peace with the fact i might not survive my pregnancy with her.
And I don't want to be shy about it; because it is my story and no one should ever feel hesitant about sharing their life, their truth, their legacy.
I want to inspire, to help people choose happiness...because it is right here.










Oh, and a faux fur hat like this one Sookie tried on the other day; I want one of those for this enchanting winter I am lucky enough to be here during, loving on our girl, the whole way through.


Impromptu dance party on my parents' patio this evening with my mom, dad, and my girl and my guy; the happiness so potent it triumphs over the big bad scary stuff in my heart. ♥




special visitor

we had a special visitor over the weekend...




make that an incredibly hairy special visitor. ;)


(okay, okay, it was rory having too much fun with the after halloween clearance items. i think that is why sook didn't freak out; she actually watched him put the costume on.)


but this exchange that was captured? oh i was giddy with joy.


"hey momma, remember that time i shook hands with the gorilla in the driveway and smiled like he had ice cream for me?"


yeah. THAT.


it is monday dear lovelies and i have been staggering through the day on 3 1/2 hours of sleep. it is quite liberating the clarity that comes from sleep deprivation. 


here's to channelling your inner rockstar this week.
i know we will be doing just that.
xo.

living on luck, betting ten thousand to ten

I have to confess, I still feel like this is all a dream. 








I know I say that all the time, but that doesn't change the force of it; because it is the red hot truth.


Our girl is here and thriving, growing, living, learning, HEALTHY, blossoming. 


I am SO grateful she is getting older, can't believe she will be TWO in 3 months. I put away clothing she has outgrown, and while the tears threaten, there is so much more. There is gratitude so fierce, it bubbles over and I find myself shaking. Shaking because at the ripe old age of 21 months, she has conquered battles bigger than most of us. Shaking because her heart is perfect, literally and figuratively. Shaking because she was never supposed to be a part of my story, and now she is my world.


I want to remember everything.


She yells 'WHEE!!!' gleefully as we turn a corner in the car. She insists on giving Jack (our doggy) a kiss before nap time and bedtime. She has grown bored of her highchair. She is very into putting her own socks and shoes on. She strongly dislikes having her hair combed. Oh and how her hair has grown. It is halfway down her back and falls into immediate curls. Her favorite thing to say is "sh sh showa" and for every ounce of our grand intentions, we cannot figure out what she is trying to convey. (Although our latest guess is perhaps her name: Sookie Sierra?!) When she is tired, she hooks her right arm around my neck and snuggles close to my right shoulder. High fives are pure magic and everyone must play along with her requests for them, at all times...even Jack. She has a passionate penchant for baths, in true aquarius style.


All of these are normal things and I get that. But to me? To me these normal rites of toddler passage are sacred ripples that propel me into our future together. And in those very same moments anchor me to the present, with the urgency of soaking up the moment so deep into your being, that the memories will live and dance in your bones forever; because you never know what tomorrow will bring.


My eyes scan her; her button nose, her elf-esque ears, her rockstar red hair, her steadfast and curious hands so eager to hold and love and pet and draw and splash and discover and scatter and wiggle. It is then, when I am reveling in her perfection, that I feel the enormity of life and the true meaning of mother.


Linking this up with 

bip and bop giveaway!

Happy November to you! I hope this day was a fresh start for you if you are at a place where you need one. I love that about a new month; it is a clean slate, a blank canvas waiting for splashes of colors and sunbursts of memories to decorate it.


I'm really excited to introduce you to a new sponsor: Bip and Bop.


Bip and Bop carries handmade jewelry and hair accessories such as wool felt flower headbands for you and your little darlings. Bip and Bop items come beautifully gift wrapped and are the perfect baby shower, hostess or bridesmaid gift. 


Nicole is graciously giving away a $25 credit to the Bip and Bop Shop!

What would you pick if you win?!




















It is SUPER SIMPLE to enter:

Be a follower of my blog
AND
Like Bip and Bop on Facebook
tell Nicole you are a new fan from a happy girl!

Easy as that!

For extra entries: 
Visit the Bip and Bop Shop and in a comment, tell us your favorite item! (one extra entry)
Share this giveaway on Twitter, here is a sample tweet you can copy & paste: (one extra entry)
Just entered to win the bip and bop giveaway on ahappygirl.com & you can too! http://www.ahappygirl.com/2011/11/bip-and-bop-giveaway.html



Good Luck!
Giveaway ends Tuesday, November 8th.