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A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.

Kathleen Hill

Catalina Gonzalez

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.

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One of the most joyous days in a mother's life is bringing their newborn home from the hospital and no one imagines that just days later they will be rushing their baby back and admitting him into the ICU. This month I sat down with my sister-in-law, Kathleen Hill, mama to precious Walker, who at 10 days old was diagnosed with a heart condition called SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia). 

 Q&A 

By Catherine Hill 

Here is Walker's story....

Walker’s birth was normal and he was deemed perfectly healthy both at birth and when he was discharged from the hospital at two days old. It wasn’t until his tenth day of life that I felt something could be wrong when he did not want to eat. This went on for several hours, and when he finally ate, he threw up. Shortly thereafter, I noticed he was breathing heavily, so I placed my hand on his chest and it felt like his little heart was racing.  I panicked and called for my husband, who confirmed that Walker’s heartbeat seemed fast, but he thought babies’ hearts were supposed to beat fast.  I watched him for about 30 minutes and then called my sister to ask if she thought the events of the day were normal.  She was at my house in a matter of minutes and she urged me to take him to the ER.  I panicked and gathered my things as quickly as I could.  Meanwhile, I called our pediatrician's after hours line and they told me that they would alert Children’s Hospital that we were en route.  Upon check-in, my worry only worsened when I observed the sick children waiting nearby, so I asked if we could wait in a private room versus the main waiting room. My request was met almost immediately as they took us to an area where they checked vitals, and then took us to a room to wait for a doctor.  When the nurse entered the room, I explained Walkers' symptoms.  He looked at Walker and turned to me and said something like, “He is congested. His nasal passages need to be cleared, so that's why he’s having trouble breathing.”  I cried in relief that it was not something serious. While the nurse went to work, a doctor came in, listened to Walker’s heart, and then fetched another doctor to listen as well. The second doctor listened, and then asked for an infant heart monitor. She turned to me and said that she would have a diagnosis in a matter of seconds. That was the last calm moment. As soon as the heart monitor showed his heart rate was 280 bpm, the doctor said, “This baby is in SVT! Rush him to critical care!” At that moment, my heart dropped into my stomach and I started shaking and crying.  The doctor grabbed me by my shoulders and said, "you did the right thing by bringing him here."  As we rushed Walker through the ER department to the critical care unit, I heard alarms sounding and doctors being called into critical care room 9 for an SVT patient. As we entered room 9, our tiny, 10-day-old baby was placed on a huge hospital bed and he was surrounded by about a dozen doctors and nurses as they inserted IVs and placed tiny shock pad stickers on his chest.  At this point, I still did not understand what was wrong and what was going on because it all happened so fast. So, Children’s appointed a woman who served as a liaison between our family and the doctors to keep us informed. She did her best to explain, but there was so much going on in the background that I still did not fully understand. As she spoke, I heard a doctor say, "Give him another round of Adenosine. His pressure is dropping, is he still stable?" They were unsuccessful at getting his heart rate to lower by breaking the SVT cycle, so they called another doctor to come in that they had been corresponding with over the phone. He arrived with another doctor from the cardiac ICU. They talked to all of the doctors and nurses in the room, and then addressed my husband and me. The ICU doctor told me that Walker was going to be okay as this condition is almost never life threatening. He explained that it’s really scary, but once the cycle is broken, he will be fine.  That was the first time I was told that he would be okay. I thanked him through a pool of tears!  The team of doctors decided that the cardiac ICU team was better equipped to handle Walker, so they moved him up to the cardiac ICU floor, where they continued to try to break him out of the SVT.   Shortly after we got up there, he broke out of SVT.  I knew that our prayers had been answered! The doctors told us that he was in good hands, so we could go home and get some rest, but we could not leave him! My husband and I snuggled up on a couch in Walker’s ICU room so we could stay close.  The next afternoon, we were able to move out of the ICU and into a normal cardiology room.  That night, my husband and I were saying goodnight to Walker when his monitors started alarming and nurses came running in to check on him.  He had gone back into SVT but they were able to break the cycle by putting a bag of ice on his face (a tactic they try before medicine).  The doctor came in and said that Walker was going to need to be on two medications due to the second episode. We stayed put for monitoring over the next few days. It was comforting to be at the hospital over that time period because I knew he was under a watchful eye. I was terrified to go home. I worried that I would not recognize if he went into SVT, and if he did, what I would do?  A very dedicated nurse calmed me she gave me great tips on what to look for, how to monitor his heart and what to do if he goes into SVT. We were so happy to be discharged and to get back to life at home. However, Walker was back in the hospital a week later and then again when he was almost a year old.  The hospital visits never get easier because he is becoming more aware with age.  We are praying for no more hospital visits and that he outgrows this very soon. I am so thankful to God that the SVT is treatable with medicine. If Walker doesn't outgrow it (as many children do), then it can be cured by a procedure.  I am also so thankful that it doesn’t affect his day-to-day life. 

Any advice for moms whose babies have just been diagnosed with SVT?

Trust your doctors and don’t be scared to ask questions. The doctors and nurses are your greatest resources.  The more educated I became about SVT, the more comfortable I felt with the diagnosis. After the initial diagnosis, the next few weeks may be trial and error with medications, and that’s normal.  It can take some time to get the dosage and prescriptions right, so don’t get down if you leave the hospital only to wind up back there a week later.  Once they find the right medication, it gets a lot better. I would recommend using the Owlet monitor at night, so mom and dad can get some sleep knowing that there will be an alarm if something is wrong.

Name one thing you have gained since becoming a mama?

I have gained a stronger relationship with God.  I have always been religious, but being a mother has helped me to better understand God’s love.

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Being a mom yourself how does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing warm clothes to needy children in Colombia?

It’s my favorite thing about Dondolo!  I love that buying a beautiful outfit for my son plays a part in helping others.  It makes me want to buy his whole wardrobe from Dondolo because of the good they are doing, and I know it is inspiring to all moms out there.  

How would you describe your style and the way you dress Walker? 

TRADITIONAL. 

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How would you describe the way you dress Walker?

I dress him like a baby.  As long as he will let me dress him, I will dress him the way I want… in sweet little bubbles and Jon Jons. There is nothing cuter than a little boy in a bubble and knee-high socks!

What is your favorite Dondolo outfit and why? 

I Love the Robert set! It is the sweetest soft plaid and the detail on the back is just darling!  And...it’s a bubble that looks great with knee-high socks, so I’m sold! 

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What is one thing you hope to teach Walker?

I hope to teach him to love everyone.  In a world where there is so much hate and bullying, I hope that he will be loving and kind to all people.  My mom always told me that you never know what’s going on in someone’s life, so you should always be nice, even if someone is not nice to you. I would like to pass that message along to Walker.

Jackie Carl

Catalina Gonzalez

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.
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The desire to have children is something most women dream about their whole life but for many the journey is hard and filled with uncertainty.  

This month I sat down with Jackie Carl, mama to Will and Marley, to hear about her long road to becoming mama. 

 Q&A 

By Catherine Hill 

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At Dondolo our main mission is to empower motherhood...Why do you think infertility is such a taboo topic amongst women? 

As someone who went through infertility struggles for six years, I remember feeling inadequate as a woman and wife when we couldn’t get pregnant. Whatever insecurities I already had were magnified and piled on top of once I realized that I fell into the “infertile” category at the age of 30. By nature, people do not want to talk about their insecurities and infertility brings up a lot of them. We felt so alone until we start talking to friends and realized, there’s actually a village of people who have experienced or are experiencing infertility all around us. Once we felt the need for additional support, we partnered up with some leaders in our church to start the infertility support group which is still going strong 6 years later!  Looking back, there is no doubt in our minds that our infertility struggles led us to align with God’s will for our lives.  He was grooming us to be the parents our (His) children need us to be and deserve.

 

What would you say to someone who is considering IVF?

First step, find the right doctor for you. Find someone that you are comfortable with and one you trust. We’ve been treated by a doctor we didn’t feel great about and one we did and it just made our struggle more frustrating until we found the right one for us. Also, just take one day/shot/appointment at a time. It’s so hard to process all that is involved with each step of IVF, but if you literally just put one foot in front of the other and focus on what is immediately next instead of looking at the entire picture, you’ll have a better chance of maintaining your sanity.

 
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Being a mom yourself how does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing jobs for single mothers in Colombia? 

I believe it’s a beautiful way to connect with women who want to provide for their children in ways I’ll never experience or fully understand. I’ve always believed that it’s by God’s grace that I was born into a privileged home where all of my needs and many of my wants were met. My education was paid for and my mother was able to stay home with us as I’m sure many of these women in Colombia would like to do if given the option. I think this is a very creative way to represent and demonstrate love for our children between us and these Colombian mothers. 

 

Name one thing you have gained since being a mom.

Perspective on how much God loves us. He loves us more than we love our families and that’s just incredible to know and to pass onto my children. 

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What are some of your favorite thing to do with the kids in Dallas?

We love to take the kids to the Children’s Garden, Perot Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, nature hikes around Davis Park and when the weather agrees, we like to go to the golf course and let our 2 year old, Marley, run around while my husband teaches our 4 year old, Will, the finer points of golf. My husband has cleverly discovered a way to wear Will out by making him race the golf cart to his ball after he hits it. It works every time and I laugh every time…win/win!

 

What is one thing you hope to teach Will and Marley? 

To always maintain perspective throughout life. As the song simply states, if we turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face; the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

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Bren Underwood

Catalina Gonzalez

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.

Manners and etiquette for children are some of the most important qualities to teach and nurture in the family home. This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Bren Underwood, Mama to Charlie and George, who runs a lifestyle and etiquette blog called MustBringBuns, http://mustbringbuns.com/  to hear how she fosters manners in her boys. 

Q&A

By Catherine Hill

 

Being the etiquette guru what are your best tips for teaching kids manners? 

The best way to teach children about manners is to lead by example. If you want your little ones to be kind, gracious, and courteous, then you need to be kind, gracious, and courteous. It can be as simple as teaching them to say please and thank you, have empathy for others, and use basic table manners. Remember to be patient and consistent!

Any advice on how to break bad manners? 

Use bad manners as a teachable moment and be positive! If your child demands a glass of milk, remind them that instead of demanding, we nicely say, “May I please have” when asking for something.

What is one of your proudest mom "manner" moments so far?

At our goddaughter’s baptism, her parents served a gorgeous cake for dessert and of course Charlie enjoyed a piece. When he finished eating, he placed his fork on his plate, and said to the waiter, “Excuse me, I’m all done. Thank you!” – he was so proud of himself for saying “excuse me” and “thank you” and using proper table manners, and we were very proud of him as well! 

Did your mom place lots of importance on manners when you were growing up?

Oh yes. My mom always encouraged us to say please and thank you, write hand written thank you notes, have proper table manners and so on. She has beautiful manners, and led by example.

What do you admire most about your mom?

I admire so many things about my mom, especially her work ethic. She’s started her own interior design firm when she was in her 20’s, and today is known as one of the most renowned designers with high-end residential projects from coast to coast. I have so many fond childhood memories of us drawing at her drafting table, or excitedly joining her for a sneak peak of an installation. Her talent is unmatched, and coupled with her dedication, she taught us the true meaning of hard work.

How does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing jobs for single mothers in Colombia? 

Inspired – I think it’s wonderful that Dondolo is providing jobs for these mothers so they in turn can provide for their families. I was raised by a single mother, and so I have great admiration and compassion for these incredible women.

How would you best describe how you dress Charlie and George?

Traditional. I love to dress them sweet because they are only little once!

What is your favorite Dondolo outfit and why? 

I love every piece they make! I recently purchased the pumpkin bubble for George to wear this fall. It’s too cute for words!

What is one thing you hope to teach Charlie and George?

I hope to teach them genuine kindness. You never know what sort of day someone is having, and even the smallest acts of kindness can add a little sunshine to another person’s life. And to be confident – I want them to have the confidence to follow their dreams, big and small.

Scottie Culpepper

Catalina Gonzalez

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.

We all know motherhood really begins at the moment you find out you are expecting and as exciting as that time can be it also means the beginning of endless decisions. This month I sat down with Scottie Culpepper, mama to Sophie, to talk about her parenting style and how she makes tough new-mom decisions.

Q & A

by Catherine Hill

D - How would you describe your parenting style?

S - Most who know me joke that I’m a “Helicopter Mom,” but my main goal in parenting is to make sure all of Sophie’s needs are nurtured and that she knows how much she is loved.  I want her to be independent but also know that she can always turn to me for encouragement or a helping hand!

D - Did you read parenting books while pregnant with Sophie? 

S - I read a few books while I was pregnant.  The one that I found the most helpful, and still keep on hand, is “Baby 411” by Ari Brown and Denise Fields.  It’s a good reference book for non-emergent times when you are wanting to give your pediatrician’s office a break!

D - What are some of the hardest new-mom decisions you have encountered thus far? 

S - The biggest one that comes to mind is definitely breastfeeding.  There is so much societal pressure for new moms to breastfeed.  It doesn’t always work for everyone and that needs to be “more okay”. When Sophie didn’t latch (after many visits with many lactation consultants), I turned to exclusively pumping.  We all know that exclusively pumping is not as efficient, and I was unable to keep my supply up to meet growing baby Sophie’s needs.  I lasted about 12 weeks. I finally decided I would be a better Mom to Sophie if I moved on to trying formula.  It was the best decision I could’ve made, albeit a very difficult one.  I anguished for days over the potential repercussions of switching to formula, but in the end, Sophie adjusted perfectly and I was able to wake up in the morning and get the day started…with my baby, not with my friend named Medela.  I was a much happier Mom, with much less stress, and a lot more free time to spend with my little sugar!

D - What advice would you give expecting mamas?

S - Ryan and I are always joking that sometimes you just have to learn to ride the wave! Life with a newborn is challenging but when making decisions it’s best to follow your motherly instincts and not always worry about what others think best. Sometimes you can barely even walk through a grocery store without receiving unsolicited mothering advice! I’m exaggerating, but all the Moms out there know exactly what I mean!  No one knows your baby like you do, so sometimes it’s best to go with your gut and call it a day.

D - Being a mom yourself how does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing warm clothes to needy children in Colombia? 

S - I really love this. It is clothing for the BEST cause! Moms live to nurture and provide for their children and I love that purchasing Dondolo helps them do just that.

D - What are some of your favorite Dondolo outfits?

S - When we first got home from the hospital, one of my best friends Joseph gave Sophie the most beautiful pink heirloom dress made by Dondolo.  It is so special and I have been saving it for her first birthday.  Another favorite would be the Mia bubbles. Sophie LIVES in these! They are so soft and practical yet dressy enough for special outings and play dates.  My other favorite is the Victoria bubble with that gorgeous lavender linen and the most beautiful embroidered flowers and scalloped neckline.  And then of course the Margaret bubble with the beautiful sunflower neckline.  This one is probably my ultimate favorite for Spring and Summer! 

D - What is one thing you have gained since becoming a mom?

S - I have learned what a total softy I am!  This baby just melts my heart over and over and over, it never subsides! 

D - What are some of your favorite things to do with Sophie in Dallas? 

S - Sophie really lives her best life at the Little Gym classes.  She loves activities and a good social event, so she really thrives there.  She also loves going out to eat with friends and family, especially if it involves a grilled cheese or quesadilla. 

D - What is one thing you hope to teach Sophie? 

S - Self-confidence!  I feel as though self-confidence is so important for little girls, especially as they get older.  I want Sophie to have the self-confidence to live authentically and be comfortable with who she is.  You know, really let her inner Beyonce run wild!


Shelby Goff

Catalina Gonzalez

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.

This month I had the pleasure of sitting down with the lovely Shelby Goff, mama to JW, to find out how her life has changed since becoming a mama this year and to hear how she planned on celebrating the fourth of July with her sweet baby boy. 

Q & A

by Catherine Hill

D - Take me through what your typical morning looks like. 

S - For the record – I am NOT a morning person! JW has changed that. Mornings with him are my favorite. He wakes up between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. We snuggle in bed for a little (since baby snuggles are the best) before getting dressed. I make us both breakfast and then we start our day.

D - Any advice for expecting mamas?

My two bits of advice:

1. Prepare to be unprepared! Nothing can prepare you for being a new mom. No book, blog or person will prepare you for the screaming, blow out diapers, constant worrying and the unconditional love. The love that you have for your child is a feeling that is truly indescribable.

2. Put your phone down! As everyone tells you – time flies by. Enjoy every moment with your baby. You will hate not remembering even the smallest details of their little lives.

D - Where did you and your family celebrate the fourth of July this year?

S - JW got to watch his first Park Cities Fourth of July Parade. Of course, I already had his red, white and blue outfit picked out!

D - How would you best describe how you dress JW?

S - It depends on who gets to dress him in the morning. My husband dresses him more like a little boy in polos and shorts. I prefer to dress him in onesies and jumpers like a baby. I would say that I dress him more on the traditional side.

D - What is your favorite Dondolo outfit and why?

S - I love everything Dondolo! We are especially big fans of the precious pajamas and footies. The footies are cozy and cute. JW wore them almost everyday day this past winter!

D - How does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing jobs for single mothers in Colombia? 

S - I applaud Dondolo for doing their part in giving back. Every mother wants to be able to provide basic needs for their children, and you all help them do so. We need more companies to follow in Dondolo’s foot-steps.

D - What do you admire most about your mom? 

S - Looking back, I admire that my mom had three young children and still made time to volunteer. She was a part of many organizations in Austin and helped to raise a significant amount of money to give back to the community.

D - What is one of your dearest philanthropic organizations in Dallas?

S - There are many incredible organizations in Dallas. The two that I am involved with are New Friends New Life (please check them out if you are not familiar!) and The Salvation Army. Every person deserves another chance at life and these two organizations have helped to save many lives… from addiction, trafficking, abuse and many other dire circumstances.

D - What is your proudest mom moment so far? 

S - A few months ago I had that moment of “OK, I get it”. I finally figured out how to be a good mom and wife, volunteer, and keep connections with my friends, all at the same time without feeling overwhelmed. As a new mom that feeling of being overwhelmed is well….overwhelming. I finally feel comfortable in what I am doing.

D - What is one thing you hope to teach JW? 

S - Kindness. I want him to be a kind and loving person. I want him to have empathy, at all stages of life - sitting with a child in the cafeteria who is all alone, and standing up for the kid being bullied. This world is nothing without kindness and human empathy.


Sarah Novakov

Catalina Gonzalez

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.

This month I sat down with the beautiful Sarah Novakov, blogger and mama to Marilyn Rose and Bella Jane, to find out what life is like launching a new website while being a full-time stay-at-home mom.

Q & A

by Catherine Hill

D - Take me through what your typical morning looks like. 

S - My pretty angels wake up around 5:00am! Marilyn Rose usually comes in my room and plays around or hops in my bed. Then Bella cries Mommy, Mommy, Mommy so I stumble out of bed and get her out of her crib. I then take the girls down stairs for some breakfast so that my husband can sleep a little longer. After that, we come back up stairs so that I can shower while the girls play in the bathroom. Later we watch sleeping beauty or something like that. Then a couple days a week I use to take Marilyn Rose to school for a couple hours while Bella naps. But school is out for summer now, so we will have quiet time if she doesn't want to nap.

D - Since starting the blog, thefashionmama, how has your role as a stay-at-home mom changed?

S - I do not have much spare time because I take care of the girls all day long. But if I have a minute, I will spend it working on www.thefashionmamablog.com or the @thefashionmama....So I am even busier than before. But it is something I love and am passionate about so I enjoy it! It is something that fits in perfectly with my life so that I can still give my time, energy and attention to my children. Which I think is so important! 

D - Any advice for moms thinking about launching their own lifestyle blog?

S - It is hard work, even though it looks easy. It really takes up a lot of time. But if you are passionate about launching a blog just be true to yourself and your style because that is what makes you unique! 

D - How would you describe your style and the way you dress your girls?

S - I love to be comfortable, but I also love to doll the girls and I up. I love textures more than I do patterns for me. As for the girls anything sweet and pastel! I adore calming colors, If I wear bold patterns I feel like it distracts or fights with my face. I love fine fabrics!

D - What is your favorite Dondolo outfit and why? 

S - The cute May baby set with the blue hydrangea on it...it is the most darling thing..I absolutely adore it!

D - Being a mom yourself how does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing warm clothes to needy children in Colombia?

S - It warms my heart so much and makes me love Dondolo even more than the adorableness of the clothes. I want to buy the whole spring/summer line!!!!

D - Name one thing you have gained since being a mom... 

S - I have gained LOVE, my heart has grown like the grinch and just keeps getting bigger and bigger! And patience, I try to never run out of patience with the children. So my patience has definitely lengthened from being a mother. 

D - What are some of your favorite thing to do with the girls in Dallas?

S - I love to take them to local parks or fields to run around and be outdoors. They run most errands with me, which I love because that is how they learn! By loving it and seeing what Mama does! They love to go to Whole Foods with me and get groceries! They love to hit up the local toy store and children's stores. And now with the pools opening up, we will be regulars at UP pool, Dallas County Club, Bent Tree, and grandmothers pool!

D - What is one thing you hope to teach Marilyn Rose and Bella Jane?

S - I hope to teach them to be kind, compassionate and caring towards others. But the most important thing to me is for the girls to have a strong belief in God because I want to be with my babies in heaven. There is simply nothing more important to me than that!


Molly Cox

Catalina Gonzalez

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.

This month I sat down with the lovely Molly Cox, artist and mama to James and Carson, to find out what life is like living with all boys. 

Q & A

by Catherine Hill

D - Take me through what your typical morning looks like.

M - I usually wake up around 6:30 so I can throw on clothes, have coffee, and make James a hot breakfast before he gets up at 7:00. I'll feed him before Carson gets up at 7:30 or 8:00. It's nice for me to focus on feeding one child at a time after I have had a little time for myself. I know it won't always be this way, but I am enjoying it for now.

D - What is your advice for moms about to have their second child?

M - Make time for yourself. Also, don't be too hard on yourself if everything isn't always "perfect." Learning to juggle more than one child takes practice. My friend told me that being a mom "doesn't get easier, but you get better." I love this!!

D - Do you miss painting since taking a break to have children?

M - Honestly, I haven't had too much time to even think about missing it since I feel like I am so busy with two. My passion for oil painting will never go away, but I am happy to take a break and go back to it later in life when I don't have little ones. I had to stop oil painting when I was pregnant because the fumes are so bad, the chemicals can be dangerous, it's not good for your skin, etc. I boxed all of my supplies away to kind of close that chapter in my life while I had babies in the house. It's not good for them to be around. However, every now and then, I get out my acrylic paints and work on a canvas. It's therapeutic for me to get in the zone and get lost in a painting. Anyone can paint-you just have to make time for it and not overthink about what you are doing. Just have fun with it!

D - Is painting one of your favorite activities to do with the kids?

M - I love painting with my boys. For now I just use safe, washable, kid friendly paint. I have to mentally prepare myself for the HUGE mess and find a good time for it. Music is playing and everyone is covered in paint. It's the best.

D - How would you describe the way you dress your boys?

M - Justin always likes for them to look like "big boys" in button downs, khakis, and loafers. Usually we are outside in casual, comfy "play clothes" since boys are so messy. I love having them wear Dondolo clothing when we are out and about doing something a little more special (smocked outfits, too).

D - What is your favorite Dondolo outfit and why?

M - I truly love all of Dondolo's clothing, but my favorite is the boy's baby button-ons with the white collared shirt! Such a classic look with the tall white socks.

D - How does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing jobs for single mothers in Colombia?

M - It's absolutely amazing. There is nothing a mother could want more than to make sure their babies are safe and nourished; giving them this opportunity to work and provide for their families is priceless.

D - What is one thing you admire most about your mom?

M - My mom is the kindest friend. She always says it is important to have friends of all ages. I admire her for making life special for so many people and for having so many friends.

D - What is one of your dearest philanthropic organizations in Dallas?

M - I love everything about The Salvation Army! Providing shelter, hope, comfort, nourishment, health, stability, clothing, and love to struggling men and women (some of whom are overcoming addiction) while spreading God's Word is just incredible. They also have amazing children's programs which can help a child feel love and support even in a broken family. Justin and I toured the shelter in Dallas while chairing the inaugural 30M Gala for Echelon and it really made a special impact on our hearts.

D - What is one thing you hope to teach James and Carson?

M - Give. Be Kind. And never take anything for granted. Everything you have is a gift from the Lord and it can all disappear in an instant. Family and friends are what truly matter in life.

D - What is your proudest mom moment so far?

M - My proudest mom moment is at the end of the day, when I am worn out from two boys pulling me in different directions, I try to always be in a good, happy mood for my husband. He works so hard for us and even if I have to "fake it until I make it," I try to be cheerful and loving for him (even if I feel cranky and exhausted at times). Marriage comes first.


Amy Berry

Catalina Gonzalez

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing the fabulous interior designer and mama to baby Sutton, Amy Berry, to hear how she juggles her new role as "Mama" and what fun plans she has for Sutton's first spring and Easter.

Q & A

by Catherine Hill

D - Take me through what your typical morning looks like. 

A - We are morning people! My day usually starts between 5 and 6, little Sutton wakes up between 6:30 and 7 after me. I take robe time pretty seriously.. it's the only part of my day that's quiet! On a good day, I'll get a three hour head start before the day begins. Coffee is always important too :)

D - What is your advice for new moms going back to work?

A - Listen to your gut! It's hard to juggle everything, but at the end of the day you CAN'T do it all so don't be so hard on yourself. Being there for Sutton when she wakes up and when she goes down is something I really care about. That and I don't bring my phone in when I feed her. It's hard but I love that time with her.

D - Being an interior designer yourself was designing Sutton's nursery a breeze or did you find it harder than expected?

A - Honestly, I had that wallpaper picked out a year before we even thought about a baby! I only wanted to do the nursery once and wanted it to transition easily should we have a boy later on. I think I had the room fully designed and laid out before we even had our first doctors appointment...

D - What is your favorite activity to do with Sutton right now?

A - Play with the dogs, they make her belly laugh. It's the best.

D - What is your favorite Dondolo outfit and why?

A - The pajamas!! We have so many pairs my husband is obsessed with these. Plus they are easy for late night diaper changing...

D - Being a mom yourself how does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing warm clothes to needy children in Colombia?

A - Nothing better, everything Dondolo does really is inspiring. I think it goes full circle too, teaching them early the importance of giving back.

D - What fun events do you have planned for Sutton's first spring and Easter?

A - We have baptism on the brain, but we are loving all this great weather to be outside with her.

D - What is one thing you hope to teach Sutton?

A - To be strong in the Lord, and to love others unconditionally. I think it's important too for her to see both her parents work, she will always be the priority but I hope she finds her passion some day and is able to love her job as much as I do!

D - What is one thing you have learned since becoming a mom?

A - How to do things with one arm.


Natalie Davenport

Matt Henry

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.

This month I sat down with the lovely Natalie Davenport, mama to Anderson, to find out how her life has changed since becoming a mama this year and to hear how she plans on celebrating the holiday season with her sweet baby boy.

Q & A

by Catherine Hill

D - Ok, you have one of the funniest labor & delivery stories ever. Will you please indulge our readers and tell us about the day Anderson was born?

N - On Sunday, May 29th Nathan, my husband, was at a PGA Tournament at the Colonial Country Club and I was out shopping for baby stuff at the Gap.

I decided to visit my parents after shopping. They live an hour away (a lot farther than my doctor said I should travel) but I was sure I was fine because the baby wasn’t due for three more weeks. I was having a great time until I started having pains. I told my family I just needed to lay down and not to worry because I thought they were probably just Braxton-Hicks contractions. Next thing I knew my contractions were five minutes apart and at that point everything my doctor previously told me had gone out the window. I thought we could drive to the hospital, but my family knew better and they called 911 instead.

As soon as the operator heard about how close my contractions were, she started giving my stepmom instructions on how to deliver the baby. The woman on the line said we needed clean blankets, towels, a clothespin, and a phone to use as a timer. She then told my stepmom I had to take off all my clothes and I stopped her and said there was no way that was happening in this house full of all my family, so we told the operator to get the ambulance there ASAP!

The ambulance arrived moments later and as I was being wheeled out my stepmom took a photo to send to Nathan because he didn’t believe I had gone into labor. In the ambulance, the EMT told us that he would drive us to Athens because Kauffman Hospital (the closest to the house) didn’t have a labor and delivery unit. I just kept thinking no way was this happening, especially after planning to deliver at Medical City, So I asked the driver “What do I need to do to get to Medical City?” He said we could make it there if I kept my breathing under control, but we would have to turn around if the baby started coming.

I made it to Medical City around 4p.m. my husband, Nathan, met me there and as we were getting settled into our room I realized that he had invited about nine of our friends to join us in the delivery room. At that point I wanted to tell him you don't call people to come up to the hospital until after the baby is born but I was a little preoccupied. My doctors decided to perform a C-section after I had been in labor for 28 hours. Then at 7:15pm on Memorial Day, Anderson was born.

D - Any advice for expecting mamas?

N - First and foremost, try to enjoy every moment you have with your little one. It’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t go according to plan, but these moments often turn out to be the most memorable ones! Building on that, make sure to take lots of photos. They grow so much every day and you don’t want to miss or forget anything! Lastly, don’t doubt your maternal instincts. I can’t even count the number of times they’ve proven right.

D - How has your work life changed since having Anderson?

N - My husband and I both worked full-time at our family business before Anderson was born. I originally planned on staying home, but I found that I missed having adult interaction quite a bit. Nowadays, I come into the office a few times a week with Anderson—he’s already helping out!

D - How does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing jobs for single mothers in Colombia and giving warm clothes to children in need? 

N - As a mother, it warms my heart to know that I am helping other mothers by purchasing these adorable hand-stitched outfits. I have always been passionate about giving back especially when it caters to families. So, helping to create jobs for moms while providing clothing for children who need it makes me feel like I’m doing my part.

D - What are some of your favorite things to do with Anderson right now in the middle of the holiday season?

N - We love to go to the Gaylord to see the Ice sculpture show every year. We also enjoy the vintage carriage rides around Highland Park and this year I can’t wait to see what Anderson thinks about the horses and all the beautiful lights. There is just something so special about seeing Christmas through a child’s eyes.

D - What is your favorite Dondolo outfit and why?

N - I am absolutely in love with all their clothes, but my favorite outfit is the sailboat bubble. It quickly became a staple piece in Anderson’s wardrobe because it is easy to just throw on and he is so cute and comfortable in it.

D - Name one thing you have gained since becoming a mama?

N - The most significant thing I’ve gained is a better understanding of unconditional love. It’s one thing to tell a parent or sibling that you love them, but knowing, without doubt, that the love for your child will transcend every circumstance is a completely different feeling.

D - What is one thing you hope to teach Anderson?

N - It’s so easy for people these days to be unmindful of how their words and actions impact others and so I hope to teach Anderson to be kind and considerate to everyone. 

Megahn Collins

Matt Henry

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.

This month I sat down with Megahn Collins, mama to Emma, to find out what it's like raising a two-year-old little girl in Dallas. 

Q & A

by Catherine Hill

D - Does the old nursery rhyme ring true for Emma, "Sugar and spice, and everything nice, That's what little girls are made of"? 

M - 100%! Emma is a very kind and compassionate little girl. Seeing Emma extend love to everyone she meets is very rewarding as a parent. She is not shy by any means and says hi to everyone....even dogs. Emma has a heart of gold and I couldn't be more proud or grateful for who she is as a young girl.

D - Would you call Emma a daddy's girl? 

M - Seth is really incredible with her and I am really lucky to have married someone that cares so much about being present and doing things with her. Seth does work a lot but he makes sure to spend every morning with her unless he is traveling. Their (his) favorite thing to do with her is to make pancakes. She knows the ingredient list and will tell him what he needs which is pretty cute. He also bought her a Dez Bryant jersey and he is pretty proud of that. He loves football (what guy doesn't) so I know he would really love it if she liked football. We'll see about that.

D - What has been the most memorable terrible twos moment so far? 

M - Ughh...I try and forget those moments. In all fairness to her they are pretty mild and usually have to do with sharing. She did color (with a sharpie) on my Chloe purse last week. That one is still a little fresh. That's where patience comes in. 

D - Does Emma have an opinion yet on what she wears? 

M - She loves a good tutu! So far she hasn't requested to wear her Elsa or Anna dress out of the house but if and when she does, I will embrace it. 

D - What is your favorite Dondolo outfit and why?

M - I'm really loving the Cecilia set in Dondolo print orange right now. It's playful yet timeless and chic all at the same time.

D - Being a mom yourself how does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing warm clothes to needy children in Colombia?

M - It makes me feel really good. I'm very fortunate and I try and be very mindful of my blessings so giving back is really important to me and it is very admirable that this is one of Dondolo's primary purposes. 

D - Name one thing you have gained since being a mom... 

M - Patience. 

D - What are some of your favorite thing to do with Emma in Dallas?

M - We just discovered Dallas Academy of Music in Snider Plaza and we love it! Emma is in the Funkadelic Fish class with Jake and it is amazing. If you haven't been I highly recommend all parents to look into it. There are dozens of classes that cater to different children's interests, needs and personalities.

     I also started swim lessons with a Emma when she was 9 months old. I grew up competitively swimming and love being in and by water whenever possible so it was really important to me that Emma knew how to swim. We still go once a week and she is definitely like her momma; she is a little fish. 

     Mesero in Inwood Village is one of our go to restaurants for dinner; it is a very family friendly restaurant and it is right by our house so it is easy.

D - What is one thing you hope to teach Emma?

M - To live life with purpose

Kari Schlegel Kloewer

Matt Henry

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas.

This month I sat down with top relator, philanthropist and mother of two, Kari Schlegel Kloewer to discuss how her own mother and upbringing impacts the way she raises her sweet boys Tobin (3) and Teddy (10 months). 

Q & A

An interview by Catherine Hill

D - Take me through what your typical morning looks like.

K - Our mornings involve a lot of coffee, baby snuggles, negotiating with a 3 year old about what he will wear, breakfast as a family, packing school lunch, school drop off, then putting the baby down for his morning nap.  We usually manage to get a little bit of play time in together too.  After that, I head off to work.  Although they are hectic, mornings with the kids and Troy are usually my favorite part of the day.

D - What is your advice for new moms going back to work?

K - My advice is to embrace your time at home with the kids and embrace your time at work with other adults.  Also, chances are at your work place there are other working moms who have come before you -- remember that all mothers have a special bond and understand what you're going through.  I am lucky that the nature of my work is flexible and allows me to carpool in the middle of the day, schedule showings when the kids are napping and don't even know I'm gone, and do paperwork after I have put them down to bed.  If your job is more structured then I think it is nice to plan a little ritual that you do with your children before you leave in the morning or that you can all look forward to as soon as you get home.  It can be something as simple as snuggling and reading a book!

D - Did your mom always work when you were growing up?

K - My mother always worked.  In her early career she was a nurse.  This led her to run a large organization of nursing homes.  During this time I saw my mom work tirelessly while somehow always managing to put her family first.  Although she worked more hours in a week than I could count, there was never a time that she was not there for me or one of my siblings.  Sometimes this meant we were going to work with her.  At the nursing homes I would serve ice cream, sing, or play checkers with residents.  Sometimes I would sit in the office and pretend that I was being helpful by sorting through papers.  The thing I remember most though would be watching my mom smile or say something nice to a resident that would make his or her face light up. Growing up my parents work was just a part of who we were as a family.  It taught me so much: empathy, persistence, kindness, generosity, patience, and that most good things in life require hard work.

D - What is one thing you admire most about your mom? 

K - The list is endless. If I have to tell you just one I would say it is her smile.  It is genuine and it is always on her face.  I believe it is a reflection of her strength and her kind heart.  I truly believe that I am the daughter of Super Woman!

D - How does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing jobs for single mothers in Colombia?

K - It seems like a no brainer.  These clothes are precious and made from high quality durable fabrics.  The best thing about them though is that single mothers in Colombia are reaping the benefits.  I believe that it is the inherent nature of a mother to want to provide both unconditional love and lifes necessities to her children. If buying Dondolo means that another mother can do this then buying it makes me feel wonderful. 

D - What is your favorite Dondolo outfit and why?

K - I adore the Noah Set Tobin has on in these photos.  It is polished, classic, and flat out adorable! most of all, it still really comfortable for Tobin to just be a kid in!  

D - What is one thing you hope to teach Tobin and Teddy? 

K - Kindness - it gets one very far in life! 

D - Where is your favorite place to go with your family?

K - Ontario, Canada. this is where my family is from.  We gather there every summer for fun times together on the beach.  It is where I have my best memories from as a child and I want my children to grow up with the same experience.   

D - What is your proudest mom moment so far? 

K - With Tobin it is when he tells me at bed time that he has had a great day!  I couldn't be more proud thanto just say I have a child who is happy and loves life!  With Teddy, I wish I could just bottle up how he applauses every morning when I walk in the his room.  To me it says: I'm so happy to see you mom and I can't wait to see what life will bring me today.

Morgan Hunt

Matt Henry

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas. 

If you're wondering how someone managed to launch a women's clothing line, authored a blog and gave birth to three beautiful babies all in four years, meet Morgan Hunt. This month I sat down with Morgan, mama to William, John, and the newest addition sweet baby Hartley to find out how she managed to do them all and somehow stay one of the calmest and sanest people I know. 

Q & A

An interview by Catherine Hill

D - Take me through what your typical morning or day looks like.

M - As hard as it is to wake up some days, mornings are my favorite. The boys normally wake first and are ready to start the day the moment their feet hit the ground. We head downstairs and I make them breakfast. Shortly after the baby typically wakes and I send the boys to play while I nurse her. The mornings are typically spent being lazy around the house but a few days a week I try to venture outside the house to burn some energy. The pool, the flight museum and the Walnut Hill Recreation Center are our go-to's these hot summer days. Lunch time is followed by naps and most days, all three kiddos sleep at the same time which has been nothing short of a miracle. We try to do play dates with friends in the afternoons which typically involves some backyard water fun.

D - How do you stay so centered and calm with three kids? 

M- Patience. Patience. Patience. It helps that I am a fairly laid back person in general. If the kids are having fun playing in the sink or making a mess, I allow it, knowing that clean up typically isn't that hard. When they are misbehaving or fighting, I just deal with it in the moment. Sometimes kids just need to have a tantrum and if it is not at the expense of their brother or the people standing in line around us, I just ignore them and start playing with toys in another room. Typically, they realize playing with toys is way more fun than lying on the ground crying for no reason.

D - Which was more of a challenge going from 1-2 kids or 2-3 kids? and Why?

M - 1 to 2 was the hardest for me. My second did not sleep well at night so the days were quiet difficult. This time around the baby has been a good sleeper and has a fairly easy temperament. Honestly, it all depends on the demeanor of the new baby and this time around we lucked out.

D - What is one of your go-to dinners to make? 

M - Feeding little ones can be tricky but healthy eating is something that is very important to me. From the beginning, I have made their own food and overall they are good eaters with wide variety of things they like to eat. One of the easiest meals we do at least once a week is Zucchini Noodles with Ground Turkey. I buy zoodles (zucchini noodles) at Whole foods and just sauté them a bit while cooking up some ground turkey then mixing it all together with some pasta sauce and maybe some broccoli diced in. My kids, and husband, eat it all up and always ask for more.

D - Any advice for expecting Mamas?

M - You do you! Take the advice you want and leave the rest at the door. And most of all, have confidence in what you are doing. It is not easy, and sometimes you screw up but have faith that you are indeed doing a wonderful job. Becoming a mother has made me appreciate life in a way I never imagined and it has truly made me a much better person in general. 

D - What was your reaction in the delivery room when you found out your third was a girl?

M - I thought my husband was kidding. There was NO WAY the baby could possibly be a girl. I was certain it was a boy and ready to give him the name I had picked. When he said, "It's a girl" It was by far the greatest surprise of my life.

D - What is your favorite Dondolo outfit and why?

M - I am obsessed with all their clothes but ultimately I am a sucker for baby girls in blue so my most favorite is the flower detail dress with blue embroidery. The tied bow on the back just makes my heart explode. 

D - Being a mom yourself how does it make you feel to know that when you buy Dondolo clothing you are providing jobs for single mothers in Colombia?

M - The entire concept is very touching. The skills and talent these women possess is quite remarkable and their hard work not only helps their own families, but in turn helps other local children.  It is nice to know that by purchasing these stunning, hand crafted garments, I am playing a small role in helping these women and their families. 

D - How did you manage to give birth to your second baby, John, while simultaneously launching your clothing line, Morgan James? 

M - When I had William, I was energized with a burst of creativity that I had to do something with and my blog, A Treasure Hunt, was born. Then I was pregnant with John and decided to start a clothing line. It just so happened that he was born right when the line launched. Aside from motherhood, the clothing line was the hardest and best thing I have ever done. After the first season, I learned that my heart was not in women's clothing and I was not willing to devote myself to something which took time away from my children that I was not truly passionate about. Around the same time, my interest in the blog began to decline as well so I stopped everything. Some days it is really hard not having those creative outlets any longer. I have several hopes and dreams for creative ventures that I know are in my future, but while my family is young and growing, I want to devote 100% of myself to them.

D - What is your proudest mom moment so far? 

M - Just being their mother in general. Being around to watch them grow and watch them experience life. Sometimes I catch myself just starring at them wondering how on earth they are possibly mine. Motherhood is quite magical if you ask me.

D - What is one thing you hope to teach William, John and Hartley? 

M - Appreciate the small things. Have respect for your elders. Have respect for your health and body. Be kind. Kindness will take you far in life. Pray about all things. Happiness is often a choice so dwell on the good things and move past the negative. The glass is always half FULL! 

Marisa Howard

Matt Henry

A fun look into the lives and lifestyles of some of our favorite mamas. 

This month we sat down with Marisa Howard, mama to almost 1 year old London in their beautiful Park Cities home. Marisa, along with being a dedicated mama to London, runs a lifestyle blog she launched in 2014 called Marhow. She is on a mission to inspire wellness inside and out.

Q & A

An interview by Catherine Hill

D - Take me through what your typical morning or day looks like?

M - My day starts pretty early, whenever London wakes up! I feed her breakfast (usually fruit) and then we set out for a brisk morning walk before it gets too hot. Unless I’ve made one at home already, we walk to the Gem for a green juice or smoothie. London and I both love being out and about. 

D - Where do you find time to squeeze exercise into your busy schedule?

M - Finding time for exercise is crucial to my wellbeing. The endorphins really clear my head and energize me when I’m sleep deprived. I’m lucky that my housekeeper or my mom can watch her for an hour on weekdays so I can run to yoga, pilates, or tennis. On the weekends, we take it easy or walk to brunch with my husband.

D - How has becoming a mama to London changed the way you run Marhow?

M - I launched Marhow.net in October of 2014 with a big party at the Joule, and found out a week later that I was pregnant. That news changed the whole trajectory of my energy and thought processes. We were currently living in a high-rise and still just in the design process for building our dream house, so we had to put those plans on pause and shift our attention to purchasing and renovating a new home before London arrived. While Marhow was intended to be a lifestyle site covering all things from wellness, yoga, travel, interior design, and fashion, the direction morphed to more pregnancy, home, and baby related topics. Now that London is almost one (and starting to sleep better), I’m striving to find a balance between Marhow’s original intended purpose and my current perspective as a mother. In order to achieve that, I’ll be bringing on other contributors with different perspectives than my own. 

D - What is your favorite activity to do with London?

M - My favorite thing to do with London is read books. We try out new books in the morning, and read the same three books every night before bed. She gets such a kick out of touching all the different textures while hearing my voice with different inflections. I also really enjoy taking London to her little thirty-minute classes, whether it be Play Wisely or music class. She loves dancing to music. 

D - How does your husband help out?

M - My husband is great with her and is always up for daddy daughter date night when I need him to step in. They are smitten for each other and definitely share a special bond. 

D - Any advice for expecting Mamas?

M - My advice for expecting mamas is to stay active, peaceful, and present in preparation for childbirth. I walked, took pilates, played tennis, and did lots of prenatal yoga up until about 37 weeks which I think helped me tremendously. I also did reflexology, acupuncture, and had weekly chiropractic adjustments to make sure everything was aligned and in balance. I believe in mind-body connections so staying zen and not letting anxiety or the pressures of nesting set in is key. Practicing breathing techniques and stretching will not only create a peaceful environment for you and your baby in the womb, but will also help during delivery. 

D - What was your favorite thing about being pregnant?

M - I loved being pregnant and feeling life growing inside of me. Every move, kick and hiccup she made was a treat. It’s such a special time in a woman’s life. 

D - What is one of your go-to dinners to make?

M - In the summertime, my favorite recipe is linguine alla vongole (linguine with clams) from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook My Father’s Daughter. It’s delicious, light and my husband loves it. 

D - What is one thing you admire about your mom?

M - One of the many things that I admire about my mom is that she is such a caretaker. She loves watching London and her other three grandkids during the week whenever my sister or I need a hand, and enjoys entertaining the whole family on the weekends.

D - Name one thing you have gained since being a mom...

M - One thing I have gained since being a mom is perseverance. With London waking up multiple times a night up until just recently, I learned that I am a lot tougher than I thought I was. If you had told me prior to being a mom that I was going to spend the first year of motherhood on no sleep and would still enjoy juggling it all daily, I would have said there’s no way. But I survived those sleepless nights and it’s been the best year of my life. 

D - What is one thing you hope to teach London?

M - There are so many things I can’t wait to teach London.. I hope to teach her about art and culture the way my mom taught me, and to take her to museums and to the ballet. More importantly though, I hope to teach her kindness, compassion, and acceptance of others because the world certainly needs more of it.