Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Back to Our Sparkly Reality

So, in the present day in the land of Fort Worth, much is happening that should be discussed. But first, I redid my Travel page up at the top of the blog. I used to list out places I'd been and wanted to go, but now that I occasionally pretend to be a travel blogger (oh the dream!) I'm using it to link to all past vacation/travel posts. If nothing else it will be easier for me to send links to friends who contact me when they're about to go somewhere we've been. And it was super fun to go back and find those posts and read them again. You can tell in the timeline that we basically transferred our second daycare payment to a travel savings account when Claire started Kindergarten (2015! A most glorious year.). And while Landon mostly just hung out with us at home, Cora was an extremely well-traveled baby. Third babies, they're the latest in travel accessories. We're headed to Colorado (third time this year! which was really not on purpose, though it is the only way to see my niece and also we should probably live in Colorado) for Christmas so I already anticipated a few posts about that.

But back to the here and now and last Tuesday. We went to the TCU Christmas Tree lighting ceremony! I had a humble dinner planned to make at home when a friend texted me at work that they were going and meeting at my fave taco/margarita happy hour place for dinner and I was already accepting while figuring out what to do with the kids' swim practice. (We just skipped it, sorry Coach Dad.) Wearing shorts and sipping frozen margaritas isn't the most common way to attend a tree lighting ceremony in December, but here we are.

Always prepared for theme, Claire wore her Christmas dress and, having watched Elsa light the castle at Disney world, Cora felt her Elsa dress was most appropriate. Landon was, of course, in athletic shorts and a shirt. You can only do so much.

The ceremony included music, cookies, hot chocolate, and fireworks. We like all of those things.

It was a great super fun night with friends as well as our first time on the TCU campus as a family. We live less than a mile away and I now teach barre there so it was well past time. One of my 2018 resolutions is to go to more sporting events there. Claire went to a women's volleyball game with friends and LOVED IT. I want to do more of that.

On Thursday Landon got his braces off! He has more orthodontic work in his future (sigh), but this was a fairly short practice round and it's nice to see his full smile again.

Also on Thursday, Claire tried out for the talent show! As always I'm so thankful for Tara in our life since she handles basically everything between 3-5:30 p.m. and the kids adore her, but I feel like I'm going to throw up at the thought of singing in a talent show, so I'm not a super helpful energy to have around. Not that it would probably bother Claire. Tara took a video and sent it to me because she is the best.

I have no memory of Friday, but Saturday was a big day. First up was Cora's dance recital! She was SO excited. She woke me up at 6:30 a.m. JUST to tell me that "TODAY IS MY DANCING DAY!". She loves dance. She told all the princesses at Disney world that she does ballet. She LOVED her last three recitals. She COULDN'T WAIT until 12:00 rolled around and it was time to drive over. It finally came and we drove for 30 minutes and we got front row seats for the first time ever and ...

She didn't dance.

She refused the introduction.

She judged you and your waving.

She judged your choreography and would not lower herself to participate.

She couldn't even watch.

She was such a mess.

We got back in the car, with the $60 recital dress and our 30 minute drive back, and she piped up with "Can I see the videos of me dancing at my recital mom?"

"Um, no. You didn't dance in your recital, Cora."

She seemed genuinely surprised and then promptly fell asleep and took a two hour nap, continuing to sleep as we transferred her from the car seat to her bed. Being four is hard. We're all looking forward to her recital next Spring.

The big kids helped me with our Christmas cards (note: your stamp and/or return address labels are probably askew) and then we all got ready for big activity #2- our Casa Manana Children's Play!

This went much better.

Probably because all we had to do was watch. It was such a great play, as they all are, and we enjoy them so much.

We ate dinner out afterward, with a stop at a candy store after that to spend some treat money from Papa and Gigi for Landon being named Wrangler of the Month at school. He went with gummy eggs which he found to be delicious while reassuring me MANY times they did not actually taste like eggs.

Sunday (when I first started typing this) was errands and pink pancakes and 2+ hours of American Ninja Warrior Jr. on a surprise course James made while I was at yoga. He invited neighbors over and I came home to such a happy, busy scene (that I didn't take pictures of, but here's Claire, still practicing an hour later. James said they probably ran through the whole course 80+ times. You think this would make them tired. It did not. Because nothing does.)

Another highlight of my weekend was unboxing a new favorite lounge-y outfit. American Eagle has become my new place for cozy leggings and tops (and by "place," I mean their online store). I have these beautiful babies and these sequins ones and they're wonderful. Especially when paired with this cozy sweatshirt. And especially ESPECIALLY when all purchased for 50% off on Cyber Monday with a 6% Ebate.

$20 and they have a thin layer of fleece on the inside and sparkles on the out. I love them with my whole heart.

After a delicious dinner of vegetarian chili mac, we finally decorated our family tree in the TV room.

I love this tree. It's scruffy, possibly a little crooked, definitely purchased on clearance at Target for one of our first Christmases in Austin.

It holds our motley collection of personal ornaments- the vacation souvenirs, the baby's first Christmases, the random ornaments I don't know when or where we bought, and the precious handmade school and daycare items with their cut out chubby toddler faces and pipe cleaner angel wings.

Cora felt strongly that all the princesses should be grouped together, "because they're all friends mom." Sounds legit.

At the end of the night on Sunday I had a line of items to prepare for the week ahead: 2 wrapped gifts, an ornament, and white chocolate homemade chex mix for a party Monday night; an ornament and the makings for my friend's amazing cocktail meatballs for a PTA Board party Tuesday night; a wrapped gift for Landon's student council secret santa on Friday; a wrapped white elephant gift for my work party later this month; and a stack of 100 sealed and labeled Christmas cards for the mailbox in my building. Throw in my bag of work clothes, makeup, and heels to change after my early morning workout and I was loaded down like a freaking sherpa headed out to work at 6 a.m. Monday morning. Planning and packing. It's about 75% of my life.

Christmas card assembly line; Landon is skeptical of the unpaid labor

Monday night's party was super fun. The kids got to go to an extra swim practice and hang out at dad's pool for an extra two hours (yay for family businesses!) while Cora spent the 45 minutes between my party and the end of dad's lessons at a friend's house with her toddler. It takes a village. And a small parent-owned business.

Because sometimes moms need to have fun and exchange favorite things with their favorite people. Everyone brought such thoughtful gifts and the most delicious snacks and apps and champs. The only thing I didn't love was the 84-degree temperature that meant I was attending a holiday party in a sleeveless shirt and cropped pants.

tequila and margarita mix; I love when your friend's favorite things are also your favorite things

Yesterday's party was for our PTA Board. More delicious appetizers, more champagne, this time accompanied with a side of Board meeting and a topping of ornament exchange. Between Saturday and today I've had four holiday-type events and we have James's swim school dinner on Friday, but then I don't have anything until our last three parties between the 19th and 21st. So everything this year is early or late and leaves me two weekends in mid-December to bake some cookies and take the kids to see Coco, which is really quite perfect.

Oh! and for added fun, a water main burst and a sink hole developed (sunk? appeared? what's the verb there) onto our street Monday night while I was at my party, sending a deluge of water down our street and ensuring there was no water when I got home just before 10. I washed my face with a baby wipe and brushed my teeth by melting ice in the microwave. It was the first time I've ever regretted the fact we don't buy bottled water. The workers were out there all night with trucks, bright lights, LOTS of dropping large metal pipes on the road right outside my bedroom window and our sink hole was moderately filled and our water was back on by mid-morning. I am very thankful for their all-nighter because not having water is TERRIBLE. It is so much worse than not having electricity.

And now we have this lovely little topographic feature to add to our street map! So scenic and DIRECTLY across from our front yard. When we went to bed on Tuesday night James randomly said, you know, I've always had a fear of sink holes.

no fear.

I'm sure I'm missing things- December is so crazy and the last week has been VERY full, but I've got the Nat King Cole Christmas station playing and my sequin pants on while eating many handfuls of homemade chex mix (batch #6 since Thanksgiving; I have a problem) and if I ignore all of the news and twitter and the fact Trump is still president and the government (and my job!) could still shut down on Friday and I can't take my beloved nightly baths because I have psoriasis trying to turn me into a scaly dinosaur, I feel pretty good about things. I love this month. I love having sparkly things all over my house. I love that it is finally cold outside.

sequin pants forever; or just a random Wednesday night

Oh! and I LOVE these boots I bought myself as an early Christmas present for our Colorado Christmas trip. After many years of really terrible Walmart ones that were so generic they didn't even have a differentiated left and right foot and so thin my feet froze on our last trip, I have beautiful, warm, fuzzy, BEAUTIFUL Sorel boots (last year's color bought on clearance for less than $100!) and I LOVE THEM.

I keep putting them on and wearing them around the house. I can't wait to tromp in snow with them just to feel how NOT cold my feet will be.

So beautiful super warm boots. Sequin pants. And one million lights that James put up in our front yard that make my heart feel all shiny and sparkly when I pull up at night.

I love December.


  1. Aahhhh...THERE'S the tree that makes me think of my own childhood every time I see pictures of you and the kids decorating it! I'm forever grateful that I can live vicariously through some of your pictures. The hubby makes fun of me occasionally for my "Norman Rockwell upbringing", but those are memories I'll forever cherish -- even if we don't have kids and decorating OUR tree isn't quite as fun when it's just the two of us, I LOVE CHRISTMAS with all my heart! Happy holidays to you and yours!

  2. Now we know where Cora's love of sparkle comes from! BTW, you will love the Sorrels. I have the same boots and love how warm my feet stay (here in Minnesota!)

  3. If you don't mind me asking, what size do you wear in the sweatshirt and leggings? I think I would be the same as you, but I have not shopped at American Eagle in forever. Thanks!

    1. I hadn’t either! I wear an XS in their leggings and a S in the sweatshirt to make it long enough (though it’s a pretty oversized fit). Sometimes I get the Long versions of the leggings but often get regulars (like the ones above) because I prefer that length with shoes.