Thursday, February 13, 2020

Thursdays Full of All the Things

The last two Thursdays have been DOOZIES, y'all. Work has been busy all month, but last Thursday I was taking testimony of a witness which means I was up late prepping the night before. Then I was on the record all day, then I went straight to teach my barre class at TCU, then straight to the girls' elementary school where Claire was presenting her history fair project, and then to meet my mama friends for a much anticipated Ranch Water (tequila + lime juice + Topo Chico) or 2 (or 3) and french fries and laughter.

Thursday Stage 2 of 4

Thursday Stage 3 of 4

[Stage 4, Margarita variants and the friends drinking them, unpictured]

This Thursday I also had testimony all day, which meant late night prep last night (and other work late the night before), and a long day. We were off the record minutes before I had to race to TCU to teach and then I got home and forced myself to start dinner because it had to simmer and if I didn't start it immediately we'd be eating at 8 p.m. When I had chopped and sauteed and added all the things and could leave the soup to simmer, I poured myself my Thursday night glass of wine (still 100% successful on the no drinking Sun-Wed resolution!) and sank, with the heaviest of sighs, into the very hottest of baths.

And now I should be in bed, but I haven't been up late by choice in several days, so instead of sleeping I'm watching The West Wing and blogging because that is EXACTLY what I wanted to do.

Maggie would like to know what happened to the fire;
bring it back immediately, pleasethankyou.

As I follow up to the last post, I wore my new shirt to work on Monday, with the aubergine pants I got from Stitch Fix all those months ago, and a navy cardigan (Target!) and I liked it very much and thank you Stitch Fix for adding more yellow to my life.

On Tuesday I was in a meeting when James texted to ask a good time to drop by the office. You see, we aren't allowed to get personal deliveries at the office. Apparently allowing the front desk clerk to sign for something and call us would be utilizing government resources for personal use, so we get an email every year around Valentine's Day reminding us that flowers can't be delivered to us here. [But of course, the president can spend 1/3 of his presidency golfing at his private golf courses and force secret service to pay rack rates to his profit for their rooms with our tax dollars and it's all good, but whatever.] So, every year for Valentine's, my birthday, Mother's Day, our anniversary, and any other time he thinks I need flowers, James buys some, puts them in a vase, and drives them over to my office. Because there's nothing I love more than fresh flowers to brighten my office and he always goes the extra mile (or 6) to make me smile. I love them (and him) so much.

Inspired, I dressed Maggie in her heart pj's and added her Valentine's headband to wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day too.

She's a natural model.

She also cost me another $300 at the vet last Friday because that's what it means to have a bulldog. She's in excellent health, a perfect weight, physically fit, and well cared for. She also has double ear infections, a problem in her right eye where she doesn't produce tears so it's dry and scratchy and makes both of us sad, and her skin is yeasty and needs special shampoo and wipes. A clean bulldog bill of health!

Good thing she's so damn cute and brings a burst of unicorns and rainbows to my heart every time I see her.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, a kitschy favorite of mine, and our kitchen table is decorated with our traditional Target table cloth, Dollar Spot plates (5 years running!), candies, flowers for the girls (pulled from my bouquet, shhh), and sweet cards James always takes a lot of time to pick out for each kid. Tomorrow night Landon has his final Cotillion, a "casual prom" theme that will involve a tie and taking pictures at a local country club I've never been to because we're not that fancy. On Saturday we're having a grown-up Valentine's Wine Party and I can't WAIT and on Sunday my parents are visiting on their way up to Colorado. It's their 40th anniversary, so we're taking them to our favorite fancy restaurant in Fort Worth, and then on Monday (a holiday for me and the kids, and my retired parents) my mom and I are going shopping for my birthday and we will all be eating cake that night.

They leave for Colorado Tuesday morning and I have more testimony on Wednesday.

But before another busy week begins, it's going to be a big wonderful weekend and I can't wait! Until then, here's our recipes from the last week- they were great!

Mon: Jambalaya.

Tues: Ground beef tacos. A classic for a reason.

Wed: Sheet Pan Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki

Thurs: Crockpot Creamy Chicken Enchilada Chili

Fri: Slow Cooker Pea Soup, corn bread.

Sat: Out! A long-promised pizza night and it was delicious for all.

Sun: Big Salad Night! Lettuces, diced raw veggies, hard boiled eggs, goat cheese, cooked and chilled farro, kalamata olives, and homemade balsamic dressing.

Mon: Classic Homemade Chili, serve with Kraft Homestyle Mac & Cheese, per Cora, our Wrangler of the Month's specific request

Tues: Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken (I made this up! I cooked 1.5 lbs. of wheat penne and drained it. In a big saute pan I brought 1 cup of heavy cream to a simmer and added a bunch of pesto, whisked to combine, let it bubble a bit, and then dumped in the cooked penne. I added some diced pre-cooked chicken and it was incredibly delicious.)

Wed: Chicken Meatballs with Creamy Orzo (so good! For the orzo I just boil it, drain it, and stir in a generous scoop of ricotta to serve underneath the meatballs and sauce).

Thurs: Skinny Creamy Ham and Potato Soup (with a thick slice of deli turkey subbing for the ham), wheat crackers and sharp cheddar cheese slices on the side.

Fri: Heart-shaped Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce for the kids; Takeout Thai and great champagne for James and me after they're in bed.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Shopping, Swim Suiting, and Stitch Fixing

Sometime early last year I basically stopped shopping for clothes. Stopping at a store on a weekend or running errands at lunch used to be a fun way to spend a little time alone when my kids were little, but now that I can spend time alone in my own house when they're awake, it held less of a draw. I had done some wardrobe updating the year before (turning 35 made me think maybe I didn't need the shorts I wore in college?), I wasn't actively losing weight anymore so it wasn't as fun and continually surprising to try on new things, and we had finally paid off all our school loans (over $300,000 in payments y'all, that still blows my mind) and were making serious strides in new areas of savings beyond the "short term," "401k," and "529" buckets we already filled (mutual funds FTW!) and instead of getting less anal about money I got more. Add in the fact that by summer I had gained a few pounds that weren't going away and shopping was just no longer something I found fun. I unsubscribed from all store emails and only went to my usual haunts when my mom came to time 2-3x/year. It was our sacred bonding activity and became a special treat.

Shopping for Maggie obviously excluded

But! We're going on a Caribbean vacation in a month and I didn't buy much of anything last summer and I really did want a couple things to spice up my closet for our trip and the upcoming change of seasons.

Tarrant County Public Health waiting room;
the kids read all the travel magazines and planned 10 years of trips

And a Typhoid shot, per the CDC's recommendation, which we all got at the Tarrant County Travel Center yesterday.

I spent a little while swimsuit shopping on Amazon over Christmas break, looking for at least two one-pieces that made me feel confident, contained, but still maybe a little sexy? Oh and I didn't want to spend more than $30.

A tall order, but I settled on this long-sleeve I already posted and this one-piece that I really quite love.

Claire and Cora also got long-sleeve suits and I think they'll be great for all the time we plan to spend snorkeling.

In addition to my two one-pieces, I got a new simple navy bikini to wear under my rash guards, all of which involve blue. My old bikinis are so worn and I wanted one that didn't tie into a knot in the back, so it would be more comfortable to layer. I'd still like a fun, long cover up before we go, but we'll see.

not modeling this one myself, but it's cute and supportive!

Somewhere along the way, I got an email from Stitch Fix letting me know I'd gotten a referral credit! This was a shock since I haven't written about Stitch Fix in more than a year (thanks referral friend!), but it made me think I should try it again to shake up my summer wardrobe a bit. As I've noted before, Stitch Fix often disappoints me in the pricing and style (I'm picky and quite capable of finding less expensive clothing of equal quality), but it is GREAT for getting me wardrobe staples and separates that I always pass over in stores (I find the dress section in stores to be the least intimidating and it's wear I always head). Looking at my old Stitch Fix posts I can tell you that I wear the black jeans, skinny eggplant pants, soft burgundy blazer, and black knit blazer ALL THE TIME and I would never have bought any of them on my own. So I updated my profile and decided to give it a whirl. And for the first time ever, I kept my whole box!

So, without further ado and with a wish for better lighting in my master bedroom hallway closet: here's my Stitch Fix #10!

1. MIX by 41 Hawthorn - Donaya Keyhole Tank, mustard
Size S, $38 ($28 after the "keep it all" 25% discount, even less after referral credits)

Cute, simple, the kind of things I like to layer under a cardigan at work. I like the colors very much (mustard, navy, dark red) but I wish it didn't have the narrow neckline because I can't wear strapless bras (my adhesive allergy has grown so bad that even the small silicone-like strips along the edges of my strapless bra to help hold it in place give me massive welts within 15 minutes of wear, but if you know of a strapless bra without that let me know!!)

cannot wear anything like this; halp

But I can wear it with a regular bra if I don't take my cardigan off at work and with the discounts it seemed worth keeping. I've also ordered a bralette I think can wear with it. I do really like the colors.

Verdict: KEPT

2. Just Black - Romeo Distressed Cuffed Frayed Shorts, blue

Size 6, $58 ($43)

also wearing above

LOVE. Seriously love. I'm always shocked when a total stranger manages to pick a pair of shorts or jeans for me and sends 1 pair at 1 size and they actually fit. And these fit perfectly.

Verdict: KEPT

3. Cupio Blush - Branley One Pocket Knit Top, white

Size S, $30 ($22)

This is a simple white shirt and nothing I'd normally be drawn to, but that's exactly why I'm keeping it- I don't own a single plain white shirt. I'm such a magpie for color and pattern that I don't have any basics. This is soft, not see-through, and I know I need it in my life. I can also throw it over a swim suit on vacation and wear it with my shorts. Why didn't I already have this?

Verdict: KEPT

4. Nine Britton - Peggie Back Detail Knit Dress, olive

Size S, $44 ($33)

This is cute, VERY soft, and has pockets (and a cute keyhole back I didn't picture). It fits well and will be easy to throw on in the summer. The halter neck isn't great for me, again because of the strapless bra situation, but the cream halter bralette I ordered for the top above should work here too. If I wasn't thinking of keeping the whole box I'd probably send this back, but since I was, I figured I'd put it in my closet. I'll probably end up surprising myself and wearing it a bunch during our 100 degree Fall days. I do really like the colors.

Verdict: KEPT

5. Moda Luxe - Ela Fold Over Crossbody, olive

$48 ($34)

In my updated profile I asked for a cross-body bag to use on vacation. I'd like to pack it in my bigger travel purse and use it when we're out and about on the island. And though I didn't specify anything about color or style I really love this one! I love a neutral that isn't boring black or cream and this will be great for travel. I'm wearing it in the white tee pic above.

Verdict: KEPT

So I'm pretty happy with it. After the discount and referral credits I didn't realize I had stored I got the whole set for $88 which seems quite great and I really have found that some of the things I'm uncertain about are the ones I end up wearing all the time. And I'm really excited about the shorts. They fit and make me feel good and are worth all the dollars.

After forcing myself off for several months, Maggie's food got low and I needed to order her another gigantic bag of tiny kibbles (she's missing most of her teeth, poor girl and eats tiny cat-like food). And then I accidentally ordered her purple fuzzy leopard print foot pjs along with it. (And a 4th of July dress and Christmas ensemble but they were like $4 each and what I am supposed to do? Resist?) She LOVES her footie pjs and they helped her survive our sub-20-degree temps of last week.

Maggie the cold-blooded lizard bulldog deserves to be cozy.

In a final shopping topic, I ran out of my moisturizer last week and thought I'd update my skincare list. I'm very happy with my routine right now and a twice this week got glowing compliments on my skin, both days when I wasn't even wearing makeup, and nothing makes a nearly-37-year-old who's really been working on her skincare routine feel better than that. (A plug, always, for complimenting people when you think something nice about them because my heart feels like it's exploded with rainbows and unicorns anytime someone gives one to me. It makes my whole day and I've made a 2020 goal of verbalizing at least one compliment a day to someone I'm not related to and it's had the bonus of making me feel happier and more connected to my fellow humans too.)

Other than moisturizers, which I'm still playing with to find something I love as much as my other categories, I'm very set on my products. I'm a believer in paying for really high-quality active-ingredient products, like your Vitamin C serum and Retinol, and then getting simple cleansers and moisturizers to support them. One of my struggles in finding my perfect moisturizer is I don't want one with Retinol, scents (never with scent, they're just drying agents), or any other active ingredient. I want my moisturizer to moisturize and let my other products do their work. But my skin is pretty sensitive, so while I need something rich to combat the dryness from the Retinol, anything too heavy clogs my pores. I really liked the Skinceuticals Emollience and Daily Moisture, but I'm not sure if either of them is The One. And it's so nice to have found The One in all my other products. I find they generally last me 9-12 months and then I just rebuy that exact thing. It's all pricey, but it helps that I spread out their repurchases and often get deals at my dermatologist for the fancy stuff.

1. Cleanse (CeraVe SA Cleanser)
2. Vitamin C serum (Skinceuticals CE Ferulic)
3. Moisturize (just ran out of Skinceuticals Emollience; liked it a lot, but now trying Tarte Double Duty First Step Prep Cream because unlike almost everything else in this routine, I'm not 100% committed to what I've tried so far)
4. Eye Cream (Clinique All About Eyes)
5. SPF and/or makeup (Elta MD Clear for sunscreen; IT Cosmetics CC Cream for makeup)

1. Cleanse (same as a.m.), but with my Clarisonic brush
2. M,W,F,Su only: Retinol (Skinceuticals 0.5 Retinol; someday I'll get to 1.0, but this is a step up from 0.25!)
*** WAIT AT LEAST 20 MINUTES *** (you have to let your Retinol soak in and do its thing; this is also why buying a moisturizer with Retinol mixed in is never going to do much for you)
3. Moisturize (about to try Kiehl's Ultra Face Cream)
4. Eye Cream (Clinique All About Eyes)

1. Mask 1x week (Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Mask)

Speaking of compliments, Claire has always left me notes and now Cora has taken up the cause. They never fail to make me smile.

And speaking of Cora, she was named Wrangler of the Month for February! Right on the heels of her sister being picked for January and after a few unhappy faces sent home from school on her conduct chart (and some talks, apology notes to her teacher, and extra chores at home in response) and she got it! And she was THRILLED. She unveiled the news with all due drama and suspense and then insisted we call Papa and Gigi to tell them too.

Her teacher encourages the kids to practicing their writing on the back of their worksheets if they finish early. Cora is a prolific writer and this week's sheets all had variations of the same theme:

I can't believe I am Wrangler of the Month

We celebrated with cookies, courtesy of a Venmo from Papa and Gigi, and she was just delighted to be the cause of a treat night.


I'm off to teach barre, James and the girls are working on their Valentine's boxes, and Landon is over at a friend's house eating lunchables he bought with a Target gift card he got for his birthday last July (because I took 4 kids to Target earlier today and the girls and I spent an hour in the dressing room trying on swim suits and the boys did I have no idea what but it ended in them buying a stack of lunchables). I leave you with this picture of Cora, absolutely killing it in an outfit (and accessories) she selected herself for our children's play at Casa Manana last night.

Never mind that it was 55 degrees and cloudy, she's got rocking her Third Baby style and no Stitch Fix box is going to top that. Oh and if you have any recommendations on where to get a long, flowy, fun cover up suitable for a beach vacation, let me know!

~ ~ ~

Note/Disclaimer: The Stitch Fix link has a referral code ($25 for you, $25 for me) but all others are just links. I have no idea how to do affiliate links to products, so there aren't any, but I will continue to highly recommend Ebates, now called Rakuten. I've racked up $3,300 in rebate checks over the last few years and it's literally just free money with a check mailed to you every 3 months to go cash/deposit!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Shadows and All the Points of Light

Well, it seems I fell a little bit back down into a hole. I'm not sure how to describe it, and it took me a while to even recognize it had happened (as I've noted, it's not an actual hole which would be great and recognizable and significantly easier to ask for a hand to climb out of), but in short, in the last two weeks I found myself feeling isolated and alone. I had to work to be my usual chatty self. I would get caught up in memories that make me feel bad. My inner critic was more critical. That voice that tells me I'm not enough, that I can't be, that I lack a certain attractive something that others have and I never will... it's subtle and constant, and when I start to believe it, I realize I'm back in the fucking hole.

But at least I do realize it. Or James does, and so the hole my mind was busy digging couldn't get too deep. A few nights ago we were in the kitchen after the kids went to bed, me making my evening tea, James hovering for no reason I could figure out, when he said, "I don't know what's wrong, but something is... You're so quiet and so separate and I don't know what to do." And we talked, standing there in the kitchen with my tea, and as I tried to put how I felt into words, that's when I recognized the hole. It was in the put-upon falseness of my sudden sadness. There just wasn't a reason for it, no trigger, nothing actually sad. And I wasn't sad. It was just my head making me so and then deciding I should hole up and be alone and then giving me feelings of isolation and friendlessness, also not real, to make it even more effective like the little overachiever my brain can be. I told James that the night before when I couldn't sleep, rather than sliding over to him and waking him up to keep me company like I usually do, I slid out of the bed as quietly as possible, as if the worst thing would be to not be alone, to have to share how overwhelmingly down I felt, and have someone available to make me feel better. So I snuck off to the TV room and slept off and on on the couch before sneaking back in bed before dawn, because not waking up there would involve questions too and I can't tell you how unlike me that is. If I am uncomfortable in ANY way my goal is to make James an active and engaged partner in my suffering, big or small.

After we talked, I felt better, more grounded. Sometimes just recognizing it's happening- seeing the falsity of the darkness- is enough to steer the shadows off course.

Last night I couldn't sleep either. But at 2 a.m. I made myself shift closer, was immediately tucked in tight, kissed on my shoulder, and heard the sleepy mumble of "I love you." And being less alone felt good. My mind, quieter now, starting thinking about marriage and how much of it is behind the scenes, good and bad, that you never see. Sometimes I think James and I come across as a bit of a mismatch, our personalities are certainly quite different, but behind the scenes, I can't think of anyone more suited to me. I'm a lot, and he's here for all of it.

One of the confusing things about depression is that you can be truly genuinely happy in between the moments that you're not. There have been so many highlights in January that posting them along the way has seemed overwhelming. So now you're getting the very highest of the highlights, or at least those with corresponding pictures in my picture roll because that's the only way I remember them, and they are still way too many post. (But I'm doing it anyway because I've got four days of testimony this month, a play, a party, a birthday, lots of teaching, two PTA Board meetings, and a PapaGigi visit and who knows when I'll post again.)

So, jumping in, this was last night when I went to take a bath after a day of work fiascos. I filled the tub, got in, and found Cora excitedly setting up shop in my bathroom. "Look mom! I brought in a table so I can color and still be with you!"

She 100% thought she was fixing a problem for me and though it was not quite the bath I envisioned, she colored quietly while I soaked in my bath salts and I felt very loved indeed.

Speaking of Cora, a friend of mine dropped Landon off a few weeks ago after he'd been playing at her house for 36 hours and Cora happened to be out in the front yard. Twenty minutes later she was asking me how to spell all kinds of random words that I rattled off without asking questions. I realized later she was writing this note to my friend Stephanie to inquire about the "beautiful necklace" she had been wearing at drop off. This combination of notes + concern over proper spelling + coming from a place of compliments is peak Cora and I love it.

Last Cora story: several weeks ago I was making dinner and she popped over to the kitchen to inform me that, "Mom, when I am bigger and I grow up and move out of this house to the forest where the deers and other animals live, I am going to tell them DON'T GO OUT IN THE MEADOW because you will die. And then we can all just live in the forest together and be happy okay? You can visit us."

I love how casually she informed me of her non-traditional post-high school path. Also, she watched a lot of Bambi on our Colorado road trip and I love that rather than be overwhelmed by sadness like I was after my first and only childhood viewing, she has developed an action plan to keep all the animals safe. (Pic from the rodeo on Sunday; rides with Cora remain pure joy.)

Also in January, James was on TV! He was interviewed by a local news station to promote his non-profit, The Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition, and the kids got to go with him for the taping and now they think he's even more famous than they already did. Which, since everywhere we go we see a swim school family who knows "Coach James," was already far more famous than he actually is.

Landon had another round of Cotillion, this time Country Western themed and he's the only one of his friends who doesn't own cowboy boots. My brother was appalled and we offered to get Landon some but he felt that buying his first pair of khaki pants and jeans in 5 years was enough of a sartorial step forward.

The kids, human and canine, and I drove to Houston three weeks ago to check in on my still slightly broken mom. She's mostly adjusted to life one-handed, though she longs for the day she can hold her blow dryer again. We arrived in time to all go see an afternoon showing of Little Women, and I know I'm a little late on announcing this now, but I LOVED IT. I loved it so, so much. It is maybe the only movie I've ever seen that I wanted to be longer and/or that I would have voluntarily sat through and watched again from the top the very second it ended. I was struck, over and over, at how very rarely we get to see stories about women. That the women are enough. And they are! The kids loved it, Landon is now reading the book, and I downloaded and read the screenplay. I just enjoyed it so SO much.

(That is the only picture I took during our trip to Houston; it's the kids at the movie theater pretending to ride a car I wouldn't give them money to actually ride. They seemed to have just as much fun with it anyway, which is pretty much always the case.)

In Claire news, she was named Wrangler of the Month for her class for the month of January! She was VERY proud and so were we.

Papa and Gigi sent money for a treat and, after MUCH back and forth, our Wrangler selected snow cones on a chilly January day.

We went back to Houston again last weekend for a very exciting thing I'll post about later, but first Maggie got a bath so she'd look so pretty for her Papa and Gigi.

That Friday morning before we left, Claire had Battle of the Books! Her class didn't win, but she was excited to have made the team and be on stage.

On Saturday all the girls in my family went wedding dress shopping with my future sister-in-law. It was so fun and I'm so glad we were able to be there for her since her family and friends are all in Brazil. She found her dress (ahem, I actually found it, as I did my sister's, though interestingly, not my own- my mom found that and I nearly refused to try it on because I didn't like it at all and now it remains the most beautiful and perfect thing that has ever been on my body. So, try on the things other people pick out for you, is what I'm saying) and she looks STUNNING in it. We can't wait for their big celebration in October!

The boys went fishing while we were bridal saloning and Landon caught the first fish! And then caught three more! Before they left he'd been concerned he'd have to "murder" the fish, but the other guys were quite happy to do that for him.

We drove home Sunday morning in time for me to teach my barre class, quizzing Landon's spelling words the whole way.

(Page 10 of a million)

You'll be glad to know that Maggie continues to motivate my students from the front of my class.

My parents followed us to Fort Worth a few hours later to celebrate Maggie's birthday!

Just kidding, they actually came to cheer on Landon in the District Spelling Bee the following day, but it was a bonus that it was also Maggie's one-year Adoptiversary, which we have decided is also her birthday. She's now 5 (ish) years old and Cora remains delighted that she has a small sister and we remain delighted that she's our bulldog.

She's a walking, sleeping, snoring, big-shouldered ball of love and I'm just in awe of how far she's come in a year: walking on a leash, running playfully around the yard, rocking a raincoat, riding in her chariot, opening the door with her big head so she can go outside to snooze in the sun, but most humbling is her complete trust in us after she was hurt so badly by those who had her before. I love her with my whole heart.

In true form, Maggie kept trying to escape her party to go back to bed, so we ate cake while she snored and everything was perfect. And then on Monday morning at 8 a.m., we were at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens for the Area Spelling Bee!

Landon had been studying a lot, and after getting his surprise 2nd last year, I think he was feeling pretty nervous about how badly he wanted to win this year. We let Claire stay home from school for the morning to attend she was SO nervous for him while we watched that it made me less so. She was doing the work for me.

There were 16 competitors. Thirteen rounds later, there were three. Words he'd spelled correctly so far included: ancient, ramparts, transistor, hazmat, archives, abundance, sojourner, diaphoresis, gannet, and Connemara.

Then there were two. He got the first word he hadn't studied (millivolt) and we knew from his face he was guessing. He guessed right, and then, just like last year, he ended up getting out in Round 14 to an 8th grade young woman. The word was quorum and he just didn't know it.

And since he just didn't, he felt pretty good about where he ended up. His competitor sailed through her final word and it all felt like the right result.

We were SUPER proud and also not exactly sad to be done quizzing spelling words. At least until next year- he still has two years of eligibility left!

We celebrated with brunch and then my parents headed back to Houston, I headed to work, the kids headed to school, and James went to the pool. And so the week began and it was really busy. And blurry. Middle school electives expo night was Wednesday, with a taco night with the middle school mamas after. On Tuesday and Thursday I taught my class at TCU on my way home from work- that class continues to grow and it's so fun. I had 35 students last Thursday!

Friday was Western dress-out day and the girls did they best they could with the contents of their closets. Claire does have boots, but it was a PE day and she did not care about fashion enough to bring an extra pair of shoes in her backpack.

Speaking of someone who would TOTALLY pack an extra pair of shoes in her backpack, Maggie got a new sweater. It's a new color for her and I think she likes it very much. The blue makes her feel very beautiful.

And the unicorn on the back lends an extra air of majesty. She loves it and hopes you do too.

The kids and I watched Father of the Bride Part II on Saturday while James was at a swim meet and they LOVED it. We'd seen Part 1 during the wedding shopping weekend in Houston and I must say, it holds up. Steve Martin and Diane Keaton forever.

On Sunday we went on a family walk and their little scooter gang was out in full force. I happened to snap this picture as they curved down a little hill and it just brings me so much joy. We're so lucky in how much they enjoy each other and continue to play together. Sure they've learned to fight some as they've gotten older, but honestly, most of the time, they still just play. Here, they were a scooter team, the road was a highway, and there was something about parking spaces and also crime? I have no idea, but the world-building is very involved and James and I just laugh at what we overhear and chat with each other the whole way.

Maggie also did the whole walk on her own fat little feet and took the rest of the day to recover.

We finished the day by heading to the Rodeo. Since we don't have cable, we decided the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo Midway was the perfect place to spend a gorgeous Super Bowl Sunday afternoon.

And it was super fun (no pun originally intended, but now left on purpose). The weather was gorgeous. I was in shorts! It's supposed to snow tomorrow, but it was 85 degrees two days ago and we rode rides, ate curly fries, met cows, goats, and pigs, and listened to a lot of patter about carnival games.

And now we're caught up, but for our weekend in Houston, the Stitch Fix box that just got delivered today (*referral link; my first box in over a year, it just sounded fun and I love the pieces!), and all our meals. But for now, I leave you with this dinner conversation from Landon a few weeks ago after James had educated all of us on the plumbing advances in ancient Rome.

Landon: So Mom, did you have an outhouse when you were little?
Me: What? No!
Landon, impressed and happy for me: So you had indoor plumbing?
Me: Yes! Landon, the house I grew up in was built 40 years after the house we currently live in.
Landon: So you had electricity too? I mean when you were little.
Me: YES!
Landon, delicately: What about TV? Or did that come later?
Me: Landon, I'm only 36-years-old. We had TVs.
[I mean, we had one TV; a giant box that sat on the living room floor, but it was color and did have a remote!]
Landon: That's so great mom.

He was really happy for me. Indoor plumbing, electricity, and a TV- I really did have a lot going for me in 1983 in Humble, Texas.

And still do. I mean, we have TWO TVs now and also like five remotes. Things are good. The shadows are there, but I see them for what they are and there are an awful lot of sources of light. Happy February to you all.