Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snow Dayz

So after our ice storm hysteria and ensuing house arrest finally ended on Wednesday, we moved forward into the rest of the week expecting chilly temps and lots of rain. Apparently no one thought this freezing rain could turn into snow, because we all headed out into the world on Friday, carefree and confident in our 2-wheel-drive cars and lack of salt trucks. And then it started snowing at 8:15 a.m. Oh, it'll all melt when it hits the road, I thought as I drove through increasingly heavier snowfall on the way to work, this will be no problem at all! Look how it's so pretty while it falls and covers the road.

Two hours, two conference calls, and a lot of emailing later, I looked out the window and saw that the snow was really starting to cover the roads. I watched a car slide backwards down a one-way street. The bridge a few blocks from my office was packed with cars that weren't moving. Hmmm, I started doubting my lunch plans at my favorite pizza place. A little while later, the ISD called, saying that while you could pick up your kids at any time,the roads were so bad they felt students were safest staying in their classrooms, particularly since the weather was expected to improve. I found this very logical, but unfortunately the weather didn't improve.

Now I've lived in Chicago, so I know this isn't that big of a snow storm, but in a city where 95% of the vehicles are 2WD and the city doesn't have snow plows or salt trucks or really any ability to deal with snow, this is a major problem. The city is designed to simply shut down at the slightest chance of a snow flurry. I have no idea what we were all doing on Friday, driving to work and school while it was actively snowing. We live in DFW. We have no business pretending like we can handle that.

At 11:30 I called JP to come get me. His car is 4WD and the roads were an icy disaster. I'd watched multiple cars wreck from my 19th story perch and I wasn't going to be one of them; and even if I was willing to entertain the idea of slip-sliding around on the roads, I definitely wasn't willing to do it with the kids. It took him an hour to get the 5 miles to my office, and then it took us another hour to collect the children. His car felt very safe, but it was scary watching the other cars slide towards us, only to turn away at the last second. I stopped paying attention to how many times we were nearly hit by other cars and put my head down and re-read a romance novel. My audible inhales were annoying the crap out of JP.

But we collected all our ducklings and were back home a little before 2. And then the fun part of the snow day began.

The big kids immediately went to play outside and then we spent forever getting everyone dressed to go on a family walk. Cora and Tex were so certain they wanted to be outside too, and joined together in a rousing duet of "Do You Want to Build a Snowmannnnn".

They did. They were so sure they wanted to build a snowman.

But then Cora got outside and remembered that snow is the worst.

No, actually, being placed in a flimsy plastic sled on TOP of snow, greatly upping the risk that you might come into contact with snow, is the worst.

She sat on Claire's lap, then Landon's lap, and then there was a small accident while riding with Claire that involved Cora actually touching the snow, through her gloves, and that was very traumatizing.

I carried her the rest of the way and Tex looked like he wished I could carry him too. Landon stepped up so I could get a kid picture and Cora was super excited about it. The big kids stayed outside forever and I briefly considered doing yoga, but drank wine instead.

Today we woke up to the snow with everyone home, safe and cozy in their beds, and that is a WAY better way to have a snow day. The big kids played outside off and on for hours, while Cora watched from a safe distance. She liked to keep an eye on them, but was careful to make no sign that might lead us to think she wanted us to get out her snow suit.

According to Cora, the best way to deal with snow is to not deal with snow. As my car sits patiently in my work parking garage and I drink wine and eat snacks all day (and then watch House of Cards all night), I have to agree.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


I turned 32 yesterday. My first present was the snow day house arrest being lifted at 10 a.m. In my life before children, a third snow day would have been a wonderful birthday present, but not with 3 children on day 5 of not leaving the house.

I mean the kids were awesome- seriously awesome, but we all needed to go beyond our own driveway.

So on Wednesday, a reprieve was granted in the form of a delayed start that allowed me to sleep in with JP, leisurely blow dry and straighten my hair, and apply makeup for the first time since my makeover night. I was weirdly nervous about the whole thing. I'm still missing a few of my favorite items the makeup artist used (Sephora delivery expected tomorrow!) and my details of the night were rather fuzzy (other than lots of saying "awesome" and "my eyes look AMAZING!"), but I think it turned out okay.

I'm wearing foundation for the first time ever, so that was also rather exciting. And there was eyeliner. And bronzer. Multiple brushes were used. It was a big morning. And it didn't actually take very long, even with my frequent references to the note my friend sent me with the steps she remembered.

Work was crazy, a product of having been gone without notice on Monday and Tuesday, and though I thought the office would be pretty empty with people using the delayed start as a reason to work from home, everyone with children was there, and there early.

I had a quick lunch with my makeover friend where we recounted our weekend trips to Sephora in excruciating detail, and then worked like crazy to catch up on things. JP was coaching Landon at his swim class, so I picked up the girls and we headed tot my favorite frozen margarita restaurant that is also home to my favorite nachos.

The girls and I entertained ourselves before the boys arrived.

The food was fab and quick (I refused to cook on my bday night, but we're under a bit of a time crunch with a toddler who goes to sleep at 7:30) and then we came home to champagne, a wrapped box, homemade cards, and a tower of my favorite cookies ever. The infamous double doozie from Great American Cookie company.

Every birthday should involve a tower of cookies with icing sandwiched between more cookies.

I had restricted JP to only one gift since he went a bit overboard with the wedding band at Christmas, but I did want him to go to a store and select something from any one of the million categories of items I love. No hints, no lists, no help from me- just something he thought I would like. I manage it for him each year and he's way harder to shop for and it's fun to see what he picks.

And he did so great! He got me a coordinating set of things- things that match! that he purchased at two different places for the purpose of matching! things that are thoughtful and fun and practical in light of our upcoming beach vacation.

Enter my fabulous hat and very sexy bikini and I could not be more pleased. I wore the hat all night, though the bikini had to wait until a day when I didn't inhale a giant plate of nachos and four cookies. It was very sweet and nothing I already owned or had thought to buy, but will come in very handy when my skin is forced into proximity with the sand and sun in Jamaica.

And then after the kids went to bed I got to continue drinking champagne on the couch and while watching multiple frivolous shows on TV at the same time, which JP hates doing, but I love (the "last" button on the remote is my very favorite button), and it was all very wonderful.

Today was an even crazier day at work- so many cases with deadlines all at once, it was nearly firm-like in its intensity and stress levels, but un-firm-like in everyone's time out for my snow delayed birthday lunch at a restaurant with duck fat fries. And other food, but mostly the fries. And then the box of extra Great American Cookie Company birthday cake cookies that JP bought me to bring to work to share with my friends. He really gets me.

32 is going to be great.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Snow Day Retrofit Post

We're snowed in- the Fort got an inch or two last night, so the city is shut down until it goes away. I've used my bonus time to re-read every review of every picture of every eyeshadow ever made. It is embarrassing how much time I've looked at eyeshadow colors this weekend. The one my makeup artist used was discontinued, so it's all Nars' fault. I still haven't ordered anything, so I'm going to end up all eye-lined and lash-curled and under-colored. Any blue eyed girls out there? Make me pick something.

Snow/Ice Angels!

So, to take a break from squinting my eyes at tiny digital squares of Urban Decay and Make Up For Ever, I uploaded pictures and now we're going to relive the last week because for some reason, I didn't blog about it.

On Monday work was closed and school was not; this was a glorious day. I went to barre, watched the Food Network, went to yoga, started dinner, picked up the kids early, got them to swim practice early, and had a hot dinner waiting when they all go back. Being home when your kids are in school is a spectacular thing. Even more spectacular- dressing up and going on a early-birthday/belated-Valentine's fancy dinner date with your husband at the end of it!

I tossed my camera at our teenage sitter before we ran out the door. We need to stop posing in front of the air vent on the wall.

I bought this dress in black at TJ Maxx right after Cora was born and now it's too big but I love it so much I kept wearing it anyway, and then I found it in navy blue in my correct size just last week which never happens when you buy things at TJ Maxx, so I snatched it up immediately. I love the simplicity of the style, the thick knit jersey fabric, the way the high neck looks with jewelry, and the zipper down the back.

Dinner was fab- we went to Grace, my most favorite restaurant ever, and spent too much on food that was worth every freaking penny. Dessert was free, my multiple bosc pear martini cocktails were not; all was wonderful.

Also in the last week, Cora was adorable and loud and fast and adorable.

Landon started soccer practice, which he seemed to really enjoy, at a local park and Cora kept taking off in whatever direction she chose, completely uncaring if anyone went with her (no one did), if I was in sight (I was not), or if where she was headed was safe (a steep ditch, so no). I never saw Landon play for a single second, but I did get a lot of exercise running around in my work clothes.

matching is important

Claire also started soccer practice! Her first ever sport and she was so excited. I found her little leggings with an attached skirt on clearance at Old Navy, an "active" shirt on clearance at Target, pink shoes on clearance at Payless ($9!), and paired it all with Landon's old shin guards and socks (she now has pink socks because no one in this house likes to clash), and her new ball, AND her "soccer ball pony tails" (I can only get her to let me do her hair if I "name" the new 'do) and baby girl got AFTER IT.

She kicked the ball more in one practice than Landon has in multiple seasons. She's aggressive, fears no one, and has some innate athleticism. I probably hate after school activities more than anyone, particularly multiple kids doing multiple activities (we're not dropping swimming), but Claire is getting close to five and I didn't want her to think that sports are only a boy/brother thing. Because they're not, even if I didn't like most of them. And again, her personality is WAY more suited to contact sports than Landon's.

Cora is also suited to full contact sports and spent another hour living like a wild animal. Once again, she couldn't care less where I was while in the great outdoors, she climbed up and slid down slides 5x her size, and bit a child who got in her way. Next time I'm throwing her on the field.

She's teething and occasionally waking up at night with it, which I think she hates more than we do given how determinedly she keeps jumping out of my arms and back into her crib each time I pick her up. She really and truly does NOT want to be awake, but oh when I snuggle her on my shoulder and kiss her still fuzzy little head and she relaxes for just a minute before trying to get back into bed, she still feels so much like a baby that it makes my heart happy.

seriously always trying to climb into a crib

I love crazy, fast, busy Cora, but I'm really glad I can still see a bit of my foot-pj'd, soft-cheeked baby in there too. I can hear my baby waking from her nap, so here's a quick shot of what the big kids have apparently been doing while JP has working on swim school stuff and I've been shut in the TV room to stay away from the sugar cookies I made yesterday (I've had six, SIX, so far today and it must stop):

Making a table fort and doing all the puzzles we own. Perfect snowy day stuff, along with drinking all the tea and eating all the sugar cookies. JP took them sledding down a hill in our neighborhood earlier and I'm planning to move on to games and a peaceful making of dinner later. And then hoping the ice melts and we can all get back to school and work tomorrow!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Eyelining Commence!

There are several things I used to consider hallmarks for adulthood. Important grown-up stuff like "drink coffee" and "like wine." I'm 1 for 2 there (I've given up on coffee, it's just gross in all its forms, and I've accepted 85% of the Starbucks menu will always taunt me), and I've added: be able to do my hair; have a drawer with an appropriate number of properly fitting bras; have another drawer of lingerie that isn't entirely polyester and/or flammable; and wield an eyeliner pencil with confidence.

or an eyeliner brush; as it turns out, it's all about the brush

Some of those are still a work in progress (particularly hair; I have no idea how to do anything there except pile it on top of my head or flat iron the heck out of it), but I decided to tackle makeup and started googling local makeup artists one night a few weeks ago. I had a mission: I was GOING to learn how to do eyeliner (and the rest of my face) and it was happening before I turned 32. My birthday is next Wednesday, so this past Thursday night found me in my master bathroom with a friend, 3 bottles of wine, and my new makeup artist bestie who also happens to be the PTA president of Landon's school. Armed with lists and cameras and a can-do attitude, my fellow makeup challenged friend and I were DETERMINED to learn what I think we were supposed to learn in high school. Makeup. How to do it.

my new best friend/makeup expert

I warned my friends I was treating this like a slumber party, so I was in my favorite leggings (clearance Gap "cityscape" pattern that I adore), sports bra, black tee, and a headband at 8 p.m. when all the kids were in bed and my guests began to arrive. My jambox was on the tub ledge playing a surprisingly delightful Pandora station combo of Christina Perri and Taylor Swift. There was wine. JP was kicked out to the kitchen to work. It was awesome.

In my search for an expert, I stressed that I really wanted to LEARN how to do the makeup, not just have it done to me. I wanted a simple work look, but I also wanted tricks to up my game for a date night or other occasions. When I get dressed up to go out I always stare at my face in the mirror wishing I could do more with it. It would be nice to look different for a romantic evening than I do grilling witnesses on the record.

day look

And now, I can! Or at least my wine-soaked mind is pretty sure I can. I need to buy a few tools and then I'm spending tomorrow practicing. Probably with my friend back over in my bathroom while face-timing my new makeup expert. But I have the concepts. I know how to hold brushes. I know how few tools and makeup items you really need. It will be fun to add more, but my expert stressed simplicity. She pulled out stuff I already own that I can use better going forward. She made me a list to take to Ulta and/or Sephora. She made me do everything on the left side of my face by myself and then she made me do it again.

taking it up a notch for a night look

And oh my gosh it was so fun. My expert left about midnight. JP ran into our room too fast to properly appreciate my amazing new look and was asleep at 12:02. My friend came out to the kitchen where we accidentally chatted while staring deeply into each other's spectacular eyes until 1:30.

I seriously could not stop looking at my eyes. I'd be talking to both ladies and realize I hadn't broken eye contact with the mirror in tens of minutes. This would be embarrassing except my friend was doing it too. We both swam in college, are currently lawyers, and had never curled our eye lashes. We were like new women. New women who really didn't want to wash our makeup off and go to bed. I took these parting shots near 2 a.m. when my "what would it look like if you put liner under my eyes" REALLY taking it up a notch look was looking a little tired. Or maybe that's just my whole face.

Then I realized I didn't have any good eye makeup remover, a side-effect of not ever doing anything with my eyes, so I just smudged it around with some face washing and collapsed in a passed-out-ish manner on my bed. I dragged myself to barre in the morning which was exciting since I left my center of balance in my wine cup and then headed to work where I looked, if anything, even LESS good in the face than normal. But it's going to be a whole new ballgame on Monday. I just spent all the dollars at Ulta and Sephora in support of it.

It was seriously one of the most fun evenings I've ever spent. So much laughing and talking and making weird faces while trying to hold a brush still. I really did learn things-- SMUDGE!-- and I'm looking forward to re-learning them as I try to recreate it all going forward. I need to have grown-up non-slumber parties more often. Next year I'm tackling hair. I'm walking into 33 with a curling iron (or curlers? curling wand? I own none of these things) if it kills me.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sugar, all the flour, and some pink elephants.

I spent about 5 hours on Friday night baking all the things. It started with a plan for dark chocolate cake. I'm not sure I've ever had dark chocolate cake, but dark is the only kind of chocolate JP and I like and I thought it would make for a nice Valentine's present. So I turned to the google and read all the reviews and found a recipe that looked easy enough. Then, after much deliberation, I decided on a classic vanilla buttercream to frost it. Then, in between making the cake batter and the buttercream, I decided I should make cinnamon rolls for our Valentine's breakfast with the kiddos.

before the school parties on Friday

As always, I carefully set out all my ingredients and worked through the steps. Towards the end, post-kneading and pre-first-rise, I noted that the dough seemed a little denser and heavier than usual. And when I went to clean up I found the egg- an egg I thought was just a shell but was in fact a whole egg that I'd forgotten to add to the dough back at step 2 of many. So I cleaned the mixing bowl yet AGAIN and started over with batch #2. I used every single bit of flour we had in the house- to the point of turning over my giant hocking jar and shaking out every last speck and I was still maybe a little short. I left both batches to rise, curious to see how the absence of egg affected the dough, and yes--science experiment spoiler alert--it affected the rising of the dough.

no egg

one egg

So we went with the puffy dough and I rolled it out and covered it in butter and cinnamon and sugar and rolled it up and sliced it and crammed all the circles into my baking pans.

action shot!

And at 10:42 p.m., we had two pans of cinnamon rolls post-2nd-rise and pre-bake/pre-icing and I hadn't sat down in 5.5 hours.

Between dough rises I had also iced and "decorated" my dark chocolate cake. Then I ate a piece because I was starving and washing dishes and kneading bread dough feels like it burns more calories than barre.

My piece was smaller than pictured; JP got to it before I found my camera. He said it was "ridiculous" and I must admit, it was pretty darn good.

I set the table for the kiddos to find on Valentine's morning as I always do. This year's version involved some Target placemats I picked up last year, paper plates with hearts, real champagne classes for faux mimosas, and a little treat for each kid. We keep it simple, but I remember coming downstairs to a fancy breakfast set up each morning in my childhood and it's such a happy tradition. My dad would always leave my sister and I a flower in a little vase (he left for work before we woke up), candy for my brother, and cards for all three of us, and then my mom served breakfast on our "nice" dishes with wine glasses for orange juice. We loved it.

This year since V-Day was on a Saturday, I slept in a bit while JP was at practice and Cora was entertained by her big sibs. I dragged myself out of bed to get started on breakfast and found a surprise for JP and me in the middle of the table! The kids had gotten up and added the cards they made at school and a few of their most thematic stuffed animals (on loan only). It was very sweet.

L's card for us

And they even added a little bear to Cora's place since she didn't have a card. I got to make a real breakfast of pink pancakes, eggs, turkey sausage, fresh fruit, and the cinnamon rolls and Cora was an enthusiastic sous chef and eater of pancakes (and wearer of sparkly hearts).

I got to go to hot yoga and then we spent a romantic evening at the local YMCA for Landon's 6 p.m. basketball game. His team lost by less than 20 points which is a victory this season and we picked up our favorite pick-up pizza on the way home and paired it with milk in champagne glasses for the kids and disproportionately expensive champagne for the adults. And cake. Lots of cake. It was actually pretty perfect.

Yesterday involved a friend's son's first birthday and Cora was a party ANIMAL and we ended up a subject of discussion because we allowed her to wander freely around the fenced grounds of our friend's backyard, filled with people we know who are also looking after young children, for many minutes, at times more than 10 yards away from us. She was having a marvelous time running around with strangers and we didn't see any reason to interrupt.

But we ended up with a concerned grandma marching over and following the poor, maniacally smiling, lost baby around, grabbing Cora's hand and trying to walk her back our way, even after I waved in her direction and attempted to convey while waving my champagne glass that, "don't worry, we got this," and then she frowned at me and continued trying to herd Cora back towards us and then followed when Cora determinedly walked the other way (all still within our line of site). Later, JP heard someone else talking about her/us inside. Helicopter parenting, we're not doing it right.

judgment in yellow shoes

In other highlights, Cora climbed in a cozy coupe and honked the horn and Landon broke off from his friends and ran over to push her around in it. Someone asked how we got him to do things like that and we were like, we can take no credit, that's just him; our goal is just not to mess it up. I looked over again and found him pushing Claire too, which was a perfect LagLiv children moment, though we did make her get off the roof after snapping the pic (priorities).

It was all really fun and I got to put everyone in new clothes (except JP; he likes to wear the same shirt until it falls apart or "goes missing"), including a new elephant shirt I just picked up at Ross for $7.99 (and my magic jeans!). Because what's more festive than a hot pink elephant?

I got three compliments on it, two from women with diamonds and designer clothes that definitely all cost more than my car. Both of our cars. Everyone loves an elephant.

Today is President's Day and a federal holiday, but not a school one, so I'm celebrating with blogging, barre and yoga in the same day, daytime HGTV viewing, and getting L & C to swim practice on time at 4:45 (this never happens, but luckily, I know the coach). And then after all that I get to enjoy a super fancy birthday/Valentine's date night with JP tonight at our favorite restaurant! A most excellent day it is going to be!