Thursday, April 30, 2015


I taught a barre class tonight and am teaching again in 7.5 hours, so this will be short, but I would like to say thank you. Thank you for your responses on my last post and for giving me the space to say it. One of the hardest things about the last year and a half has been my inability to write about the thing that was hardest in my life. It was the right thing to do, as it was JP's story and not mine, but it made something already hard significantly harder for me. Thank you also for the generosity in your comments. Whenever I write something more emotional I get so afraid I'll be accused of being overly dramatic, because I secretly wonder if that's exactly what I'm doing, that it was validating and healing in and of itself to read "I'm sorry" and "this is sad." Mostly I was truly shocked at how hard and how huge the wave of mourning was that hit me at my friend's news that it simply had to spill out, and this is where those feelings spill out to. Thank you for giving them a safe place to land.

As a parting gift, I leave you with this photo of Cora, taken at a lovely al fresco dinner at Gloria's last night. She was eating the bean dip with a spoon (as we all wish we could do), so I took out my phone to snap a picture and she saw me and said "cheeeeeese"

Like an adorable, bald, drunken, and possibly lecherous pirate.

Love her. Love you guys too. Night night.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I wrote the post below nearly a year ago, the night before I left for my sister's bridal shower. At the time it was something I needed to write, but was too raw to talk about or publish. Lately I've been feeling more at peace with the finality of the size of our family of five, so I planned to revisit the topic and edit my old post reflect the acceptance I thought I felt. And then today a friend posted she was pregnant with her fourth and it hit me like a ton of bricks- pure joy for her, punched-in-the-stomach spiraling downward feelings of mourning and sadness for me.

So apparently one year later and the rawness below is still where I'm at. I wonder when it won't be.

~ ~ ~ May 2014 ~ ~ ~

When I was in the hospital about to have Cora, I was asked about 50 times by 20 different people if my tubes were being tied with the c-section. "No." I kept saying, only to change it to "NO!(!!!)" when I was asked yet again minutes before heading to the OR. I understood why they asked- it was baby #3 and they were already cutting me open so why not tie some tubes while they're in there, but no, I felt strongly, VERY STRONGLY, that I was not ready to be physically unable to have another child. I was only 30 and 30 felt way too young to make a decision that permanent when it wasn't necessary. While JP was 99.99% sure we were done with Cora, I was only about 92% sure, and even if I was at 100%, you just don't know where life will take you. I normally don't make decisions based on unlikely worst-case scenarios, but what if something happened to one of the kids? or JP? What if we just woke up one day and didn't feel our family was complete? I have no idea what my life and thoughts will be for the next decade, but I know I would never want to regret the premature robbing of my ability to bear children. IUDs are effective and mindless and work great for me, so there was simply no reason to take future choices away from myself and I could not have felt more strongly about that.

Fast forward 5 months and I find out we can't have any more children after all. As a not fully understood side-effect (by me, anyway; the one freaking time I stay away from google) of a treatment JP's on for a thing I can't go in to, he is sterile. Completely and permanently. He told me this off-hand in April after one of his million doctor appointments and I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Everything froze. I froze. I was... I don't even know. I immediately started crying. JP, alarmed at my reaction, cried out, "But we're done! Right?! It's okay, I told the doctor it's okay, we're done!".

But I wasn't.

I wasn't, I cried. I'm not. I'm not done. Not for sure, anyway. Nothing about a single moment I've had with Cora- not pregnancy, birth, recovery, infancy- in not one single moment have I felt closure, finality, or happiness at the thought of never doing this again. I have carefully packed away baby clothes, just in case. I have saved my maternity clothes in a bin in the garage, just in case. The moment Cora was born I pictured another little one 2.5 years later, completing the Landon + Claire and Cora + baby #4 buddy system I'd already created in my head. I joked about a fourth almost immediately, to the shock of JP who thought I'd lost my mind. And maybe I had and maybe we wouldn't have ever actually had another- we have a 3 bedroom house, we work, we hate minivans, we've already paid more to daycares than either of our college educations cost times two... but maybe we would have. Maybe. I love our big family. I love having a house full of young kids. I read the essays complaining about the tedium and awfulness of young children and I just think, that isn't true for me. Not that I don't understand it, I just don't feel that way and my kids don't behave that way and I LOVE this time in our lives. I love being the mom of our young growing family- watching the kids play together, going on family walks and bigger adventures, just living the day to day. We're busy and happy and may well have been done with the growing, but we're 31 and 32. We were supposed to have time to make a decision about the size of our family a few years down the road.

But now we don't. There's no decision. It's made and we didn't get to make it. Circumstance did and that sucks and there are so many other things about those circumstances that suck and this side effect that is in many ways irrelevant is just an extra punch in the gut. And I know that there are so many people who can't have children at all or can't have a much desired second or third and who knows if we even could have or would have had another, and we have three beautiful wonderful kids and we are so blessed and I know that. I do. But I spent about a month crying at random times and staring off into space because there is no possibility of me carrying another child of JP's and sometimes it hits me so hard I feel like I can't breathe.

I assumed that if we didn't have more children, it would be more of a non-decision; a realization at some point that we like where we are and we've moved on from the baby days so let's just go ahead and give away those baby clothes in the bins in the closet. Instead, I pack up Cora's 3 and 6 month clothes with the certainty that no baby of ours will wear them and I cry.

I wasn't done. But we are. And there are times when the finality of it just tears me apart.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Rainbows and Redecorating

So, remember 10 days ago when I broke my head? In the two days that followed Landon broke his fever (poor kid was super sick and could not wrap his brain around the fact he didn't feel well, it was all so new and mysterious and disappointing to him) and then my laptop broke itself. I've waited too long to write this post, so you are now spared the details of the 15 minute hurricane storm we had that blew a street sign past the car JP was driving home with the big kids in it, or the myriad of calls I had with Sony to fix my laptop while researching newer more expensive laptops (old/new laptop now fixed! many dollars saved!), or the obsessing I did over the fact that my new barre studio bosses wouldn't enter my classes into the system so no one knew they existed until two days before the first class and then I realized it was the wrong time and THEN I taught and people came and one of those persons had been signed up for the next class but then UN-REGISTERED the next morning and I immediately decided she hated me, obviously and I was slightly preoccupied with wondering why, but then my friend came to my class on Thursday and she said there was no wy she would have done another one 48 hours later because "goddamn girl, this is really hard." so maybe there's an explanation besides "I just don't like you." I slept for 80 minutes before my Friday early a.m. class, only in small part due to obsessing about attendance, but then I taught a great class and had a fantastic, super productive day, so now I think it's all going to work out. You should be SO GLAD you get to gloss over all of that. Oh teenage insecurities, they never go away, they just find new ways to fuck with you.

But look, a WonderBaby!

She's smaller, balder, and WAY more likely to create mischief than battle it, but she's pretty freaking wonderful all the same.

So a lot of other things have happened. We've started using the outdoors again and Cora has discovered she loves swings.

She needs you to put her in her swing and then she needs her sister to sit in the other swing and they need to swing together. Right now. Also, Landon needs to push her. Only Landon. Yes, right now.

She is tolerating that picture, but she mostly wants to know why no one is pushing her. As soon as I snapped it, she was pointing urgently at the other swing for Claire and staring at Landon expectantly. She may still have few words, but she is very clear about what she wants when she wants it.

Along with new barre classes, this week included Take Your Kids to Work Day! So I brought my kids.

Actually, JP brought them. I got in at the crack of dawn to actually get work done before they could come help. He brought Cora, who took 2 minutes to knock everything off my desk, delete multiple emails from my computer, attempt to jump out my 19th floor window, and climb up my bookcase. She was not allowed to stay.

The big kids were total assets to the Commission and they loved all the activities, particularly the walk through downtown (or "downtown," Fort Worth is adorable) to eat lunch with friends and the fire station tour that left everyone, including the attorneys, wanting to be firemen. The Cor-nado might get to participate next year.

stolen purse; stolen toothbrush; original grin


We also spent some time continuing to reorganize and redecorate the house. We (JP) hung up the dignitet wire curtain rods we bought a couple weeks ago so the kids could display their art work in their room.

And Landon got to put up his new animal pictures after asking me to take down his super hero posters. Iron Man has fallen to the mountain lion. For Landon anyway (RDJ forever!).

I used my local facebook buy/sell page to great advantage and found the perfect desk! After an unproductive trip to Ikea and MANY lost hours looking around online I just couldn't find the perfect thing for JP to have in the TV room (I'm kicking him and his messy work area out of my sun room) or for me to have in his place, particularly since I wanted to spend as few dollars as possible. But then someone listed her grandmother's rolltop desk and I fell in love AND I was the first person to see it! $175 and one car ride for JP later and I have this beautiful, old, memory and drawer-filled desk of my very own.

Isn't it beautiful?? I love the color; I love that it was the seller's grandmother's; I love that it is so substantive without having a huge footprint; I love that it rolls closed; and I LOVE that it is MINE.

JP has now been moved to the TV room where he can have stuff under and around and on top of the desk and no one will yell at him.

He's getting a whiteboard and I'm blowing up his two company logos and framing them so he will have something to look at, though he moves his laptop all over the house to work already, which is why I didn't feel bad taking his backyard view. His desk was never, ever going to be clean and I've accepted that by relocating him. Teamwork! (Or no? He did help me move the desk. Go team!) We also sold a bookcase, the glider, and the rug that used to be in the room. I have now MADE money by buying this desk. Seriously, everyone is winning.

And speaking of winning, I found the Clairest of dresses yesterday and Claire loves it so much I wish I'd bought two.

Bright, rainbow, maxi- I've already washed it twice so she can wear it "every day in a row."

Assuming Fort Worth doesn't get washed away in the giant tornado-warning storm that's lighting up the sky and pounding on my windows (the windows that are right next to my new desk!), I'm sure she'll be wearing it tomorrow. Have a great week!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Local Celebrity and First Day Present Pants

So I have half a post I started yesterday before realizing it was midnight and I needed to go to bed instead (we go to bed SO late and keep vowing to fix it and then, not doing that), but we're going to have to get back to that because I taught my first barre class at Zenfit tonight!

I haven't taught in nearly 4 weeks since my old studio hasn't needed me to sub, so I just had enough time to get nervous again. Particularly because my new studio owners are not Type A detail people and failed to post my class (a class that is at a brand new non-pre-existing time slot) until Sunday evening, and then I realized yesterday it was actually at the wrong time, so it was only correctly posted for about 24 hours and what if no one comes? What if one person comes and it's awkward? What if lots of people come and I can't keep track of my counting and timing and next moves? Ahh!

It was not surprising when I couldn't sleep last night, but I knew it was coming and read a book instead of getting mad about it. Work was good and then I picked up the kids and kicked off my crazy five minute whirlwind of running in the house in my very favorite high heels, getting Landon changed for soccer, putting together a snack and waters for everyone, changing Cora's diaper, and changing myself into my barre clothes and getting all my stuff together for teaching class.

(The heels; originally purchased in 2004 and pulled from my shoe archives this morning because I knew it was going to be a happy day. Aren't they beautiful?)

I'd be at soccer with the kids until we left 10 minutes early to swing by the house, drop the kids off with a just-arrived-JP (the fields are in the opposite direction of his pool, or else this would all work much better), and then go straight to my new class. It was all a bit chaotic and then I ran into our room to find this:

He'd bought me a new outfit for my first day.

He is very thoughtful and this might be a new entry in the top five most thoughtful things. "First Day" clothes are such a big deal to me and he knows that and thought of it and picked something out for me, from somewhere that is such an indulgence... it made my heart flutter.

Claire walked in, saw the bed and sighed, "Dad sure is nice to you Mom." Fact.

He's a keeper.

(He is also featured this awesomely hilarious triathlon forum a triathlete friend sent to us in which someone posted about visiting a DFW YMCA and sharing a lane with an amazing swimmer and how "This guy would pass by and I could feel the Tsunami from his stupid long arm. It literally pushed me over into the lane markers. I had to just stop and watch because I was hoping to learn something. Something that I have never been able to appreciate from the television watching professionals just dont get the true speed and power these guys have." and it's totally JP he's posting about! Then a bunch of people comment and someone says JP must have been showing off because no one does dolphin kick for warm-up (false) and my extremely-non-show-offy JP was super stressed out by the thought that random internet person could even THINK he was showing off that he responded to the forum before I could yell "noooooo don't do that!" but everyone was super nice and now they're all trying to figure out who he really is and the original poster keeps nixing all the suggestions because, as he explained, "The guy I posted about was very ripped and muscular with a beard." and I'm like yes, he is those things and I should probably get his autograph and then sell it on this forum. The whole thing is adorable.)

But back to me. Class went great! I was alone, and then four people came! which I thought was pretty good for this new class at a new time with 24 hours notice. And it's a fairly small studio, so having five people on the mats and at the barre felt like a real class and I didn't stumble on the moves and everyone was really sweaty and maybe happy at the end? I think, maybe? They didn't throw anything at me, but maybe because their arms were too tired. If nothing else, they got their money's worth! I hope. I would really like everyone to fill out report cards.

But my new very neon pants and I had a fabulous time. I really do love teaching and I can't wait to do it again on Thursday!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fevers and Frankenstein (and Fitness)

When I pulled out of my driveway Thursday morning, wearing an increasingly rare full suit with jacket and feeling rather powerful in it, I thought I'd have a full day of testimony followed by a rush to Landon's soccer practice and a second rush to get the kids home at the exact second JP pulled up in the driveway so I could run to my new barre studio to give my trial class to the two owners and my barre idol. I stopped at Starbucks on the way in for a Venti chai in preparation.

By Thursday at 3 p.m. I was done with testimony, had been told soccer was canceled for rain, and had a call with the other owner of the barre studio which ended with me not only not needing to do the trial class but somehow teaching three classes a week of my very own starting on Tuesday.

I drove home playing victory music and leaving a message for JP to meet me and the kids at Gloria's for celebratory margaritas and queso (and whatever else). Landon fleetingly mentioned having a headache when I picked him up, but I assumed queso would fix it as it does most things. I pulled up in the driveway to change out of my suit and heels and let the kids run around for about 45 minutes and then, and as I was holding Cora and leaning into the car to grab my purse I somehow smashed my forehead into the car door.

And I mean smashed.

It was breathtakingly shockingly stunningly painful. I couldn't even curse, I just started to cry, which freaked out Claire way more than cursing probably would have. When she saw the horn that immediately sprouted from my head, hers eyes got big and she said, "I'm going to go make you a card!" and rushed off to the play room.

I set Cora down and prayed she wouldn't start crying like she usually does when I set her down between 5 and 6 p.m., took some ibuprofen, sent a picture to my mom asking "do I need to go to the hospital?", and put some frozen corn on my head. While I was stretching out on the couch with my corn to google head injuries, I looked over at the other couch to find a shivering Landon huddled under blankets. I directed Claire to our thermometer, heaved myself up to take Landon's temperature, and discovered it was a 103. 103! Landon hasn't had a temperature since he was 2 years old, so of course the one time he gets sick in years, it's when his mom nearly bashes her brains in and can't care for him.

JP got home an interminable 90 minutes later to find Cora and Claire holding down the fort. He fed everyone, bathed everyone, and refreshed my frozen corn bags. By 10 p.m. my horn was much decreased, which I superficially cared about far more than the pain, and Landon's fever was still holding strong at 102.8, even after a second round of ibuprofen. We found him mumbling incoherently in his sleep, so we called the pediatrician, basically saying, "I know this is our third kid and blah blah fevers are productive, but this kid never gets them, never ever ever, and it's freaking both of us out."

The doctor told us some things to watch out for and Landon didn't have any of them, so I took my corn to bed. Landon stayed home from school today- an absence he was most upset about, and stayed huddled on the couch under blankets taking sips of Powerade and contemplating crackers. He wasn't even excited about his unlimited access to Netflix or my offer of any food in the house or grocery store. I had a brief errand to run at 4 and asked him if he wanted to pick up the girls or go home to another hour of quiet, he said, "another hour of quiet please." Poor kid, he was really quite sick, but woke up fever free and close to perky this morning, much to his sisters' relief.

So back to the barre- I'm teaching 3 classes! This may be too much, but my new bosses know this is a concern, so we'll take it as it comes. I used to go to class on Monday and Wednesday nights, Friday mornings and sometimes Sunday afternoons. Now I'll be teaching Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. and Friday early mornings at 6, so that will just take the place of all my former class going, only now I'll get a 10x harder workout, get paid, get to cancel my previous monthly studio membership, and get a discount at Lululemon! So I feel like I'm winning. Now I just need to get people to come to my class!

I went by this morning to get a picture for the facebook page (taken from my back right so you can't see my Frankenstein's monster horn), but I forgot my real camera and had to settle for my iPhone. Not the best, but it does give a preview of one of my favorite moves!

We actually went with this pic for the facebook announcement.

I love it because I had to crop out a giant Lili's burger and gorgonzola fries, which is why my smile is so big. It's also why I go to barre. If you're in Fort Worth or know anyone else who is- come join me!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Glossitis, Plus Things Not Involving Tongues

I went to the doctor today for something that sounded ridiculous when I made the appointment. My tongue hurts. It's been hurting since last Thursday. It started with tiny puffy little red dots on the very end of that pulsed in pain and fury every time I dare used this highly used muscle. Just try saying "ah, my tongue hurts!" at lunch with your co-workers every single time you try to take a bite of something. It is ridiculous. It is also immensely painful. You use your tongue constantly and when you eat you use it 1,000x more. I love eating. It has been a trial.

Then over the weekend it got worse and my tongue was angry and sore all the way down both sides. I couldn't eat or drink and my big plan for it to heal while I ignored it wasn't working. I called the doctor on Tuesday for a Wednesday appointment and then my throat exploded in the pain of a thousand pieces of broken glass around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning, and I winced and took ibuprofen until I saw the doctor at 3. Upside- I do not have strep. Downside- they have no idea what is going on, but we're calling it "glossitis" which sounds like a thing where someone wears too much lip gloss, but quite literally "inflamed tongue" that hurts. I'm on ibuprofen, a steroid shot, and a special treatment called "magic mouthwash." It tastes somewhat terrible but feels almost wonderful. This needs to go away, your tongue touches your teeth ALL THE TIME and every time mine does I wince and/or yelp a little. I'm tired of talking about my tongue in public circles. Or just, at all.

On the upside, my inability to put food in my mouth did help my "I'm going to go one week without cookies and cake to prove I don't have a problem with cookies and cake" vow from Friday. Though I have been swinging through the McDonald's drive-through before I pick up the kids (shhhh; they don't know drive-throughs are an option in their life) to buy a $0.49 vanilla cone, but that's medicinal. And today I added an order of fries. And I came home to a box of donuts from JP's client. But no cookies or cake!

~ ~ ~

The kids and their tongues are doing awesome. Landon remains an animal obsessed super sociable pacifist. He's super fast, super smart, and unbelievably generous to his sisters with his heart, toys, and ability to hug, hold, and reach high things. He doesn't believe in possessions and will probably live in a commune someday. I hope he can find one near a major airport so we can visit.

Today I realized JP and my general policy against eating at chain restaurants (we just have so many amazing and unique local ones!) is having interesting effects on the next generation:

Landon: Mom, have you heard of Dominos?
Me: Like the game?
Landon: No it's pizza that comes to your house!
Me, laughing: Oh, yeah, I've heard of that.
Landon: Could we maybe eat it one day? Neil says it's really good.
Me: Ha, well, I'm sure we will, but Pizza Snob and Mellow Mushroom are even better, so we like to go there.
Landon, skeptical: Neil said Domino's is the best.

So peer influence has headed our way via his best friend and chain pizza-pusher.

If Landon's lap is empty, a Cora will be in it soon

Claire remains utterly herself- enthusiastic, wily, affectionate, assertive, and accessorized.

Mommy look, Cora is so beautiful!

On Monday morning before work, I was walking by her on my way to the kitchen and she yelled:

Claire: OH. MOM. STOP!
I did and she grabbed my waist and pulled me down to eye level
Claire: Mom. You earrings are SO beautiful!!
Me: Oh, thanks Claire!
Claire, patting me on the shoulder as she walked away: You are going to have SUCH a good day.

She's smart in a frighteningly manipulative way that she mostly uses for the greater good, but always uses for the greater Claire. Landon, whose lowest grade was a 97 last term, is in WAY over his head in their daily negotiations. She forgets nothing and can see 3 steps ahead of whatever Landon is currently suggesting, but she is also an incredibly patient and loving big sister and always includes Cora in her play.

Cora is 17 months old and bold, bald, and beautiful. She is learning so! many! things! and has such! strong! opinions! about everything.

When she is in a good mood, which is still the vast majority of the time, I can't imagine that a more delightful and happy baby exists in all the world. I have to stop myself from constantly picking her up and squishing her. She ADORES her big siblings. She barks at every dog she sees. She gives sloppy open mouth kisses. She follows multi-step directions. She speaks a few words and understands many more, but refuses to acknowledge that I have a title. This ranks me below dada, ruff ruff, tummy, ear, nose, belly button, Tex, Landon, Claire, no, yes, more, food, milk, water, ball, outside, and at least twenty more. She loves to play dressup and always has a hat and purse (or lunch box or shopping bag) on the crook of her arm.

She walks imperiously about the house relocating items and talking to herself. She feels strongly that my mini eye makeup remover bottle belongs in my shoe organizer. She feels even more strongly that the TV remote belongs in her hands. She's a climber. She likes to help. She is certain she is at least 5 years old.

She flings herself down any slide at any park at a high velocity and doesn't seem to mind when she fails to stick the landing on the hard ground below, and just brushes her hands off and heads to climb again. She often yells at me from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., but rewards me with smiles and not-yelling if we go outside. She thinks she's in charge of our house, and but for bedtime, she's probably right.

thought she couldn't reach the box on the table; was wrong

She's getting so big, but she's still so much our baby.

~ ~ ~

It additional non-tongue news for me, I got a tentative offer to teach a permanent class at another barre studio! I'm super excited, though a little nervous as I'm doing a test class tomorrow night for the two owners and one of the other barre teachers (who happens to my barre idol and crush; she taught at my current studio and left a few months ago for this new one). I have my set list all planned out, but it's a lot scarier to teach for experienced barre-goers who might hire me and a barre teaching legend (in my own head, anyway) than it would be a normal class with a mix of experience and expertise. I'm taking testimony tomorrow and am WAY more nervous about what I'll be doing at 7:30 p.m.

But I bought a gorgeous new workout tank, and have promised myself these awesome pants if I get the job, so I'm sure it'll be fine. New clothes are a great motivator (the last two times I've tried to treat myself to something at Lulu I just haven't been able to find the perfect thing, and it must be perfect for me to buy something there), but I honestly just really REALLY want to teach. It's like being an associate at the firm again where you never get to talk in depositions and then one day someone lets you sub in for the partner a few times and you get the thrill and terror of asking all the questions and then the partner comes back and you're back in the quiet corner, and while depositions are still exciting, they aren't nearly AS exciting and now you just want to make partner. Tomorrow is me trying to make partner. And get new yoga pants.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Birthday Drinks for Hobbits and Other Exciting Things

I was going to write a post yesterday to catch up on the last week, but then I didn't have time because of double soccer games, my discovery of a new yoga studio (so beautiful! so invisible to google maps!), and a free makeover I forgot I had signed up for at the Benefit counter at Ulta a few weeks ago, and then it was suddenly 6:00 and I needed to get ready for a date night and date nights are so exciting that we're going to talk about that now instead. Cora wearing a fire hat and diaper while emptying the dishwasher to follow later this week. I know, it's hard to wait, but:

We went on a date! It was in celebration of the swim school's 2nd birthday and we were very excited to get fancied up and eat food slowly over multiple courses without children. As I told the makeup artist at Ulta, who was excited about my date night for me, "yeah, it's always exciting when my husband wears pants."

[funny look from very sweet makeup person]

"Ha, I mean, he's covered, just not with pants . . . He's a swim coach, so he's usually half naked. Jeans are a really big deal."

I think she got me, though I didn't add that I don't exactly mind the uncovered look.

Oh Cora, are you also in this picture?

So! Back to date night. We decided on a new downtown restaurant, Vivo 53, because it looked like a place that was nicer than we'd probably bring the kids, but not so expensive that we couldn't order everything we wanted on the menu.

And so we did. We ordered everything we wanted on the menu: Roasted Cauliflower with Greek Yogurt (a-freaking-mazing), Chicken Meatballs, Housemade Burrata, Lasagna, Garlic Ciabatta Bread, Crispy Prosciutto Pizza, Spicy Sausage Pizza, Ice Cream Sandwiches, and Creme Brulee. And four drinks. Four drinks that turned into six drinks because our first two took forever and our apologetic waiter started bringing us extras.


My favorite part, besides all the food- of which not even a crumb remained, astonishing our skeptical waiter- and the excellent company, was when JP's choice of overpriced hand crafted cocktail came to the table. JP never orders drinks because (1) he's not a big drinker and (2) it makes him crazy to pay the extra $$ to drink his beer or rare glass of bourbon in a restaurant as opposed to at home. So it was a big deal when he ordered the $13 hand crafted tequila something cocktail and thus an even bigger disappointment (and even more hilarious to me) when this tiny "drink for a hobbit" came to the table.

Can I get this in the adult human version?

Luckily, some of the drinks were normal sized and mine was one of them.

It was all delicious, though the cauliflower and pizzas and ridiculous chocolate shortbread cookies with homemade amaretto ice cream sandwiches were particularly good (ah, the memories). Afterward, we walked off our 8 plates of food with a stroll down Main Street for the Arts Festival that we forgot was going on. Some live music and fresh air later we headed back home, walking through our charming little downtown with twinkling lights and the occasional tall building and I thought, I love this so much. This man, this city, this life, this company he started that I'm so freaking proud of. He has 175 swimmers signed up for this Spring session and he's become so well known in our community. Having a small business in a smallish city is really a fun old-fashioned feeling kind of thing.

from the swim school's birthday party at the pool

Fourteen years after we first met, when he drunkenly told me along the sidewalks of 6th Street that "my big dream is to own my own company one day," and even then my risk-averse not-even-a-lawyer-yet-brain yelled "danger! no! good luck with that you crazy drunken person", and I'm (finally) the enthusiastic other half of a small business owner.

And I'm even the enthusiastic other half of a small business owner who started ANOTHER small business. Details as soon as the website is live, but basically JP developed a new swim product and has done a ton of work- applying for a patent, working with China to develop the prototype, finding a warehouse to store and drop ship it, etc.- and he now has 500 of these products headed our way. And I was encouraging him the whole time! Really, I'm proud of both of us. (I mean, mostly him, but my aversion to risk and preference to just shut down anything that might hint at risk is a very real thing.) But it's a great idea and a great product and I can't wait to link to the website and go on another date night to celebrate its launch!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Stitchfix: The First of the Fixes

I think about half of my facebook feed is on Stitch Fix* and I've long thought it was an awesome concept and have loved seeing people post their fixes and invite opinions on articles of clothing- pretty much my favorite thing to have an opinion on- but I felt like it wasn't for me. Unlike many of my friends, I love shopping, and because I do a lot of my shopping at discount stores, most of what I buy costs about half of the average Fix item.

But then I spent two hours on a random Saturday flipping through every rack in my local Marshall's and arrived home feeling annoyed and regretful at missing that time with the kids. I realized, even with a bag full of cute clothes at the end, that shopping just isn't the fun escape it used to be for me. I exercise now, which wasn't true for my first 6 years of parenting, so I get my little bit of weekend kid-free-time at the barre or on my yoga mat, and I just don't want any more. And in fact, I'm downright resentful of anything else that pulls me away from them and JP and just being home home. The kids are easy and fun and they mostly let me do my own thing while I overhear their hilarious conversations and increasingly creative pretend scenarios, and stepping out to run errands for a couple of hours is no longer my indulgence, it's a time suck, and I want to do less of it.

I've also reached a point in my wardrobe where I've finally settled in a certain size, cleared out everything that doesn't fit, added in a few new basics like the perfect pair of jeans and some work staples, and now just want the occasional fun new item to appear in my closet. I don't need quantity, I'm no longer replacing entire categories of clothes like I was doing for a while, it's just quality- that perfectly fitted fun new top to spice up my casual Friday work wear, or whatever.

My style is very simple and classic (or boring, depending on your view)- what I wore today is a perfect example: solid navy blue jersey dress with a fitted waist, fun necklace, nude peep toe pumps. I like what I like and have strong opinions about what I don't like, but now that my body is different, I'm wondering if there's categories of clothes I'm missing out on.

Which is all to say, I signed up for Stitch Fix.

For those who don't know, Stitch Fix is "the first fashion retailer to blend expert styling, proprietary technology and unique product to deliver a shopping experience that is truly personalized for you. Simply fill out the Stitch Fix Style Profile and our personal stylists will handpick a selection of five clothing items and accessories unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. You can buy what you like and return the rest!" And that's exactly what I found- you fill out a pretty detailed fashion survey, plus info on your sizing (which made me very nervous because my sizing is weird and how can a stranger possibly know what would fit me when I have to take two sizes back to most dressing rooms myself?), needs and wants, etc. And then you pay a $20 styling fee that will be credited toward any item(s) you keep and you get free shipping with a free return bag to go back. Pretty nifty.

So I did my style profile (Maxi dresses and skirts look bad on me! I want more patterns! I love color and hate neutrals! Etc.) and waited. Today my box arrived and I rushed home at lunch to try everything on. And honestly, I was kind of underwhelmed. I was expecting bright spring colors and got a lot of jewel tones instead. And I like jewel tones, but I was picturing yellow and orange and aqua on fun boutiquey items I couldn't pick up at Banana or my usual discount stores, and I'm not sure that's what I got. That said, the whole idea was to make me look at clothes I would otherwise pass by on the rack, so please, I would love to hear your opinion before I have to decide what to send back on Friday.

Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan (S; $48)

I didn't even take pictures of this because it's a plain lightweight long sleeve navy blue cardigan. It's fine, and it fit, but I already have one from Target that was $15 and there's no way I need another at $48.

Verdict: Going back, with a note for no more cardigans unless there's something really special about the one being sent.

Livie Abstract Chevron Maxi Dress (S; $78)

So, I said no maxi dresses because maxi dresses flatter everyone in the world except me. My waist to hip ratio is weird and the long flowiness of the dresses always make me look like I've gained 20 lbs. As I wrote to my stylist in my profile, "maxi skirts that hit the hip, yes; maxi dresses that flow past the hips, no; they just don't work with my proportions." Annnnd I got sent a maxi dress. I withheld judgment thinking maybe this is the magical maxi dress that will flatter my teenage boy hips, but no.

It's fine. Cute pattern, but it does nothing for my shape and I haven't spent more than $50 on a dress in years, so this is certainly not the one to make me do it.

Verdict: Going back.

Taluca Printed Pencil Skirt (XS; $58)

I also said I didn't like skirts because they rarely fit me right (the hip/waist thing again- I have to go up a size to fit my waist and then they just bag at the hips) or if they do magically fit me (like the one they picked out; major bonus points for that), I never know what to wear with them. I dislike tucking in shirts but when I wear shirts over the skirt, I feel like I lose the proportions that made the skirt look cute in the first place.

Skirt alone: cute, it fits, etc.

I paired this one with the Dolman Jersey Top they sent me, though I'm not sure they actually go together (there's no dark purple in the skirt; it's navy), but the combo looked better than I expected. Way better than most skirt/top combos look on me, so that was impressive. I also paired it with a navy tee I already owned and this is where I feel like I lose the flattering proportions.

I just finished giving away all my skirts because I'd accepted that I was never going to wear them, but will this one make me turn the corner? As always when I try on the rare skirt that fits, I get it on and think, yes! this looks great! and then I add tops and think, eh, I wish it was a dress. So I'm not sure I need to own a skirt that I only like by itself because I don't really go anyway that I can wear it topless.

Verdict: Unknown.

Queensland Dolman Jersey Top (S: $48)

I like this top more than expected, but am going to email to ask about a smaller size. There's just a bit too much fabric and the band that should be fitted at the hips is pretty loose. So I like the concept, and like the style, but I think it's volume would annoy me and keep me from pulling it out of the closet as much as it deserved. A size down should fix that and then I think we may have a winner.

Volume! I appear to be skeptical of it

Verdict: Like it; requesting smaller size.

Montgomery Chevron Cross-Front Top (S; $48)

I love a good chevron and I really like the blue and green together, so this is probably my favorite item. But it's a simple knit fabric I find in many tops at uber-discount-chain Ross, so I feel like I should love it more than I do for it to be my favorite item. With the $20 styling fee deducted, this is $28, so I'll probably keep it, but I wish it was just a little more- more unexpected or unique, I guess? It seems wrong to fault a Fix for being too like me, but that's kind of what this top is.

I also kind of wonder if it should go down a size too? But it is cute and I have a pair of navy blue shortie shorts for summer that will look adorable with it, so I think it will get a lot of wear... but I wonder if I'm making myself like it more because I want to like something and not just waste my fee.

Verdict: Like it; questioning value; also questioning smaller size.

(Also, I really, REALLY need to get better lighting in my closet.)

~ ~ ~

So, thoughts? Am I being too harsh? Blind to the glories of skirts and maxi dresses? I'm biased, but I can be reformed (like with the maxi skirts I'm now obsessed with)- is there anything I'm not viewing properly? I do think it's fun having someone else pick out your clothes, and I'm hoping that as I give feedback I'll get fixes that I'm more excited about when I open up the box (and my stylist doesn't see "no maxi dresses" as a challenge instead of the "seriously, no maxi dresses" it's meant to be). Fellow fixers, how was your first fix? Did it take a little while for your stylist to get to know you? I have 2 more days to figure out what items to send back and what kind of commentary to send back with them!

(*Referral link. If you try Stitchfix and use this link, I get a referral credit and it won't cost you a thing! I never advertise on here, but I figure why not get something for a referral if I happen to make one? Though hopefully I'll have far more enthusiastic posts that might actually lead to referrals in the future :).)