Monday, January 16, 2023


Happy 2023! We're 16 days in already and the last piece of our beautiful coral velvet sectional that will go in the gameroom is supposed to be complete in "mid January" and I feel like that is now and yet apparently it is not.
On the upside, many other things have been delivered and it remains the longest Christmas ever around here with boxes still arriving at a regular, if slower, pace. Like the ping pong table above, which has been played on every day for two weeks, including before school and very late at night. It will be moved further back in the room once the couch arrives, but so far it's the kids' favorite piece of furniture.
We received Claire's bed after Christmas. She is very excited to finally no longer be sleeping on her mattress on the floor. Her nighstand comes tomorrow, her desk on Thursday, and then she's done! The last two pieces of bedroom furniture still missing in all four bedrooms. It's a very exciting time.
Maggie got a new room of her very own. We felt that since the other children were getting one, she should too. She really likes it.
We also got our beautiful new coffee table, which I love VERY much. It was one thing James picked out for the house all on his own, after not liking the options I presented, and it is perfect.
On a related note, I have been looking for 3 months for a big piece of art to go in the living room. I wanted something substantive- the wall is really big, and I didn't want another collage or multi-piece set. I also wanted something that went with the colors we had chosen for the room, but also added to them. James wanted texture- he likes things that were actually painted- and I wanted a canvas, no frame. I had poured over Etsy and other art sites, but it's so hard to commit to something more than 7-feet long without seeing it in person. It's also hard to commit when the unstretched canvases are close to $1,000 and I don't even know if it's perfect yet. And so I continued to look.

But then, during a random drop-in at Homegoods in search of throw pillows, I came upon this beautiful gigantic piece. Nearly 8 feet long, 5 feet tall, it was EXACTLY what I wanted. I bought it immediately, for $299, and wheeled it out to my car where it was immediately clear it had on chance of fitting inside (spacial reasoning is not my thing). I asked them to hold it, drove home, got James's car and a very enthusiastic teenage Landon to help me, and after folding down every seat just baaaaaarely fit it in.
I love it with my whole heart. Someday I would love to find an artist to commission a custom piece, or come upon something beautiful in a Dallas gallery, but for the next many years, this will be perfect.
Our new couch was delivered last week, after we expected it to arrive in March, so that was very exciting! I love the beautiful curved lines, though sadly, I hated the back half pillow thing that made the couch not deep enough for me to sit cross-legged while I type on my laptop and being able to sit cross-legged while I type is very important to me.
It's a custom piece, so non-returnable. I decided to address the issue by removing the long lumbar pillow and add throw pillows and now it is perfect. This is a relief because making a purchasing mistake I can't undo is a personal nightmare of mine.
The kids and cats like it very much and I can now sit on it in my preferred style, so crisis averted.
The kids went back to school, and I went back to work in person, last week.
It made everyone a little cranky by Friday morning's wakeup call, but I did have fun putting on makeup and drying my hair for the first time since Christmas Eve. I continue to love my outfits from Bonnie and take pictures each morning to send my mom.
After 5 days of pre-6 am wakeup calls, we were grateful for the 3-day weekend to recharge.
Recharge and do more home decor projects. James loves how every weekend provides us with more opportunities to bond over installing something in the house.
Like new curtain rods! The ones from the old owners were simply too short (why would you only frame the actual window in an inset window nook?) and while I tried to make them work, I couldn't, and so- this weekend's project! Or one of them anyway. I also ordered another set of the same curtains so now they look plush and full and make me very happy.
We also got gas logs put in the fireplace and Maggie is even more pleased than I am.
I've realized that as the kids have gotten older I have fewer and fewer pictures of them in my photo roll. The last two weeks have been full of things- friends, sleepovers, parties, sports, general teenage shenanigans, and yet, the only pictures I have are of Cora, because she is the only one generally still stuck with us much of the time.
She thrives in her only childhood status, which is good since she'll be one for all of her high school years, which blows my mind every time I think about it. For now she is the only one left who still shows pure undiluted joy everytime she realizes I'm home. I worked from home on Friday and when she came in the door (she walks home by herself, and feels quite strongly about doing so) and realized I was in the study she yelled, "MOM! You're HERE! I LOVE THAT HAPPENS!"
I do too.

One of my very best childhood friends came to visit me on Saturday. She and her husband were in town for a wedding and I made them lunch and then hung out with her for a few hours while he went back downtown to fulfill his groomsman duties. It was an absolutely lovely visit. We've been friends since early elementary school- since at least 3rd grade, which is the one Cora is in now. I love thinking about that.

Megan has two kids, ages 6 and 2, and it struck me over and over what a different phase of parenting life I'm in.

And I love the big kid phase of life. It is WAY less physically demanding. I say things to James like, "oh I'm going to Miami for 3 days next week" and he's like "okay." We don't check each other's workout schedules or coordinate when each of us will be going up and down the driveway to ensure kid coverage at all times. We run errands together when we feel like it, grab a mid-week dinner date when we want one, and generally live lives dictated by our own wants and needs as much as the kids. (Assuming of course that we generally WANT to be with the kids, which we do.) When we all hang out together, we can watch movies we enjoy, play card games that our cutthroat and competitive, and plan big trips together where everyone does research and contributes ideas and recommendations. They do substantive chores, genuinely help the house run, and together with James, form my very favorite group of people. I love it.

However, there is quite a lot we miss about having toddlers. One that I didn't anticipate was the hard bedtime. I know bedtime is not like this for some, but for us it was always an absolute hard stop, at a set time, with no fluctuation or parental involvement. "Go to bed." was pretty much the extent of our routine and we were fully off-duty minutes later. I did not realize how much James and I absorbed from those hours that used to exist between "kids in bed" and "parents in bed." Movies, shows, talking, flirting, working- often combinations of 2-3 or more of those options. It was amazing and it is MISSED.

On weekends, Landon often goes to bed later than we do. Claire is supposed to go to bed earlier, but often has follow-ups that extend her awake hours and she's pretty good at regulating her sleep so if she's not tired, she's not tired. Cora is supposed to go to bed at 8:30, but we don't eat dinner until 7:45 when Landon gets home from swimming, so that's a tight deadline we rarely make. Claire goes to bed at 9 during the week and generally makes that and Landon goes to bed around the same time because he has 6 am morning swim practice, but that's often closer to 9:30 and by that point James and I are also heading to bed because we have a kid with 6 am morning swim practice. Claire has had two sleepovers at the house this long-weekend and both times they were up far later than we are and it's just so odd to not be the one who tucks in your house for bed. I also got a text from her at 11 pm asking that we "please not like 'do it' when she can still hear us," so add getting sex-shamed in your own house as a perk of parenting older children. It's back to sneaking around so my parents children won't know. 😂 While thinking about them leaving our nest for college is emotionally devastating (James and I were randomly talking about it last weekend and he suddenly called everyone downstairs and made us play a family card game because he cannot stand it), I suppose there will be some upsides.

And of course I have Maggie who demands almost nothing of me, requires zero rides to the mall, and never sends me late night text messages. It's nice to have someone I still feel in charge of.
And the cats. Not that anyone is really in charge of them, but they're fluffy and comforting and like to help me work.
This was a pretty meandering post, but also captures the last two weeks pretty well. Lots of home updates, kid logistics and teenage admonishment, and pet pictures. On the travel front, I go to DC this week and Houston the week after that. Landon has his big districts swim meet next weekend, which is very exciting because he just got cleared by his orthopedist to swim again. He is also doing his driving lessons with James, challenging everyone to ping pong games, and hogging the cats. Cora is playing basketball and loving it but also missing soccer and doing great at gymnastics. Claire is about to try out for volleyball and spends enough time with friends we now have to have forced family fun time scheduled out on the calendar. The house is coming along beautifully and I love every inch of it more every day that we are here. We have just a few pieces of furniture remaining to be delivered and 3 chandeliers to install and we're done! I'm well into Dry January and have avoided potential pot holes such as a fancy new partner dinner, friend gatherings, and going to my favorite Mexican restaurant that has my favorite frozen margaritas. I appreciate the reset and reframe of when I really enjoy the glass of wine with dinner or cocktail at a work event v. when I'm doing it because of habit or the forum I happen to be in.

And now it's back to hanging curtain rods! (And by "hanging" I mean, reminding James to finish hanging and give him verbal encouragement and feedback along the way.)


  1. Hi! I'm a fairly new follower (I found you via BOBW podcast) and I have been reading fairly religiously. I have always loved the old school journal/diary blog format and def drawn to those blogs more so now. I was reading a prior post of your decision to cut screen time and eliminate it when your kids were fairly young to just avoid all the problems that come with it. After reading that, I sort of instituted that within my own family and it's been SO helpful. (We weren't a huge screen family, but just eliminating the possibility at all when we're out, has been so helpful). I wanted to ask, if you're comfortable sharing, when you then allowed kids to have cell phones / ipads/tablets? Our kids are fairly young (6 & 3), and we don't have ipads in the house yet, but with my son starting school this past year, I hear the conversations he's having with his friends and I definitely foresee us getting him a tablet of some sort before he's in junior high, much to my dismay.

    1. Hi new follower! This is a great question and such a landmine and I have no idea what the right answer is except to say we haven't found it. It was so much easier, and truly so much better for our kids and family, to just have no screen time for years when the kids were little. Now it's a damn mess because schools require screens (which I LOATHE) and their social lives require a way to communicate directly with their peers (because no one has home phones anymore and at some point I no longer want to, or should be, the constant go-between with "texting the mom of the friend they want to hang out with").

      I'll say that we still don't own iPads. Each kid got an old iPhone of James and mine, without data (so no number, just an icloud email address they can use on wifi) that let them text their friends through iMessage and listen to music. They each got one around 10-11, though Cora got one younger, at 8, because of the move and I wanted her to be able to text her friends (who all had their own version of a phone anyway). This slowly bled into apps and games and being on screens not only for communication or road trips. Every time we push it back, we all enjoy life more, and yet it somehow creeps anyway.

      The big kids got real phones with a data plan and number at 8th grade (7th for Claire; again I blame move-guilt). We have been very strict with social media - absolutely none, and that's a hill I'll die on, but Claire is 12 and on her phone *constantly* facetiming with friends, on massive group chats, and otherwise living her social butterfly life. Landon seems to go days without touching his. I spent two hours last weekend going through the screen time controls so they can't be on certain apps all the time because it truly does just make them less enjoyable humans and they aren't old enough to control themselves with an addictive substance (i.e., electronic device).

      So I don't know. General takeaway is it was easier when they were younger and we controlled everything. :). But I think the base we set young has helped them handle technology better than a lot of their friends. My kids would never bring a phone to the table, or be on it at a restaurant when we are together. It would be a breach of a core value. But are we still finding times we have to teach them phone etiquette, or have a family chat in the car in the driveway of my parents' house when we arrive ("you will not be idly on your phone when another family member is in the room; etc.") or just collect devices for some uninterrupted family time? Absolutely. So I think holding off for a long time was absolutely right for us - we enjoyed those years without added drama or fights, and there's some baseline for technology later, but it by no means we aren't still constantly putting up boundaries and having teens press against them now.

  2. You inspired me to work with a stylist myself. I've loved the new clothes and boost of confidence! This post should be known as the post that launched a thousand Google image searches - I am dying to know the brand/where you bought those adorable sneakers in the bottom right photo?

    1. Oh that makes me so happy! I found it to be such a fantastic investment that distilled down what I already owned and gave me insight into what would truly add value to my wardrobe if I did buy something new. I shop so differently (and so much less) now. And those shoes are Birdies - they are SO comfortable (I have a pair of their flats as well) and apparently currently on sale! I'm jealous. Birdies Roadrunner Sneaker.

    2. I just purchased them! I love plaid. I hadn't noticed them in your pic so I'm super happy the comment was made about them. I have to wear orthotics so a removable insole is a necessity, which means I only wear athletic type shoes generally. It's hard to find cute, supportive ones that don't scream running shoes.

  3. Beautiful home and kids! I am a longtime reader and I just love the drapes in your office. Where did you get them?