the one about the trouble with babies

Babies.

Full of trouble, babies are.

They keep us awake at night. And then just when we think we are going to sneak in a nap, they keep us awake during the day, too.

They cry. Early on, they cannot communicate their needs and wants very well, so crying is their method of choice.

And then they start talking. Which is great, but then the talking turns to whining. And asking 3,582 questions an hour.

Babies are stinky. You see colors of poop you didn't know existed. Before long, you become that mom who lifts the baby's bottom to nose level, take a big whiff, and determine what deed has been done.

Babies are expensive. We buy any $35 trinket marketed for better sleep or less fussiness or higher intelligence. We buy expensive strollers and diapers and car seats and nursery sets and diapers and clothes and toys and swings and diapers and bouncers and diapers.

But none of this is the trouble.

No, definitely not.

The trouble with babies is that they grow.



They start off so small. We fall in love with the tiny feet and tiny hands and tiny nostrils and tiny butt cheeks. The newborn diapers are so adorable that our new mama hearts explode into rainbow unicorn confetti. The sleepers and onesies are darn near doll-size, and this delights us to no end.



And then they grow.



Before long, we are packing away the newborn clothes, crying softly in the attic. Holding up each outfit and remembering the spit-up stains or the occasion for that frilly dress. Some things (a lot of things) still have tags attached because the baby just grew too quickly to wear everything.



The "Next Size Up" game continues every few months for the next couple of years. Shoes and coats continue to grow larger, too. Before you know it, diapers turn to underwear and your baby just isn't a baby anymore.



In the blink of an eye, you're registering your baby for Kindergarten. That can't be right, can it? Didn't you just have that baby? Weren't you just holding her in your arms, shushing her to sleep? Wasn't she just babbling her first word and stumbling through her first steps?




Yes, the trouble with babies is that they grow.

And that they are terrible listeners, because you're certain you told her at least a trillion times to stop growing! Don't get any bigger!

But she does. She just keeps growing.

As you begin this next chapter of life, you realize that you will not only witness additional physical growth in your baby, but you will see growth in many other ways.

Growth in the confidence to meet a new friend, to stand up for someone being picked on, to walk into the school building, alone, without looking back.

Growth in the courage to try out for a team, to stay all night at a friend's house, to state an unpopular opinion.

Growth in knowledge.

Growth in faith.

The trouble with babies is that they grow.


And the trouble with mamas is that we don't want to let them.

the one about the rebound stitch fix

I think, if my memory serves me correctly, this is my fifth Stitch Fix. I am calling this my "rebound" Stitch Fix because my fix prior to this one was bad. Just bad. I ended up keeping two items from it, which doesn't sound too terrible (and I do wear the jeans from that fix pretty much round the clock, daily), but the items I didn't keep were downright yucky.

My faith in Stitch Fix was wavering. Could I trust it again? Could I get my hopes up, only to be disappointed, again? Would I be able to put the past behind me and move forward in my relationship with Stitch Fix? Have I been a fool all along?

Well, I had some credit from referrals and a Mother's Day gift, so I decided to give it another try. I pretty much reamed the stylist in the feedback of the previous fix, which I feel is the only way to really get some different items. You can't be wishy-washy and say everything was "just OK." You need to include specific details about what you did and did not like, and it's ok to throw in words like "horrible" and "disgusting." It gets the point across.

I scheduled this most recent fix for the week of my birthday. I thought it would either be a super fun gift to myself, or a huge disappointment, but I was willing to take the risk.

In her note, the stylist mentioned my birthday and also my Pinterest board, so at least she was attempting to match some items to the ideas I had pinned.

I asked for fun florals or bright prints and patterns, and I definitely received those this time around. I was pretty pleased at the selection and diversity in the fix. I was given three tops, a fun, flouncy skirt, and a tote bag. I actually really liked the tote and was excited to receive it.

Most notably, this time, were the prices. I ripped the stylist a new one about the cost of some of the previous items. I believe it was something like $60 for a yellow cotton tank top that I could easily buy at Target for $9.99. I let her know that I was never, ever going to pay that kind of money for an item like that, and I was pleased to see that every item in this fix was under $55, and most of them were under $50. Much better!

I kept everything this time, and I look forward to continue to rekindle my fire for Stitch Fix in the future. I am thinking of scheduling an early Fall fix in September or so. I also am going to make specific requests for dresses. I have barely any casual dresses that I can wear to teach preschool in or out around running errands. I have acquired quite a few tops and a couple great pairs of jeans via Stitch Fix, and now I'm ready to add some dresses to my wardrobe. I don't have a great "dress" figure...meaning I have the shape of a boxy major home appliance with no natural waist. It isn't easy to find dresses that flatter AND do not make people question if I am pregnant or not. I am looking forward to challenging the stylist and am already mentally preparing myself for the experience.

Here are my items:

1. Le Lis Truxton Embellished Crew Neck Blouse


(The color is navy, though it photographs black.)

I loved this the second I laid eyes on it. I loved the subtle floral pattern, the flowy shape, and the embellished neckline. I really do not wear costume jewelry at all, so this gives the neckline some sparkle without having to wear a necklace. I wore it to my birthday dinner with my husband, and it paired perfectly with my Just Black dark denim jeans I purchased a few fixes ago.

2. 19 Cooper Astair Abstract Print Blouse

(You guys. This photo is horribly blurry. Horribly. Once I realized how bad it was, I seriously was too lazy to reshoot it.)

I was excited to receive an abstract print top. I really love all the geometric, Aztec-type prints right now, and this top not only had a fun print but also a great color. It's a really great coral-red, and it looks great with jeans. In the style cards, they show this paired with a white pencil skirt. I'm not sure pencil skirts are in my future, but I could do white pants or jeans. This is why I enjoy the style cards-- I wouldn't normally think of that combination.

3. Fun2Fun Holsten Crochet Trim Blouse

(Kinda has a granny-chic look to it, right?)

This is probably the top I was least excited about upon initial inspection. I wasn't crazy about the print. However, when I tried it on, the little sleeves were very flattering. You have to give everything a chance. You never know if you're going to surprise yourself by liking something you wouldn't have looked at twice at the store.

4. Pixley Hanneli Polka Dot Swing Skirt

(Before you ask me my diet secrets, please know this skirt is folded in half on the hanger.)

This skirt is really cute. It's flowy and flouncy. I think circle skirts are adorable, and this one has a retro feel as well. The stylist actually suggested pairing this with the coral abstract print top...and maybe I will get the guts to try that. Regardless, I felt this skirt would be easy to dress up with heels and jewelry or dress down with sandals and a basic tank top.

5. Street Level Huron Reversible Magnetic Closure Tote


(The interior is this ivory color, which it can reverse to. This is the matching coin purse/pouch that came with the bag.)

While I wasn't really looking for a tote, I was pleasantly surprised to receive one. I like the size of this tote. It is not too big or overpowering. For me, the larger bag you have, the more crap you throw in it. I am trying to simplify my life, and often I go out with just my wallet and no purse or even a diaper bag. This tote can accomplish the task of carrying a couple diapers and wipes, my calendar, my wallet, and a few other necessities like snacks to smuggle into the movie theater. It is also reversible and came with a cute clutch/wallet. The interior is a warm white color. The material is very soft, and the gold has a matte finish with a subtle sheen-- not gaudy or tacky.

Are you curious about giving Stitch Fix a try? You can visit my first post about Stitch Fix to learn more about the process. If you decide to sign up, I'd love it if you would use my referral link, which earns me $25 in credit when you schedule your first shipment!

the one about showing up

I know it's been a while since I've written. I've talked about these phases before...the ones when I am so overwhelmed by thoughts and to-do's and dreams and regrets and everything all at once that I just quit things for a while.

I tend to shut down for a little bit, collect myself, refocus, and deal with only what needs to be addressed. Everything else takes a ride in the back seat for a bit until I can catch my breath.

And now that I've reset myself, I've got something that I need to confess.

This blog is nothing if it is not honest, so...here goes.

I drank a cup of shit water and didn't die.

Yes, it's true.

You're in the presence of a real, life bionic super human.

A few weeks ago, in an attempt to not drink as much Diet Coke, I got an ice cold water in a foam cup from McDonald's. It was so refreshing. I had left it out overnight in the baby's room slash my office, and I remembered it was there the following afternoon. 

Too lazy to actually go to the kitchen to get a new cup of water, I simply walked into the "noffice" (nursery office) and grabbed the cup off my desk and took a big swig.

Swished it around a little in my mouth.

Seconds later, I was perplexed.

Why, oh why, did my refreshing sip of water, taste what I would imagine sewage to taste like?

Meh. I swallowed it.

When I went to the sink to dump out the seemingly "expired" water (I'm no scientist), I was met with the most horrific sight.

A dirty baby wipe, swimming in light brown, poopy water.

I gagged.

I nearly cried.

I brushed my teeth immediately.

Twice.

I knew exactly what had happened. 

My husband has a bad habit of stuffing trash (including dirty diapers and wipes) in cups and other vessels he just finds laying around the house. He thinks he will remember to throw them away later, but he doesn't.

Clearly.

So, unbeknownst to me, I drank out of my husband's latest trash bin. 

I love my children, truly I do, but tasting their fecal matter was nothing I ever wanted to accomplish in life.

But what can I say? I'm an overachiever.

I couldn't help but lay awake in bed that night, wondering if being a stay at home mom was for me. 

I also compulsively Googled deadly illnesses contracted by drinking feces, but that's for another post.

And no. It wasn't this shitcident (see what I did there?) that forced me into a few weeks of solitary. It was merely a culminating event, following several days of deep contemplation about what I was doing with my life.

And if you believe in signs and all that...I'd say ingesting one of my daughter's waste slushies was a big, red, flashing, beeping sign that I should renew my teacher's license immediately. Like, yesterday.

For the two weeks following this pivotal day in my life, I was just straight depressed.  Then grumpy. Then some more depression, followed by a bit more grumpy.

Was this what my life had become? A Fear Factor-America's Funniest Videos mashup? I have a college degree! I have big plans and big dreams that don't involve learning to sing the Doc McStuffins theme song in 7 different accents! I used get emails that required a well-worded, timely response!

I was important.

And then it hit me. 

I was important? Why do I no longer feel important? Was my career the only thing that defined me as important? 

Am I no longer valued, needed, or held to high standards because I no longer teach full-time? 

Are my successes not to be counted, simply because they don't look like the successes of other people?

Am I really nearly 31 years old and still trying to compare myself to others?

So, after several days of sulking, telling my husband I needed to go back to teaching, and convincing myself I was worthless, I decided to give myself a kick in the ass and snap out of it. 

My daughters are watching my every move and listening to my every word. 

I asked myself what I would tell my children if they were feeling the way I was feeling, and I gave myself a good ol' fashioned pep talk.

There are many kinds of important. It takes all the kinds. Not everyone can be the same kind of important. That would be boring and useless. We need everyone to be their own important so that all the jobs get done and everyone knows their place in this world.

There are four seasons in a year, but there are about a gazillion seasons of life. Some are happily or sadly short. Others are blissfully or painfully long. Some seasons are exciting and fun and enjoyable. Others are tiring, depressing, and uncertain. Accept that nothing lasts forever and seasons change...sometimes without warning.

Success is relative and personal. Don't measure your successes against the successes of others. Success is how you feel about your accomplishments and not about how others notice or recognize them. Yes, it feels good to be praised outwardly, but that is nothing compared to how it feels to be proud inwardly. Do what makes you feel proud inside, and you have achieved success.

You are valued. You are loved. You are expected to show up. Even when you don't want to-- you are expected to wake up each day and embrace your role. Some are required to show up in a dress suit and stilettos. You are required to show up at least wearing pants. This does not make you less of a person. 

And on the bad days, because there will always be bad days, remember that you drank a shit slushie and did not die. Surely, you can handle just about anything.