Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mom Hacks: StitchFix

When I became a mom, I lost one of my favorite hobbies: 
shopping at the mall. 
As my body changed 
(read: got a helluva lot bigger) 
and I continued to purge my closet of not-appropriate-mom-attire
(goodbye, faded jean mini skirt)
I had less and less and less clothes to wear. 

I tried to tackle this problem the same way 
that I tackled buying baby gear and Christmas gifts: 
Unfortunately, I am a LOUSY online shopper. 
What looks good on the air-brushed anorexic model
most definitely does NOT look good on me. 
Shocker, I know.

So my wardrobe suffered and I was frustrated. 

Enter: StitchFix

StitchFix is an online personal shopper. 
Sounds expensive, right?  
It's really isn't.

Here's how it works:
1. You sign up (see link at bottom of post). 

2. You fill out an extensive style profile.  
This isn't just your measurements, this is how you like clothes to fit, what parts of your body you like to show off, dressing habits, color, material, etc.  You can even link to your pinterest board for inspiration.
This also includes a section on pricing, where you enter your ranges. 
My price ranges look like this:
Accessories: cheaper the better,
Shirts & Bottoms: $50-$100,
Dresses: $100-$150.

3. You choose when you want your box to arrive. 
You don't have to sign up for a box immediately. 
You can fill out your style profile and wait a while, if you want.
This place is popular so lead times are up to 2 months!
If you love it, you can sign up for reoccurring boxes (like I have), 
but I'd say do a test box first.

4. Your box is assembled  
(usually less than a week before your selected delivery date) 
and your credit card is charged $20 ("styling fee").

5. Your box arrives at your house with 5 items. 
This is the FUN part! 
You try on the items in the comfort of your own home, 
with all of your wardrobe at your fingertips.

6. Within 3 days, return the items you don't want. 
They include a postage-paid bag in your box that you just drop off at the Post Office. 

7. Check-out online and give your feedback. 
They ask you to rate everything and give specific feedback. 
For anything you buy, they apply your $20 "styling fee"to the item first
If you buy all 5, you get 25% off!  WOW!
The feedback is important because they definitely learn. 
My first box, I kept 2 items. 
My second box, I kept 1 item.
My third box, I kept ALL FIVE!
My coworker tried it and she kept all 5 the first time!
So if you're interested, use my link below 
(I get $25 if you sign up, so help a mama out): 
I hesitated to include a photo, because ...
"ick, if someone looks at this photo, they will NEVER sign up" 

but a post without a photo is just... words. 
So here's a photo of me in one my lacy StitchFix shirts 
(lace over super-soft-jersey-material)
and my amazeball soft StitchFix skinny jeans. 
Plus my office plant (that won't die) and random boxes of old 
finance crap that I need to archive.  
If you want to see actual GOOD photos, 
head on over to the SitchFix Pinterest board here.

Other critical comments: 
Wow, my rosacea really shows up in the office light.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Evening Routine Challenges

Some evenings, I'm like: "I GOT THIS" 
and some evenings are a total fail with a capital F

Lessons I'm learning: PATIENCE 
Did I mention patience?

First of all, I can't multitask. 
This is particularly hard for me. 
I like my house neat and orderly 
(my mother is beaming with pride) 
so when there's STUFF thrown everywhere, 
I get the URGE. 
You know, the NEED to CLEAN. 
(please tell me you just heard Goose and Maverick "the need for speed!"  Ok, just me)

I mentioned before that I may try to make dinner with Aaron around, 
and 100% of the time that has proved to be an EPIC failure. 

The truth is that for the 3-4 hours between Daycare and Bed, 
Aaron needs 100% of my attention. 
And 150% of my patience. 

When I was reading the book "Nurture by Nature" 
(which I blogged about, of course) 
I learned was that many children of certain personalities need to take time with transitions.  In talking with my sister-in-law on Sunday (our nephew is 7 months older than Aaron), I think this may be just normal for all toddlers. 

When I get to daycare, Aaron doesn't want to leave right away.
He wants to run around and show mommy all the toys he played with today. 
And maybe do one last slide or tunnel run.
We finally get to the car, but no!  Not car seat!
First we have to point at all the lights in the car 
and look out the back window. 
Once home, we linger on the front porch. 
Especially so when it's raining, because hey look, wet leaves = FUN. 
Sometimes we spend 20 minutes on the front porch.  
Meanwhile, I'm in my dress pants/skirt, blouse, and 4" heels. 
Mama needs her yoga pants.

If there's ever a Teaching Moment for me as a mom, it's this. 

I really should learn this faster, too, 
because our most successful evenings are always 
when I have patience and take our time and let him be a toddler. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Through the Tears of a Parent

Today, in my sickest hour yet of this week-long virus, 
I watched "The Fault in Our Stars" 
which falls into the category of
 "sad movies that make me cry hysterically".
Just like "My Sister's Keeper" and "Walk to Remember"
(obviously I have a theme here)

But the difference between this movie and those movies, 
is what I cried at.

Let me digress.
(I feel like I used a fancy word - "digress.")

This picture below is the first picture taken of me as a mommy.
It was taken on a crappy old digital camera,
in an Operating Room filled with lights, sterile medical equipment, 
and strangers.
I'm makeup-less with a puffy face, lying on an OR table, 
with my guts hanging out on the other side of the curtain. 
This photo ain't winning any awards.

But it was the first photo of me as a mommy.

They say "being a parent changes your life."
Which I totally agree with. 
But one thing I wasn't prepared for was how it would change my viewpoint of the world.
Now I look at everything through the eyes of a parent. 

Shortly after becoming a mom, I couldn't watch SVU anymore 
(a show that Adam and I used to love) 
because I could only see the show as the parent.

Every news story, internet article, blogpost, etc 
is all read from the view of the parent. 
Adam made a funny quip one day about us being old. 
"You know you're old when you watch teen movies and start siding with the parents."

So taking a full circle back to my genre of "sad crying" movies, 
When I watched "My Sisters Keeper" and "Walk to Remember," 
I cried during the sweet, sad, nostalgic scenes, 
where the soft music is playing and they whisper of the memories.
Because when I watched them, I wasn't a parent yet.

But during "The Fault in Our Stars", 
I cried the most in any scene with the parents. 
The plot is a beautiful love story. 
But all I could see was the fear and pain of two parents 
raising a child with cancer, 
wanting to do everything in their powers to make it right, 
to be there for their child, and 
that that their greatest goal was that their child be happy in her last years.

At 19 months, Aaron is a healthy, happy child.
And I'll do everything in my power to see that he grows into a healthy, habit adult.

 But I will always ALWAYS cry when I see other children 
who are suffering, from whatever it may be, 
because I will always imagine "what if it was Aaron."

Where Does Crap Come From?

Where exactly does crap come from?

I've mentioned before that I'm in a constant struggle between my inner packrat and my desire to live a minimalist life.

I claim that my packrat tendencies are hereditary. 
My paternal grandparents are Hoarders.
Piles of stuff everywhere.  Everywhere.  
Every conceivable surface has a pile on it.
And piles on the floor too.  
There are paths through their house.
Get the picture?

Contrast that to my mother-in-law who has multiple empty rooms in her house.
Not just void of piles, but empty of everything.  No Furniture.  Nothing.
It's amazing.

As I look at our basement, I see a Packrat. 
No Minimalist in sight.


Double ick.
(Although the golf clubs are legit.)

So where the hell does all this come from?
Here's my top 5 identified sources.

 1. Pipe Dream Crap.
Not pictured in the above snapshots are
my bike, Adam's bike, a bikerack, 2 helmets, and a bike pump 
all from back in our dating days when Adam and I struggled with ways to fill our weekends (HAHAHAHA!) and decided biking would be fun.
Guess what?  We aren't bikers.
Plus my bike is from middle school and its 2 sizes too small for me.

2. Infant Gear Crap.
The biggest pile in the second photo is infant gear.
Infant car seat.  Bouncer. Rock N Play.  Exesaucer.  Swing.  
I suppose this is 'necessary' crap for when/if/when we have a second child.
In the meantime though, it's our biggest culprit.

3. One Time Use Crap.
One time I bought a plastic drink dispenser because I wanted to make pineapple-infused vodka for a tailgate.  It was delicious and we got raging drunk.
I've never used it again. 
Adam also went through a "whey protein" stage and got this MASSIVE bottle. 
I'm afraid to even see how much is left. 
Anyone want some free whey protein?  Ick.

4. We-Might-Use-It-Again-Someday Crap
I fall for this lie every. time.
We have a pile of tailgate stuff in the corner of our basement.
Chairs. Tables.  Portable grill.  Even a damn tent.
Seriously, we have a toddler and Adam works weekends.
When the hell are we ever going to tailgate again?

5. Sentimental Crap.
Confession: I save every card we get in the mail. 
I save it in those cute photo boxes from Michael's. 
I have a lot of those card photo boxes. 
It seems so awful to throw out a card that someone spent $3.50 on.
But you know what's more awful?  
Having a pile of cards.

Even worse than my own sentimental crap, is someone else's sentimental crap.
Adam has a box of tools from his grandfather.
These tools are ancient.  Which also means they are fantastic quality.
(Back before everything was mass produced in a low-cost factory.)
But Adam will never use these tools.  Ever.
We could sell them.  Any handyman would adore this quality.
But its too sentimental.  Ugh.

So now what?

I don't know.

But you can bet I'm going to make a plan to figure it out.
And when I do, I'll definitely post about it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bath Time Battles Solved

Aaron hates bathtime.
This is a huge change from when we couldn't get him OUT of the bath, 
and he'd sit in the drained tub freezing to death but refuse to leave.

This past week, bath time = 
and flailing 
all to avoid the bath.

One night I got in the tub with him and bathed him while he stood there crying.

However, not wanting to do that every night, I looked to the internet to help. 
Enter: Pinterest.   
Solution: Bath paint!

 While there are many kinds of bath paint (most popular being with shaving cream), 
I opted for baby shampoo because it wouldn't sting his eyes. 
1/3 cup baby shampoo + 1 Tbs cornstarch 
Divided amongst an ice cube tray 
and 1 drop of food coloring per cube. 
(This is where I also learned I'm nearly out of red, good to know for Christmas!)

For the first time in a while, I was able to do a full scrub down (face included!) 
without one chirp of protest.
Of course, he eventually dumped the whole thing in the tub, 
at which point it looked like he was bathing in the ganges. 
But it washed down the drain just fine with no residue.
Excuse me while I go take a victory lap.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Morning Routine

I'm totally jinxing this...
but I think we found our Morning Routine.

Alarm goes off at 5:45 and in classic ME fashion
 I push snooze for as long as I humanly can.
I have found that the sound of Aaron's voice over the monitor 
wakes me up 10x faster than any alarm, 
even if he's just happy and playing.
It's like I'm programmed to not sleep through my child being awake.

Eventually some time after 6 (sometimes closer to 6:30), 
we roll out of bed and jump in the shower.
I then get Aaron up and dressed
(because I like to pick out his outfit)
This is always where Aaron FREAKS OUT because he has to get his diaper changed.

Once dressed, Aaron is set FREE
His morning favorite is to sit on my makeup vanity playing with all the bottles 
and asking that I turn on the "ya!" (water) which I refuse every morning.
Yet he still asks.  Every morning.

Once I'm presentable, I finish filling out Aaron's daycare morning sheet,
Grab my lunch from the fridge and GO
Out the door by 7ish,
And at work by 7:15ish.

Adam is in charge of breakfast.
Adam will eat the same thing for about 6 months straight.
Aaron, like me, will eat the same breakfast for a few weeks,
then demand something new.
The last breakfast theme was homemade bran muffins ("mah-mah")
and now he's moved on to stealing Daddy's Cracklin' Oats.
I have everything laid out for Adam in advance
(because I'm an over-planner control-freak)
So after breakfast, the boys hang out, doing whatever they please.
Which usually includes one 11-minute Thomas the Train episode.

Around 8am, I get the post-drop-off phone call and update.
Then Adam is on the train to the city for Big Law Firm World
and I'm back to work in my cozy finance job.

As for AFTER work?  
Well, we're still working on that.
We still have more meltdowns than good nights.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

About Me

In a desperate attempt to NOT write a post complaining about how sick I am, 
I shall instead write a happier, yet equally self-centered, post about ME.

Side note:
Since becoming a mom, 
100% of pictures of me, also include my child.
99% of those pictures also include my husband.
So here's a rare photo me and my kid [without my husband] 
...this photo is now 1.5 years old.  Sheesh.

1. I am a Master List Maker.  
All lists are digital and I never use paper 
unless making a list for my husband (which he loves... heh). 

2. I think the song "Black Balloon" by Goo Goo Dolls is one of the most beautiful songs of all time.

3. Also on the musical note, I think the lead singer of Nickleback (Chad Kroeger) has one of the sexiest voices of all time, but is also one of the ugliest celebrities in the entertainment industry.

4. I despise eggs.  The taste, the smell, and the texture. GAG. 

5. I am in a never-ending battle between my inner packrat and my desire to live a minimalist lifestyle.

6. I love white space and nothing makes me shudder as much as a giant multi-line paragraph.  

7. That said, I'm terribly wordy so I'm often guilty of my own hated paragraphs. 

8. I love social statistics (if you do [x], then you have [x]% of [x]) and consider them to be The Truth, but I am also TERRIFIED of flying no matter how low the crash statistics are.

9. Whenever passing other cars, I always imagine the kind of person driving that kind of car (particularly those with bumper sticks).  My favorite is when the "Crazy Cat Lady" Subaru ends up being a 20 year old male

 10. As soon as I send an email / text, I will IMMEDIATELY think of a million ways I could have written it better.
This also applies to blogposts.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Yin and Yang

Let me preface this by saying that I am ABSOLUTELY
going to butcher this.
But watch me go anyway.
So the Chinese have a concept called Yin and Yang
Which focuses on the balance of the universe
And sometime way back in middle school,
the black-white curvy symbol
(look at my awesome description!)
had a brief moment of popularity in the tween accessories crowd.
And most importantly, up until about 10 seconds ago when I Wikipedia-ed it,
I thought it was "Ying Yang" but that's wrong
It's Yin-Yang.
Only one "Y"
There, you've learned something today.  You can thank me later.
Anyway, I'd describe this weekend as Yin and Yang,
a perfect natural balance of good and bad.
Friday was astoundingly good. 
(drum roll please)
...PA Bar Exam results came out and ADAM PASSED.
I mean, of course, he was going to pass.
The kid whose #1 in his class at Villanova Law School isn't going to fail the bar.
But you never know.
This is, of course, crucial because I can ACTUALLY call myself a "Lawyer's Wife"
and not "a soon-to-be lawyer's wife"
We celebrated by Aaron spiking a fever and calling the doctor to schedule a Saturday morning appointment.
We also popped a bottle of champagne and watched X-Men: Days of Future Past
which I fell asleep during because of said bottle of champagne.
Oh yeah, we party hard.
Rock on.
Welp, because Friday was SUCH a good day,
the universe couldn't let us actually enjoy the weekend.  OH NO.
Not only did Aaron get a prescription of antibiotics for his ear infection
But I came down with a NASTY sore throat,
that has turned me into a Napping Queen.
3 naps Saturday morning and then 1 long football nap this afternoon.
Now, while I'm a big fan of whining about my trials and tribulations
I also can appreciate putting things in perspective.
In other words, this may be a crappy weekend sick-wise,
But at least this delightful creature doesn't exist on our continent...
Because if it EVER does, I will move to Europe.
Like stat.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Good Night

To counter my post from Monday, today was a good night.

Nothing spectacular.
Just a happy man playing happily with his mama.

 But don't worry, I won't drone on about every second of our night.
Instead, I'll drone on about my random thoughts of today:

1. I am a photo hoarder.
I realize my issue when I am trying to gather photos for Aaron's Baby Book.  
Geez, we take a MILLION photos.
And some of them are terrible,
and yet I STILL keep them!
My inner packrat won't delete them because...
"WHAT IF I some day want to see this blurry photo of
Aaron not looking at the camera
especially since the next picture is him doing the exact same thing
AND looking at the camera!"

2.  What did moms do before mommy blogs and pinterest?
Example: tonight we ate Lemon Pesto Pasta, which I discovered from one of my favorite mommy blog 3 Ladies and their Gent .

And after dinner, I gave Aaron an empty milk carton and clothes pins, which he has entertained himself with for a SOLID 30 minutes (is that a record?). Am I a genius for coming up with this?  Hell no.  I saw it from this pin HERE.

3.  I sometimes love my son's toys more than he does.
Like his Little People.  
I would mass-hoard all Little People sets if we had room for them all.
I'm already scheming about buying the Little People Nativity for Christmas.
While I was at it, I thought I'd look for Little People Hanukkah Set. 
I found it... for $163.99. 

4. Whenever I accidentally leave the front door unlocked,
I am forever paranoid that a murderer snuck in and
is hiding somewhere in our house, waiting for us to go to sleep.
Right now, I can tell you I hear EVERY sound in the house and
am checking the video monitor every 5.2 seconds.

5. I just got word that Adam caught the 7:15 train home, 
but says he has to do work.
But MAYBE just MAYBE he will get done early 
and we can FINALLY watch the Season Premiere of the Walking Dead 
which we missed on Sunday as we opted to watch the [fantastic] Eagles game instead.
Priorities, priorities.
Of course, by now, I've read a few spoilers,
but in all honesty, spoilers don't deter me from watching something.
In this case, I think it was better I find out because the 
"spoiler" was an interesting post about filming horribly baby scenes in movies
I HATE horrible baby scenes (they haunt me), so knowing - in advance - that this is coming in the Walking Dead, just helps to prepare me and I can close my eyes.

6. I am also obsessed with buying clothes for my child.
I generally prefer the classic/preppy look of GAP.
(I don't really know if GAP is classic or preppy, but I do know I like GAP)
Although every now and then I find my Secret Hipster mom
and fall in love with a Black Shirt with Glow-in-the-Dark skulls (Old Navy)
or a Snoopy Pumpkin Shirt (Target).

7. #6 above reminded me that this is the time of year for
the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!
Which then reminded me that because our DVR player is still in the man cave,
I have to go down to record a show I want to watch up in the living room.
Adding to the weekend to do list?  Swap DVR and cable boxes.

8. Our internet sucks tonight. 
Apparently rainy Wednesday nights are prime net-surfing nights around here.
Between #5 above and #8 here (I tried shutting down and restarting my computer), 
Adam walked in and I told him the internet was down... 
and the look on his face was pure horror.
The Big Law Firm World MUST have internet!
Fortunately, unplugging the modem fixes everything.

9. When I started this blogpost, I had 3 items.
This is what happens when I'm left alone.
I should really round it out to an even 10 

10. I have a sore throat, 
which I'm using as my excuse to drink on a Wednesday night
with the classic "Hot Toddy" : hot water, honey, lemon, and my good friend Jack Daniels.
Ah, so soothing!

(PS: At the top of this post, I said I wouldn't drone on about the events of tonight.
I am also a liar)