July 25, 2014

Glory Moments

I am a working mom.

I always knew I would be.

I can definitely see myself standing under that bizarre umbrella that is "an introvert with extroverted tendencies," I need my time at home and I need to get out of the house sometimes. I want to work, and I want to be proud of what I do. I want Z to be proud of me, too!

I'm lucky.  I truly, truly am.  I leave him every day at one of the best childcare facilities in our city and he is loved! His classmates smile and clap and make squeals of delight when they see him. His teachers call out his name in hearty greeting. He spends the day learning and playing and comes home filthy and happy and more confident. His teachers hug me when I tearfully ask them not to tell me when/if he takes his first steps there instead of at home...and they promise me that, as far as they are concerned, all milestones happen at home.

But still. It's so hard sometimes. This week in particular, I've become acutely aware of just how little time I (and millions of other working moms) get to spend with him on a normal weekday.  Half an hour to an hour in the morning, and 2/2.5 hours tops between pick-up and bedtime.

So we fill that time with hugs and giggles and stolen kisses (he's so busy; it's hard to catch him!) and songs and bath time and storybooks. 

My time with my family is so precious.  I know there are silver linings in every dark cloud.  While I may not be feeling particularly...fulfilled, professionally these days, I am definitely made more aware of every. single. moment. with my family.  In our short times together during the week and especially on the weekends.

A daily devotional I read calls them "glory moments."  Moments of gratitude and wonder and thankfulness.  These moments are what I live for, and they're what get me through every day.

Nothing is permanent; I know things can and will change.  But this week has been harder than usual.  And these last couple of months of transition and change have taught me that I have to find the joy where I can and not allow the frustration or the negativity to rule me. (I'm being vague, but I have to be. It's the smart, grown-up thing to do, right? RIGHT?)

The good news is, these moments are usually pretty easy to find...

The joy lives with me, with these two guys in my life.  The little one smiles and pats my face, and the bigger one holds me and tells me he supports me no matter what.

It's the glory moments that get me through....that fill in all the little cracks and holes between Monday at 8am and Friday at 5pm.

And they are wonderful.

July 23, 2014

Stitch Fix #5 - We have a WINNER!

Ladies and Gentlemen...we finally have a winner!

(For back story on my last two disappointing fixes, read here and here.  If you want to know what Stitch Fix is all about, read about my first fix here.  If you wanna try it for yourself, please use my referral link so I can hopefully get more clothes like these from Michel'Le, who should be my stylist FOREVER.)

So after the last (very disappointing) fix, I was ready to throw in the towel. However, I still had about $80 in referral credit sitting in my account, and I was NOT READY to give up on Stitch Fix.  Especially since the other mail-order-clothing option I was looking into, Gwynnie Bee, is more geared toward plus-sized women and I'm in this awful, in-between size that's not quite plus-sized but definitely not teeny tiny. 

So I scheduled my next fix for the next-closest date and, before I knew it, another box was on my doorstep. I let Z take a look at it first because what's more fun than a box to a one-year-old? NOTHING, THAT'S WHAT.

I opened the styling card first and let out a WHOOP of joy when I saw three dresses and two tops on the list.  THREE DRESSES.  FINALLY, someone was speaking my language!

Let me post the photos and just tell you that, with the exception of the black patterned shirt-dress (which just was TOO much pattern and simply did not fit my curves well), I would have kept everything in this box.  The colors were on point, and everything would have worked seamlessly into my wardrobe and fit my style.

Roma Cowl Neck Jersey Knit Top (Market and Spruce) - Despite how clingy the fabric of this blouse was, I LOVED it. I loved the drape and the color so much. It was quite thin, but cool and silky.  The price point was a little high (I think it was around $48) for just basically being a knit shirt.  But I did love it!

Lana Lace Detail V-Neck Tank (Pomelo) - This black and white sleeveless blouse with the embroidery detail was another instant like. I can't actually say that it's the most flattering thing I've ever put on, but it was comfortable and loose in a "problem" area for me...so it would have been perfect on bloaty days.

Joe 3/4 Tab Sleeve Shirt Dress (Renee C) - This dress was just all kinds of wrong and a "LOL NO" as soon as I put it on. It looked great on the card, and I wanted it to work just for its versatility (could wear it in at least 3 out of 4 seasons with the right accessories) but...no.  Darn.

Gillian Sleeveless Dress (Gilli) - THIS DRESS.  The color, the length, the silhouette! Joy! Instant winner. Wore it to work the very next day and got a million compliments.  (okay, not actually a million, but SEVERAL, and I felt awesome in it.)  This dress is so on point. It's perfectly ME, and it's age and work appropriate.

Carlita Multi Chevron Print Maxi Dress (Loveapella) - YOUGUYS, a Maxi dress that isn't too long! It's a Christmas-in-July miracle! Also colors I love.  If you zoom in (or click on the image for a larger version) you can actually see my swimsuit hanging on my closet door behind me and it's almost the exact same color palette.  The necklace I'm wearing is one I already own, and the color matched just perfectly. I know the beauty of maxi dresses is that you can wear them for pretty much any occasion, but I felt so super sexy and dressed up in this one (bonus: my husband loved this one) that I'm saving it for our upcoming date night.

So I ended up keeping just the two bottom dresses.  They were a little pricey so, even with my style credit I still had to come out of pocket some, but it was worth it because I will wear them often.  Plus...as cliche as this sounds...it's really hard to put a price on feeling amazing in an outfit.  So, it was worth it to me.

I'm officially back on the Stitch Fix bandwagon.  It is obviously ALL about the stylist.  The next time I'm able to afford a fix, I will ask specifically for Michel'Le to style me again! 

July 3, 2014


You guys, I have a one-year-old.

I don't have a newborn anymore.  I don't have a toddler yet, either, but he seems too grown-up and smart to call an infant anymore, either, so I'll just stick with what I'll probably call him for the rest of his life:  my baby.  My little boy.

On Monday, this little guy turned ONE YEAR OLD.

We had an awesome Rainbow Connection/Muppet-themed birthday party for him, and all our local family came and we had a great time.

Z LOVED his birthday smash cake, but he was MAD when we took it away (he seriously would have eaten the whole thing if we'd let him!)

I won't even pretend like I didn't cry a LOT this weekend.  Especially on Sunday night, the night before his first birthday, as I was giving him his nighttime bottle and holding him in my arms.  I couldn't help but marvel in how much bigger and sturdier he felt in my arms than he did a year ago.  How his features -- still rounded with that sweet baby fat -- are more distinct and how he's grown longer and leaner even in the past several months...

For some reason, it almost felt like the end of something...like I'd wake up the next morning and he'd be going to high school.  Just the panic of a mother who feels like the last year went by in the blink of an eye, even though there were days (and nights...ohhhh the nights sometimes) that felt as though they'd never end.

I remember panicking on his first night at home because he wouldn't stop crying.  He'd just eaten, but it didn't even occur to me that he might still be hungry.  I remember the day Michael and I just passed him back and forth while he screamed for six hours because I'd been snacking on raw broccoli, and that upset his stomach with each bottle of breastmilk he got.

I remember the pain and struggle of breastfeeding and the months of  recovery (physical and emotional) and it seems like a lifetime ago as I watch him laugh and make a HUGE mess out of everything he eats. 

I watch him take so much joy in watching ME smile and laugh when he hits a new milestone (rolling over, sitting up, pulling up, clapping, waving), as if he's saying "Watch me, Mommy! Oh isn't it cool that I can do this??" 

I still love wearing him.  He's much more comfortable on my back these days because he likes to look around, but sometimes those front snuggles are much needed for both of us.  Babywearing has been an amazing part of this first year, and I cannot thank my "Fairy WrapMothers" enough for letting me try out so many different, beautiful wraps!

Right now, he can:
  • Say "da da" and "ma ma" (he says the former MUCH more often than the latter, but it's happened a few times)
  • Wave "hi" and "bye"
  • Clap his hands when we say "Yay!" or "Good job!"
  • Crawl so fast
  • Pull up on everything.  Will stand for VERY brief moments, but I don't think he realizes he's doing it.
  • Shake his head "no"
  • "Dance" to music
  • Give kisses 

  •  Eating. He hasn't turned down a single thing we've offered him to eat! Lord help me when he's a teenager...
  • The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
  • Going on adventures (walks) with Daddy and Carmen
  • Playing with his stacking toy
  • Baths
  • Playing with/terrorizing the dog

Every single day is a joy with him.  I won't lie -- I was not a fan of the newborn stage.  It was so hard.  But man...the more he grows and the more mobile he gets and the more personality he shows us, the more FUN we have every day.  Some days I could swear I have a different baby in the evening than I had just that morning!

Year #2 is bound to be even more exciting and joyful, and I cannot wait to continue to watch this sweet baby grow and learn...even if that means Mama sheds a few tears along the way.

Happy One Year to our darling, darling boy!

July 1, 2014

Stitch Fix #4

(I know I owe everyone a Z at One Year! post, and that'll be coming as soon as I stop sobbing over the fact that  my baby is just about to be toddler!)

Last week, during some unprecedented completely ALONE time while hubby and Z were on a road trip, and coming off a terrible stomach virus, I got a package on my doorstep with that familiar blue tape and got really excited that my latest Stitch Fix had arrived.  

My referral link -- you sign up, I get $25! Yay!

You may recall that I wasn't thrilled with everything in Stitch Fix #3 out of the box, but ended up polling the Facebook hive mind and keeping three things!  I got great feedback via email from the company, but....Stitch Fix #4 was, unfortunately, a disaster.  So much so that I wasn't even going to post photos, but I want to be honest about it.  However, I did not and will not post these photos on Facebook for the hive mind to weigh in.  One, because it didn't matter: I didn't like how any of the items FELT on me, and two, because it would come across as self-deprecation which I loathe.  I don't want a bunch of "oh but you look great (for just having had a baby) (a year ago)!" because it makes me feel weird.

My biggest issue with the Stitch Fixes right now is that what I see online (via customer blogs that they post or that the company itself posts on Instagram) doesn't match what I see in my fixes.  I LONG for some of the A-line dresses and skirts and even some of the pants.  But my stuff always seems really kind of boring.  Maybe that's just really good marketing, which, hey -- good for them! I mean at the end of the day I still ordered another fix because a) I really want to love it and b) I still have referral credit $ hanging out.

Also, I'm frustrated that I keep getting a different stylist.  That may be because I don't have monthly fixes set up, and I can totally understand that!  But I honestly can't afford to pay the styling fee every month, let alone the cost of clothing every month.  Not with daycare costs.  Even getting the fix feels like a Mommy luxury and I have buyer's remorse and guilt.  But that's my issue!

Ricardo (the stylist for this fix) got it WAY wrong this time.  He mentioned putting in "working mom" looks, but honestly?

Believe me when I say this was the ONE photo in a long line of selfies that I deleted.
 What 32-year-old working mom is going to wear a FITTED, short, horizontally striped, sleeveless dress? It's super cute -- for a 22-year-old. Even with a cardigan and heels, it'd be too short.  That's not even to mention the fact that it hugs me in the WORST possible place (mid-section) when my Style Profile clearly states that I like "fitted on top, loose on the bottom" because I'm still "self conscious about my tummy after having a baby."  Total fail.

On the other hand...

This tunic, while I LOVED the color (kind of a bright tangerine/pink) and pattern (mini Chevrons), it is completely shapeless and wrinkled if I looked at it funny.  And it's hand-wash only.  Not many working moms have a) the time or b) the clean tub needed to hand-wash clothing.  Sigh.  Back in the box, too.

HOWEVER -- unless it seems like I'm just totally bashing Stitch Fix, which I don't mean to do ("I'm not mad; just disappointed!")....these shorts were a contender.  I didn't like the fit of either of these tops they sent (too small by just enough, and too pricey for what I thought the material warranted), but when I paired them with one of my own t-shirts, I actually considered keeping them.

Over it. Sad.

I actually said "UGGGGHHHHHHH" (direct quote) when I pulled a pair of SHORTS out of the box.  I don't have the time or the webspace to talk about my long-standing rocky relationship with shorts. I have awful, short legs and quite a bit of junk in the trunk, so shorts-shopping (along with swimsuit shopping and jeans shopping) is high on the Suicide Watch list.  HOWEVER, imagine my surprise when they both fit over my thighs AND buttoned without cutting me in half!

Truth: if they'd been a) pants or b) a different color, I'd have kept them. I saw on another Blogger's Fix that she got a pair of red, ankle-length skinny pants in this same brand and I was like "WHY NOT ME?!"  They looked awesome.

So anyway.  Sad.  Back in the bag everything went and back to the Stitch Fix HQ.  I immediately scheduled another fix for many reasons:

  • I really love the idea of the company.  I really, really do.  I still pimp it out! I just warn curvier girls not to get their hopes up too high...my body shape must be hard to style, and I get that.
  • I don't give up on things or people easily
  • They have GREAT customer service and excellent response via their email/social media team!
  • I still have referral credit and I really want to get some new pieces.
I also went and double-checked my style profile, made a few tweaks, and was very honest in my feedback.  I wish I could go out there on one of those Blogger trips and SHOW them how bodies like mine -- real, postpartum everyday mom bodies; not just the cute bloggers with fancy cameras -- are tough to style and what things to avoid and what things to ALWAYS SEND. 

But as always, I am hopeful. Here's to Stitch Fix #5 being AWESOME.  :)