Monthly Archives: November 2011

What I Wore Wednesday: Failure (to post) is not an option

Y’all, I didn’t take many pictures last week. Between the moving, and the vacationing, and the exhaustion, we’re all lucky I managed to put on pants every day.

pleated poppy

Wednesday, after work, Jason and I drove up to the North Georgia mountains for a grown-up, no-kids Thanksgiving weekend. 

Thursday: Thanksgiving!  

Jeans: Ann Taylor Loft
Socks: SmartWool
Tank: Ann Taylor Loft
Cardigan: Target
Necklace: Etsy
Wine: Delicious

Friday: Dressed for Adventure!

Jeans: Ann Taylor Loft
Fleece: Indispensable, LL Bean
Horse: I’m on one.

Saturday: More hiking, after walking through downtown Ellijay.

Jeans: Ann Taylor Loft
Tee: Old Navy
Fleece: Yes, please

We drove back Sunday night, and Monday and Tuesday were kind of a bust, photo-wise. But don’t give up hope! Wednesday is upon us!

This picture is awesome for several reasons. First, my hair is out of control. Second, this picture captures the very first thing I cooked in my new house. I realize that fried eggs are super-complicated, but WHATEVER. I haven’t cooked in my own house since June 30. They were the tastiest eggs ever.

This is also a good example of something that you THINK is flattering, but when you see pictures of it you think, “Meh.” That skirt may have to be retired. Pronto.

Skirt: Wal-Mart
Tights, tank, cardigan: Target
Shoes: Jellypop, Shoe Station
Necklace: Etsy!


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Today’s the day! Today’s the day! We are scheduled for our final inspection!

Today our house becomes OUR house again. There are a few minor details to work out – some paint touch-ups, mostly, but otherwise it’s DONE. Our long flaming nightmare is over. The week after the fire, I said, “The adjuster guesses that we’ll be out of our house for four months. I’m being generous and aim to be back before Thanksgiving, 21 Thursdays after the fire.”

Tomorrow will be 21 Thursdays, and it looks like we made it.

We interrupt our puppy-like wiggling to bring you this important message:

pleated poppy

Last Thursday, 20 weeks after the fire, I wore this:

Trousers, Tee: Ann Taylor Loft
Scarf: Target
Shoes: Jellypop, Shoe Station

Friday I failed to photograph. I was busy packing up the rental house – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Monday I went comfy:

I apologize. I realize I look like a dirty hippie.

Shirt: Target
Khakis: Old Navy
Hippie Shoes: Hippies R Us

Tuesday I tried a somewhat classier option:

Trousers: Elevenses, via Urban Thread
Sweater: Ann Taylor Factory Outlet
Necklace: Tiny Elephant
Earrings: Made by my friend Jennifer
Boots: Clarks

Here are the boots up close:

Wednesday: I’m working a half-day, and then we’re leaving town for the holiday weekend. I can. not. wait. I feel like it’s been AGES since I could sit down with my husband and not have to Have A Talk about something house-related – “What kind of light do you want in the laundry room?” “I don’t know, what kind of light do YOU want in the laundry room?”

Trouser Jeans: Ann Taylor Factory Outlet
Tee: Target
Cardigan: J. Crew cashmere, via Urban Thread 

Next week: WIWW from our new-old house!!!

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The Final Countdown

I realized something very important about myself yesterday: I AM TIRED OF LIVING OUT OF BOXES. I feel like I’ve been doing it since April, when we started packing up to move to the new house.

This weekend, for the LAST TIME, OMG, we packed up our belongings at the rental house and started moving them back to the new house. Again. Since the interior is not quite ready, we made a sort of cardboard Tower of Babel in the sunroom, and another one in the garage.

I would do some yoga to relax, but my DVDs are….. in boxes.

On the other hand, we have floors now. We chose Georgia Pecan by Shaw, and I could not be happier with it. I think my favorite floor/color combo is in Tyler’s room:

This is the dining room/living room (same floor color, I swear):

 I just need to make it to Wednesday. Jason and I are escaping Tallahassee for the Thanksgiving holiday, because we 1) don’t have any of the children and 2) booked the vacation months ago, when it was not entirely clear that the house would be done in time (and did not want the stress of worrying about it). 

And yes, the packing list for the trip includes a case of wine. Why?

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On Camping, or, A Lesson in Cost-Per-Use

A blended family can sometimes mean a big family, which means that everything, including vacations, is more expensive. So when Tyler joined the cub scouts, I was psyched when people told me that camping trips were a super-cheap way to vacation with the family.

Turns out those people are DIRTY, DIRTY LIARS.

We took our first family camping trip last November, with the Cub Scouts. We had neither the money nor the inclination to invest in camping gear before we knew whether it was something we really enjoyed. So we started small – sleeping bags. Cheap ones. But there are five of us, so even a $20 sleeping bag yields a $100 investment when you’re outfitting the whole family. We borrowed a tent, made do with two flashlights, and brought an air mattress we already owned. The air mattress lasted 20 whole minutes before puncturing and deflating. We’ve subsequently bought sleeping pads, a lantern, a cooler, and a few other items, but we still don’t own a tent or any cooking equipment. 

Grin and Rough It.

Even if you seek out deals and steals, the up-front investment for “comfortable” camping can be signficant. I’m not talking a portable Taj Mahal, but a camp stove and cookware, a folding table, a decent cooler, etc. can really add up if you try to buy all at once. Then there is upper-level camping, which involves trailers and canopies and full kitchens and lots and lots and lots of money.  

Most definitely not our kitchen.

The cost-per-use of these items over time is a factor, certainly. And I feel we’ve been pretty smart about buying only what we need, a bit at a time. But there’s still a bit of sticker-shock from these “super-cheap” vacations.   


Last weekend we took the kids camping with the Cub Scouts in Pensacola, Florida. We were over there for the Blue Angels Homecoming air show. Both the air show and admission to the (absolutely spectacular) Naval Aviation Museum are free that day, and the scouts got to use a campsite free of charge as well. Even so, the “free” vacation ended up costing us a couple hundred dollars in gas and food. Grrrr.

Go ahead. Hum the theme to "Top Gun."

All three of the kids love these Cub Scout camping trips – this is our third – but for very different reasons.

Hollyn, the oldest, loves camping trips because it means an extended play date with two of her friends (who are scout siblings). She spent most of last weekend attached at the hip to D____, whose status as Queen Bee of the Campsite was secured by the fact that she had an iPhone, which was always out and playing YouTube videos, and drank coffee. D___ is in fifth grade. She also wears leggings as pants. Soooo, yeah.

Jensen loves following Hollyn around like a puppy, getting filthy dirty, and running around the campsite. She is energized by other people – she takes their energy and somehow multiplies it, until she practically vibrates with excitement in groups.

Almost every time I saw Tyler last weekend, he was walking through the campsite with another scout, just talking. One time I overheard him discussing the relative advantages of each side during the Civil War. Seriously. He likes running around too, but only for short bursts. Of the three kids, he’s the only one who seems to enjoy hanging out with us for any length of time. The girls are more eager to play with their friends, which I think is pretty positive for them – they’re self-confident and not needy. (Downside – I hardly have any pictures of them from this trip!)

As for me, I think camping is… okay. I like sitting around a fire, and have gotten used to sleeping outside/on the ground. I’m learning to make tasty food (foil pack fajitas are my current favorite), and campfire coffee is perfectly acceptable. I don’t think I’ll ever be a Nature Girl, but I think I can make it work for me.

As with so much else in life, coffee helps:

My personal Juan Valdez.

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What I Wore Wednesday, Birthday Edition

This week was a wild one! It started with my birthday and got more exciting from there. Here we go!

 pleated poppy

On Thursday I turned 32 years old. That’s right, thirty-two. So far, my thirties have been awesome (despite the Recent Flaming Unpleasantness) and I am so, so much happier than I ever was at twentysomething.

Dress: Ann Taylor Factory Outlet
Necklace: At Home in Thomasville
Earrings: Brooks Brothers Factory Outlet

For my birthday, Hollyn made me hair bows out of duct tape. She got all giddy when she saw me actually wearing them. I still had the blue one on when I picked them up at after-school. 

Friday through Sunday we were camping with the Cub Scouts. I will tell you that Friday night, when the lows dipped towards freezing, I slept in wool socks, leggings, a long-sleeved t-shirt, and a fleece jacket, and I STILL shivered. Here’s what I wore Saturday:

Hat: Awesome (Wal-Mart)
Jeans: Ann Taylor Loft, Clearance
Flannel shirt: Target
Hidden sub-layers: much appreciated
Fleece: L.L. Bean
Coffee: Hallelujah
Jason: More Awesome Than My Hat

After the chilly weekend, Monday’s highs were in the mid-80s. Go figure. I paired dark gray cords with a yellow cardigan. Good thing this outfit was comfortable, because after work I had a Presbyterian Women’s meeting that ran until 9:00.

Cords: Ann Taylor Loft
Shoes: Clarks
Tee: Target
Cardigan: Ann Taylor Loft
Necklace: At Home in Thomasville

Tuesday: This has become a go-to outfit when I want to look pulled-together at work. Something about the brown tweed of the skirt, with the bright turquoise necklace, makes me happy.

Shoes: Payless
Skirt: Target
Shirt: Ann Taylor Factory Outlet
Necklace: San Antonio
Hair: Different


Trousers: Ann Taylor Loft
Top: Ann Taylor (factory outlet)
Clogs: What clogs? I see no clogs.

Jason bought this necklace for me the first time we went to New Orleans together:

Have a great week!

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In the Beginning….

In the beginning (actually, towards the end), the contractor said, “Let there be light!”


And there was light.


And it was good.


So very, very good.

And the Contractor spoke again, saying, “Let there be kitchen cabinets, and let them be primed according to my will.”

And it was so. And there was much rejoicing.


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What I Wore Wednesday, 11/9/11

It seems like the closer we get to our move-back-in date, my emotions cycle between despair (they’ll NEVER get done on time!) and elation (look! Paint!).

So I did what anyone would do in my situation: I got a haircut.

It’s a layered bob-type-thing that I can wear wavy or straight, and I kind of love it. After decades of yearning to grow my hair down to my tailbone like a PRETTY PRETTY PRINCESS, I have finally made peace with the fact that I just don’t have Good Hair. It doesn’t get better as it gets longer, it just gets…longer. And more fragile. 

But we’re not here to discuss what goes on atop my head. We’re here for this:

 pleated poppy

Awwwwwww, YEEE-AH.

Anyway, last Thursday I wore my favorite wear-to-work trouser jeans with a gray sweater. And then took a picture in a dusty full-length mirror. SHAAAME.


Trouser Jeans: Ann Taylor Factory Outlet
Sweater: Ann Taylor Loft, 50% off.

After work on Thursday we went to the fair. Tyler made me ride the Ferris Wheel. Twice.

Mama does not like the Ferris Wheel.

Friday! Happy Happy Joy Joy! These pants were part of an order I placed with Loft a few weeks ago, in which I got 3 pairs of pants and the gray sweater above for $125. It turns out you really CAN put a price on proper-fitting trousers. I paired these dark gray cords with a light pink tee and my infinity scarf (shown doubled here). Later in the day I wrapped the scarf three times, making it shorter, and I liked that better.

Cords: Ann Taylor Loft, half off
Tee: Ann Taylor Loft
Scarf: Target
Shoes: Clarks

Monday I showed up at work with my sassy haircut.

I realized that I have had these pearls since I bought them for high school chorus. Yeesh.

Pencil Skirt: Target
Sweater: Kohl’s
Shoes: Jellypop, Shoe Station
Hair: Flippy!

Tuesday I recycled an outfit from a few weeks ago, but since I was standing in that picture and sitting in this one, you’ll NEVER KNOW.

Pants, Tank: Ann Taylor Loft
Shoes: Clarks
Sweater: Target
Necklace: Etsy

And today I am wearing something that borders on Earth Mother, with my leaf-green khakis and my oatmeal-colored cardigan. And my clogs!

Pants and Cardigan: Old Navy
Clogs: B.O.C., Shoe Station
Tank: Ann Taylor Loft

This weekend we’re going camping with the Cub Scouts, so if I’m not here next Wednesday….. tell my story.

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When we heard that the cabinet guy had started hanging the cabinets, we were thrilled.

We were not as thrilled when I walked into the house last night and saw that by “hanging the cabinets,” someone meant this:

In fact, I would not have been any more surprised if I’d walked into the kitchen and seen a body hanging there. Yes, that is the bank of upper cabinets, tied up with an electrical wire that is hanging out of the ceiling. That wire is in no way designed or meant to hold the weight of a cabinet overnight.


We normally don’t bother the contractor with little things, but this caused us enough concern to call him. He was livid and immediately drove to the house. “In 25 years of building houses, I have never seen something so stupid,” he said.  The underling who actually did this idiotic piece of work has been banned from the job site.

Never a dull moment at the under-construction house.

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The Wizard of Oz

In the last week and a half, the house has been transformed from a rough-edged grayscale project to a slick Technicolor wonderland. The interior woodwork (door frames, baseboards, chair rails) went in, and then the painters got to work.

As discussed earlier, picking coordinating colors for an entire house is a daunting task, especially when you don’t have any furniture/art/flooring/possessions to reference. I mean, I know my couch is “brown,” and my artwork is “colorful,” but pulling colors from furnishings (like you’re supposed to) just wasn’t an option for us. And we had to pick colors that would harmonize throughout the house, from room to room. STRESS.

Let’s see how you think we did.

Most of the living areas are done in Sisal, by Martha Stewart Living. Here’s the family room:

Let me pause to tell you how TOTALLY PSYCHED I am that we decided to vault the ceiling in this room. It feels enormous.

The hallway/foyer is done in the same color (as are the living room, sunroom, kitchen, and guest bedroom):

I shamelessly stole this idea for a bright green laundry room from our friends who are letting us rent their house. Every time I walk into their laundry room, it makes me happy. The color is Green Energy, by Behr:

(sorry for the floaters, the house is covered in a fine layer of drywall dust and primer spray, so it was impossible to keep the lens totally clean)

The girls’ room is the most serene, beautiful blue color, called Sea Glass by Martha Stewart. It’s like walking into a swimming pool. I love, love, love it.

The master bedroom and the dining room are done in Fashion Gray by Behr. Our bedroom furniture is white, which will break up the gray nicely, I think. I hope. Eeeep!

Tyler’s room was painted Spanish Olive, which was a little scary before it dried. He loves it.


The kids’ bathroom has beadboard halfway up the walls, so I chose a rich blue for the upper half. It’s Cayman Bay, again by Behr.

The master bathroom, as well as the insides of the kitchen pantries, are painted in Zen by Behr, which is a grown-up version of the color in the girls’ room.

Lest you think my house is some sort of carnival of color, I remind you that most of the walls are the Sisal color. I saved the bolder colors for rooms with doors.

Also, I like blues and greens. A lot.

We passed our 90% inspection this morning, so I think, I THINK, I can see the light at the end of this particular tunnel.


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The Hardest Thing

Last night Tyler started screaming just before 2:00 a.m. “MAMA!” his terrifed, verge-of-tears voice rang out. “MAMA!”

I leapt out of bed, imagining the worst, and ran to his room. He had gotten out of bed and was wandering down the hall towards the living room, and when he turned around, I could see that while the lights were on, no one was home in his head. He was asleep, in the clutches of some night terror.

Relieved that he wasn’t being axe-murdered by ninjas, I steered him back to his bed and wiped the tears off his cheeks. He was still within seconds.

And all I could think was, “Thank goodness he was over here.”

As parents, as mothers, we want to kiss every boo-boo and heal every little hurt. As divorced parents, we are legally prohibited from doing so by the nature of custody/visitation agreements. And it’s times like last night, at 2:00 in the morning, when I am intensely jealous of those parents whose exes have abandoned them.

I know, it sounds awful. And the burden of single-handedly raising a child is heavy. But so is missing your child, and wondering if he’s missing you, or if he’s calling out for you in the night. I wonder if he’s done that at his father’s house, and I wasn’t there to catch him. If he wanted me, and I missed it.


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