Monthly Archives: February 2012

WIWW: Branching Out

Since my super-fancy text tags got the thumbs-up from my buddy Tonya, they’re staying.

pleated poppy

Thursday: This outfit was a bit experimental (although, really, it’s denim and neutrals, but I’ve never worn these pieces together before).

Friday: This was the morning after my first yoga session with Tyler. Doesn’t he look peaceful and serene? And also adorable?

Saturday afternoon was Tyler’s Blue & Gold ceremony for Cub Scouts (where he officially moves up in rank). We were outside for about 4 hours. Also, I had to blow-dry my hair instead of use the straightening iron, which is why it looks like a puffy mushroom.

On Sunday afternoon I made a shopping pilgrimmage. Most of the time, I avoid non-online shopping like the plague because I hate crowds and disappointment. I especially struggle with pants, my nemesis. Size X is too small in the hips, and size X+1 is too big in the waist. I have had a great deal of luck with Ann Taylor Loft’s Julie fit, but almost no luck anywhere else.

I’ve also gotten really tired of typing the same three stores into WIWW posts – Target, Old Navy, Ann Taylor Loft. Lather, rinse, repeat. I went to a department-type store and then to Goodwill, and ended up with three tops and a pair of khakis (after trying on about a dozen pairs, and shedding many tears of frustration).

So, on Monday, I busted out one of my GW finds:

That top, originally from Chico’s, is a size 2. Vanity sizing FTW! 

Tuesday I wore an older dark plum cardigan I got at Eddie Bauer:

And on Wednesday I wore another Sunday purchase – a sunny yellow cardigan.

 

See you next week!

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Art-o-Rama

It didn’t take us long to get settled back into our new-old house.

Except in one area.

Art.

I think it was a combination of factors – we hadn’t hung much art before the fire (we’d only owned the house a month), so it’s not like each piece had a home. Second, we had brand-new drywall in most of the house, and I’m terrified of putting holes in it. Third, it was hard to find the time to do it right and not make mistakes (see Reason #2).  Fourth, our art “collection” is a mish-mash hodge-podge of things that were bought for other houses/color schemes/times in our lives. I want to really enjoy everything that hangs on my walls, which – it turns out – is a tall order.

But we couldn’t have bare walls forever. So one Saturday we brought in All The Art and took a look at it.

It’s not all hung, not by any stretch, but we’re definitely making progress.

The first piece I hung was my Fat Chef, a print I bought in New Orleans and which inspires me in the kitchen.

Yes, I realize that’s not hung. He was later actually affixed to the wall.  

Another piece I hung was a selection of vintage postcards from my hometown:

I bought these when I graduated from college, and at some point stuck them in a cheap frame. I can’t decide if I want to do something with the mats, or just re-frame them and use these for something else. Decisions.

And when I’m done with the big wall pieces, I can re-evaluate all my 8×10-and-smaller frames and photos. Suuuuper.

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Behavior Modification

So, my son. I love him to pieces, but the boy has a hard time staying focused in class. My zeal for rationalization leads me to believe that there are several causes for this, including his age (he’s an August birthday, so he’s one of the youngest in his class), his outside-the-box-ness (he tested into the gifted program during his first semester of Kindergarten), his natural inclination to amuse/entertain others, and his dislike of order, structure, and rigidity.

Up to now, it was mostly harmless-but-irritating stuff. He wasn’t hitting, or biting, or fighting, or acting out. His teacher described him as a “chatty Cathy,” just jabbering away.

On Wednesday, I got this e-mail from his teacher:

“Hi Windy,
I wanted you to know that Tyler was throwing glue pieces during my math lesson today at M____. They are not sitting next to each other. He also is not saying kind things about M_____ to his creative academic friends. M_____ is starting to get his feelings hurt over all of this. I am taking Tyler’s recess for Thursday and Friday and he was given a fine. I hope that Tyler can improve on these behaviors.
 
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.”

Oh, NO HE DIDN’T.

There are few things I will not tolerate, and the top two are disrespect and plain meanness. And he hit them both in one day.  Needless to say, Wednesday evening was grim at my house. I made him write apologies to his teacher and to M____.

But what could I do long-term, for the future? I mean, I can’t just wait for the situation to deteriorate again and then flog him. I needed a solution that I could work on at home, to help him in the classroom. His problem seemed to be a lack of focus and self-control.

Then it hit me. What activity entails listening to and following directions, cultivating focus and deliberation of movement, and entails focused meditative relaxation?

The answer is YOGA.

Crazy, right? I am no hippie! I used disposable diapers! I don’t buy organic milk! I actively dislike CFL bulbs!

But I love yoga.

I turned to the internet, hoping it would have my back. I found a study on the impact of yoga on children who struggle to stay focused in class. 

Rationalization: Complete! Let’s get bendy!

I sat Tyler down last night (after a good report from his teacher) and said, in my best Strict Mom voice, “Tyler, I appreciate that you had a better day today, but you’re not out of the woods yet, not by any means. So we’re going to do something to help you focus, something to help you exercise control over your own actions.” His face got darker and darker. “We’re going to do yoga.”

I thought he was going to fall off his chair. He was PSYCHED. He started giggling, and didn’t stop until shavasana was over. And he did a great job! We did the “Basic Flow” from Shiva Rea’s Yoga Shakti, and he was able to follow along pretty well. 

Downward Dog

Time will tell if it helps him in class. Even if we have to use other means to improve his behavior, it’s nice to have found something we can do together.

Upward Dog, or Cobra

Plus, it’s way better than zoning out in front of the TV or computer. 

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WIWW: Uphill

Some days I go to work ready to Get Stuff Done, ready to Review Those Documents and Summarize that Deposition and Nit-Pick Those Records, and I enjoy my job. Then there are the other 350 days of the year.

I’m joking, but the last few weeks have been particularly overwhelming from 8 to 5, and that stress is sucking the fun out of the rest of my days, too. I had a long talk with one of my bosses, and I think things will get better….soon….

Anyway, you’re not here to listen to my whining! Bring on the outfits!

pleated poppy

Thursday I had a migraine. I went to work anyway. Friday I was still recovering:

Saturday: this is pretty much my Saturday uniform. Jeans, Converses, purple long-sleeved shirt (Not always the same shirt. I have several varieties. Honest.). I should probably make a wee bit more effort on Saturdays, but hey, that’s what this little WIWW exercise is for, right?

Sunday I went to a suprise baby shower for a friend. Some of the ladies called it a “meet-and-greet,” since the baby’s already been born. And he’s ADORABLE.

Monday I tried to get my work-attitude on straight through the use of Better Clothes.

I felt really good, really competent, in this outfit. However, that skirt is awfully narrow at the knees.

Tuesday I got  my hair cut! I figure, why pay someone good money to trim 1/2 an inch? When I get a haircut, I want a HAIRCUT.

I also wore clothes!

I know. It is kind of a big deal.

Wednesday it continues to be gray and somewhat, sort of, almost drizzly.

My inner monologue went something like, “Ok, pants: check. Shirt: Check. Shoes: Check. Needs….. something…… Eh, let’s put a scarf on it.”

It worked out better in my head. I think if I tie the scarf differently it will be better.

Anyway. Have a great week!

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Glimpse: An Open Letter to Jason’s Ex-Wife

Allison:

 As you know, on the afternoon of February 15, during Jason’s parenting time, you requested and were allowed to pick both of the girls up early from school in order to take Jensen to a doctor’s appointment at 3:00. You requested and were allowed to continue to spend time with the girls until 7:00 p.m., at which point you dropped them off at my house.

 You started calling them around 8:00 p.m. Jason was involved in a mediation that was running late. When you could not reach the girls on Jason’s phone, you decided to call my cell phone. Jason told you not to call my phone, to wait until he got home so you could talk to them. You ignored him and continued to call my phone at least two more times. Later, you claimed that these calls were “dropped” or “disconnected.” The first call occurred while Jensen was taking a bath, so I did not answer. The subsequent calls were ignored because they were excessive and harassing. I allowed the girls to call you back on my phone at around 9:15, at which point you continued to complain to Jason over e-mail, while he was still attending the mediation.   

You claimed in one e-mail, “I get my one phone call.” This is not jail. You do not have the right to harass and repeatedly call me because you are impatient. You had just spent over four hours with the girls. It had been just over an hour since you dropped them off. There was absolutely nothing urgent or pressing that you needed to discuss with them. Yet you felt that your “right” to a phone call should take precedence over everything and everyone else, including Jason’s job and my sanity. 

So I’m putting you on notice – until you can learn to behave like an adult, and use the phone in an appropriate and reasonable manner, you are not permitted to call my personal cell phone. Any calls from you to me will be declined or will go unanswered. If a situation ever arises wherein you are given explicit permission to call the girls on my phone (including, but not limited to, Jason losing his phone or a similar circumstance), you are allowed to call one time. If you call more than once, you will not get a return phone call.

I trust this is sufficiently clear.  

Windy

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WIWW: Is it spring yet?

It’s that time of year, when I’m totally over all my winter clothes and sick of everything in my closet. The stores are stocking sundresses and swimsuits. COME ON, SPRING.

pleated poppy

Thursday I totally whiffed on taking a picture.

Friday gets an award for Interesting Use of Accessory, as I added a long scarf as a belt/sash/thing. It was kind of awesome – I felt vaguely pirate-y all day. YARR:

Shoes: Target
Shirt, Skirt: Old Navy
Scarf: Ann Taylor
Swash: Buckled

Monday was cold, so I busted out my warmest sweater. Prepare to giggle, those of you who live north of the Mason-Dixon line:

Pants: Ann Taylor Loft
Sweater: J. Crew, via urban thread
Ron the Cat: Can’t even look at me.

Tuesday: Valentine’s Day! I wore my favorite corduroy blazer, which I have had for years and I love. However, I think it’s just too big for me now.

Pants: Ann Taylor Loft
Shirt: Old Navy
Blazer: J.C. Penney, circa 2004

Wednesday it was foggy and warmer. Looks like winter, feels like…. winter-lite? Hard to dress on days like that.

See you next week!

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The way to my heart is through the specialty cheese counter.

Happy Valentine’s Day to those who tolerate it!

Personally, I dislike all holidays where the emphasis is on buying. So much pressure. I much prefer holidays where the emphasis is on eating – like Thanksgiving and Halloween!

The one thing I do enjoy about Valentine’s Day is helping Tyler make Valentines for his classmates. Last year (B.P. – Before Pinterest), I found a super-cute idea that was a smash hit at the elementary school. So we recycled it for this year.

Step 1: Cut a hole in the box. Take a picture of a cute little boy, preferably your own.  

Step 2: Using Flickr and Picnik (but only until April, SOB), crop the picture to a 4×6 size. This is VERY IMPORTANT, otherwise it won’t print right. Then use their seasonal stickers and borders to make it all fancy. Add some appropriate words. Have copies printed.

Step 3: Gather manly-looking supplies – a hammer, a hole punch, a self-healing mat, and some miniature lollipops. The pencil photobombed this shot. No actual pencil is required.

Step 4: Using the punch, make holes at the top and bottom of your child’s hand (on the PHOTOGRAPH, just to be clear). Thread the lollipop stick through the holes.

Step 5: Distribute. Pat self on back. Eat extra lollipop.

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WIWW: Football Withdrawal

Well, I didn’t wear all black this week. I did have to turn on the air conditioning during the Superbowl, because it was 78 degrees in my house.

pleated poppy

Thursday I tried something new – apple green khakis with a mustardy yellow cardigan. I was pretty pleased with the result:

Pants: Old Navy
Tee: Target
Cardigan: Ann Taylor Loft
Necklace: At Home in Thomasville

Since it already feels like spring here, I thought I’d break into some bright colors:

Jeans, tee: Ann Taylor Loft
Jacket: Chadwicks
Necklace: Etsy
Ron: The Cat

Monday I played it safe/simple.

Boots: Clarks
Trousers: Ann Taylor Loft
Sweater: Target

Tuesday’s outfit was boring (gray cords, gray-and-plum plaid shirt) but I liked my jewelry, so:

 

The necklace is from Etsy. The owl earrings are from The Other Side Vintage.

And so we come around again to Wednesday:

Jeans: Ann Taylor Loft
Tee: Old Navy
Cardigan: J. Crew via Urban Thread
Bonus Photobomb: by Jason

 

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Not Bad for a Muggle

Today is Jensen’s eighth birthday. This past weekend, she had two friends over for a Harry Potter-themed sleepover. Now, I love a good theme party, but I hate spending money. A quick search on the internet reveals that some other HP fans do not have the same qualms – I saw everything from reptile wranglers to full-on family room makeovers for children’s birthday parties.

After dialing my expectations back to “realistic,” here’s what I came up with:

As promised, I made popcorn bowls out of paper plates.

 

Instead of folding the edges in, I glued them to the outside, because we liked the look of them better. The kids took markers and decorated each of the seven bowls as one of the HP movies. 

Each child got a Hogwarts Acceptance Letter and a pair of round spectacles (made from black pipe cleaners). A quick Google search told me where to find the Hogwarts crest, a free Harry Potter font, and the proper text of the letter.

Tyler and Hollyn took it upon themselves to whittle wands for everyone, using sticks from our yard.

We had to improvise a bit with our Sorting Hat….

….but no one seemed to mind.

Then, of course, there were these little babies:

The butterbeer cupcakes turned out wonderfully – a bit sweet for my taste, but the kids loved them.

Go ahead, look closer:

Yes, the cupcake wrappers correspond to the four Hogwarts houses. What?

Jensen was thrilled with her flower headbands. She recruited Tyler to help model them:

Happy Birthday, Jensen! And, for old times’ sake, my very first picture of her, from October 2007 (with Bailey, who is also starting to show her age):

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How Piiiiiinteresting: Fabric Flower Headband

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to actually attempt some of the projects I have pinned, instead of just salivating over them.

I’d seen a ton of fabric flower tutorials on Pinterest, so I gathered up a few and made some samples. This one, from Cherry Street Cottage, yielded the most adorable little flowers. The directions were clear, the video was helpful, and no steps were skipped. Bravo.

But what was I going to do with an adorable little flower? I am neither adorable, nor little, nor flower-like.

I decided to make a headband for my stepdaughter’s eighth birthday. She loves sticking things in her hair – bits of ribbon, gum, glitter, whatever.

I found an adorable fabric that will look great with her brown hair and brown eyes. It was $2.00 in the remnant bin! I also picked up a set of two hairband elastics that matched:

I cut the fabric into 2″x18″ strips, and started rolling up flowers.

I made six flowers – three for each headband. I glued three flowers to a strip of the fabric (I didn’t want them bunching or pulling apart on the elastic).

And then I got out a needle and thread and sewed the whole thing to the headband.

And then I repeated that with the teal headband.   

I couldn’t help but try one on.

Total project cost: $4.00

Success of Pinterest idea-into-reality: 100%

Happiness: 11

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