Oct 31, 2010

fall fashion--going to church edition

So here we are on the final day of fall fashion week.  On the one hand, I am sad to see it go.  I have enjoyed glimpses into the outfits and lives of the lovely ladies who have participated, and I have added several new blogs to my reading list.  On the other hand, I am so tired of taking pictures of myself...but here are the last few for a while! :-)
top and pants: Banana Republic outlet
shoes: several years old
The necklace is a special one.  My husband gave it to me for my birthday when I was pregnant.  Cara's due date was June 30, and I was absolutely certain that she was going to come early, so I asked for a pearl something since June's birthstone is a pearl.  And I received this lovely:

However, Cara didn't make her appearance until July 8...and the July birthstone is a garnet.  I still love the necklace.

Cara looked extra precious for church this morning:

black t-shirt, shoes, and tights: Target
hairbow and dress:  jessica originals
That is such a school picture smile.
This dress is made of the same fabrics I used to make these pants, and I followed the same pattern as dress #3, but this dress has a ruffle at the bottom instead of a band and, obviously, no sleeves.  Finishing the armholes was scary and difficult though.  Don't look at them too closely...  Even though it's not perfect (and I don't think anything I make myself will ever be perfect), I think this is the cutest dress I have made so far.

on a completely different note:

I don't know if anyone has really noticed, but I have been on a complaining binge lately (as evidenced by this, this, and this).  I have been getting on my own nerves with all of this whining, so I have decided that the month of November will be 30 Days of Gratitude.  Sounds a little hokey with Thanksgiving and all that, but it is by divine design that our holidays and seasons of celebration fall this way.  We have the season of Thanksgiving so that we can stop and appreciate the little (or big) things of this world that we are blessed with, and then we have Christmas to stop and appreciate the VERY BIG thing NOT OF THIS WORLD that we are blessed with.  I can't think of better way to prepare my heart for that than to stop and be thankful for something every day of November.

I hope that some of my blog friends (new this week and ones who have been reading all along) will share things they are thankful for or perhaps write their own 30 Day of Gratitude and post links in the comments.  I would love to read about the blessings in other people's lives, and I am really looking forward to my own intentional attitude adjustment.

Oct 30, 2010

fall fashion--Cara edition

Good Saturday evening!  As I thought about my fashion post for today, I realized that I only wore a rather nondescript t-shirt and jeans, but Cara's fashion sense was ON DISPLAY. 

Outfit #1 (this morning):

t-shirt and socks: Old Navy
polka dot diaper: Target brand
hair: nature
close up view of the polka dots on the diaper--the way to make poop look cute

Outfit #2: trying on the Halloween costume

really?  is that me or a tiger?  i'm confused.
ROAR! again
tiger costume: consignment
Outfit #3: a 31 party and serious business

excuse me?  are you trying to tell me "no?" do you know who i am?
(purple stripe dress and leggings: Target)

well, now i think we can work something out.
Here's a preview of Cara's outfit for church tomorrow.  I'm quite proud of it.

Oct 29, 2010

fall fashion--casual friday edition

Actually, I don't have casual Fridays, which makes me a little sad because I think I could put together some cute, teacher-appropriate outfits with jeans.  However, cords are the next best thing to jeans, and this pair is awesome.  Comfy, stretchy, fall-ish, slightly less casual than jeans, basically everything cords are supposed to be.

jacket: Ann Taylor Loft outlet
yellow t-shirt: Target
black cords: Target
scarf: Old Navy
shoes: Dr. Scholls from DSW (again)
I love how there are baby toys scattered all over the place in this picture.  True life, Cooper-style.
flower earrings: Page Six

Thank goodness it has finally started feeling a little like fall.  I started out my fashion posts on Wednesday in an almost sleeveless shirt, and now here I am in a jacket and scarf.  Maybe we are finally done with 80 degrees.

CaraBear has a pumpkin party at school today, so she dressed for the occasion:

t-shirt and leggings: Old Navy
Hi, Gorgeous!  (I tried to tame those waves a little this morning.)
That's her "no more pictures please" smile.

Oct 28, 2010

fall fashion--rainy morning edition

a special thank you to my hairstylist who gave me the sassy darker color and a serious bang trim  hello there, eyebrows!
 What a sad, rainy morning.  Fortunately, I got up all excited to document my outfit!  :-)

tank: Forever 21
cardigan: Target
belt: White House Black Market
pants: Old Navy
earrings: Forever 21
These are awesome pants.  I was skeptical when I first got them because they are cropped, skinny, and pleated, which sound like a bad combination, but somehow it works.  I am a special fan of the tank underneath the cardigan.  It has a three-dimensional sort of appeal.

shoes: SE Boutique, DSW
Baby Cara was especially cute this morning in her jean skirt and leggings.
t-shirt: Old Navy
skirt: consignment
leggings: Target

Oct 27, 2010

better late than never!

Yay for Fall Fashion Week, blog style!  I have been checking what other folks have been wearing all week here, and I figured that it's only fair to participate.  I hate it when people only take and never give.  So here we go:

top: Forever 21
pants: Express
shoes: DSW (several years ago; thank goodness you can't really see them!)
necklace: Page Six
Note:  My pants are a bit baggy.  Not very cool.  I am afraid of being the girl in the too-tight pants, so I have a bad habit of expecting them to shrink or something when I'm in a dressing room.  Add that to the gradual loss of baby weight, and you have a wardrobe full of baggy pants.  Sad.

My favorite things about this outfit are the details on the shoulder and the amethyst necklace.  Amethyst is my birthstone too!  At first, I was saving the necklace for special occasions, but now I look for any opportunity to wear it, as in "Oh, today's Wednesday; What a good day to wear my favorite necklace."
No fashion post is complete without featuring the wild toddler.  Her clothes are way cuter than mine these days! 
shirt and jeans: Old Navy
shoes: Stride Rite

Oct 24, 2010

how Cara entertains herself on a Sunday afternoon

a video in which Cara babbles a little, makes animal sounds, pushes around her chair, and waves bye-bye

Oct 23, 2010

the mess

On Thursday night, some friends stopped by "unexpectedly" (my hubby knew they were coming, but I didn't). Not only was I in my pajamas, but the house smelled like curry, (which is not exactly a bad smell if you know what it is. If you don't know that the smell is curry, perhaps it smells a little like garbage...) and Cara's toys, a few weeks worth of mail, and all manner of crap were strewn around the living room.

I freely admit that I am not a meticulous housekeeper. In fact, I outsource/delegate/hire someone else to do the down-and-dirty stuff. A little background on this: PJ was laid off a few months before Cara was born. It actually worked out okay for us because he stayed home with Cara for four months and then returned to the workforce. For about a month, I was the working parent, and I was very stressed. The condition of the house only added to my stress, so I begged for housecleaners when PJ got a job,(if everything was this messy with only one working parent, how much worse would it be with two??) and he agreed. I guess he realized that I really was about to lose my mind. We love the housecleaners. They are wonderful.

But, when the friends left, I decided that the mess had reached a dangerous level and something had to be done. Fortunately, I was furloughed on Friday, so I devoted a few hours to picking up the crap. When I do this, I am always amazed at just HOW MUCH CRAP we have, and it's not all Cara's. We are terrible about recycling the junk mail, putting away laundry and clean dishes, keeping shoes in closets, picking up toddler toys, etc. Somehow, I managed to get every room in the house picked up. I know that doesn't sound very impressive, but it gave me such a feeling of calm that I asked PJ to take pictures each room to document the occaision.

He didn't, but I really wish he had because now the house is wrecked again, and it's only SATURDAY! So, here's my problem: I need some kind of system for keeping the house picked up (notice I didn't say "clean;" I'm really talking about the accumulation of junk that builds up on EVERY SURFACE IN EVERY ROOM!). Suggestions? How do other parents manage to have a house that looks acceptable? What class did I miss in mommy school?

Oct 19, 2010

um, I just like NPR

People (especially my 16-year-old students) ask me all the time what kind of music I listen to.  What a harmless question.  My answer is usually, "I listen to NPR," because the truth is too embarrassing.  While I actually do listen to a lot of NPR in the car, the embarrassing thing is that I like cheesy, sugary, pop music.  My Pandora station is set to Justin Timberlake (LOVE HIM), and it yields some Maroon 5, a little John Mayer, Jay Z, Train, Rihanna (um-ber-ella, ella, ella), Timberland, NSYNC, 80s Michael Jackson, and, of course, Britney Spears.  Oh, Britney, a not-so-innocent girl who defined a generation.

Deny it if you want, but anyone in my age range (raise your hand if Britney came out when you were in high school or middle school) was influenced in some way by Britney.  "Hit Me Baby One More Time" came out right as I learned to drive.  Picture me: 16, ponytail, flip flops, minivan, gum popping, "Ooops I Did it Again" blaring.  Britney influenced more than just my musical tastes; there was a period of time when I believed it was acceptable to run around with my belly hanging out.  Thank goodness that was back before I had any sense or fat on my body.

Here's my theory:  Britney caused people of my age range to go in one of two basic directions, musically.  Britney lead some of us to accept pop music for what it is and embrace it.  However, others rebelled.  My friends in college fell mostly into the second category.  They searched out different types of music, more talented artists, refusing accept the shallow bubblegum Britney offered.  What happened to me?  Why didn't their influence lead me down a different path?  For a time, my roommate Julie had me on a Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers kick.  I still love them, and I am forever grateful to her for opening that door.  But, I always doubted my own musical opinions, and so I accepted Britney's offer.  It was less intimidating and less work. 

And so I appreciate top 40 radio for what it is.  I don't ask it to define the meaning of life, just to entertain me in car.  The problem is that pop music eventually makes me feel like I am losing brain cells or morals, so when that happens, I switch to NPR.  Intelligence restored.

These days, I find myself hitting my NPR button more frequently.  I think a new Britney has emerged, and either I am too old to appreciate her or she just really sucks.  No, I'm not talking about Lady Gaga.  I actually like it when she pops up on my Pandora station.  I am talking about Ke$ha.  I hate even typing her name with that stupid dollar symbol.  And her ridiculous songs are all over the place.  Have you heard that spelling dinosaur song?  Or maybe the one about glitter on the floor, everybody take it off?  I know she has a lot in common with Britney, especially in the yodeling/Autotuned voice department, but for some reason I can forgive Britney.  I just want to tell Ke$ha to take a shower.

Oct 17, 2010

my newest project

I love sewing.  It's so theraputic.  I am not really a creative person, but sewing gives me a way to create that is strictly personal.  I really struggle with that work/life balance, and I think I always will.  My job too often becomes personal, as I'm sure any teacher's would, and it often feels like everyone demands 100% of me. 

But, sewing for Cara is really for me.

And so we have outfit 4:

The pants in the picture are my round two.  I cut out the first pair by a 18-24 months, thinking that they would probably be roomy.  I had them ready for the elastic in the waist and the hem when I decided that maybe I should try them on the child.  Wouldn't go up over her knees...sad.

Round two:  I cut them out by a 3T.  Surely that would be big enough.  I ended up cutting three feet off of the length.  The fit is a little wonky, but Cara can run.  And we know that's really all that matters. 

Despite my setbacks with fit, I think I am getting better at the actual sewing part.  I am remembering to cut off the strings before I sew seams together, which means fewer random strings sticking out of random places, and I reinforced my seams on the pants with a zigzag stitch in the seam allowance.  My pattern direction suggested surging, but I don't have a surger (I don't think I do anyway), so I hoped zigzag would work almost as well. 

The t-shirt was super easy.  I cut out the C, ironed it on the shirt, and sewed around it.  Next time, I will do better on the sewing-around-it part, but it's not so bad.

My favorite thing is the hairbow. 

Really, could that be any cuter?  I love it.  I followed this tutorial, and it was ridiculously easy.  Everyone should do it.

Oct 14, 2010


Doesn't this have an Emersonian sort of serenity?  I'd like a little of that, please.

For as much as I ranted about Cara's pediatrician, you would think that I would have a handle on doctor's appointments and shots and all that.  Unfortunately, I am losing my mind at a rapid pace this week, and I completely forgot about Cara's appointment that WAS on Tuesday.  I am really not a person who forgets big things like doctor's appointments.  I forget lots of little things, like Cara's nap mat pillowcase.  I never remember to bring it home on Fridays, and if by some wild chance I do remember to bring it home, it won't make it back to daycare until Thursday.  Poor baby girl, sleeping on plastic.  But I digress...

Somehow, I managed to miss putting the doctor's appointment in my phone calendar where my entire life is stored.  I felt a little frantic about it last night.  I asked PJ if he had any idea when the appointment was, I desperately hoped that I had not missed it yet, but tucked away in my wallet was the appointment card.  I suck.

So today, I had to make the humiliating phone call to reschedule.  I mean, those 15-month shots are important, right?  I fully expected to be yelled at by a receptionist, perhaps even told to find a new pediatrician.  I'm sure that no one else ever forgets an appointment.  I'm the only one who could possibly forget such an important event and cause such an inconvenience to the good doctor.  So I called:

"Hello, I'm calling to beg for forgiveness, and if possible, reschedule the appointment that I missed on Tuesday."

The receptionist was terse.  I felt terrible.  I apologized all over myself.  And then, I asked if there was a fee for missed appointments, because I would happily take care of it.  No, she said, there is not a fee right now.  But if I would like to give them some money, they would all appreciate it.  We both laughed and the imaginary tension was broken. 

I have no excuses for missing important things like doctor's appointments except that I am completely overwhelmed with life.  I am generally a happy person.  I love my life, my husband, my baby, my job, but this week I have woken up with a bitterness that I can't shake.  I have a bad attitude, or what my counselor would have called postpartum depression.  I think my counselor was wrong though.  I don't think we can continue to call this "postpartum."  I barely want to acknowledge it as "depression" because it's really more of a pissed-off-at-the-world-ness.  Basically, I want to drop f-bombs all over everyone about everything.

So, is this hormonal or justified?  If you ask me, I would say "absolutely justified;" I have a laundry list of things that have pissed me off in the past few weeks, and most of them are job related.  No specifics needed, but maybe all of these things didn't roll off my back fast enough, so now they are all piled up.  I am a doer though.  My counselor said that I had to acknowledge the existence of my feelings before they could go away, not bury them away and pretend everything is fine.  But, I think PJ is tired of hearing me complain; some mornings, I'm so crappy that I'm not sure he even wants to kiss me good-bye.  So, I'm done acknowledging, let's take action.  A day off sounds like what I need, right?  Except that I am in the one profession where it's nearly impossible to take a day off.  Especially when there are no substitutes left.

I guess what I'm saying here is that the universe has been working against me this week.  I suspect that I might experience this pissed-off-at-the-worldness from time to time for a while, but that's okay.  I'm not the only one, right?  As long as I can maintain a little bit of optimism, I won't qualify as crazy.

(And you thought this was going to be a cute post about missing a doctor's appointment.  Too bad I couldn't have taken this in the direction of "I am so together, but I was humbled this week by missing a doctor's appointment.  Lesson learned!" Sometimes I don't know where I'm going when I begin.)

Oct 13, 2010

my tadpole

Tadpole and Lily's website it up and running!  Check out Baby Cara, the model!


I love everything about this company: the product, the website, the owner!  I think it is super cool that someone I know had a good idea and developed it.  I can only wish for that kind of initiative and creativity.  Congrats, Alex!

Oct 12, 2010

dancing queen encore performance

Dancing video #2 (here's the first one, in case you missed it)

Cara loves "Elmo in Grouchland."  This afternoon, I put all five of her Veggie Tales and Sesame Street videos on the floor and told her to choose one.  "Elmo in Grouchland" it was.  There is a scene where Elmo gets a little down, and the plants pop out of the ground to encourage him.  In the video, Cara is dancing like Elmo.

For those who don't speak Baby, Cara is saying "dance, dance."  I swear, I have got to get this child into some music and/or dance classes.  She would love it!

Oct 7, 2010

dress #3

I finished dress #3 last week, and it has so many mistakes that it barely qualifies as a "dress."  In fact, my friend Jillian laughed when I showed it to her.  Seriously.  (Love you, Jill! :-)  As with anything in life, there are Pros and Things I Learned.

  • This looks like a dress.
  • It fits the crazy toddler.
  • It has sleeves and a zipper.
  • There are no pins still stuck in it that would stick the crazy toddler.
  • The fabric is cute.
  • Um...
Things I Learned:
  • Sometimes it's better not to follow pattern directions exactly.  The contrast band on the hem is all jacked up (as in I had to fold the excess fabric into a random pleat as I sewed the band on to the bottom of the dress), but I used my own method to keep the same problem from occurring on the sleeves.
  • I know what "stitch in the ditch" means now.  That doesn't mean I know how to do it.
  • You don't have to use a zipper foot to sew in a zipper.  I still don't know what a zipper foot is or if I even have one.
  • I still need to figure out how to get my machine to do a gathering stitch.  Please don't look too closely at my uneven gathers...
  • I am brushing up on my visual/spatial skills from staring intently at the pictures on the pattern directions.
  • My sewing skills do not improve very much after a glass of wine.
In spite of its flaws and imperfections, I am really proud of this dress.  I made it all by myself!  It's my first step towards ACTUALLY SEWING CUTE THINGS, and I don't think Cara really cares if it's not perfect.  All she cares about is whether or not she can run in it.

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