Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April Challenge: Week Three

The third of four installments of the Ditch the Dumpy Sweats April Challenge!  (See The Maiden Metallurgist's weekly post here.)

Wednesday 4/16

Agenda: I honestly can't even remember back that far.

Be warned, the theme of this post is going to be "The Week of Blah."  Blah because I consumed waaaay too much pre-Easter Easter candy.  Blah because it WON'T STOP RAINING.  Blah because parenting is hard as heck sometimes.  And blah because... well, let's just say it's that time of every month that I'm not feeling so peppy.  I chose this first outfit just because I wanted to wear a comfort sweater.

Thursday 4/17

Agenda: Easter party at Nix/Gax preschool, annual check-up for Nix and Gax

I tried again to work in The Impossible to Coordinate pants.  This is a light coral linen sweater and a fluffy scarf... hoping I pulled it off?

Friday 4/18

Agenda: Work in Bean's classroom

My friend found this super cute necklace for me at ModCloth, and I wanted a simple top to show it off.  Sometimes when we are feeling the most Blah, a reminder of a sweet person in our lives can cheer us up.  (Pardon the dorky pose, it was impossible to capture light with all the dark clouds this past week!)

Saturday 4/19

Agenda: Stand outside in the rain for soccer and t-ball, birthday party at bouncy house with Bean

The functional outfit, pants that fit in tall rain boots and a top that layers under my warm, dry, huge jacket.  Done.

Sunday 4/20

Agenda: Easter at my parents' house

Biggest pants in my closet to hide waistline attacked by a herd of chocolate bunnies.  Yep.  At least we got a brief reprieve from the constant downpour.

Monday 4/21

Agenda: Co-op preschool with Littlest

Those same pants.  The bunnies did a lot of damage, little jerks.

Tuesday 4/22

Agenda: Grocery store, post office, Target, soccer banquet for Nix and Gax

This morning I woke up to... yet again... this, out my window.

And I just gave up.  Dumpy sweats it is.  (Sorry Drea!)  Not only is this a comfortable sweatshirt, but it also explains to people in public why I look and act like I am some sort of zombie.  Because I am.  Actually, the checker at the grocery store said to me, "You don't look like you have four kids..."  Which I decided to take as a compliment, instead of reading into as, "... you look like you have at least ten."  So thank you, checker, I appreciate it.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April Challenge: Week Two

Picking up right where I left off with The Maiden Metallurgist's April Challenge: Ditch the Dumpy Sweats.  (See Drea's second week post here.  You won't want to miss it!)


Agenda: Nix and Gax dental appointments, playdate at our house

I call this my "grab everything in the closet that I don't know how to coordinate, and wear them on the same day" outfit.  Those pants, love them... but other than the one top I bought with them, I am clueless.  They are like a clay gray.  It doesn't seem like it should be hard, but I am always taking them out of the closet and then putting them back in when none of the tops feel right with them.  And the scarf, I adore those colors, but again for some reason, it never looks right with my outfits.  So at least I wore these items out of the house, right?


Agenda: PlayDate SEA with a friend, t-ball practice

Not much to say about this outfit.  Both the gray tank and the black cardi got ruined in the wash a couple of days later, so I guess this is the memorial photo of the outfit.  Rest in peace, tank and cardi.  Rest in peace.

I am generally against stealing babies... but I have considered taking this particular one home with me.


Agenda: Tacoma STAR Center playdate

I have put this top in the "donate" pile several times, only to chicken out and rescue it.  Which I suppose means next time I should just leave it there.  I don't know... it fits nicely and the color is pretty.  But something about it isn't yes! for me.  Later in the day, I put an olive green jacket over it, and I liked the sweater a lot better in a lesser amount.


Agenda: Soccer game, errands, *Date Night*

During the first half of the day, my "running around to every store in town" outfit was simple blue capris with a cream top.  Then a short-sleeved black sweater with a knit infinity scarf for dinner with the hubby (thanks Mom and Dad!).

Taken shortly before I ate my weight in fondue and wanted to die.


Agenda: Tackle the epic to-do list

I cheated with mommy yoga pants.  Even God rested on the seventh day.


Agenda: Co-op preschool with Littlest, t-ball practice

Hmmm, second time wearing this sweater during the week.  Yes, I did wash the kid snot off of it in between.  This time I am wearing some super comfy cropped khakis and a necklace.  I am still high on the boring factor, but at least I am dressed!  With make-up!  Monday is a tough morning around here.


Agenda: Take dog to preschool for pet show-and-tell, Target, soccer practice

Pay no attention to the Lego explosion behind me.  (You can see the mess slowly growing behind me if you scroll through these pictures day-by-day.  I am convinced the Legos multiply and scatter while we sleep.)



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April Challenge: Week One

My first installment of The Maiden Metallurgist's April Challenge: Ditch the Dumpy Sweats!  (See her weekly post HERE.)  I decided a little late that I would participate, so forgive me for missing a few days.  But a good way to ease into posting again!


Agenda: Chuck E Cheese's for Nix and Gax's 4th birthday party

The best picture I could find of my outfit was in that ticket blaster tornado thing.  (Yes, I am stuffing tickets down my tank.  I actually found two tickets in my underwear when I changed out of them.  The things we do for our offspring!)


Agenda: Bouncy house, errands, Pancake House for dinner

Fell in love with these cropped pants and had to buy them.  But I have trouble figuring out what to wear with them.  In the store window, it was paired with a top similar to what I'm wearing here, but it had springy pink stripes instead of blue.  That pink is not a color I can wear anyway, but I wasn't a huge fan.  Navy is my favorite neutral, so I grabbed this top and added some red as an accent color.  Not necessarily a home run, but not the worst?  Or is it?

But then it got warmer and sunnier as the day progressed, so I needed a t-shirt to take the boys outside.  I was totally at a loss at what could match from my closet, so I grabbed this t-shirt just because I bought it at the same store as the pants and assumed they would coordinate on some level.

Then it was getting really warm (70+ degrees) and I gave up.  Ditched the thick cropped pants altogether and grabbed a jean skirt and hot pink flip flops.


Agenda: Host a playdate at our house

The past few days have been both busy and emotionally challenging as a parent.  We had Bean's friend (and his mom and sister) come over for a playdate, and while I wanted to retreat into yoga pants and a comfy old t-shirt, I decided to farm my closet for something that was just as comfortable without being so lazy.  Those pants are not actually yoga pants, they are "slim fitting comfort trousers" that I got in my StitchFix box.  I am counting that as a win.

Reflections and notes for the week...

* I need more short sleeved tops that are not solid navy, white, black, or gray.

* Waistline is an issue for me.  Do belts help hide a flabby tummy, or accentuate it?  Google this.

* While I love the sunshine, I am not looking forward to having to shave my legs more frequently again.

* How are Nix and Gax already four?  I am old.

* Parenting is hard.  I wish I liked cigarettes and alcohol.

* I am pretty upset that this final season of "Psych" was so poorly written.

* Shopping.  Shopping helps everything.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

April Challenge: Ditching the Dumpy Sweats

There are a lot of things I love about babywearing: the convenience, the snuggles, and the delicious wrap fabrics that I can horde and pet.  But as we are entering the twilight years of increasingly infrequent uppies, what I am grateful for most are the incredible mamas that I have "met" during this journey of early motherhood.

One of those awesome people is Drea from The Maiden Metallurgist.  She is smart, cute, funky, and eloquent.  And she has issued an April Challenge, and very tentatively, I am stepping up to the plate on this one:

Now honestly, I am not really guilty of wearing dumpy sweats anymore.  The first year of any of my kids' lives, absolutely; you would find me in DH's ratty old sweatpants and an oversized faded college t-shirt.  But now that I am no longer gestating or breastfeeding, I have been able to lose a significant portion of baby/nursing weight and wear items that could actually be recognized as legit clothing.

But I am excited to participate in this challenge, because while I don't portray dumpy exactly, I am far from where I'd like to be fashion-wise.  Here are my goals for this challenge:

1.  Post more frequently on the blog.  I appreciate having some accountability to post on a regular basis... instead of just waiting for concerned relatives to email me to ask if I am dead.

2.  Be more creative in my outfits.  I am not someone who can picture different pieces together... who can pull pants and tops and belts and shoes and accessories together in unique and fun ways.  I am either wearing jeans and a basic top, or an outfit that I saw on a mannequin at the store.  I feel like there is untapped potential in my closet, pairing different things with one another, and I need some prompting to experiment.

3.  Purge what doesn't make me feel fantastic.  I am guilty of buying many a Target top that 1) costs $10 and 2) fits.  But I just feel meh when I wear some of them.  Especially in light of my recent personal color analysis, I have discovered the powerful effect of different colors on my appearance and mood.  Time to donate the "doesn't do anything for me" items to the local women's shelter and stick with clothes that make me feel aww yeah!

4.  Don't "save" favorite pieces for something that will never happen, stop relying on boring clothes.  It's seeming unlikely that my kids are going to beg me to take them to the symphony during spring break, or that Duchess Kate will call me up to share High Tea during her next tour of the US.  I can grab the cute sweater instead of passing it by to keep it clean for a special activity that just won't happen.

So join me, and link up with Drea on Tuesday!  Let me know if you do!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

They grow up so fast

Last week, Bean turned 6 years old.  The same Bean that jumped around on the sonogram like a gummy bear on espresso when I was first starting this blog.  All the usual cliches apply here... time does fly, and they do grow up so fast.

Bean started kindergarten in the fall.  He was such a shy boy in preschool, and I worried that he would be an easy target for more aggressive kids in elementary school.  He also napped until his 5th birthday, so I worried that the full-day schedule would be too much for him.  But like many of the frets of parenthood, all the apprehension about this transition was for naught.  Bean is absolutely thriving so far.  He has a great group of kids in his class, he can't wait to go to school to play with his "twenty friends."  And he gets irritated when they have a week off -- "Two days for the weekend is enough of a break, Mom," he told me.  He does often arrive home tired and grumpy, but it's nothing that a good snack and quality time with his Legos can't fix.  I adore his teacher, she is fantastic, and I am lucky enough to be able to help out in the classroom every Friday.  He is reading books, writing sentences, tackling math, and stretching his imagination for class projects.  Kindergarten has been a win for him... now if only the next 12 years could go this smoothly.

Nix and Gax turn 4 years old next month.  And as much as I hate to pair them in the same paragraph and minimize their individuality, they really are best friends and spend all their time together (they get lonely when they are not at the same place), so for the sake of brevity, here it is.  They started a new drop-off preschool in the fall, three mornings a week for 2.5 hours at a time.  As much as I love the co-op model, it was just too much for me to handle with both of them.  Even mommies need a break now and then.  Technically the new school has a co-op option: I go in the classroom to "work" once a month.  But it's so much less commitment than our original co-op, and I do enjoy being able to see them interacting in class on this limited basis.  Nix had trouble with the separation at first... I was the mom hiding around the corner after drop-off, listening for the crying to stop.  Such a heartbreaker!  But he only cried for a minute or two, and when it was time to leave, he would skip into my arms with a big smile, telling me about the fun things they had done.  And after a couple of weeks, it was no big deal.  Gax never batted an eye about being dropped off, I think he's been ready for me to leave him the heck alone since he was about four months old.  Their teacher is an angel, I really don't know how she does it all day, every day!  Other than preschool, Nix and Gax enjoy playing Legos with Bean, tackling new games on their LeapPad, and bugging the crap out of each other.  They also love going to the park to play, but seeing as we live in Seattle, those days have been few and far between lately.  But spring is coming!  Nix and Gax are also starting their first organized sport this year: soccer.  So far it is not going well for Nix... he cries when other kids kick the ball.  It's going to be a long season, I am fully stocked on Excedrin.

Littlest is not so little anymore... he turns 2 years old in May.  TWO YEARS OLD!  He is incredibly adorable and hilarious (if I do say so myself).  A couple of months ago, he decided he no longer wanted to be the baby of the family, and he has adopted all the behaviors and attitudes of Nix and Gax.  While it's challenging to parent 3-year-olds acting like 3-year-olds, it's just plain funny when it's Littlest.  I see his little baby and toddler behaviors slowly slipping away, and it does bring tears to my eyes at times.  I try to enjoy every snuggle and cuddle while I still can.  Even though I am completely confident and unconflicted about our decision to stop at four kids (oh my gosh, do I really have that many?!), I still mourn the passing of this stage of our family.  In the meantime, Littlest and I have special time together at the co-op preschool on Monday mornings, and I can soak it up as much as possible.

As for me, I am slowly emerging from the shock and fog of successive reproducing.  Some days are better than others... it depends on how much sleep I've gotten, what moods the boys are in, and perhaps if we'll see a glimpse of the sun.  Unfortunately, keeping a balance with my part-time work-from-home position was just too much.  As much as I appreciated the personal fulfillment I get from working, and the change-of-pace from a day packed with kid-focused activities, it was taking too much from my emotional reserves to find the time and mental focus to do the job well.  After coming to that difficult decision, I called my boss to let her know, and she was more than understanding.  She reminded me that I had helped them earn their biggest contract to date, and made me promise to call her as soon as I was ready to work again.  That was a huge relief for me; I am confident that it is best for me to just focus on these four monkey boys for now.

As may be apparent, I have been extremely remiss at updating my blog.  *ahem*  I blame the lack of coherency in my brain for this... when I do have a few moments without the kids demanding my attention, forming sentences is not something that I generally have much capability to do.  You will find me on the couch watching "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," refusing to do anything productive, cerebral, or useful.  I hope that will change in the future.  But regardless, I don't have time to mine file after file of pictures on our hard drive to fill in the gaps of posting, so I'll make it easy and show some pictures snapped since 2014 began.  Highlights include Bean's birthday, Bumpa's birthday, the Seahawks winning the Superbowl, Nix and Gax starting soccer, snow in Seattle, and a visit from my Mother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law.  Enjoy!