Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Missed Stitch

"Oh yeah - I had to move to once a month on the down low because I'm so bananas about it all." I said to my colleague as we discussed our weekly dose of fashion. "How I'm getting away with it? The  ol' grocery store extra cash grab," I admitted, thankful that she too was familiar with the strategy.

This month the anticipation of the Stitch Fix was no different, the fastest sprint you'd see me run being from my car to the front door on the day it arrived. Here's what the well-marketed box contained for April:

Brixon Ivy Diaz Embrodiered& Crochet Detail Cotton Top in White:
sent back b/c although a great cut, didn't have quite the pizazz or color I normally seek

Brixon Ivy Crochet Skirt: darling in theory, but too tight across
the hips, causing the underlay to pull from the cute pattern

Kut From the Kloth Siena Capri Pant in coral: I had already fallen in love with
Macy's new colored denim and LOFT's new cut, so no need. Plus the color
didn't have enough punch and they were a bit snug in the calves

Gili Alina MIxed Geo Print Maxi Skirt: darling! The pattern was so much
fun, but I never quite got comfortable with the clinginess across the tush
and hips to justify the price. The black top featured was included as well,
but I've learned never to keep a top that's sheer on top because
I just won't wear it to work due to the brazier reveal.
Although this month was a missed stitch of sorts, it was still a delight to check out the items, consider them all and feel like Tish's best friend from her custom, friendly note.

Here's counting down to mid-May already! T has the duty to start preparing me for the islands!

PS: the post office box was full of SF returns for two days straight! Ladies are catching on to this awesomeness for sure!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Oh Geez, I Miss My Zzzzs

"My name is Megan and it's been more than four months since I've slept more than 35 minutes consecutively."

I probably really should join a support group, but we'd probably spend all night texting and chatting with one another, further reminding ourselves we are incapable of sleep...

For me, sleep has always been a bit optional, surviving pretty easily on four to six hours and getting through the days with a smile. Then I turned 30. Had children. Made life and career changes. All those sorts of things. Catching zzzzzs suddenly became a bit less optional and more of a requirement if that grin was going to happen and I was going to be the kind of woman, mom, wife, friend and daughter I desired to be.

Gal pals remind me that sleep has always been an issue in life (I'm probably forgetting due to lack of REM cycles), but this, my friends has entered a whole new level of wakedom. Each night consists of relying on a little pink pill, taken at an exact hour or deal with wakefulness so bold it dares to consume nearly my entire life. It invites me to obsess about it. Flirt with it. Fight with it. Embrace it. Loathe it. And many other emotions in between. It's meant physical pain, forgetfulness and at times, even danger. It's not cool.

I mean, it's just insomnia, but geez louis, I miss my zzzzzs. It's toll has changed our family dynamics, causing new schedules, concerns and fears. All from a lack of sleep. It's a bit, insane.

Seasons of insomnia made sense before: college exams, relationship stress with that first love, anxiety over family situations, etc. But this?

Worthless.

From what I can tell, life is pretty damn good. I've not a thing to complain about or really even fret about besides those everyday things any mildly health person is going through. Heck, most days I even question how I got this lucky in life, grateful for each moment the hours held.

Ambien has been the only answer and even that guy takes a while to kick in. And he has so many rules. Puh-leeze. Who has time for that?

Taking care of my emotional wellness and essential oils are next on my list. The attempt to kick up the exercise and avoid sugar are meh and likely need a ramp up. Losing screen time hours before bed should go on the list as well. And maybe a dab of meditation.

All in all, I desire to do none of these things. I desire sleep. And that, apparently is unattainable. Brain or hormones: you must be winning.

That means I'm losing. Hours of sleep. Hours of sanity. And years off of my life. All from this little thing that makes no sense with healthy blood work, etc.

When I look at the seriousness and strength required of others and the things they are going through, I feel ashamed that insomnia is eating me alive. In the grand scheme of things this likely counts for nothing and I have no business running my mouth on its vicious spell it has over me. But hey - I had the time, my family fast asleep in their rooms while I tend a hobby. At least there's that...

May your Zzzzzs be deep, bold and beloved. You and your loved ones deserve it!And if you've found something that works that doesn't require a script, please pass your secrets along. Any hour...I'll be awake.




Mealtime Made Easier

I know, I know - if you're one of my good pals you're laughing right now. Because seriously how much easier can dinner get when your husband has it practically prepared for you each night when you walk in the door?

Enter: Wildtree.


It all started with an excuse to drink wine with my girlfriends, as many great ideas do. With almost zero cooking experience under my belt, I nervously accepted her invite to attend a Wildtree Party at her home, and mostly looked for a reason to catch a little gossip and girl time. And when the list arrived of meat we had to purchase in advance? I nearly panicked. There may have been approximately 14 texts exchanged with my husband that day about what exactly does a beef tenderloin look like and a moment of near-tears when I was requested to find garlic. I mean, what does that even look like unless it comes in a labeled plastic spice jar?!

The end result: 10 meals that cost about $4-$6 each for a family of four spread over nearly three days, each claiming to be healthy and natural. Better yet, they tasted amazing, all parties approved and they could be prepared in 10-30 minutes after a long day on the job.

Cha-ching.

I fell so deeply in love with the concept that I plan to host a party in May, which is generally outside of my social scope (hosting business house parties). That and I was at a complete loss of what to actually feed my family after the freezer meals disappeared. By the way - let me know if you want to come!

Here's the gist of it all if you get invited to one of these events:

1. You get invited to your friend's home: a not-too-pushy rep invites you (you likely already heard about it from your girlfriend) and provides the date, time and shopping list.
2. You do the pre-shopping: you take the shopping list which is easy to follow and is organized by the "bundle" the hostess chose. Mostly you purchase meats and spend around $70-$150. You throw it all in a cooler and haul it to to your girlfriend's house.
3. You drink bevs and prepare the meals: you arrive at your friend's house and the rep has a station for you. You have your own full-size set of rubs and spices that go home with you that are all organic and can be used with many other recipes. A laminated sheet is available that you follow step by step. For the domestically challenge (ahem), the rep works with you to ensure you're on track and feeling good about it all. Did I mention there are snacks there? Samples! Yum...
4. You go home with 10 meals: for us, each meal easily fed our family of four, lunch for me and the mister the next day and sometimes even leftovers for at least two the next night. Cooking instructions, recipes and suggestions for sides are also sent home with you, making it as prescriptive and easy as one can imagine.

And wa-la...dinner is ready. For at least 10 days!

Everything can be modified, simplified, etc. to meet your family's needs. This month we reduced our restaurant budget by nearly $300 and I think a few pounds even fell off despite my lack of willpower when it came to those damn Birthday Oreos. For me, it also gave me the confidence to try something outside of boiling water and throwing Kraft noodles in. Or placing chicken nuggets in the microwave per the instructions. After all, I did stick my hand in the back of a raw chicken (the rep literally held my hand). It felt like I was actually contributing to our family's eating activities and being money conscious at the same time.

In other words, it was a gold stars moment that still including adult bevs with the girls. Anytime you can accomplish that, why not?

I've gone wild over Wildtree. Or maybe it's the concept of actual meal planning itself, but either way it's worth a look if money, time (and ok health) are helpful to you and yours.

Bon app├ętit!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hair - Did.

"Nah - he doesn't need one. That totally does not qualify as a rat tail or whatever the kids are calling them these days," my husband said, a rake full of dead leaves signaling the start of spring yard work.

As with many things after nearly nine years of marriage, I disagreed. And promptly scheduled a same-day snip for the little guy. His first. Without Daddy knowing.

I'm a terrible wife.

On the drive there we relished in the 70-something degree air, chanting cheers of encouragement and excitement over THE FIRST HAIRCUT. Brother may have gotten a few digs in there about how he'd punk out, but the promise of dum sums, Dora and a motorcycle quickly won over the two-year old psyche.

Arriving 15 minutes early they were prepared: all chairs open, camera in hand and the most experienced stylist in the place. Anticipating the worst as many Moms of spirited toddlers do (shameful), I had provided backup (Nana), bribes and threats. Instead, I found myself delighted as he picked the purple motorcycle, shouted words of "WHOA" at the movie "Cars," and every once in awhile mustered an death glare and palm brush of the kind gal working diligently at the crown of this head.

And just like that, he was done.

Rat tail, released.

Happy first haircut little buddy. Looks good on ya.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Take Ten Minutes on Tuesday

To vote for this guy!:

You won't find a more genuine, true-to-his-word, fight for KC and all that can be kind of guy. Vote Jared Campbell for KCMO City Council and prepare to be heard and see improvement in action.

We're proud of you Jared - KC is lucky to have someone like you in its corner. Thank you for caring with the kind of heart many can only dream of and a city can thrive from.

Learn what's in it for you at campbell4kc.com.

The Charting of Chores

"Ok, so...do I get a toy EVUR-E week?!" he said with wide eyes, half selling half pondering as we discussed the list that lay before us.

It was week one of introducing the chore chart, the consistency and motivation of it all feeling like more of the accountability of us as parents vs. the five year old eager to add new responsibility to his list.

A bit like the Elf, but with less sneakiness to it all...

To equip us with a plan, a quick Google search had a good list of chore ideas by age (Pinterest - way too complicated for this mama), and Lakeshore Learning in Merriam had all the tools we needed. Feeling a bit like the good ol' days of playing school, we left with:

- Chore Chart
- Reward stickers
- New marker
- Weekly reward toys for less than $2
- Rubber bracelets for "caught being good" moments

Knowing that ultimately constancy, understanding expectations, doing well and pleasing others motivates our oldest, we tape the chart to his wall each Sunday, Saturday evening being the night he earns the small awards. Daily he's responsible for:

- Brushing his hair and teeth
- Picking up his room floor and all toys
- Making his bed
- Putting clothes in hamper
- Clearing his dishes
- Feeding the pets
- Reading a book
- Practicing his spelling words
- Practicing kindness
- 1xweek: a load of laundry

Every six weeks or so if he's done really well with few reminders, he earns a small toy as a complete surprise. This has been an incredible help in maintaining our sanity and he feels like he's giving back to the family as well. It's been an awesome reminder to me as a mother that the mister and I don't have to do it alone, and there is a big piece of parenting that isn't just fun and emotional support, but responsibility as well.

If it's advice you seek in entering this arena with your kiddo, ours would be to understand what motivates your child, always give them the choice and then reward or not, and be consistent and realistic with goals.

What kind of tools do you use in your household to grow and teach responsibility?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Summer Suit Up

"Seriously - he cradles my ta-tas when under duress. It's like he reverts back to the infant stage. Or maybe he's just a man..." I said to my Mom as she delivered the honest, brutal truth during a brave, had-to-have-a-cocktail first swimsuit try on marathon.

This year's requirements were different than last's, the results of nursing two children, being at my heaviest weight and reaching that magic age of 35 having changed my mindset. Plus the above description that Little L tries to pull at swim lessons right before he enters a 30-minute meltdown of aquatic joy. If I had my way, a tarp or some kind of A-line waterproof onesie would've been ideal in picking this year's suit, but apparently no one has invented those yet...

So it goes I ended up with this little number from Macy's:

Not too shabby. Under the hundy mark and made of durable material, an appropriate pattern that proves some rucking at the waist and capable of surviving weekly trips to the pool with a 2 and 5 year old make it ideal. Some wires that hike up the girls who have given up and enough material to cover the entire deiriere are also a bonus.  Requirements met.

Had it made me look 10 pounds lighter I would've dropped another $200 on it, but...

What will you sport this season?