Saturday, November 21, 2015

Get Your Shrub On!

"Shoot, I can't meet you at 10 - L has music and we have two kiddo parties to hit. I'm going to try and squeeze it in around noon!" I reported excitedly to my girlfriend via text, my fingers gliding quickly over the screen in anticipation of the event I had missed the last few years.

For several seasons, Mom and I attended the Family Tree Nursery Holiday Open House, the glitter and joy of the season lining every single wall with Christmas goodness. Little did I know until spotting the perfect potted plant on my girlfriend's front porch, that during this event they host a Holiday Container party.  Here, you grab a planter, stuff it full of green lush goodness, and sprinkle in some holiday cheer of ornaments, pinecones, birch and more. In the end, you walk away with an affordable piece that lights up your entire front porch and lasts until nearly spring. Swoon!
Even with the best laid plans, it didn't work for me to attend this year, courtesy of a nasty stomach bug. But thanks to one incredibly awesome friend, this little beauty will adorn our holiday porch:
Here's her work for art for her lovely home:
Thank you, A for getting your shrub on and for being the giving, thoughtful friend you are. We can hardly wait to plunk this container of goodness down among our already sparkling lights.

Stop by Family Tree tomorrow 11-4 and one of these can be yours. Happy creating!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pre-Holiday Fun!

"Oh I don't know. I'm not sure about that whole seeing Santa before Thanksgiving portion of the whole deal," I chatted to my husband over a boiling pot of spaghetti. The mister, an avid proponent of keeping holidays within their rigid boxes of timelines, just shook his head. But the kids had already heard the words "cookies" and "Shrek," so it was either go to the event or find 3,468 new ways to manage whining.

Mid way through the week, the desire to hang with friends and try a free kid event prevailed, and thank goodness it did. The Shrek Experience is an absolute blast! Located outside of the downstairs Dillards of Oak Park Mall, it's an interactive playground of imagination and holiday joy. Even the big man himself (not Santa), who is incredibly hard to impress, has asked multiple times to return. Stick it on your holiday bucket list!

High level, here's how it works, noting ours was the soft opening, VIP event (thanks S!):

You check in with some of the friendliest gals around. Poised and professional, they get you ready for what almost feels like a Disney-esque experience. In groups of eight or less, you enter, immediately placed with "Candy" who gives clear instructions and points children to iPads on the wall. Here, they receive strategies on how to fly a sleigh and even get some practice in, all the while the flashes of light and beautifully decorated walls dancing around them.

Next you go and have the flight experience. Unsure of what our "spidey sense" kiddo could endure, we perched near the back of the sleigh and awaited our adventure. The kiddos and adults were all smiles as we floated across star lit skies, delighted in the room's changing temps and cascaded down hills of ice, only to finally land in the North Pole. It felt authentic, unique and like a little piece of amusement park without actually moving. Even this motion sickness mama had no trouble!

The next holding room couples kiddos with more iPad fun, engaging them in building a gingerbread cookie. All I know is that our big guy walked away with a topless gingerbread woman with a lea, purple cowboy boots, floral shorts and pigtails. I'm not even going to ask...

Finally we land on the lap of Santa, who is joyful and fun and plays little tricks with the candy canes to capture that perfect smile on film. The walls behind him are glorious, feeling just as if you had entered his personal study just to share your wish list of the season.

Walking away with a candy cane, jump drive and the opportunity to donate was just a delight.

So go ahead and see your regular Santa, but add this one too. It's worth it...even 50+ days before the big day.

Happy pre-holidays!

Oh The Things We Found

Ok, ok, I'm ashamedly late on this - the texts from loyal readers reminding me they were waiting for my Holiday Mart finds post before the ventured out themselves - sorry! Perhaps you can have similar luck when you attend Holiday Boutique in OP in less than two weeks?!

This year, the Junior League gals brought their A-game again this year with a plethora of adorable booths, fun music and festive scene. Though parking was a nightmare with many closed streets and garages, valet was made easy and affordable (even for the gal who lost her valet ticket by end of night - eeeek). Here's what I walked away with:

Food! One can't attend HM and skip the cherry tasting session or
delighting in some dips!
Our first nephew's first Christmas souvenir
Edgy glitter in rose gold

Gotta nab the KC and Royals gear in the middle of all this excitement
Some glitter for the neckline too
My shopping buddy walked away with an amazing personalize platter, some gear for her tiny, darling frame and some KC stuff too.

Another great weekend of kicking off the most wonderful time of year! Two of two national shopping holidays - check, check!

In Stitches Over This Fix #8

"Who knows what will be in the little box of delight?! I didn't provide any purpose this time around - it's a complete surprise!" I shared with my boss, who know fully understood the anticipation of a Stitch Fix box. With no real direction to my stylist other than pure delight, I was happy to find:
Pixley Split Neck Print Blouse: pattern is to die for and one my eye was
constantly drawn to on the Fix boards. I was super bummed to find it gathered
at my waist due to my "substantial bits" and didn't flow like I'd seen on the
thinner others. It was also tight in the chest. Darn!!!
Kut Jonathan Skinny Corduroy: to die!!! Plum cords?! I didn't know I
"needed" these in my life until this moment. Super versatile and soft as pajamas,
they are my new go-to for work to weekend. Swoon!
Skies are Blue Kendy Detachable Faux Fur Sleeveless Cardigan: a super fun piece with
a detachable faux fur, but I a) will never hit the cleaners b) am not young and hip enough to
layer this correctly and pull it off c) can never find quite the right pieces to go underneath.
Great for the fashionista though!
Also included was the Loveappella Madeon Sparkle Doman Knit Top, which was really drab coloring on me and was too tight in the arms (had some fun sparkle in it though!) and a RD style Calvina Side Slit Cowl Neck Knit top I almost kept but felt it resembled too many of my basics.

Super fun and holding my breath for the next one!

What's been in your adorably branded box lately?!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Am I Losing You?

"Mom: I don't wanna hug anymore before school."

"Are you going to wear your Halloween costume to my school party? I'd rather you...not."


"I hate talking."

"NOBODY wears pants, therefore I'm not either. Shorts it is."

"None of my friends' moms do that."

"You're a mean mom. The worst mom ever."

"Grumpy count: Mom = 3, 072."

And don't even get me started on the "vocabulary" he's learned from fifth graders in before and after school care.

On that first one, we compromised after a heartfelt chat between fall's leaves and the glow of our neighbors' Halloween decorations. It was to be a quick hug and "love you" at home and a simple fist bump on the sidewalk at school drop off. What never reached agreement was the sign language for "love you" incorporated into the fist bump.

These days, it just seems like love is off the table.

It's been said a thousand times before that they grow up too fast. That once they hit Kindergarten it's a blink of an eye and you're waltzing them down the aisle, only to be heard from on major holidays. That they'll let go of your hand but never your heart. That they'll break your heart a million times over.

Damnit - they were right.

And certainly like everyone else I thought I had more time, that likely those nasty teen years you hear about are the first bought of embarrassment, brush offs and peers becoming family.

But my friends, I definitely thought I had more time than six.

I want to meet him halfway. I want to let him become whatever it is his heart is telling him to be. I want to believe people when they say this is a phase, that this is a normal part of development and is just happening a bit faster with an "advanced" child.  I want to be grateful for the incredibly kind, witty, bright young child he is in every moment, even the tough ones. I want to support him in this transition. I want to be less self-centered and know in deep down he does love and appreciate. I want this to be organic vs. the budding romance novel I've built in my mind. I want to laugh, share, experience joy, rinse and repeat. I want to feel more confident in faking a smile when someone says something like "you love them to let them go." I want to believe that this is love too, it just feels different than it did before.

And everyone once in awhile I want to hold his hand. Share a glance. Spend a quiet moment alone in which he shares something about his new world. Giggle until our sides hurt. To feel like it did when he never left my shadow for those first four almost five years.

So I'll keep trying. Because buddy, I miss you. And though I know it's selfish and not entirely true: I feel like in some ways, I'm losing you. It's not all the time - not even the majority of the time - but it's even the smallest amount of time I'm going to notice.

But I know you can't tell me if it's true. So for now I'll swallow my blue and do my best in quiet, confident ways that feel good to you too, that I love you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dip Into This Dough!

"Wait, what?! Is that a...dip?!"

Yes, yes it is. And it's without raw egg, just how some of the particulars like it.

Whipped up for a birthday tailgate, this was a hit of the party. With 10 ingredients and 10 minutes, this too can become a show-stopper for you. Serve it with apples, pretzels or graham crackers and wa-la, you're set!

Did I mention it's not too shabby right off the spoon? Particularly for the emotional eaters and the hormonal. Or just people with great taste.

It is DVR season after all.

Happy dipping little monsters!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fall's Here

"Mom, mom - there's a skeleton, let's get it!"

Perusing the aisles of Target (where else?), I felt a bit lost. I mean, where were the pool toys that were just lining the end caps? The swimsuits? Sun hats? What is happening?

Lately it feels as if we're always chasing time, a feeling I like a lot less than being in the moment. Regardless, fall is here and we're going to make the best of it. After all, there's nothing quite like the smell of fireplaces back in action, colored leaves lining the walks and the crispness of early morning over a warm drink.

Someone else is also ready for fall, apparently, given I found this little gem on his desk the other day:

To this we'll sprinkle in a few date nights, some of our favorite KC events, dance parties and maybe even some hibernating. We've already started with our Friday night, catching "The Great Pumpkin," lining our front door with webs and mums and securing our Halloween costumes.

What's on your fall bucket list?