Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Gift of Alex and Ani

"Oh honey - it's gorgeous - I love it! And the meaning!" I swooned, immediately placing the thin bangle on my wrist, the charm dangling with glamour as I admired the new piece of bling.

Alex and Ani jewels are an awesome gift to give or receive. At just the right price point, they are comfortable and light weight, don't fade, have thoughtful meaning and can be paired with existing pieces or worn on their own. The collections are growing every month, and more and more places in KC are carrying them, including Nordstrom (because everyone needs an excuse to visit).

So far my collection includes a monogram or two for my boys and a lotus flower from a gracious friend, who knocked me off my feet with the little slip of paper that indicated the meaning behind it all. What a great reminder that far too often we don't share with others or take the time to reflect on... and right on your wrist! Sure beats those rubber bands you snap on yourself to recall things, huh?

So spoil a loved one or splurge on yourself and check out the hundreds of Alex and Ani options. It's a darn good option, dangling right in front of your face...and from your wrist.

Play Ball

The last few weeks have been all about the Royals, with social feeds filling up with #beroyal, witty tees being purchased, late nights with the TV up and fingers crossed and an overwhelming sense of pride resonating through KC. It's enough to bring even a mediocre sports fan to slight tears behind the eyes with the nostalgia of it all.

Meanwhile, in western Shawnee, we have our own game going on. It's called:

Catch After Dark.

Of this game, I'm the biggest fan. For each night the Big wraps up dinner, waits patiently as Daddy cleans the kitchen and Mommy tucks away the Little, then pops up just as I close the nursery door behind me and says:

"Mommy - can we play catch?"

And though the fatigue of the day has just begun to settle in and there are a million things to do around the home, emails to respond to and conversations to be had with the husband, the answer is always:


With a smile. With anticipation. With engagement. With love.

We trot out to the pavement, just the two of us, the glow of the moon and the coolness of fall evenings settling in around us. Gloves perched on our hands, we toss for nearly an hour, sometimes conversations rich, while other times barely a word in spoken at all. We trade positions, the ball's shadow barely visible in the darkness of the night, the "thwat" of each earned catch bringing satisfaction to the catcher. And in this hour I hear things I may not have ever discovered about my growing son if I'd not taken the time, answer questions that burn with curiosity in his expanding mind and delight in the feeling of unconditional love in a simple game of catch.

It is, perhaps, one of life's greatest delights. Even better than a championship for the home team I dare to say.For this home, this team member, and this champ stole all the bases and my heart in these moments and so many more.

Thanks for playing ball son. May there be many more games of catch after dark, for I never want this series to end.

Monday Momfessions: October 6 Week

1. Today the Big went to school in yesterday's uniform. And his brother's socks. He may or may not have showered last evening. But nobody knew, right?! And he felt very fratastic about it all. Some days it's about doing the best you can with what you've got. And what we didn't have was a clean uniform.

2. Related: the Little went to school on Monday with one shoe. One. Again - doing the best with what we got, which apparently does not include sanity or a tiny New Balance. Meanwhile a doting mother dropped her child and apologized profusely for forgetting shoes and promised to run home and drop off a pair back at school. Perhaps we could be friends because opposites attract.

3. When invited to jump at a child's trampoline party, choose your activities carefully. Momma ain't 25 anymore, which means a potential rescue from the styrofoam pit and things jiggling you didn't even know you had when trying the jumps. Don't even get me started on the bladder thing even my bff forgot to tell me about. Oye.

4. I totally blamed the Pop Tart purchase during this evening's grocery run on the Big and I'm not even a little bit ashamed. Can't wait for tomorrow morning's frosted, strawberry delight.

5. The Big's bunk has become my new favorite hiding place. For napping, reading and accidentally falling asleep in it all evening long. Move over, Sleep Number. You may have been replaced by a cheap Serta or something that's even twin sized.

6. One advantage of a five year old son turning into an amazing helper who is caring, has a heart of gold and likes to spend time with you is that he'll take the time to rummage through your closet, paint your nails and weigh handbag purchase options. It's like having your bff in a tiny male package for the short term. Perhaps with even more honesty, transparency and rationale when it comes to critiquing ensems.

7. Making the birthday party rounds on weekends is worth it for the energy release required for boys and the cupcakes. Oh, and bonding with the parents. But those cupcakes...

8. When attending social events with children five and under, please anticipate saying only five and under actual words to friends and guests. The rest of the time will include phases like: "stay away from the fire! where are your clothes? please take turns! where is your brother! no, no, no! i'm not sure how to work that nerf gun. let me help you with that juice box. please put the cushions back on the couch. please remove yourself from your friend's face, etc."

9. The Little has discovered how to flurburt bellies, with an affinity for mine. Well, at least that C-section pouch is good fun for someone.

10. Bullying incidents will bring out the mama bear in anyone. You may even find yourself mumbling secret threats, using the word "shank," and leaving anonymous notes. This will not help the cause or your street cred, but the uncontrollable force to protect and serve your children will win every time.

What are you guilty of this week, mommy friends?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Five Diamond

"Um, yah...I've never stayed in a place quite like this before," I said slightly under my breath as our car pulled up, the mood lighting, quiet music and friendly faces reminding me of what it might be like to arrive at some exotic place like Hawaii. And though no flower boa was strapped to our neck, we were in fact whisked away via golf car to gorgeous rooms complete with marble countertops, beyond a Westin bed, view of swaying palms and cool waters, a couch for lounging and an inviting coffee kitchen that made even me want to take up drinking the stuff in the wee hours of the morning.

We had arrived!

Though our stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona was for work travel, each jaunt to the conference room left me wishing my husband was by my side, enjoying the cooler breeze in the evenings, treating me to a spa day right on site as he enjoyed exotic beers at La Hacienda, taking a dip in the pool, then ending the evening with a cocktail at the poolside bar complete with seaside spray. Each employee was kind, helpful and checked in with a smile and it seemed even our clients were at an extra ease at the resort, taking fewer phone calls on breaks but rather enjoying the warmth of the sun patio side. All food served was impeccable, the decor shimmering and updated and the lengthier jaunts more beautiful than the one before. The pool featured a waterfall, floating tubes, cabanas bigger than our queen bed and little umbrella drinks available at all hours.

In short, it was a slice of heaven for we corporate wanderers.

So although it won't likely be until well after retirement that a place like this will be possible on our own dime, I'm grateful for the chance to go while on the job. So save your pennies and do the same, won't you? And get a 90 minute massage and some guacamole at Hacienda for me! Oh and that really darling bracelet at the gift shop too...


Although "ladylike" is generally not a term used to describe me (said the gal that trips twice a day and sits in odd yoga poses at her desk), it doesn't mean my nails don't get to be...

I'm over the moon for this color for it's unique by neutral tone, easy application and long wear. It's not too much pink, brown or purple, but just right.

It's Ladylike.

No, literally it's called "Ladylike" by Essie. So fem it up and treat yourself today!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monday Momfessions: September 22 Week

1. Tonight I violated the no shoes, no shirt rule that's so important to gas stations and made it "no problem," using Kenny Chesney's song as inspiration. To be fair, I gave the Big a piggy back ride and hoped his preppy school uniform would buy him some grace. After all, we were spending a whopping four dollars on Skittles and Gatorade in anticipation of five-year-old shots tomorrow. And no one stepped on glass or anything - bonus.

2. The amount of times I have to clarify with the Big "are you all buckled?" from the moment I just snapped them in to the one foot walk to the driver's seat may make me a very viable candidate for early memory loss. Will you please come visit me in the home and remind me of your name?

3. During a TSA search of my handbag last week, the following items were unearthed: shin guards, four pair of toddler socks, two diapers, a sippy cup, a small soccer ball, a whistle, Thomas the Train and half eaten granola bar. Can you say you've hit the mother load, literally?

4. I've hired my Big to become my own personal spider-killing machine. Genius or cruel? You decide. He seems fine with it...

5. Family lesson of the week: if a glow stick breaks, your eyes will stop stinging within 30 minutes and your vision will return. Assure your moaning child of this, pretend like everything is fine as you squeeze your eyes shut and hang tight. Then turn it into a valuable chemistry lesson while you're at it.

6. Using a two-blade on your child's hair who is already very thin with dark circles under his eyes from allergies will only solicit stares as if he should audition for a St. Jude commercial. Don't believe the hair dresser when she says she can do the same with that blade as she does with a fade with the scissors.

7. Speaking of hair cuts, the second child gets their soft little duck tail just chopped off by Daddy in the master bathroom. No pictures. No plan. No golden certificate documenting this monumentus event. Just snip, go and gratitude he's no longer sporting a unique rat tail.

8. Gah grant you patience until your five year old starts showering on their own and managing their hineys. When both occur, go out and celebrate. This is huge. Liberatingly huge.

9. When clients you haven't seen in awhile ask you how your children are doing and you indicate the second one is "hell on wheels," come up with a quick nice statement to follow up. They will pause and stare at you until you do. "Fine - thanks for asking" always works if you're at a loss.

10. The statement "ignorance is bliss" can sometimes hold true in parenting. For example, when your Big starts calling everyone he loves "old" as a term of endearment, when your Little still uses brute strength to sit on things when he's not getting his way, when you went ahead and took them out in public with stained clothes and when siblings start to brawl like a pack of WWF wrestlers are prime examples. Surely it can still be ignorance if you just ignore it, right?!

How are you and your families, dear friends?

Now That's Customer Service

"Excuse me Miss, what are you here for?" a shorter gentleman sporting a bow tie and clutching a clipboard asked me with slight interest, slight threat as he kept the other eye on the growing line.

It was the morning of the iPhone 6 launch, potentially one of the worst days for one's iPhone 5 to go on the fritz and become totally unusable. In short, this gal needed service, despite hundreds of people crowding the Plaza corners to obtain the latest and greatest. Expecting the worst as he shuffled through his iPad and notebook combo, I was stunned to hear him say:

"Please proceed to the wooden table on the left and they will take care of you immediately."

This was quickly followed by a suspicious look at my husband, assuredness that yes I knew him and he was not going to run off on the sidelines with a 6, then we were shuffled to the nearly empty store, their system of delivering the newest model all managed to the awaiting customers outside.

Within minutes, one of the laid back, friendly support dudes had me all set up, confirming my battery was part of the 5 recall and requesting I come back in an hour. Even better, with a quick search of my email address, he had an alarmingly awesome amount of information he needed to protect my phone, diagnose it, leave it in there care and return after a yummy lunch.

And again, all on the launch of the 6 day. Wowza.

Nearly two hours later I return to a fully juiced phone that held it's charge, all items reinstated, cleaned and ready to roll. Nearly hugging the device (attachment disorder), I thanked them profusely and marched past the six blocks of folks waiting in line to get reacquainted with my well-functining 5.

Did I mention they were handing out coffees and waters and remaining uber professional and friendly with all the line goers? Including the ones simply there to preach Jesus?

You go Apple.

So if you have a 5 and the battery is pooping out on you super fast, go get diagnosed and see if you're within warranty or part of the recall. And hit the Plaza Apple store. Perhaps a fabulous dude in a bow tie will be your superhero too.

PS: after that if you're hungry for cake, hit the Hen House on Antioch. That kind lady also upped the ante by cutting me fresh yellow and chocolate cake to assure me of it's deliciousness. And delicious it was...