Sunday, July 31, 2011

Room Review: An Update

Happy weekend, dear friends! Before the start of the most fabulous two days of the week, I promised you a few shots of the very slightly updated boy...let's make it "toddler room":

From the doorway, with the rug we purchased when he turned one and a glimpse of the new, darker curtains. No more having four layers with the blackouts as they're built in! Also, we're still searching for some cute tie-backs.

One of the updated shelves, featuring his nickname and current #1 love, the bicycle, an antique looking item (so not a toy) from Hobby Lobby that he yearns to play with:

Shelf two featuring a tie-in to his sheets and a character he's growing to love, along with a few special personalized mementos:

His Pottery Barn Kids bedding we transitioned to a year ago to bring in some vibrant color, plus a personalized pillow from Holiday Mart:

Finally, some photos displayed! His immediate family he loves and adores:

His cluttered bookshelf housing a tender poem, half of his name in train letters, stuffed gifts and a library he adores:

Not sure how much longer we'll need this or what we'll convert it to, but his changing table housing diaper, socks, toys, shoes and other fun stuff. My favorite part? The chalkboard labels:

Finally, the piece we created on the fly during our "innovation" time together (read: keep the toddler busy time), a canvas which will be framed featuring the hands of our little family:

What a delight it's been to hear the little dude commenting on the new stuff that seems to be what his heart yearns for such as planes, trains, automobiles, monkeys, books, balls and more (don't get me wrong, the dude loves pink too and we totally embrace this). And though we had to rip off and duplicate a bit of what was happening in the pages of Pottery Barn Kids vs. the vintage feel I long for, it's ours, we like it a lot and feel extremely grateful to have this opportunity to even make it our own.

So here's to reviewing this room, embracing toddlerdom and everything in between. Cheers!


“What is this-round five?” I ask as we brace ourselves in the backseat while B makes her way effortlessly and confidently through bouts of stadium traffic. “Yah, close to that,” said Kel, her eyes never leaving the terrain as she suggests her sister apply the brakes.

Giggling uncontrollably and chatting like a pack of sorority chics (wait, I guess we were those), we reminisced on our Kenny Chesney tours and how much we’ve changed over the years, going from morning to night tailgates to now dressing light and comfortable and sipping water. From talking up boys and purchasing tees with Kenny’s biceps silouhetted on them to now saying things like: “they want HOW much for a t-shirt? Isn’t there one more plain?!” And from waiting eagerly outside his trailer to now passing on rumors that he just isn’t that cute up close and can be kind of an ass. Ah, adulthood.

Regardless, it was a total blast, scoring killer seats 30 rows in on the football field, within arms reach of his soulful tunes, fun spirit, good sense of humor and oh – Billy Currington – a dude that’s quickly moving up my crush list.

So thanks again, Kenny crew, for this memorable time and many more to come.

And as the little dude would say: “rock on, Kenny. Rock on!”

PS: One rant: I dedicate these words to the fine couple sitting in front, er, like a foot in front of me.


There, I said it. Yes it’s a free world and isn’t it so cute you’re in love but playing a supporting role in your light porn film was not something I was aiming for on my resume. Plus, you were totally outside of your chair line which limited my view of Kenny and his jeans.

Love, Megan

Friday, July 29, 2011

Room Review: Toddler Spaces

"Are you seriously moving that armoire again?" the hubs asks dumbfounded, making it a point to watch me sweat and sway with the large piece of furniture. "Seriously...what is up with you?"

Generally it's Sunday nights when these shennanigans begin of reinventing the wheel, plotting furniture in different rooms, spending hours on Pinterest and other design blogs dreaming of what our home could be. Perhaps it's a coping mechanism for wanting to return to our old neighborhood, a habit (albeit an expensive and time-wasting one), a creative outlet or a way to avoid taking that pilates class. Either way, it's a lot of fun.

Though I don't have the gift of design (I like to pretend my craft is words), I'm enamored. Obsessed. Know it when I see it. And adore what others have. So what do I try to do? Copy! After all, it's the greatest form of flattery, right?

This past month I've been focused on three rooms: the playroom, little dude's space and our study. The baby spaces needed a bit of a refresh as he quickly hurdles himself later in toddlerdom, updating his toys, making more room for wreckage and providing bright, stimulating colors and filling his space with items he enjoys. So though I'm just getting started, I thought I'd share a few shots, both only quasi-complete rooms:

Before a version of his nursery for his first year, with soft blues, oranges and whites and of course still Monkey-inspired:

Not pictured is a bookshelf tucked behind the chair and across the way, an open changing table with baskets and canvas storage, topped with shelves with baby items on display.

At one year old, his bright spirit really began to show, so we decided to sass it up a bit using primary colors, Madras bedding and include more planes, trains and automobiles. And now with two happening in less than two months, we're incorporating even more of the primary colors coupled with pictures of his family he's grown to love unconditionally and recognize, some of his favorite characters and really making it his own. We've updated the rug, darkened the curtains, removed some of the baby stuff such as ultrasound photos, baby-blue monograms, tiny stuffed animals and transitioned to fire trucks, buses, Curious George and more. I promise to post when it's a bit more complete after this weekend - plus it's hard to post because I forget to photograph it and it's generally 6 a.m. or 10 p.m. when I'm on here, which is not so much conducive to breaking and entering to snap a few photos while the little dude sleeps.

After: it's mostly been done for a year, but I've never shot a photo! Final accessories this weekend then pic to come

The playroom was only slightly tweaked, creating storage for larger, more active toys and offering creative spaces for him to work his magic with Playdough, markers, crayons and more. So out went the smaller furniture and in with the new, mostly collected at our fabulous neighborhood garage sale and the storage shelves from Target.



The space, generally cluttered, is useful and full of love with room to play hide and seek in the tent, color on the walls and create lego houses meant for a prince. The majority of our family bonding takes place in this room.

The study? Still a work in progress and more to come with my inspiration being innovation, shabby chic and a place where I can enjoy working remotely one day and surfing the web at other times.

The lesson? This all takes time. And patience. And sometimes, settling. None of which I tend to have much of. For example, I adore antiques but don't know how to refinish anything, take the opportunity to really find buried treasures or create the look I covet on HGTV and in other homes. So instead, I just rip off and duplicate Pottery Barn styles. But, I'm starting small and this time around I'm listening to my gut, working hard to identify pieces I really enjoy and make me smile, no matter how they go with the current mish mash of hand-me-downs and gifts that sprinkle throughout the home. Because as Oprah said, your house should rise to meet you.

So let's get to working on rising, shall we?

Though I guess that would require new carpet and updated wood stain...

Wait don't even go there. Focus, girl, focus.

Room Review one - more to come!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ten Percent

The most you want to miss on a test to keep that A. The rate on some loans. The top percentile you wish your kids will be in someday. The last percent you wish to get into when applying for a job. And even perhaps the number you wish for the number of Americans in debt to get to.

For me it's hitting my 10-percent goal, discovered this morning at my weekly weigh in. And I couldn’t be happier. Especially since that bridesmaid’s dress arrived in the mail this week…

I’m dreaming up ways to celebrate with 20 pounds MIA from this figure and a hefty goal met as “they” say it’s important to reward yourself, but so far I’ve not come up with one that isn’t food related or that Dave Ramsey would support.

Any ideas?

And now to keep on moving to the next goal…right after I come up with that celebration…

Summer Bucket List

As the last of the 100-degree days roll by (hopefully?!) and the besties begin talking of their return to school with disdain, I begin to mentally prepare myself that a) summer has begun b) it’s nearly over. For the many that office year round, it’s hard to remember that this is a season to be enjoyed, spend a little extra time lazing on the porch with a popsicle, running through the sprinklers, staying up past the street lights and just taking a minute to really appreciate the three months for their potential.

Recalling this, our family created a summer bucket list for summer of 2011. Simple, understated and not hugely goal-oriented, it looks a little something like this:

1. Visit the Farmers’ Market
2. Visit the Zoo
3. Get in lots of pool time
4. Splash in the fountains at Zona Rosa
5. Take the little dude to his first T-Bones game
6. Enjoy one of the First Fridays downtown
7. Schedule less on the weekends
8. Put the sprinkler out front and just run
9. Take a trip, even if it’s a mini one
10. Sit on the deck with a bottle of wine (this one is spouse specific)

I’m unhappy to report that we’ve barely made a dent, so my fingers will soon scrawl diligently over the pages of my MomAgenda to ensure we tackle the rest. After all, we never get these days back.

So, what’s on your summer bucket list?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Where's That Dude in the Skirt?

“Seriously, I think you’re going to love it – and I promise you’ll catch on. Plus, I’ll be there to help you and it’s ridiculously fun!” I tell my new workout buddy Diane, catching the fear in her eyes at the mention of the word “Zumba.” At least a decade older than me, fresh to the workout circuit and not that keen on the dance scene, it was a hard sell, but we arranged for a Sunday date.

And that’s when it started to slightly go downhill.

Studio 2? No where to be found with an efficient staircase so I make my way several times around the building, of course passing by several glass-encased rooms filled with sweaty bodies wondering what the heck I’m doing. Had they known me better they would be aware I’m incapable of finding my way out of a box. Wait, I bet they figured that out by then…but at least I provided a good distraction from what was starting to look like a near-death by push-ups session.

When I finally stumble across the correct room, it’s lined with what appears to be spunky women right out of a “Women’s Health,” so find relief in the fact there’s still a spot in the back. My eyes dodge around the lean biceps and perfect ponytails desperately searching for Diane, who has yet to make an appearance. Maybe she’s locked in the stairwell frantically searching for Studio 2 too…

Suddenly, the room breaks out into beats which I totally feel given that I still hold on to the belief I was black in my past life, and I see those perfect little ponytails poise in preparation as the Erin McAndrews look alike starts gyrating in front.

Wait…why isn’t she giving any instruction? What the….turn…sway…fist pumps…and my heart rate is already in zone 3? I thought we were warming up?! Am I supposed to know what a samba is? What is happening?

Did I tell you I danced for years including hip hop, jazz, ballet, tap and freestyle? I mean, what were all those countless hours “in da club” at KU for if not this? And still here I was, clueless…

Just then Diane joins us, dropping her water and towel nearby and sharing a look with me that could only be interpreted as “what the hell did you just get me into?” All I could do was apologize with big eyes, then turn a few beats too late and nearly whip into the gal next to me who apparently like the rest of the class attendees made this her Sunday ritual instead of getting 1:1 with the big man.

As we muddle through and spend most of our calorie burning trying to interpret the instructor’s 3.5 second hand signals explaining the whole routine, I began to miss the dude who taught the first Zumba class I ever went to and who I think is responsible for unearthing my youthful spirit. I mean, the dude had costume changes (think neon sunglasses, belly dancing skirts and fedoras) and had a total hip hop feel, complete with helpful instruction.

Yah, so not the case here.

But as they say, as long as you keep on moving, it’s all good.

Yeah – tell that to the gal next to me who practically booty shook me off the dance floor in frustration with my inability to mind read which step was coming next.

So dude in the skirt, if you’re out there, please come back. Zumba is calling.

Along with the gals who thought they could pull it off but just can’t.

But we sure had fun trying…

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Before and After: The TEAM Version

After some begging, encouragement and straight up pestering, some of my dearest got the best of me and convinced me to post my before and afters from my TEAM experience. So here we go:





So there you have it: nearly 20 pounds, several inches and some sizes lost and a new sense of self in about three months.

Ok, that's enough of "getting outside my comfort zone" for the day.

Thanks for all your support dear friends and for...exploiting me?!

I'm off to Zumba to pretend this never happened...


“Alright buddy, you ready to go running with Mommy?” I asked as I tucked him into the stroller, a scowl on his face until I relinquished the fruit snacks that were generally the bribe of choice when convincing him something new was exciting. Apparently quality time with his Mama while she exercises wasn’t quite as appealing…

Fitting comfortably into the soft seat, I quickly adjusted the straps, placed my water bottle in the holder, tucked away a motorcycle or two and took off.

In the next 45 minutes, the following thoughts jumbled through my mind:

1) Wow – my heart rate goes up even higher plowing this thing around. I can even walk some of this! Bonus!
2) I wonder if he’s bored in there?
3) Did I put enough sunscreen on him?
4) Ok, this stroller is awesome. Lightweight and easy to maneuver once you master the whole front wheel doesn’t rotate thing.
5) Should he be wearing a helmet?
6) Um, I think it’s getting too hot already even though it’s only 8:15 a.m. Aren’t we in a ozone alert or something? What’s wrong with me?
7) Oh good – other people are out jogging and biking. I’m not a glutton for punishment.
8) What is he saying down there – he wants to go home already? He’s hot? He wants to go to Peyton’s? Crap, we’re only 1.5 miles in…and little does he know it’s 1.5 back…
9) Wow, this stroller is getting soaked with sweat in it’s first run. Poor stroller. But surely it understands. Man it’s easy to push and still keep your running posture.
10) I wonder why the Bob gets all the press? This Schwinn is pretty cool and half the price.
11) What? He still is begging to go home? And now he’s borderline crying. The kid never cries. I’m a bad Mom.
12) But yeah, I’m diggin’ this stroller. Glad I got to take it out. Maybe next time I go when it’s not 100. If he lets there be a next time…

And, since I’m a woman, there were 10 bzillion other thoughts as well.

But this is all to let you know:

Don’t run in an ozone alert and don’t drag your kid with you.

The Schwinn jogging stroller is awesome – find it on Amazon, Target or Babies R’ Us sites. Or just ask your friends on Facebook - they are ever so helpful. Thanks girls! Oh - and the Bob looks awesome, it just wasn't in the budget.

Happy exercising!

Tradin' to Joe's

“Dude, yes, we are going to have to drive out here weekly to get some of our grub!” I said to the hubs as he looked at me in slight disbelief, other half support as we gathered frozen goods from aisle one.

We had been wandering the aisles of Leawood’s new Trader Joe’s for hours, marveling at the items that were pretty much take and bake, while at the same time healthy. Pasta filled with squash for two bucks? Yes please – the little dude will love the taste and we can hide the vegetables. Organic dog treats for three bucks? Yes. Pre-prepared sushi, a host of organic munchy treats, peanut butter, blooming flowers, fresh produce, breads filled with grains and ready to eat Mexican food freshly prepared that morning? Yes, yes and yes. And don’t forget about Joe Joe’s –their signature cookie. Um, yum.

In the two weeks it’s opened, we’ve taken a date afternoon there and just recently, I called up Dad who was stuck at home without Mom to do the same, providing him the experience of the madness and fabulousness all at one time.

So yes, the lines are worth it, directed by traffic police and all. Because walking away with three bags of yummy groceries at half the cost having just been checked out by possibly some of the nicest people you’ve met in KC? Yes.please.

So we’re tradin’ to Joes.

Now, how to convince the city to put one up in western Shawnee?!

PS: If you’re a regular Joe’s shopper or have been in your past life in a city that’s had them for years, please let me know your favorite items. I’d like to add them to our shopping list. Thanks!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Always Better When We're Together

Happy five-year anniversary, love of a lifetime.

I'd do it all again...over and over again.

For those five years and a million more. Because it's always better when we're together.

I love you.


I'm not good at it, really I'm not. In fact, I never really was. It seems like a useful skill to be able to dash your lashes and get your way, but this girl...just isn't cutting it.

But one way I can embrace the flirt?:

On the fingertips.

The perfect blend of orange, red, pink and coral. Love.

Slap it on the stinky pinkies or perk up your fingertips for our last bit of summer.

Get your flirt on.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

They Have It So Easy

You hear it all the time, women swapping stories or daydreaming about what it would be like to be a man: the hours you’d save from primping your hair, skin and nails, the ability to throw on whatever smells the cleanest, not to mention the skill to turn off all the thoughts they have running in their head and compartmentalize them and move on, the confidence in sporting a bit of a tummy to a complete beer gut, having a tiff with friends and ending it like nothing happened, not having to actually birth those babies, have a cycle, go through menopause and on and on and on.

But ladies, now, after a quick stroll through Nordy’s, there may be some hope:

Bring it on, equal opportunity.

Cool Shoes

“Mommy, Momma – LOOK! COOL SHOES!”

Not exactly the words a Mom expects to hear when she has just spent a grueling day away from her most beloved, imagining him pining for her in the corner as he sat in dismay, twiddling his thumbs, waiting for her to arrive.

Yah, not so much. The kid was still focused on his cool shoes.

I’m starting to get a bit concerned there is some kind of gene that gets passed down that instills a superficial attachment to glorious, fabulous footwear and that even worse, I passed it along to a dude…

I mean, this kid is hyped about his new shoes. Not only does he believe they give him super powers particular to fast running, but he wears them to bed (“shoes to bed Mommy”), insists on them first thing in the morning (“Sssshhhooooeeeessss….” - complete with desperate arm reach and matching whining voice) and has discarded all others (including those darn cute Sperrys). Not to mention he likes to do jogging demonstrations:

Apparently, I need to go ahead and purchase the next four sizes lest New Balance chooses to discontinue this particular pair.

And yes, I may have started all this by making up some kind of magical story complete with excited shrieks just to get him to try these on. This, coupled with that gene I passed on, makes for a modern day Cinderella Man.

But at least this man will have cool shoes.

Cool shoes, man.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Anniversary in July

It’s a bit like Christmas in July, but better, with store windows transitioning from late summer to fall, crowds of women taking their time to carefully touch, inspect, inhale and really pausing to appreciate the material objects around them. The music is low-key, there isn’t a sense of urgency to wrap up your list and the décor is still intact vs. the dropping red and green that seems to occur later in the year. It’s absolutely indulgent.

I’m talking about the Nordy’s Anniversary Sale, the time of year when the department store puts out its fall preview of items at nearly half the cost. Unless traveling, we (Mom and I) never miss it, me literally taking a few hours off of work to arrive at 8:00 a.m. to tame the materialistic beast inside of me, much like the Holiday Mart extravaganza I too glutton myself with annually.

I’m beginning to sound a bit like I could’ve played Isla Fischer’s character on “Shopaholic,” yes?

And really, shouldn’t I be writing about me and the hubs’ anniversary that’s this week instead? (Don’t even ask me which one I anticipate or celebrate more…b/c of course it’s our marriage… …. ….).

Though funds were tight due to some car repairs, a sinking driveway, medical bills and the drone of what we’re all responsible for as adults, I did snag a few tiny, inexpensive things that make my heart swoon. But like the “Barenaked Ladies” band says, if I had a million dollars, here are some of the things I would’ve scooped up:

And that's just some of it.

My heart is still racing from the fun of Friday morning. Heck, I even posted twice on Facebook and checked in when I arrived.

Issues. Deep-rooted issues I tell you.

But I’m not going to lie, despite suffering countries and all that we really should be using our money for or saving and guilt this or guilt that, it was an absolute blast and best of all, a time I can recall fondly spent bonding with my Mom that involves no conflicting thoughts, no hard-to-tackle subjects, no judgment or hard work, just pure fun.

I look forward to many more anniversaries to come…

oh, in marriage too...I promise...marriage too...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thanks For Your Patience...

as I'm feeling a bit like this from work this week:

or maybe this:

or even this:

Ok, that's a little dramatic.

Good thing the Nordy's Anniversary sale starts tomorrow and Trader Joe's opens this week for a wine dash.

Hope to catch up with you this weekend, my friends.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lovey Lost and Found

If Pickles was ever lost, you-know-what would hit the fan. Big time. And that’s not good for anyone.

Which is why I was pumped to discover and, where you can post a nationwide shout out to help find a replacement.

Ah, social media at its finest.

And while you’re on the net, check out:
- Buddy Reading feature: perfect for sharing a book with your child while you’re on the road and away (for iPad and iPhone; $2 on iTunes)
- a site that connects parents interested in buying/selling kiddos’ gently used clothes and toys

Happy surfing!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Picnic in the "Park"

The goal: throw a bash for the colleague’s name that you drew for his/her birthday
The gal: Kelli, newish to the team and darling as can be; Mom of two, doting wife, lover of outdoors and all things family
The challenge: do it with $25 or less – including food AND gift…for 22 people!

My solution to the challenge: picnic in the “park” (er, second floor conference room?! I can’t predict the weather peeps…)

Menu: S’mores (microwave prepared), Ants on a Log, Heavenly Brownies, Chips and Salsa

The décor: picnic blanket (Target), plus two borrowed that aren't pictured, toys (little dude’s so she felt like family was around - also not pictured), multi-use basket (Tiffany’s in PV) complete with “Fiesta” Essie nail wear and a trashy “People” read

The music: Jack Johnson on Pandora radio

The result: all smiles

Happy birthday Kelli! May it have been all you’ve been wishing for and more!

Now, on to plotting how I can plan my soon-to-be-2yo’s party on this budget…

Jolly Green Giant

When hangin’ with parents with a wee bit more experience than yourself, or catching up with others who are asking about your little one, perhaps the phrase you hear the most is “Enjoy every moment – they grow so fast” or “It all goes so quickly – the next minute you’ll turn around and they’re crazy teenagers…”

Though part of me wants to file these stories away with the similar ones that sound a bit like “when I was your age…” or “well, when we were young we never…”, the other part of me wants to scream and fight it and most of me absolutely agrees with it.

Perfect example: I tried to squeeze these bad boys on his feetsies en route to school the other day and realized that, just after two months, they no longer fit, resulting in us dashing out to buy another pair a whole size up:

Two months later, really?!

And in looking at them, they might as well have been a size 10 for the flood of emotions that suddenly took over my brain and my heart. When did this happen? And holy crap, it’s going to happen again and again, isn’t it?!

Now I get that many of you have been down this road with your little ones every few months, but mine has just been kinda hangin’ out in “I’m going to stay kinda scrawny and scrappy and not grow for a year and a half because I’m cool at this size,” so this was kind of a wake up call.

Couple this with the request to not rock as long and you’ve got one fragile Mama.

At least he’s still wearing his 18-month clothes, that Jolly Green Giant…

and all of my heart…

PS: I’m going to chalk this up to why he’s sleeping 15 HOURS each night (whenever we can pull it off). You heard that right – 7 p.m. to about 10:30 a.m. Holy.cow. Growth spurt, much?!

PPSS: Here's the next pair of shoes I'm eyeing for the little dude - apparently next month....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'll Take Seconds: Saltine Toffee Candy

"I've got an hour before we need to depart - what should I whip up?" I ask the hubs as I simultaneously flip through every cupboard and then the fridge, once, then three times.

"I don't know babe - I've never really known you to 'whip' anything up..." he grins, earning himself a smack on the shoulder.

Then I recall my dear friend Karen's deliciousness she brought to the office last week and scrambled to dig through my email to unearth the recipe she passed along. Saltine Toffee Candy. Prep time: 15 mins. Cook time: 8 mins. Cool time: 60 mins. Perfect.

At the family BBQ, they went off like a hit, consumed by all and delighted with "yum yum" sounds and faces. I found them quite delicious myself, though not as fabu as when Karen made them (this is a given). My only recommendation would be to make sure to spread the toffee just right so that it soaks through on the top, not so much the bottom, as the toffee taste can be a bit overwhelming and sticky when you overdo it. I'm not sure what I did, but Karen had balanced it just right. We also ended up skipping the coconut given preferences in our family. Regardless, they were tasty, super easy, inexpensive and different.

So I'll take seconds...

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Fourth in Pictures

We had the most amazing, ordinary weekend:

Complete with friends, family and all the love one can muster...ok, and some completed house projects that have been on the list for three years.

Now that's a lot to celebrate.

Happy Birthday, America.