Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Big One

One year ago today I delivered our little bundle of cute. We named her Ella.

Ella means “bright light” in Greek.

If you're thinking Wow, you really did a lot of homework on names

I would say yes because it sounds like we put a lot of work into the naming process, which automatically makes you a better parent, right?

But in reality, I had loved the name before there was a tiny little shrimp expanding in my belly.  

I could not have been more amazingly on target.  

Her bright light has quickly and seamlessly filled our world.

Ella has her Daddy’s scientific demeanor - calm, thoughtful and inquisitive. And his eyelashes. Praise God. (She’ll never be stuck in the bathroom at an embarrassingly old age trying to figure out the art of gluing little lashes to your eyelids. With the end result being your lid is now glued to your brow. Moving on…)

She got my blue eyes and my I’ll-Rip-Your-Face-Off-I’m-So-Hungry moods.  Unluckily, enough, she also blessed with my I’m-So-Tired-I-Can-Cry-If-I-Want-To moods.  But she's got my independent streak and my love of cheese.  Oh, and my love of sleeping (Thank God). 

We have been blessed with a very bright light.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday (Sort of)

Someone's having a very big birthday next week. 

 11 months going on 21...and that wasn't a typo.  She is seriously going on 21 years old.  

She is HER OWN person.   

And I love it.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Texas Wardrobe

Living in Texas has its advantages - the best tex-mex food around, mouth-watering barbeque, and the heart-clogging-but-slap-yo-momma-good chicken fried steak.

So…food. Texas has food.

I know, I know… there are other fabulous things about Texas but its dinner time and I’m hungry, so bear with me.

What Texas, more specifically Houston, does not have, however, is cold weather. Some of you may be like Awesome! I’m more like how do you spell frowny face?

Growing up in Ohio and the Northeast assured me ample time in snugly sweaters and worn in jeans, parkas, mittens and…psst…Ugg boots. They may be a fashion crime people, but DAMN do they feel good!

Living in Houston has required a major adjustment to my closet and my mindset. Just because the calendar says December does not mean you can put away the flip flops. Parkas are brought out every 5 years or so when we have a cold snap. You know, when it gets down to 42 degrees out. Brrr….

Here are a couple of my favorite adjustments I’ve made to my Texas wardrobe.

Obviously, no wardrobe is complete without several pairs of jeans (of which we only wear 1, am I right ladies?!!). I wear them in the summer as well as winter here but to be honest, I’m sweating my buns off. So I’m delighted when I can throw them on and not worry that I’m going into early menopause.

Eddie Bauer Boyfriend Jeans Worn In

My new favorites are Eddie Bauer Boyfriend Jeans. Slouchy and comfy with super soft denim. Throw on a t-shirt, a cute pair of flats and you have you an easy weekend look. I really want to try these with a pair of low cut boots (my favs below) like something Gwyneth Paltrow would wear but I don’t know if I have the guts. We’ll see!

Confession time…I used to never wear skirts, like at all. There was a watershed moment in first grade when the teacher didn’t see my raised hand during a video and I had an accident. It was incredibly embarrassing. The ensemble I was wearing that day was a very preppy pink skirt and matching polo shirt. As if the skirt jinxed me, I vowed to never wear skirts again.

Fast forward 24 years, some serious re-thinking about that skirt jinx and tights. (I know they’ve always been around but apparently not in the land of me.)

Spanx Tight End- High Waisted

Spanx are my new favorite. A wee bit pricey but they really last. All sorts of colors to choose from too!

So I’ve already confessed that I have worn Uggs. I love them. My first year in Texas I bought a pair of grey knee high suede Uggs. I wore them exactly .5 times. It almost broke my heart that no one was going to see my beautiful new boots because it was just too darn hot. Thanks to Ebay a lucky (and stylish) chica is now wearing them.

Thankfully, someone in the fashion world heard my cries and the ankle boots are now everywhere. Here are a couple from my private collection that I can’t wait to pull out of the closet.

These are Steve Madden super sale last spring. While i cant find the actual boot, I found a few elsewhere:

Nine West


My Jennifer Aniston circa Justin Theroux boots. LOVE 'EM!

These are from Nordstrom Rack & there isn't a tag or identifying feature on the inside so I don't know who made these.

Here are a couple of choices for those moments when you want to kick someone's butt this winter.

Steve Madden



Technical note: I apologize for the wonky fonts. Im working on my ipad tonight.

Also, I'm working on the comments section... Ever since I got the website a makeover I haven't been able to respond to comments. Sorry about that! I've read every onethough and appreciate all of your thoughts!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Mommy Guilt: Or, You Know, Just Another Monday

I’m a Mom.  And I’m not perfect.   I know that you’re not either but I fear that some of you are probably doing it better than me.  Have you seen those Pinterest crafts?

This wouldn’t be such a bad thing but this job is kind of a big deal.   I read tonight that we only have 900 weeks with our children before they leave our home.  I know, right?  900 weeks. 

Black beans are her favorite. 

I fear that might not be enough to time to impart the wisdom I’ve learned from all of the John Hughes’ movies.  Notably, never wear your bra on your head during a thunderstorm, and always, always befriend the guy named Ducky.   

With my panic mode dutifully set in for the night, my brain immediately goes to the “working mom” guilt.  

I’m a mom who works outside the home.  There are so many days since I’ve had Ella (ok, all of them) that I question whether I am doing a disservice to her by working.  

Bath time! 

 It’s not like she doesn’t have a fabulous time during the day.   We are so lucky to have my aunt and uncle watch her every day.  She’s loved beyond measure, gets to grow up with her cousin, and gets to go to pre-school and do all kinds of fun things.  She’s a lucky girl. 

But it’s been a trying weekend.  A doctor’s visit on a Saturday for an ugly bug bite that made her face swell up and add that onto the misery of a late summer cold it has made someone extra cranky. 

Sippy cup not being held at the right angle?  Tears.

Diaper change without being able to stand up and walk around at the same time?  Tears, screaming and kicks to the gut (mine, not hers). 

I’m wiped.  And for the first time in a long time I’m looking forward to Monday.
So, of course, I’m a pool of mushy mom guilt.  

The girls.

 Shouldn’t I want to stay home with her all day, every day?   Shouldn’t I want to wrestle her through the tantrums because I took away her sippy cup?  Or at least be there for all of the the really, really good moments? 

Then again, for me personally, I think I have more patience with her when I know I have such limited time.   I’m scared of my ability to be patient and present with her every day.  I don’t know if I’d be the Mom she deserves and the one I want to be if I did not work outside the home. 

But it’s never that easy, is it?  One minute I’m perfectly content to be a working mom and then… BAM…I’m right back to wanting to be a stay at home momma.  

Fabulous hair styling all around. 

Really, it’s like I have split personalities.   I don’t know the answers.  I don’t know what the future holds. 

Right now, I’m planning on getting up and going to work.   Ella will have a perfectly lovely day. 

I am sure there will be a bit of guilt for the way things could be in a perfect world interspersed with feelings of gratitude for the way things are.  That is really all I know.  

Love this girl with everything I have.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

All Ella

It's been a while since I've posted any recent photos of my soon to be one year old.

Grandma says its time. We listen to Grandma.

Work, work, work all day long.

It's all fun and games until someone plucks out an eyeball.

But Mom! I want that little weird ball in Dada's head.

Never mind... I've found something better. Daddy's wallet.

This is fascinating.

Don't think you're going to get in on this action.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What Happens When I'm Angry

You know when you're mad at your husband and you just have to leave the house and go somewhere to vent?   

Movies are out.   I mean, the fight isn't that big of a deal (but he will not know this yet) so once he figures out how wrong he is and apologizes you will make him take you to see that Valentine's Day chick flick starring like 74 Hollywood stars. (Also, how horrible are those movies? And why can't I stop watching them?) 

Restaurants are definitely out.   I like to do my stress eating in private.  No one needs to see me pigging out on cupcakes and pumpkin pancakes.  

The mall is dangerous.  If I'm really irate, I have been known to go on a buying spree with our joint account.   That's right...I'll show you, Mark!  I'm going to make us poor.  

That will definitely show him!  You go, Kristen! 

So my safety choice is CVS.  

If I'm in a really poor mood my ability to resist product marketing is minimal.  Do you ever have the feeling that with one tube of the perfect mascara or one vitamin/retinal/placenta packed face cream that all of your troubles will mysteriously melt away?   

You mean THIS mascara will make me look like I have little wings attached to my eyes and every time I blink it will make it rain in the Amazon? Sold. (Also, that’s the Butterfly Effect, right? I never got all the way through that horrible Ashton Kutcher movie so I’m just guessing.)  

A couple of my mascaras. And yes, those two are basically the same but one is Carbon Black and other is Black Black.

Buy this little tub of farts wrapped in organic dust bunnies we found under our couch sprinkled with real life angel sneezes and you’ll never look a day over 3 years old again!  

And buy them, I do.  

Just a few of the many products I've invested in. 

Anyone need body lotion, antibacterial hand lotion, spritzes, sprays? 

I’m a complete sucker.   I'd like to say "I'm a complete sucker when I'm angry" but really I'm kidding no one.  I'm just a sucker for all these fun little 'miracle cures'. 

My execution is lacking, however.  

My bathroom is filled with little baskets and in those little baskets are zillions of half empty bottles of lotions, creams, retinals, soaps and the odd makeup that just never looked right.   

They all sit there in their little basket, mocking me.   

I’m made of freaking organic dust bunnies, girl!  What is not to love?  

I guess the real question is, does Good Will accept half used bottles of night cream, body lotion, eye wrinkle magic, and dark spot remover?

And, maybe I should just go eat my feelings the next time we fight.  After looking at all my 'potions', I feel like that might be a better use of my time.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

There is a Book Review in Here Somewhere...

Scene:  An exceptionally stylish woman, delightfully pretty in that all-American girl next door way with impossibly beautiful hair (it’s my scene, so I’ll write it as I see it) sits by herself at the counter of a trying-too-hard-to-be-hip bistro/diner in a hotel on Waikiki.  

Absorbed in her Kindle, she does not notice that the waiter, Rajeesh, needs someone to talk to. 
Rajeesh: So what are you reading? 
The All-American girl looks up and knows before she even opens her mouth this is not going to end well.  

Tears immediately spring to her eyes.
Kristen:  Well…ummmmm…*sniff, sniff* … it’s this really terrific book about a little girl who is orphaned by her Irish immigrant parents.  And…*sniff, sniff* she becomes a slave on a Virginia plantation.  Well, not really a slave *cue tears* but an indentured servant.  It’s just… so sad, really. *Sniff, sniff and… tears*  
LONG PAUSE.  Tissues procured.
Then, the slaves take her in as part of their family and *sniff….sob….* and then she’s not a slave any longer and’s just SO tragic!
*Sob, sniff…*
Rajeesh is wide-eyed with terror.  SHOULD I CALL 9-1-1? his face seems to say. 
Rajeesh: Uh.
Kristen: I KNOW. It’s...just…so…amazing.
And Scene.

It may have been the jet lag or the fact that I just left my baby for the first time ever but I’m going to chalk up the dramatics to what a FANTASTIC book The Kitchen House is. 
I have fallen in love with Kathleen Grissom’s novel.  A must read if you liked The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  If not, go read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  
The Kitchen House details the lives of slaves on a Virginia plantation.  There are two narrators – one a white orphaned girl named Lavinia who is an indentured servant to the plantation owner and a black slave on the same plantation, named Belle.  Lavinia is considered a slave; she lives and works with the black slaves on the plantation.  The black slaves become her family and treat her as one of their own.  

The reader soon finds out, however, the advantages she will have based on the fact that she is white even though she is considered a slave.  The book details her life through adulthood – her return to the plantation she grew up on and the changes of the only family she ever knew.  The book has some very wild turns and just when you think you know a character something happens and you’re turned on your head. 
Being a history buff, I thought I intellectually understood the dynamic relationships during slavery but this book was so different than what I've encountered before. House slaves vs. field slaves, indentured servants vs. slaves, owners vs. slaves it was all very enlightening. 

It definitely brought me to tears several times, most notably in the trying-too-hard-to-be-cool bistro/diner on Waikiki. 
If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  And if you've ever traumatized any wait staff while reading!