Friday, January 30, 2015

Stitch Fix #3

{This is not a sponsored post. The links used throughout are referral links, though, and if you use them to sign up for your own Stitch Fix, I get credit. And you get a high five.}

Several days ago I opened an email telling me my next Stitch Fix was being prepared.

My what now? Obviously I know what Stitch Fix is. Not too long ago I told you all about it when my last box arrived; however, I smooth forgot I had one scheduled for January. After it took a few seconds to process, I remembered. I even remembered moving it from the beginning of the month to the 27th. I just didn't remember this until after the stylist assigned to me looked at my information and saw a blank square.

I was planning on filling out my "note to stylist" closer to the date of my shipment. That way I would have a better idea of what I wanted to see. Oops. That being said, I was nervous when the big white box appeared on my doorstep. With zero direction, who knew what was lurking under the packing tape? To my surprise, this box was actually pretty cute. Click HERE to read my last Stitch Fix review and learn the ins and outs of the service. Did you read it? Okay, good. Now, take a peek into Round Three:

ONE: I actually really liked this top. I probably would've kept it if I had more money sitting around. It was just under 50 bucks for a tee with nice embroidery, but I thought it fit nicely. This is called the Gabrielle Embroidered Bib Knit Top. VERDICT: SENT BACK

TWO: I have nothing against this shirt. It was even closer to my price range. It was immediately on my return list, however, because there's an exact replica hanging in my closet. I guess this means they've got my style now {whatever style that may be!}. It's the Tierra Cap Sleeve Top. VERDICT: SENT BACK

THREE: I immediately liked this cardigan. I liked its crochet pattern and even the flying squirrel thing on the sleeves. I decided to sit on this Stitch Fix a few days and the more I tried it on, the frumpier it got. If I'm paying past Old Navy prices for clothes, the word frumpy shouldn't enter my mind. VERDICT: SENT BACK

FOUR: I didn't like the Elissa French Terry Striped Moto Jacket when I pulled it out of the box. Then I put it on and it was really cute. I grew more and more fond of it, but ended up sending it back. It came with a $74 price tag and I bought a more versatile jacket last week. Good-bye, friend. VERDICT: SENT BACK

FIVE: Third box. Third miss on jeans. These were the Ruxin Distressed Boyfriend Jeans. I wasn't sure whether "boyfriend" fit was for women shaped like boys {then, win!} or if it would be intentionally baggy. These definitely weren't flattering on me. When I give this service another go, I may request no jeans. VERDICT: SENT BACK

So my third Stitch Fix was a bust. While this might seem like a discouraging post, I enjoyed searching blogs for peeks at my items and thought I could fill that need. I'm not disappointed, either. I'm glad I thought about it for a few days and decided my money would be better spent on something I love {or, you know, diapers}. What an adult, right?

In all honesty, I think direction would have helped. I didn't hate these items, but I would've asked for more color and bolder patterns. I am going to give this one more try in a few months and hopefully snag some summery tops and/or dresses. Now it's your turn. If you want to see what this Stitch Fix thing is all about, click HERE to fill out your style profile and schedule a delivery. Just remember to give them some direction.

Maybe between the two of us there's a 25% discount in the near future for keeping the entire box. I sure hope so! Happy Friday, friends.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January Adventure

It seems every year about this time I start to use the word dreary.

It's one of the grossest months of the year. After the fanfare of the New Year, the joy of clean slates, and the adrenaline that comes with fresh goals and starting over, I remember that it's January. Blah. The trees are bare, everything is dead, and it's cold. Although I'm probably jinxing us by saying this, the weather has actually been mild for winter. We've barely seen snow and the sun has been shining several consecutive days. It's not enough to break out the shorts and T-shirts and it's definitely not enough to start turning soil, but it's plenty for a front yard adventure.

Contrary to my above rant, this post is more than a weather whine. It's about two little boys who saw blue skies and sunshine and couldn't resist. Temperatures climbed high enough to leave jackets inside when the Bauer Boys set out to help their dad wash the car this weekend. Good thing they opted for boots:

Muddy puddles were stomped, gum balls were collected, walking sticks were broken from fallen branches, and the creek was explored. It's not quite spring, friends, but following these guys around made me ready. As we were walking back from the treeline near the highway, ready to race down the gravel driveway, I saw it. Beyond an expanse of completely dead grass, it stood welcoming me. My January home. Three people I love {the other nestled in her crib}, my trees waiting to bud, and my sunny yellow door, destined to smash all things dreary:

I think it will do for now. I'm still counting down the days until spring but as long as the sun keeps popping out and the snow stays away {please!}, we will be just fine. Happy Tuesday, y'all!

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Guest Blogging: Enough

Somehow on this sunny Sunday, we started talking about trust falls.

I don't quite remember how it happened, but I've had a three-year-old falling into me without warning all day. All I see is the back of his blonde head, his arms glued to his sides, and his body slowly leaning into mine. Whether I was caught off guard or standing in wait, I'm ready for him. I catch him. In that moment, I'm enough.

This little activity goes hand-in-hand with what I'm talking about over on Jamie's Thots. I know Jamie through Arkansas Women Bloggers and we met in real life at last year's annual conference. Recently she posted a callout for guest submissions with a one-word prompt: enough. It's a word I think about often in relation to parenting, and I'm thankful to Jamie for giving me the opportunity to publish those thoughts.

Interested? Hop on over to Jamie's blog and see what I had to say.
Click HERE to get to the post, then have yourself a merry little Monday.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Bauer Bunch Friday Five

{My mind has been wandering today, so I thought I'd give you a peek.
If you have five thoughts to share with the Internet, be sure to link them at The Good Life Blog.}

ONE: I'm getting the itch. The kind that comes with dreary January days and a garden full of last summer's plant debris. The seed catalogs are on their way and money has been earmarked to buy a tiller that is Serious Business. We are ripping out the raised beds this year and hoeing rows. We might even upgrade our backyard farm with a chicken or two {maybe}. When it comes to gardening, I have three seasons: Planting, Harvesting, and Waiting to Start Again. Just 56 days, y'all.

TWO: Nora had her 18-month checkup this week. She weighed in at an impressive 36 pounds, remaining in the 99th percentile, and was in the 67th height percentile at 32 inches. Other than a Classic Bauer case of eczema, she was the picture of good health. The doctor was impressed with her physical progress, too. At her 12-month visit she wasn't even putting weight on her feet. She has since learned to pull up anywhere she can, and she cruises like a champ. It's only a matter of time before she lets go.

THREE: This weekend I proved something to myself. I am capable of taking 20 teenagers to Little Rock, letting them participate in a youth event with hundreds of kids from across the state, and bringing every one of them home the next day. Jonathan and I have been taking kids to these events since the fall of 2010, but our record attendance was thirteen. This was a leap. There were no mothers called, no voices raised, and no one left behind. Success!

FOUR: Owen has a new word. As most kids do, he obsesses in waves. When The Lego Movie first came out, it was all about Emmett. He backed off when he discovered Minions and Dragons, but I am pleased to announced that everything is awesome once again. However, Batman is now the star. Owen loves when the dark knight calls his girlfriend babe. So Owen is calling everyone babe. All done in Batman's grumbling growl, no less. It could be worse, babes.

FIVE: Did you know that if you enter your Apple Store password to let your kid download a Paw Patrol game, you stay signed in for a few minutes? Did you know if you hand your phone back to your kid within that time frame it will be returned with a page of new games? I don't know the pricing on all these exciting apps, but hopefully no bank account shock is coming. Owen's excuse? "I only buyed new games because I'm little. I'm just little." Little, indeed.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Liar, Liar

{Do you get it? Our pants. They are literally on fire. Okay, just checking.}

Show of hands. Who has, at one point in their lives as parents, told a lie to their children?

If you're not raising your hand and you're telling the truth, I am thoroughly impressed, because mine is going about as high as possible. Now, I'm not talking life-altering fibs, just a little white lie or two to get you through the day:

  • I think Daddy took The Lego Movie out of the car.
  • Sonic is out of tater tots today.
  • That's the last of the Christmas candy.
  • My phone needs to charge.
  • I don't know where your sword is.
  • We'll be there in five minutes.

Then there are the lies parents have passed down through generations. The ones that pour a bit of magic into childhoods. Right around Nathan's sixth birthday, the Tooth Fairy started coming. She'd bring a dollar for every tooth, and even shelled out a couple for the special silver molar, but her visits are slowing. Gone are the days when he actually needed his two front teeth for Christmas. However, he recently yanked one at the dinner table. It was a matter of, "Hey, my tooth feels weird." Then it was in his hand.

Fast forward to that night when we were frantically searching for his little tooth pillow that hadn't been used in months. We found it, tucked in the tooth, and then tucked in the kid. Jonathan and I promptly went about our evening routine of trying to force Owen to sleep and promptly forgot about it. Guess we figured the fairy would handle it.

The following morning a shadowy figure appeared by my husband's side of the bed, and I woke up just enough to hear him utter the words: "Daddy, she forgot."

Jonathan fixed it quickly with the reassurance that we'll write her a letter, and then covered his tracks with the idea that we probably just got home too late. We remedied the situation with a handful of lies and a crisp dollar bill. He was stoked. No one was harmed in the telling of this particular story and my husband and I escaped the guilt that so often comes with the territory. Easy enough, right?

What this instance made me think of, however, is how long we are guaranteed this free pass. How long do we have until we start getting caught in these little lies? Nathan's already tipped off Owen when the phone isn't nearly as dead as we say it is and his learning to tell time has prevented a whole series of bedtime-related fibs. I assume we don't have long, especially with our moral compass of a second-grader. It's probably better to err on the side of practicing what we preach, though, even if a white lie is the quickest means to an end. However, I sure hope the tall tales that weave a little magic into their lives stick around a while.

The Tooth Fairy promised me she will do better next time.

Now, it's your turn. What are some of the white lies you've told your kids to deal with situations on the spot? Can you relate to any of the ones I've shared? Don't worry, your secret's safe with me {unless Nathan the Honest overhears}. Happy Wednesday, y'all!

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

And You're So Much Like Me

I had a parenting revelation a while ago that stopped me cold in my tracks.

It was a conversation with Nathan {and then one later with his father} that brought me straight back to second-grade. It was like watching seven-year-old Jessica go through the motions from an outside perspective. I know what's on the other side, but I can't intervene. I just have to watch. Although anxiety is a common thread for primary perfectionists, that wasn't what hit me so hard. It's genetics. My kids look more like their dad, but I still see myself. And I'm not just talking about big brown eyes.

Standing in the bathroom, clutching a little piece of plastic, you aren't thinking about the full scope of what this new life will inherit. You aren't wondering if they'll be afraid of commitment or quick to judge. You don't think about whether they'll repeat your mistakes or suffer from your insecurities. You're just focused on the happy. You vow to encourage, strengthen, and protect. You wonder if she'll be the next president or he'll discover the cure for a debilitating disease. When these little bundles arrive, you watch their eyes for color and check the napes of their necks for curls. Their mother's nose, their father's smile, and their grandpa's big feet.

But genetics are weird. Pieces from every part of each parent are passed down by multiplying cells and the grace of God. Copies are made, data is transferred, and life is formed. Bright eyes and crippling anxiety. Fear of failure and a love of reading. A green thumb and jealous tendencies.

It all gets jumbled into a big mess and is delivered into your arms. Quickly they grow out of their onesies and you realize your babies aren't exempt. They still have to face fears, get discouraged, and figure these things out alone. Just like you did. Just like you're still doing every day.

However, the bright side of reliving your childhood is that you can help. You have been there before and even when they're teenagers who think you don't know a thing {ugh, MOM}, they'll need you. Sometimes it hurts to grow up, but it's inevitable. Life is messy, but it is ours.

Our kids don't need perfect parents or a promise they'll get it right. They need love.

Have all you parents out there ever considered this? What are your thoughts? I don't know if my description is the best, but this feeling has been weighing on my heart. Apparently, getting past potty training doesn't mean smooth sailing in Parenting Land. That being said, I vow to love my kids through the pain of growing up, and do my best to provide them with what they need to get through it.

Even in the teenage years.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mama's Little Minion

You might not see the resemblance, but if you're within earshot of my home, you've heard it.

Nora hit the big 1-8 last week {months, thank heavens}, and has been talking up a storm. The only issue is we have no idea what she's saying. I know every baby hits this stage, but it's been ALL MINIONS ALL THE TIME around here. Owen is a huge fan of the Despicable Me movies and has decided it will be his birthday party theme. Requests have been flying for Minion cakes, Minion balloons, and Minion costumes for the whole family {my money is on two out of three}. This has also led to videos. Repeatedly. Nothing like Barbara Ann sung in nonsense on loop.

To the point, I can't help but make the above comparison when this blue-eyed baby gets to chattering. The best thing about it is that you can still get the gist of her nonsense due to tone, much like her yellow counterparts. For instance, this afternoon she decided to plop her bottom down on a hard toy. The string of words that broke free from her sweet mouth made me glad I don't have a Nora-English dictionary. The next minute she's sweet-talking her dolly as she pats her on the back. We have no idea what she's saying, but she's definitely saying something.

Despite the constant jabber, she has picked up a few words. Her first phrase is "Hello, brother!" If I were forced to write it in a baby book, I think "hello" was her first word and it's still a family favorite. "Bru-der" is just icing on the cake. She calls me and Jonathan by name, and is a big fan of both "cheese" and "more" and I'd imagine "more cheese," too. This baby can tell you what a dog, a monkey, and Santa all say, she can agree or disagree, she can ask for a waffle or Bubble Guppies, and she shows off her southern drawl with "BYE!" Maybe one day I'll even make a video of these alleged words. #ThirdBaby.

See, it's not all Minion speak for my darling little daughter; however, I am grateful for it when Angry Nora comes out. At least she doesn't turn purple. Yet.

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Time to Stop

I know we are now well into the New Year, but I am still riding that wave.

I am still daydreaming of ways to improve my life, become a better person, and enjoy my time. I'm dissecting each month and I'm jotting down goals. Saying and doing are two different beasts, however, and sometimes there are roadblocks. Today I am sharing four of my roadblocks. For my sake and the sake of those around me, these are the things I desperately need to stop doing in 2015:

Comparing. This one doesn't need much explanation, does it? We all know comparison is the thief of joy, and I've written about that fact a handful of times, but knowing it is different than living it. It's time to stop comparing myself to other people, and only use the measurement of how far I've come. I mean it. {Promise.}

Waiting. Time to admit a personality quirk. I can easily become so anxious about all the things I need to do, that I simply don't do them. Whether it's a blinking cursor on a blank page or an unplanned youth event, I just wait. One thing I've learned posing as a grown-up for a decade is that the time is rarely right. Let's just get stuff done.

Worrying. If I could honestly accomplish this, I would come to your house and give you one high-five and a million bucks. I know I can't completely stop worrying, but I shouldn't worry about things I can't change. On any given day, I have so many different things haunting my mind, blurring the work in front of me or interrupting time with my kids. This year I want to become more self-assured. I bet I'm doing something right every once in a while.

Yelling. Ooh, that looks ugly, doesn't it? Admitting it makes me cringe, but this is something I need to change. Three is a big number when it comes to offspring, and I let that overwhelm me more than I should. The fuse on my temper shortens more each year, and I need to take it back. My kids deserve a level-headed mama {even if it means a few stolen minutes/Oreos in the bathroom}. TL;DR: Parenting is hard. Yelling doesn't make it easier.

I am sure there are more, but those four are the biggies. Cutting these from my life would do wonders for my sanity, and my sanity directly affects the well-being of those around me. A win-win! I do have a list of things I want to do in the New Year, but I think this is the key to getting there. Could you stand to ditch a few of these things? Can you add any more to my list?

I hope y'all have had a fantastic start to 2015. I've got a good feeling about this one, friends. Happy Tuesday!

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

One Little Word

I've decided to take an easy approach to the twelve months ahead.

For the last two years, I've latched onto the idea of choosing a word each January that represents what I'd like my life to be that year. Instead of making lists of resolutions that have finite ends, the One Little Word project evolves. As the year goes on, I learn more about my word, what it means to me, and how to apply it to my life. I struggle with it, I fail at it, and I pick it up and try again. Last year was especially tough. My word was calm.

The most important lesson learned was that calm isn't something you find cowering under the bed. It's something you create. Throughout the year I learned to say "no" to make time to say "yes" in more important places. Creating white space in my head and in my home meant a calm family, and those moments did seem more common.

The word I've landed on this year is simply. After tossing around several words to describe how I want to change and what I want to accomplish, the root of it all was this: I want to live simply and I want to simply live. I want to purge the junk, focus on what's important, and make the most out of each moment. I want to measure my life in memories, not time. I want to look at my children and actually see them. I want to do more of what I love and less of what I don't. I want to clear the clutter, breathe the fresh air, and just be.

Stress and worries and the "busyness" of life can become so routine that I lose sight of my purpose. This year I am paring it down. I am focusing on the roles that mean the most to me, and building my life into its simplest form. This could result in new and exciting plans I can't even imagine now, but I think that's the point. Here's hoping, right?

The best thing about this journey is that it comes with a promise to record it. Last year I vowed a monthly update and fell off the wagon in the summer. I'm going to attempt that again, with a new take on living simply each round. I'd also like to extend the challenge to you. Even if you don't do resolutions, this is an easy way to get a focus for your life. It's amazing how a series of letters strung together can inspire.

I tried on various forms of my word: Simple. Simplicity. Simplify. But I couldn't get away from the adverb. My word is a descriptor of action, and I want it to describe the actions I choose to take in 2015.

Simply is the way I want to live. How about you?

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy 2015

There were no champagne toasts or LBDs at our New Year's Eve Party.

No confetti, no party hats. No four-course meal, no house band. Our low-key night involved a pile of pajama-clad Bauers, a bowl of popcorn, and a celebratory margarita or two. I spent the evening periodically poking two little boys to make sure they weren't giving up too soon. We didn't dance the night away and my first kiss of 2015 was with Nathan, but it was the perfect way to bring in another year.

We kissed Baby Nora at her bedtime and tossed her into the crib {don't poke that beast}, but Owen and Nathan vowed to see midnight. The four of us took in a bit of the concert at Times Square, but opted for a "How To Train Your Dragon" movie marathon instead. Both Bauer Boys were still excited at 10:00, but the crash came an hour later. At about 11:30, little Owen gave up. There was no amount of poking that was going to bring him out of his slumber. Thankfully, we had practiced counting down throughout the night, so he got a taste of the excitement.

Nathan fell asleep a couple times between then and 2015, but I'm pleased to report he made it. Excitement danced in his eyes and he shouted each number with Ryan Seacrest and the countless voices in New York City. When the clock struck twelve, he jumped up on the couch, threw his arms around my neck and gave me a big wet one. If that's not a good omen for the year to come, I don't know what is. I eventually made my way to where my younger son was asleep on my husband and snagged a couple more kisses for good measure. Then the neighbor's fireworks show began and we gathered at the window to watch.

After the joy died down, we ushered in a fresh year with a good night's sleep. No one made a peep until after 8:30 in the morning. Here's to more of that over the next twelve months.

Although I haven't shared them yet, I do have plans for the New Year. I don't like strict resolutions, but there are some goals I'd like to toss into the universe, starting with my One Little Word. Last year I wanted to find calm in my life, and I believe I succeeded. More on that and the debut of my 2015 Word on the blog soon. Check back tomorrow!

How did you ring in the New Year? Did you make it to midnight?

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