Dec 29, 2015

The Reality

So, I'm getting a start on my New Year's Resolutions early.  One?  Blog again!  So here I am, with a bunch of Christmas pictures.  Diving on in, while plugging my nose, and squeezing those eyes tight. . .
I'm skipping my family's chili party, friends' tacky party, and a million other things that have kept us hopping!

Instead, I will start with the lovely little Mother Daughter tea we threw the Sunday before Christmas.
(Dell Harper and one other buddy aren't pictured, as their grandmother's brought them, as I did not want to try and set up while parenting).

 Cookie decorating.  We will get back to that shortly.

The craft table was bumping- I got these darling little gingerbread house foam kits from AC Moore, and Meg picked up the cutest necklace kits.  I had grand plans for adorable homemade crafts, but these were cuter.  And already done.  Seriously, AC Moore has a fantastic selection of party craft kits, especially around the holidays.

 Back to more cookie decorating.  We rushed it a bit because it was time for Mrs. Claus to read a story.  Dell Harper sprinkled at top speed, then crammed that cookie down her gullet.  No cookie left behind.

So twenty-plus little girls are getting settled in to listen to Mrs. Claus read a Christmas story.  I'm ready for a little breather myself, so I plop DH in a seat, and have a little sit.

As the story begins, Dell Harper turns to me.  Her face is bright red.  She points at her mouth, but is unable to talk.  Suddenly, I realize she is choking!  And I completely freeze up, unable to do anything but say "She's choking!".  A friend says "Hold her upside down!".  I sling her upside down,  and two friends pound her back.  Sure enough, she throws up sugar cookie all over the floor.  On the hardwoods, not the beautiful Persian rug (whew!).

Mrs. Claus doesn't miss a beat throughout.

Dell Harper was bouncing around a few minutes later, after she recovered from her embarrassment.  I knew she was fine when she started snagging tea sandwiches off the platter while we waited for my mama to come get her.

Ain't that always the way.  You have grand plans for an adorable lady-like holiday tea party, with your little angel.  Instead, she crams a sugar cookie the size of her face in her mouth, chokes, and upchucks everywhere while hanging upside down.

That's my girl!!

Dec 2, 2015

Home for the Holidays

This cutie was so spoiled over Thanksgiving- I'm not sure he will ever recover!  His Pop-Pop, Aunt, Uncle, and teenage cousins  all in town?  It just doesn't get better.

The festivities started out with taking this girl to the Fantasy of Tree Wednesday afternoon.  Mama decided to come along, and I wisely left my wild little boy at home.  Maybe when he is 3.  Or 10.

 Facepainting, merry-go-round, dancers and gingerbread houses were this cutie's favorite things.

I cooked green beans, broccoli casserole and the roasted root vegetable salad from November's Southern Living for Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house.  In between cooking, I played with flowers, and my leftover antlers for this pair of arrangements for the table.

Morgan's family got here around lunch on Thursday, then we headed over for dinner about 4.  My children had zero interest in sitting and eating, until it came time for dessert.  I was absolutely shocked!

Ha!  That's about what I expected, so I wasn't too stressed.
 Deeds was a little grumpy about his Peter Pan collar and smocked outfit.  "no no, turkey.  NO TURKEY!".  Welcome to the terrible twos, two months early, I suppose.
Friday night I took advantage of all the helping hands, and slipped out for a get-together of all my best buds from high school.
Nothing like hanging out on a friend's dock (with a solo cup in hand) to make you feel 16 again.

Jazzercise felt very early the next morning.

But it perked me up for a major milestone- DH's first football game!

Such fun.  I am still recovering, as are the kiddos.  Deeds walked around calling his cousins names for about 20 minutes on Sunday afternoon.  It was pretty sad.

Now it's time to ditch the pumpkins and get out the red and green.  I think I need a couple naps first!

Nov 23, 2015

LE TOTE Review- Honest (and Unsponsored)

 Okay, so I signed up for Le Tote, which is a clothing rental service, just over a month ago.  I LOVE the idea- the burst of a little something new to your wardrobe to add a little zip to your serviceable basics, all with no commitment and for $50 a month.  You fill out a style profile, pick out items for your closet, then someone picks out selections for you- 3 items of clothing and 2 accessories, which arrive a few days later.

My first two "totes" were super lame.  I'm not going to sugar coat it.  Blah, ill-fitting basics.  Cheap, and just yuck.  I'd heard it takes a couple totes for the service to figure you out, however, so I stuck it out.  Surprisingly, I felt much happier with my third tote.

Ignore my awkwardness in these photos.  I asked Morgan to take them Saturday afternoon, while he was watching football.  Hence he is grumpily, hurriedly snapping away with my iPhone from the couch, while I take advantage of an unwilling photographer, even though I have dirty hair.  I even asked DH to take pictures for me.  She replied "MOOOMM.  I'm a kid!"  Morgan tried that refusal as well, but it didn't work.

Oh, the awkwardness.  I tried to get him to stand up, explaining what taking a picture from below would do to my poor figure, but he harrumphed.

My least favorite of the bunch.  I was super excited about this cute, cotton cardigan, perfect for running around in exercise clothes.  Instead, it's so weirdly short in the back.  Apparently, shortness is a running issue with Le Tote's clothing.  Y'all, I am 5'4" on a good day.  My torso is not long.   Look how short this is!  So bizarre.

 This poly-blend top was cute- nothing earth shattering, but cute.  I wore it to a meeting.  Again, it felt a touch short.

Okay, things started to get a little dicey with the photographer's football game (not a particular team of his, just a good game- or excuse).  He started snapping and finishing before I was aware, so just bear with my facial expressions.
 I loved this BCBG Generation dress.  Not my usual style, but I wore it with a leather jacket for a party last Friday, then with tights for a birthday dinner this past Friday.  I felt very punk rock.  Morgan said that I looked like high school me when taking these pictures.  I don't know if it's the nineties grunge style of the dress, the drop waist, or my sullen face.  He did not say it in a positive manner, so maybe it's all three?
 I caught him walking into the kitchen for the final outfit.  Hence my face.  It mirrors his.  Ha!  I liked this dark teal Max Studio dress- wore it to church last Sunday.  It felt a bit short as well, but I was okay in thick tights.  It was fine- I liked the color a lot, and it had nice detailing, although the pleats were a bit crushed.

I resorted to selfies for the accessories.
Liked this tassel necklace a lot.  It looked cheap really close up, but good looking from most viewer's perspective.
The snakeskin cuff was a great size, and definitely a statement.  I liked it as well.

I have only been able to find one non-sponsored review on the web- everything else is "free clothes!  yay!".  Here are my issues:

The turnaround time for Le Tote is frustrating.  Yes, it's two day shipping, but it really takes a whole week.  They send out your tote when the return tote is received.  So, I have received mine on Fridays, returned on Monday, then not gotten my next one until Friday.  I did complain about that, and they sped up the tote selection process somewhat on my third tote, as well as including an extra item.

I think I would have REALLY appreciated this service when I was still in a formal office full time.  It seems like their workwear selection is better, and I was always so sick of all my suits.  For my current taste, it doesn't work as well.  There's tons of black, and tons of basics.  What I want is some color and trendier, fun stuff (like the drop waist floral dress) that I don't want to buy, but like dipping my toe into.  I would rather pay twice as much, and have access to more designer pieces that I don't want to spend the money on, then something you could find at Marshall's on any given Tuesday.  (ouch.  Got a little harsh there).   I'm going to look into Rent the Runway's unlimited, although I know there is a waitlist.

So, I'm going to give it another month or so, and see what I think.  I'll keep y'all updated.  Has anyone else tried Le Tote?  I'd love to hear other's experiences.

Nov 20, 2015

Five on Friday- Where I've Been

1.  On the News!

Dell Harper and I espousing Baby-led Weaning!  Deeds probably would have been more age appropriate, but he is entering the Terrible Twos, and not invited to be in front of cameras.  At least not invited by his mother.

I get rather animated, but luckily I was exhausted which dulled my nerves and exuberance a bit. . .

But I still managed to get some crazy eyes in there.

Here's the link-  if you feel so inclined to see my brush with local news fame.

*Just to clarify, I am not proclaiming myself a "foodie".  I merely said that I like to eat, and cook. *

2.  Constructing a Sculpture . . .

For a flower show where we couldn't use containers and had to transform our flowers into something else.

It started out like this. . .

A girl, a hot glue gun, and some ebay-ed antlers will get you so far.  Then my group came over and we decorated away.

 I was a nervous wreck, as this thing has been occupying what little free brain space and free time I have had for a couple of weeks.  I was thrilled that we got second place and  Most Creative ribbons.  Thrilled, and very, very, very relieved.  Personal pride is one thing, but you never want to let your team down.

 3.  Treasure Hunting-

Oh, estate sales, you and your relish trays get me every time.  I have a feeling that gherkins are going to make an appearance at a lot of my gatherings from here on out!

 4.  Squeezing in. . .

 Some work on these abstract landscapes in the good old dining room studio.  Good thing Thanksgiving is at my parents' house.

5.  Trying in vain. . .

To get a damn Christmas card picture of these two.  Why is it physically impossible for them to look at me at the same time?  WHHHHHHYYYYYY??!!!  Professionals might have to be called in.

So that's about it.  I'm trying to get some pictures together for a Le Tote review, have a ton of books to tell you about, and recipes to share.  Maybe once I get these cards done, right?  Maybe I will send out Happy New Year's cards.  Or Happy Easter?

Nov 9, 2015

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Is apparently how my children feel about me.

 Morgan and I dashed off to Highlands for a weekend with some friends- our first time away from our kiddos together since one night in Nashville for my brother's birthday almost a year ago.  So a couple nights away were sorely overdue, and much needed.

We drank good wine, ate excellent food, and laughed a lot.  Friday night we had a rather raucous dinner out- I think we got some stares when we exited the restaurant. Ah, the joys of being out of town!  I stayed up entirely too late playing Celebrity and Heads Up.

Saturday half of us when for a mini-hike, just right for anyone suffering from a smidge of cocktail flu.  Not that I would know, of course.  The incredible breakfast feast that one couple made- biscuits, sausage gravy, frittata, and cheese grits helped that suffering quite a bit as well.

The rest of the day was spent football watching, napping, reading, etc.

 After the UT game was over, we settled down to feast on the most beautiful ribeye steaks I have seen, cooked on the Big Green Egg.  I made Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas and Burgundy Mushrooms, and we also had a wonderful salad, and brown butter orzo.

And a lot of fantastic red wine.  See my teeth below.  A half-hearted game of Cards Against Humanity was commenced, then disbanded in favor of dance party/performance.  

Upon our return Sunday afternoon, Mama brought our little stinkers back on Sunday after their first dual sleepover at Gigi and Graddy's house.  Dell Harper- "Mommy, I still love you, but I really miss GiGi."  Mmmkay.

Lest you think I could rely on my baby to give some love this way, he was even worse.  Mama picked him up to say goodbye.  In her arms, he turned to me and said "Bye Bye Mommy!" and snuggled in closer while waving me away.  He watched her car pull away, big tears streaming down his cheeks, sobbing "Gigi!  GiiiiiiiGiiiiii!" in the most dramatic manner possible.

I guess this means I need to leave town more often!  Who's up for a visit?

Nov 4, 2015


  • Hoping. . . Deeds will take his nap.  I just walked up to his room with a stern look on my face, glancing at the pile of lovies and books he threw out of his crib.  His mouth formed a perfect little 'O' of uh-oh, busted face, the he grinned in the sweetest, cute, devilish grin I've ever witnessed.  I dissolved into laughter.  Deeds- 1, Mama- 0.
  • Eating. . .  this soup from Martha Stewart.  My sister-in-law and niece had a cold a couple weeks ago, they do (eat? are?, not sure the correct terminology here) Paleo, and Pinterest assured me that this was in fact Paleo.  My sources are nothing but reliable, ha! Anyway, it's delicious and a froze a bunch for myself.  This came in handy because I have been felled with a wretched cold myself this week.  I  added celery to the original batch,  and tossed in some kale to my defrosted soup.  As always, I am a paragon of nutrition.  (the decimated Halloween candy and bag of chips in the pantry is snorting right now.)

  • Feeling . . .very itchy.  In the last week I developed an itchy red rash over my torso and legs.  It is uncomfortable as hell.  I blamed Morgan's scented laundry detergent (he does his laundry separately with fragrant laundry stuff, while mine, household and children's is with free and clear/sensitive skin/unscented/hippie detergent).  Finally, I went to the dermatologist yesterday.  Turns out this damn rash?  Is a precursor/result of my cold.  Apparently, my immune system did not sit well with this cold virus, and decided to break out into a rash.  I'm not pleased.  Have y'all ever heard of such a thing?

  • Longing for. . .a copy of Kate Morton's new book.  A trip to the bookstore is in my near future. I'm too antsy to wait for the library on this one.

  • Trying. . .Le Tote.  My first tote was a bit blah, so I'm hoping my next will be better.  So far, I'm not very impressed with their processing speed.  Hoping that my tote comes by this weekend, but it's not looking likely.

  • Working on. . .some new cloudy paintings.  This (work in progress) one is going to the beach.  I wish I was joining it!

  • Off to. . .fold laundry and listen to the last hour of Robert Galbraith's (aka J.K. Rowling's) latest, "Career of Evil".  I'm hooked, of course.  I love the Cormoran Strike series- highly recommend it.   Time for chores, and English mystery- my spoonful of sugar is a bit violent and involves curse words, but hey,  what can you do?