Thursday, January 19, 2017

Day in the Life: Winter 2017

Nothing like a DitL to get back into the blogging routine {is something I've likely said for the past 3 DitLs...}. As always, big kudos to Julia for steering this link-up ship!

DitL Winter 2017: Tuesday, January 17

I am less than one month out from 34.
E has 2 weeks until 35.
L will be 5 in 34 days.
B is 2.5.
Boom is 10.5.

6 am - Alarm goes off.  I tap Snooze. I usually take the 6:15 3G Orange Theory class on Tuesdays, but E had a super early flight this morning so I'm holding down the fort.  Semi-recall him getting out of bed about an hour ago.  Mentally fist-bump L's immune system for No Night Terrors last night -- She has horrible seasonal allergies and any medicine we've tried triggers them.  Even without meds, she sometimes gets them as a side effect of her body battling allergens.  Damn you, cedar!  I check my email in bed and respond to a friend whose dinnertime playdate we will attend this evening. Press Play on a MFM episode I started yesterday. I check the weather and it appears as though there might be some scattered showers but the high will be close to 60 degrees.  Mentally prepare myself for a clothing battle with B, who is sure to leave us for Southern California at the first opportunity so that he may wear shorts and t-shirts year-round. I get up, shower, brush teeth, slap on some clothes {I'm really pushing the Leggings as Acceptable Business-Cas Pants envelope lately} and makeup.

 I head downstairs to let Boom out and take the recycle and trash to the curb.  There is a pile of recycling from earlier in the week that accidentally got left out during the past 3 days of rain and it disintegrating behind our fence... I conveniently ignore that since I'm already in work clothes. Maybe it will compost itself by magic. I prep the cold brew coffee, pack lunches for the kids (crackers, turkey pepperoni, cheese cubes, berries, carrots + yogurt) and myself (quinoa, tomatoes, avocado + Tessamae's spicy ranch dressing), and "organize" the dirty dishes in the sink to make myself feel better for neglecting the not-yet-unloaded dishwasher.  I head back upstairs for a quick blow-dry.

7:11 am - B is singing "I've been working on the railroad."  I go in to get him and he immediately asks if he can wear shorts and is none too happy with my insistence on pants.  Negotiations ensue and we settle on pants (which he promptly rolls up to his knee for make-shift shorts) with a tee shirt --> Condition Precedent: No arguments about wearing his hoodie when we leave. L comes out of her room and immediately starts asking questions about Moana (which we saw yesterday). 
L gets dressed and brushes her teeth while B reads us Rudolph that I've failed to put away with the rest of our Christmas books.  We head downstairs; kiddos put their own PJs in the hamper by the washer.  There is drama over B's breakfast (I want waffle! No - can-cakes! No - waffle! NO - CAN-CAKES!) -- He throws a Lego tower in protest of my executive decision to warm up pancakes for him.  Gummy vitamin bribes and threats to put him in a long sleeved shirt result in Lego clean-up and enjoyment of breakfast carbs.
In total, 3 waffles and 8 mini pancakes are consumed by my offspring; I eat coconut yogurt with blackberries and pecans. We listen to Moana and the plot questions continue -- my favorite being "mama, do our hearts look like the Earth goddess' heart?" L shows off her "rainbow pose" from the yoga her class does in Creative Movement (heart eye emoji cue).

8:10 am - The kids do early drop-off on Mondays, and I am hoping there is space for them this morning even though I haven't received a reply from the director of their school.  I get my work bag, purse, and their school bag packed, and everyone finds their own socks and shoes and hoodies.  L wants to take her horse backpack with a bunch of random stuff in it and B wants his yaya in the car. I make an iced coffee for the road in my super trendy ginormous Honey Ham Styrofoam cup that I keep reusing to ease my yuppy-crunchy guilt, crate Boom, and we head out.  The temperature has dropped at least 10 degrees in the last hour, and it's now raining.  The kids climb into the car while I run back in to grab rain jackets. I hear my email ping, and it is the director telling me there is no early drop off this morning.  Fabulous. No way am I unloading everyone again so we drive to school and listen to some more Moana and talk about school buses and the rain and why didn't Mommy know it was going to be so cold today? At 8:50, we hustle in and drop B off at his classroom first.  I make a lame joke about toddler stubbornness while frantically motioning to B's teachers that there is both a hoodie and a rain jacket in his cubby and HA HA HA I SWEAR I TRIED TO GET HIM TO WEAR APPROPRIATE CLOTHING. The registration form for next year is in his cubby and I note that he is only pre-registered for 3 days, so we'll have to get that sorted out today.  I drop L off at her classroom and remind her that I will pick her up after Extended Day this afternoon.  I make it to my car just as the rain really gets going, and listen to a MFM mini-sode as I commute.

9:30 am -- Even in the rain, it only takes me about 25 minutes to get to work.  3 of my 4 colleagues are already in the office; there are 4 of us who work part time on different schedules so some days it's really quiet and some days we're all around at the same time. I put my lunch away, reorganize some notebooks, statutes, and handouts into my new magazine files from IKEA, and log into my computer.  I read the WaPo headlines and get last week's time entered in 2 of the 3 places required (saving the big-daddy for later). I email the school's director abut B's days for next year and reply to E's good morning email.  I check the callback list on our case management system and we are at 37 today with 25 new clients up for grabs.  I actually have some drafting to do before tackling the call backs.  I review an order for one client and call him back with a few questions; leave him a VM to call me back before I can start his demand kit. I review another client's order and pull up her child's ISD schedule to create a custody calendar for her demand kit.  Per usual, it's about 62 degrees in my office and I whip out the micro-puffer jacket over the vest with the scarf. ITPitB that, baby.
Break for lunch at noon.  I read today's Lenny Letter; get pumped up about the Women's March being just around the corner. Call my case manager at Be The Match back; the blood work I did last week was missing a component and I have to go back to get more blood drawn.  Slightly annoyed since they drew 14 vials last week, but at least I can go to a lab nearby instead of the one in Round Rock. Plus, it's pretty hard to be miffed with a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of this entire, incredible process -- I continue to feel humbled to be a part of it all. Start back in on my demand kit at 12:17 pm.  I finish the calendar, draft demand letters, and put it all together for the client with instructions on how he needs to proceed in order to build a potential Enforcement case. I finish his packet and take it downstairs to our main offices to the mail room. I pick up my mail and the physical mail for our team and check for custody orders; none today. I spend the rest of my work hours entering my incremental time; I am way behind on this and getting caught up feels good! I head out to pick up the kiddos at 2:40.
I pull into the school parking lot right at 3:00 pm. I gather lunch boxes and art from the kids' cubbies and collect them from the gym.  Usually they are outside on the playground, but it's still raining.  B is a little manic -- Extended Day on Tuesdays is always a little rough for him since he doesn't get a nap.  He is pretty adamant about changing his clothes when we get home; this is a new phenomenon that I usually discourage, but since the temperature never climbed above 50 and his leggings are wet from climbing into my car, I throw him a bone.  It is B's turn to pick the TV show and he selects Chuggington.  The tidbits settle in for some traintastic fun + fruit snacks and popcorn.  I add today's art to the playroom display {interestingly, all of L's contributions are tropical in nature and all of B's are snowy} and pull together the components of a New Baby Meal I prepped on Sunday evening {oven baked chicken fajitas + Trader Joe's Way More Chocolate Chips cookies + 14 Hands Hot to Trot vino} as well as a salad for the playdate we are headed to. 
4:00 pm - Chuggington is over and we are headed out once again to drop off the meal and go play. The new mama {twin girls!} is a neighbor I've actually haven't met yet, and she is so sweet. Her son and L share a birthday but he is B's year in school.  Turns out she was actually on the invite list to the playdate we're headed to and she's decided to come along so I am excited to see her in a few minutes and get to know her better.  We drive the 5 minutes to my friend M's house and some buddies are already running amok. M invited B's entire playgroup + siblings and likely didn't anticipate that pretty much every single person would enthusiastically respond in the affirmative... Over the course of two hours, there are 25+ crazy meatloaves commandeering chaos and eating pizza while the moms chatted, wine-d, and attempted to avoid bodily injury. It was essentially the best, loudest playdate of all time, and I'm pretty sure we all owe M a spa gift certificate with a Xanax chaser. Our neighborhood really is my favorite.

6:00 pm - E texts me that he's home from the airport and pre-heating the oven for our veggie fajita supper just about the same time B begins to turn into a pumpkin {a very emo, screechy pumpkin} so we say our goodbyes. It is pouring outside and I have no umbrella and B is quite literally stripping down to his diaper in FOMO protest of leaving the rager so that was a super fun departure.  We are home again, home again lickety-split and all very happy to see E.  I am even happier that he has unloaded that pesky dishwasher and poured two glasses of wine.  The minis tell him all about their big day, and I cut up some more fruit to counter-balance the pounds of pizza they've consumed. E lets me know he has early morning conference calls and can't take the chicklets to school tomorrow.  This doesn't bode well for my schedule as I'd planned to exercise at 5 am and head straight to work from OrangeTheory to knock out some hours.  Jay to the rescue!  I call my mom, and she is on board for school drop off; we are so so so hashtag-blessed to have her and my dad so close by. E herds them upstairs for a bath while I pop the fajitas in the oven and make lunches for tomorrow.  Soundtrack: Rent.

6:45 pm - Early bedtime for B since he's a bit of a skipped-nap mess. He picks out his PJs {"Frankenstein!"} and makes it through two Richard Scarry nursery rhymes before he starts body slamming L, and I take him to his room for books {The Little Engine That Could; I Want My Hat Back} and songs {"the car song" - which I have to freestyle; "the monster song" - more freestyling; and "You Are My Sunshine"}.  I remember to put some lavender in his diffuser hoping it will help him settle down a bit more.  Our new "goodnights" are my favorite as he shouts "no, I love YOU!" and "no, YOU'RE the best" as I leave his room.  He jumps up and down in his crib as if it is a trampoline for about 3 minutes and then conks the heck out. 
E and L have already picked out her clothes for tomorrow and read a bunch of nursery rhymes.  I show her the invitations I have bookmarked on my phone for her super hero party next month, and she selects one {which happens to be my favorite as well!}.  We read a chapter of Charlotte's Web, sing 4 songs {Mary Had a Little Lamb, Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle, and Miss Mary Mack}, rub some diluted peppermint oil on her chest and feet, and switch on her diffuser {peppermint + lemon + lavender for allergies} before loads of goodnight kisses.  It's an early lights-out for sister, too.
7:20 pm - Our veggies are ready so we test out some new almond flour tortillas for fajita assembly.  Verdict: Pretty good, especially considering the nutritional content, but definitely not for any dish you don't plan to eat immediately. After dining together {standing up huddled over the island like true romantics}, we switch on the first episode of The New Pope. It's fine; I keep expecting Jude Law to suddenly stab someone in the jugular -- he's a shifty character. Thoroughly enjoy this article about the mail Obama received these past 8 years and the shifting roll of the White House mailroom. In a super rare weekday move, E and I actually head upstairs to bed together since he didn't bring any work home. 

I perform my vanity-worshipping nighttime ritual and pack my gym bag to take to OTF tomorrow.  That 4:30 am alarm comes earrrrrrrrrrly.  I read a little bit of Catastrophic Happiness {which is way less cheesy than it appears... the author is the advice columnist for Real Simple and I love love love her} before falling asleep around 9:45.

10:27 pm: NIGHT TERROR.

11:40 pm: NIGHT TERROR.

11:47 pm: Adjust thermostat after realizing we turned off the Heat.

12:14 am: NIGHT TERROR.

4:30 am: ALARM. No one should willingly be awake at this hour.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Gift Ideas for Adult Humans

We're down to the wire here, folks.  I haven't done a gift guide for peeps over 4 feet tall in a while, but I had a few requests for one, plus I had a handy dandy "Favorite Purchases of the Year" iPhone note burning a proverbial hole in my pocket.  All of these items {save for one} are things we own and love, love, LOVE. A few are old friends, but the vast majority were new finds from 2016. 

If you're working that last-minute holiday shopping hustle, I hope you find something here that tickles your pickle... or perhaps just a January happy prize for yourself!

1. Benefit Soft & Natural Brow Kit: I've never done a thing to my brows aside from plucking and waxing, but I'm now somewhat addicted to the products in this kit!  I don't bother with the stencils, but the filler/liner glides on and fills in smoothly, the gel keeps everything in place all day without flaking, and the highlighter really adds some pop -- all without looking like you've tattooed your damn forehead. If I only have 1 minute to slap on some makeup, I do my brows + mascara and lip gloss, and I still feel polished.

2. Bauble Bar Earrings: The only item(s) on the list I don't already own, I want about 8373 pairs of Bauble Bar earrings... but especially the Crispin Drops and Pinata Tassels!

3. Hurraw Lip Balm:  This balm was a local Whitefish, MT discovery, but it's likely available at a boutique or spa near you or via Amazon {although there is a price hike}. The ingredients are organic, vegan, and raw {HIGH CRUNCH}, but most importantly, it smells delicious {the ALMOND!!!}, isn't tacky or greasy, and won't melt -- not even in your hot ass car in August. I cannot tell you how happy this makes my Texas heart. 

4.  Lysse Leggings: Are you stumbling through life wearing leggings not made by Lysse?  Then I'll be blunt: you're doing it wrong. My friend Erin turned me onto these about this time last year, and it is one of the 8373 reasons why I love her face off so hard. I tried to let my mom in on the secret, and she admitted she'd already been wearing Lysses for months.  So. We know who really loves me now. ANYHOO.  Get you some.  I wear the Seamed Ponte and the Jeggings each and every week. Super comfortable, super thick, perfect for travel.

5. Antonini Olivewood Cheese Knives: We've had these for 8 years, and it would be impossible to count the number of times we've used them.  I pull them out anytime we have guests, and they still look brand-spankin' new.  Automatic purchase if I spy these on a wedding registry.

6. Lifefactory Silicone-Sleeved Glasses:  These come in all sorts of colors, sizes, and styles {the 20 oz variety would make an excellent "super pint" for the beer drinker in your life!}, and I've pretty much ditched my regular wine glasses since purchasing these. The silicone sleeve is cute and cushy and is perfect for patio-sippin' and/or Distracted Disaster Insurance.

7. Hamilton: The Revolution: Hey, did y'all know I kinda like Hamilton? This is the most gorgeous coffee table tome that is sure to delight fans of the show, general Broadway enthusiasts,and history buffs alike.

8. CoffeeSock Cold Brew Kit: Still loving my CoffeeSock, and still slamming that cold brew in December!
9. Wide-Mouth Klean Kanteen w/ 2 Tops: Klean Kanteen makes my very favorite adult insulated beverage receptacle. Cheaper and less obnoxious than a Yeti, but your coffee will stay hot through the work day / your ice will remain icy throughout a beach marathon.

10. Le Creuset Stoneware Mugs: Much more fun than your boring white coffee mug but classier than your "Let That Shit Go" cup {just me?}, these mugs make me so happy! I received the turquoise color in a This Is My Fave IG gift swap, and it truly is my fave now!

11. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Deb can do no wrong. Everything she cooks is gold.  As is this cookbook.

12. Rifle Paper Co. Slim Wall Calendars: My 2016 Folk Art version looks so cheery in our kitchen. And the prints make pretty frame-fillers when the new year arrives!

13. Deneve Riverock Diffuser: I know I've waxed poetic about these before; we have three now, and I'm purchasing another for my office.

14. Parabo Photo Desk Calendar: This product is only available via their app {which is super use friendly}, but I'm gaga for these desk calendars. The quality is excellent {nothing I like better than a luscious, thick paper product!}, and it adds just the right amount of personality to your workspace. 2 photos featured for every month: a new photo for the calendar side and last month's photo on the flip side {so your office guests can ooh and aah over your kiddos or your pups or your latest culinary endeavor}.

15. Folding Wayfarers: Classic style now folds up to fit in your tiniest clutch. These are the only sunglasses I wear now.

16. Elizabeth Volk Suede Tassel Earrings: Elizabeth is an extremely talented personal friend {who I happen to be having beverages with manana - what, what!}.  I have 3 of her pieces and am constantly eyeing more! I'm particularly fond of these suede tassels.

17. Mi Golondrina Mexican Peasant Dress: If you grew up in a Southern border state, chances are you sported a zillion polyester Mexican peasant dresses as a kid. Mi Golondrina's offerings are your childhood favorites all spiffed up -- the embroidery is all done by hand and knock-your-socks-off pretty.  I get more compliments on this dress than any other item of clothing I own, and it's the easiest and coolest thing to throw on. The price tag feels decadent considering mass-produced styles are available for 15 bucks a pop, but the craftsmanship truly is worth your dinero.

16. Humble Hilo Bag: Finally, speaking of most-complimented, I've been carrying a Humble Hilo medium-sized bag since last Christmas, and I get stopped constantly with inquiries. HH products are made from gorgeous recycled Guatemalan hupils, and each item is one-of-a-kind.  A portion of every purchase supports your choice of three humanitarian projects in Guatemala: Child Nutrition/Clean Water; Education for Women, and Small Business Opportunities for Women.

*Please note: Amazon links are affiliate.  All other links are "squeaky clean." No freebies or sponsored items on this list -- just a bunch of shit I adore.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Kidlet Gift Guide: For the Musical Energizer Bunny + Collective Top 10 Toys

Time now for B's picks for Christmas morning!  

B decided he would ask Santa for "a GEEN bike" for Christmas 2016 about 2.4 seconds after seeing L's bike under the tree on Christmas 2015.  We have been super pleased with L's version {which B has been riding since his feet finally reached the pedals in July} -- the price, how simple it was to put together, how sturdy it is, how it's lasted "in the elements" on our sport court {we're replacing the grips and the basket, but everything else still looks and works great!}.  There are some less-than-stellar reviews I've sweated over, but I'm hoping we get a product comparable to last year's purchase! 

The helmet and the basket are pretty self-explanatory, and the ukulele should thrill our "geeee-tar!" lovin' boy! 

L picked this Duplo set out for B, and I think she did a damn fine job!

4. Shark Snuggle Blanket

These Squigz look so neat -- they seem fabulous for general construction tomfoolery, as well as for bathtime fun and building on the go {restaurants, air plane tray tables, etc}.  I've heard incredible things about the Symphony #2 {and long-time readers know how much I love the B. Toys brand}, and I really think both kids will go bananas making musical combinations.  B remains a tinkerer at heart, so I am sure this new drilling iteration will be a hit, too. And a Shark Blanket {which I actually found new with tags for $15 on eBay!} to match sister's mermaid tale! 

I saw this Build-a-Road set on an infomercial whilst binging on HGTV in my conference hotel room last month. The ad was hypnotizing, and I remember thinking "the kids would love this, but it's likely a piece of crap." 2 weeks later, I saw it on a Fat Brain Toys "Best-of" list {these are great gift guides categorized by age, btw!}, and that was that -- I'm so ready to play with this one!  Thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda's tweets, we added Chuggington to our TV repertoire {if it's good enough for the progeny of America's Shakespeare, it's good enough for our spawn}.  Wilson, Brewster, Koko and the gang will be a welcome addition to our train gang. And a plane you are encouraged to dismantle? Genius!  Finally, L saw this tractor at our favorite toy store and thought B would enjoy it. At first, I figured it might be a little babyish for his age, but after seeing how much L liked playing with it {she miiiiiight have had an ulterior motive for suggesting it!} and reading some stellar reviews, I added it to the list. 

Top 10 Toys

I was asked on a previous post which toys from past guides really knocked the kids' socks off, and the honest answer is they've really enjoyed almost everything on these lists {which I suppose justifies my somewhat obsessive perusal of Amazon reviews!}.  If I had to pick a Collective Top Ten, these would all rank {in no particular order}:

1. Yvolution Glider Deluxe Scooter / Bikes {links above} / Plasma Car
2. Sweetpea3 MP3 Player
3. Step2 Water Table
4. Little Tykes Cozy Coupe
5. Magformers
6. Lego Duplos
7. B. Toys Parum-Pum-Pum Drum
8. Little Dress Up Shop Costumes + Doll Dresses
9. Melissa & Doug Corner Kitchen
10. Melissa & Doug Easel {buy the bulk paper rolls at IKEA!}

*Standard Post Script: All Amazon links are affiliate / all other links are not. Nothing listed here was a freebie or sponsored.