Monday, February 23, 2015

Preschool style

She asked for a blue Elsa braid to match her Elsa dress and headband. She's going to rock preschool today (though I'm not convinced she's not trying to show up her friends.) C just rolled his eyes and went back to sleep.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Beautiful People

I have a love/hate relationship with the Beautiful People. I follow several BP on Instagram, and I love love love their pictures. There's the hippy awesome chick who free-ranges both her kids and her chickens. Her home is full of touchable textures and bright colors and creativity. There's the photographer mom of three under three (two adopted, one bio) who is so beautifully stylish and hip you'd hate her if she wasn't so sweet and positive. Her kids wear stylish, boutique-y clothes and her home is worldly and minimalistic. There's the yogi who posts amazing, strong, perfectly lit pictures of herself in insanely difficult poses, flanked by her adorable daughter. There's the 20 something who travels and reads and creates and posts pictures of herself that get picked up by Gap, just because she's just that adorable.

I know. Social media most often is the best of ourselves. Honestly, I love that. Coming from a small town full of gossips, I love having control over how much people see, and I love finding the "perfect" to showcase. Sometimes though, it hits me sideways. The other day, a running friend posted pictures from an informal race we all did together. It was pirate themed and I rocked my striped compression socks and bandanna. It was far from my best race, but I loved being out there with a bunch of other moms who have nothing in common excepts kids and racing and who are the biggest cheerleaders I've ever met. This is a group of women that I sought out and became one of in my quest to actually be better, stronger, more. For an introvert, seeking out groups like this is a BFD.

So the picture pops up. I have a HUGE grin on my face as we're walking toward the starting line. But what I see in the picture is not the smile on my face. I see the stretch marks on my arms. I see how much shorter I am than everyone else. I see how the bandanna resulted in an awful lot of face that could have used at least a little make-up. I see my stupid running belt and my mom-capris and my thick legs. I see chub and flab and flaws. It knocked me for a loop and literally took my breath away. I am proud that if I had to, I could walk out my door right now and run 10 miles. It might be slow, but I could do it. But this picture, it brought on nothing but self-hatred. Which in turn led to self-hatred about being so vain and self-centered that I ignored all the awesome and focused solely on the size of my arms, legs, stomach, face...As I tried to explain to C, being so caught up in a less-than-flattering picture made me hate myself even more. Because I know, logically, that I'm pretty rad. I made three awesome babies. I married an insanely cool guy. My job is boring, but it's also pretty badass. But those arms.

Fast forward to today. I stumble out of my bedroom that somehow evades all efforts to clean, organize, or decorate into my house. My very real, very lived in house. There's a Costco pack of toilet paper in the entryway that's been there for a week. There's a pile of laundry two feet high in the living room. There are the carcasses of at least ten plastic toys that the dog has tried to eat scattered on various surfaces. Dishes. Dust. Life. And I pull up Instagram to see these beautiful, perfect, not styled by Target rooms with beautiful, perfect, not styled by Target kids. And I almost went there. I almost went to that dark place where what is mine is not good enough. I was on the verge of throwing everything away and trying to recreate this minimalist, monochromatic life that looks so pretty in dainty square pictures.

Then I got bored of trying to figure out where to start. My kids distracted me with construction paper and Popsicle stick football helmets. My dog picked up a toy and had to be chased down to avoid further casualties. Instead of trying to figure out where to begin in changing my life, I had to actually live it. And in doing that, I realized that I really kind of love this. I love the din and the chaos and the mess. It's us, and I think that if I was honest, it's probably a lot of the beautiful people too. I censor what I post. Syd painting a beautiful sunset for her dad? Posting. Completely un-flattering running picture? Notsomuch. Why would I post the not pretty? But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I haven't settled on a resolution yet for the year, but I think this is something I'm going to work on. I can try to create some of the ambiance that I admire in the Beautiful People. Simplicity. Creativity. Calm. But I'm going to incorporate it into MY life, which means that there are also going to be parts that are dirty or messy or styled by Target. And that's okay. In fact it might even be beautiful :)

But I'm still going to the gym to work on those arms.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


You guys. I need help. Avery's birthday is at the end of the month and I have nothing planned. Eli ride Thomas the Train and Syd went a tiny theme park, but I can't think of anything for Averson. She likes pretending to drive, but I doubt a dealership would let that fly. Am I ridiculous if I throw a baby party for her baby friends? And what should the theme be? Poor third baby. I'm not even sure what her favorite food is. Pizza crust stolen off my plate? Squeeze applesauce?
Seriously. This is the kind of shit that sends kids to therapy. MOTY.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

And then this happens...

We had three separate teams of external auditors this week, including plaintiff's counsel. I sat in committee for six solid hours today (wearing my new coral shirt!) And in those six hours I 1) made meaningful treatment plans for three really sick guys 2) educated a room of very old fashioned custody folks about how to talk to and about transgendered inmates and 3) watched the warden address an inmate as "Ms. Apples." 
And I rocked my audits.
It was pretty awesome :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I'm still here! I promise

ETA: I wrote this last night while my class was watching a documentary. I thought I published it, but apparently not. Not the first time that's happened. Oops.

I'm still here. And every few days I check into the blog and feel guilty for not posting. Like, really guilty. I miss this little place I've carved out for all the whacked out thoughts my husband would politely listen to if I forced him to.

My dad called the other day to chat, and he started the conversation with, "I'm worried that you're working too much." This from a man that traveled three weeks out of the month to Indonesia and Columbia (not a drug lord, really.) And I honestly had no response except, "Yeah." I am working a lot. I try to keep it to my regular 40 hours, plus the 10 for teaching, but those 40 used to be pretty kick back. Now it's a sprint from 8:00 onward. Like, I know that I can pee in exactly the amount of time it takes me to heat up lunch. And my job is not interesting. If they taught what I do in graduate school, no one would ever take the class. Eli asked the other day, and the closest I could get to an explanation is "I read e-mails and tell people to do things." My biggest challenge is treatment hours and data entry deadlines, and defending those numbers against court-mandates. It's exhilarating stuff.

So, yeah. Not exactly what I pictured when I declared confidently that I was going to change the world. I've been getting pretty burnt out actually because it all seems so meaningless and futile. I work my ass off to ensure that we have treatment for people who don't want (and in a lot of cases need) treatment. In an effort to combat that burnout I've been adding in "good." Those things that remind me that the world is awesome and that I'm a productive member of it. Exercise. Quality time with the kids. Quality time with C. Church. Friends. The "good."

But the good takes time too. A friend told me, "You're too busy! Something's got to give!" and I fought back hysterical laughter. What could give? And I'm not sure I want to give up anything. Even my shitty stuff is pretty good.

So here's the realization that I came to tonight. Yes, I'm busy. And my natural inclination is to bitch and moan about how I'm at work missing Eli's phone calls to classmates (OMG) and that Syd's preschool teachers can't remember my name. But here's the ground shaker. I'm busy so that C can be there for those things. And my job is boring, but it's also pretty cool and pays me well. I have awesome opportunities and friends and my kids are doing cool stuff like art classes at a legit museum. I have a life that even I sit back and marvel at like, "How the hell did this happen?" What I'm missing is someone to say, "Fuck you. Shut up. Look around at how amazing this all is and be grateful!" I think that's going to be my mantra. "Shut the fuck up and be grateful." What do you think? Does it espouse the positivity I'm going for? :)

Stitch Fix Take #2

So I couldn't wait and scheduled my second box for a couple weeks after my first. This could become a problem...
First is this wrap dress. It's got this cool teal and navy design and doesn't look like sausage casing. I'm on the fence because of the price, but it's so so pretty.
You can't tell, but this one is navy with a brown braided collar detail. Pretty eh. Maybe a bit matronly. C said I looked like a nun.

Navy skinny jeans and the Rosa Tab Sleeve Blouse. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I never would have picked this collar for myself. But look! It matches my favorite scarf!

This shirt is bad. It's sheer, clingy, and covered in spots of neon pink. Only my tenacity to see a project through dictated an action shot.

I adore this business. I didn't buy any of these clothes at Ross, Old Navy, or Goodwill, they look cute, and I didn't go to the mall. #winning