Saturday, March 21, 2015

Stitch Fix

After reading about it for months on various blogs, I finally tried Stitch Fix.  I was drawn in first because it just looked like so much FUN!  And, over the past year or so, I've been realizing that much of my clothing is literally starting to disintegrate - there are holes in many of my favorite pieces.  But, what with bringing the boys back home for schooling, and still working as my church's music director, there is NO WAY to find time for shopping.  Not to mention that I hate clothes shopping with a serious passion.

So...Stitch Fix was intriguing.  The idea is that you create a style profile with them (and, if you wish, curate a style pinterest board to help them get a feel for what you like) and then one of their stylists chooses five pieces that she thinks will look great on you.  A cute little box arrives on your doorstep and then you get the fun of opening up your surprise "shopping trip" results!  Bonus: you can try them on in your own room, with the clothes you already own, instead of in a fitting room.  I love that.

I have to admit that the first Fix they sent me was an unmitigated bust.  I sent the entire thing back with a few strong words for the stylist who (apparently) had forgotten to read my notes! 

{I specified NO SWEATERS - she sent me two - and said that I disliked super-thin, see-through shirts - two of those came as well.}

But I decided to try it again, and I'm so glad that I did!  The second Fix had two total winners in it, neither of which I would have pulled off a rack for myself.  First, a totally cute top that matched perfectly with a skirt I already had.

{Please forgive the terrible photos - this was the best I could do with a cranky toddler, an iPhone, and an ill-lit mirror.}

  Timothy was much happier once I picked him up.  Quit taking photos, Mama!  I love the button details on the bodice and sleeves, and the neckline is very flattering.  My 9 year old saw it and said "Hmm, mama, I like that shirt.  It doesn't exactly look like *you*, but I like it." :)

The second winner is this breezy summer dress.  You can't tell from a distance, but the pattern is geometric with the tiniest little orange dots in the center of the pattern.  Again, nothing I would have picked out myself, but so cute!  I feel pretty in it.  Also I feel like I need a cute pair of blue sandals to wear with it. ;)

I'm going to continue using the service regularly for awhile, because my current wardrobe is so seriously lacking.  I will say that the pieces are pricier than what I would normally pick up on sale at Penney's (for example).  But then, I have zero desire (or time) to go try stuff on at Penneys! So I'm ok with paying for the convenience, and the help with style.  If your closet needs help too, do try it out! (And if you use my link, you'll help my Stitch Fix budget go farther, so thanks!)

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Timothy, 19 months

Poor neglected blog.  Not that I care much about the blog itself, only the fact that I tended to use the blog as a sort of online baby book, and so this poor fourth child of mine is going to look back and think himself neglected!  Well, life is wildly different when you have one child and when you have four, and I guess blogs and baby books are both casualties.

The prompt to write this time: the excitement of Timothy discovering the joy of stories!  No more does he flip pages faster than you can read three words - now he listens, and then points to interesting pictures, and waits until we are both quite ready to go on before turning the page.  He regularly brings me books throughout the day, asking to be read to.  And although it usually isn't an opportune time, I'm making it a priority to drop whatever it is and take those five minutes to read his story.  He is precious, and little, and those moments with him snuggled on my lap, "ooooh!"ing in excitement are ones that I don't want to miss no matter how many other things are calling my name.

On average, too, Timothy is a decidedly self-sufficient little guy.  He loves to put his shoes on first thing after breakfast and head outside with Mitya, and I often won't see him inside again until he gets hungry!  He loves to explore and wander and I'm so grateful that we have this amazing back yard for him to enjoy.

Speaking of shoes, Timothy is developing a genuine sense of humor.  His current favorite joke is to ask to go outside, find his shoes and socks with me, and then promptly run away, stopping only to peer over his shoulder to make sure I'm chasing him.  Mischievous little imp. :)

So far Timothy has found words to be entirely unnecessary.  He's been making a few more babbling sounds in the past month, but words...who needs them?  We'll be working with the Regional Center again in the coming months, for play-based speech therapy, to help him in that area.  I'll be glad to hear "mama" someday!  (I'll also be glad to know what "uuuhhh!" means when he wants - something? - in the kitchen!)

Back to the self-sufficiency - I think it is interesting that Timothy seems to desire/need the least focused mama attention of any of the boys during the day.  However, he is still nursing, happily and often, at this point a full 5 months longer than any of my other babies.  I wonder if this point of connection is what gives him the confidence to explore with a longer leash, or if it the exploring that feeds a need for the nursing connection.  Perhaps a mix of both - it is rather a chicken and egg question.  Sometimes (like today, after a night of many wakings) I think that it is time to night wean; all my other boys were in their own bed and sleeping mostly through the night by this age. And yet I treasure the nursling attachment, and I'm not sure I want to force distance at night if he isn't ready for that yet.  Perhaps the night nursing is what he needs to fuel the daring exploration by day.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Timothy (almost 11 months old)

The rest of the family is off on a camping adventure today, and I stayed home with Timothy, just the two of us. (I had a client due today, so couldn't plan to be out of town.) We hiked with a friend in the morning, and Timothy fell asleep in the mei tai towards the end of our walk.  I leaned the seat back in the car and snuggled with him until he woke up.  He is so sweet.

I loved the opportunity to pay much more attention to him today. He is such a happy little guy! He LOVES to play. "Peek a boo", and "follow mama around corners", and "give me five".  Sometimes it is hard to get good pictures because he moves so fast (and so much!) when he is excited!

He is content without focused attention as well, enjoying playing in the Tupperware while I cook, or exploring outside while I water the garden.  Today I tried letting him play on the trampoline, and he thought it was the best thing ever.  Especially "bumping" noses through the safety mesh. 

Timothy just cut his first tooth today, which is about time because over the past two weeks he discovered that he loves to eat table food. Since he nursed exclusively past 10 months and showed no interest whatsoever in anything that didn't taste like mama milk, I'm happy to see this development.  Today he had eggs, blueberries, bananas, broccoli, avocado, and peaches.  The peaches gave him a rash around his mouth, though, so no more of that for him for awhile. 

He isn't saying any words yet, but definitely understanding more. It will be fun to watch his language acquisition develop, although I wonder if he will be a late talker because there are SO MANY PEOPLE TALKING in this house.  I'm not sure he'll be able to get a word in edgewise. 

I think Timothy is going to skip formal crawling.  He scoots like nobody's business, with a funny little "one leg forward one behind" style that I've never seen before.  Recently he discovered that he can walk around the house by hanging onto a bar stool and pushing it ahead of him.  He smiles the whole time!

As a general rule, there is so much going on in our home that I often feel like I don't have much space to really see Timothy.  He is cared for, of course, but always "in the midst" of everything.  Today I got the space to really focus on him, and realize afresh what a delight this little boy of mine is.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The lead-up to Easter

The week(s) prior to Easter are never easy for a church musician.  You expect that, plan for it, try to work ahead and get all your ducks in a row early.


Some things you simply can't plan for(1).  Sometimes you do stupid things by accident(2).  Sometimes you do crazy and yet marvelous things on purpose(4).  And sometimes the timing is crazy and hard but still fits so perfectly you wonder if maybe God had a hand in smoothing your way for you(9).

1) On Wednesday, 10 days before Easter, Timothy learned how to scoot himself off the bed.  Head first.  He knocked himself right out and we spent the rest of the day in the emergency room.  Verdict: concussion, but his cat scan was clear and he's just fine.

2) Thursday I had inexplicably scheduled dentist appointments for all three boys.  And then they had room to take me, too, so we spent the entire afternoon at the dentist.  I love our dental office staff, but still.  You can imagine how much fun that was.

3) Friday I attempted to cut off part of my thumb while cutting onions.  I succeeded much too well.  Ouch.

4) Saturday Timothy and I flew to Sacramento, attended a bridal shower for one of my best friends from high school, and then flew home.  All in one day.  Totally crazy, but I'm so glad I was able to do it. :)

5) Sunday was Palm Sunday.  Last choir rehearsal before all the Holy Week services.  Two anthems during mass.

6) Monday I came up for air and realized that not a single dish was clean.  I wish I were exaggerating.  It took me six (interrupted) hours to get through it all.

7) Tuesday brought the reality of no more clean clothing.  Laundry ensued.  Also, last minute church music work for the coming services on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

8)'ll forgive me if I can't even remember, right?

9) One of my clients, not due until April 23rd, went into labor in the wee hours of Thursday morning, and I didn't get home until mid-afternoon.  At which point I napped for an hour, and then raced around getting everyone ready for the Maundy Thursday service that evening.  Realized that I had to leave for church before Gabe got back from work.  Went running over to beg our neighbor for 20 minutes of babysitting. (He said yes.) :)

10) Friday: spent the morning making Last Supper crafts with the boys.

Got everyone into somber colored clothing and made it to church for the noon mass. Was grateful for Aunt Libby and Uncle Jonathan, who helped keep the boys quiet and focused, and even more grateful that the boys are old enough to actually sit quietly and focus.  Spent much of the service in the back with the exploring, noisy baby.

 11) Saturday we had a family gathering at the park (yay for Aunts and Uncles and Grandma and Grandpa!) and then I went to church to spend 30 slightly panicked minutes trying to polish (err, finish learning?) that evening's anthem.  Since it was the 5th anthem in six days, I'm counting minor panic on only the last one as a decided win.  (Besides, they sang it so well in the end; God really does take our small offerings and multiply them!)

12) And so to Easter, wherein I woke up at 6am with the baby and then went back to bed with the baby at 8am for the first nap of the day.  The boys went to their friends' baptism.  We dyed eggs.  Ate a simple but tasty mid-afternoon "dinner".  Hid and searched for eggs in the back yard.  Gave up on finding the last one (Granddad, I told the boys that I've learned from the best; a good egg hunt is one where you can't find all of them!)  It has been a blessed day of rest and play.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Grain free waffles (that actually work, and taste like waffles!)

I've had a lot of unfortunate results while experimenting with grain free cooking.  Almond meal is very dense, and coconut flour requires so many eggs that many things end up separating and tasting like...scrambled eggs.  BUT this recipe from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition was a success!  The kids liked it (came back for seconds and thirds!) and I thought it was delightful.  Serve with butter and maple syrup, or peanut butter and applesauce, or whatever sounds good to you.  Yummy!

(please note that I have ever-so-slightly modified this from the original, as well as doubled the amounts.)

8 large eggs
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup milk, plus 2-4 tbsp if needed to thin the batter
2 tsp vanilla extract (I used my homemade version)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder


Preheat a waffle iron.
Mix together eggs, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, melted butter, milk, and vanilla. (I mixed everything in my Vitamix.)
Add coconut flour and baking powder and mix until there are no lumps.
Let stand for 5 minutes. If the batter is thick, add 2-4 tablespoons of milk to thin it out. You should have the consistency of a pancake batter.
Pour into a preheated waffle maker and cook for 2:30 minutes. (Note that you need to completely fill the waffle iron with batter each time - the batter does not expand as much as typical waffle batter, and if you don't have enough it will be difficult to remove the waffles when cooked.)