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Learning How To Coupon...?


I'm surprised that I didn't add "Learn how to coupon" on my 101 in 1,001 goal list, because I've always been fascinated by the idea of clipping out a little piece of paper out of the newspaper in exchange for getting groceries for free.  I'm all about searching out a free shipping code when shopping online, but the act of physical couponing is SO foreign to me.

I attempted to "coupon" the first summer we lived in Wichita, since I was a new mom with zero friends, working from home and having fair amount of free time on my hands.  I spent $35 for a subscription to the local newspaper, and went crazy bookmarking all of those blogs with the catchy "Couponing 101" photos on Pinterest.  I honestly found the whole process to be pretty overwhelming, with the huge binders full of inserts to have on hand and all of the pop-ups associated with the online coupon printing websites.  The more I looked for deals, the more I realized that none of the products we seemed to buy had coupons available to use (and I wasn't about to start eating entirely out of prepackaged meal boxes just to save 35 cents at the grocery).  Needless to say, I did not make back my $35 invested in the newspaper subscription that summer.

Fast forward to our situation today, where we have 1 more mouth in the family to feed and 1 less corporate salary to feed it with.  We're still readjusting to to the cost of living increase we've had by coming back to Phoenix from Wichita.  Though our family is even less interested in eating process foods now then we were 2 years ago, we're more open to finding ways to pinch a penny or two around the house.

I've found some interesting blogs related to eating healthy on a budget lately, and recently subscribed to Money Saving Mom's newsletter.  I've been impressed with the newsletter content so far, and have actually implemented a few of her ideas, so when she announced that she had just acquired the rights to Grocery University, I was intrigued.


It's an online audio course that promises to teach you how to coupon.  Fair enough, right?  What struck me is that a) it's inexpensive, and b) it's supposed to help beginners coupon well from the beginning, and teach seasoned coupon pros how to save even more money.  Oh, and did I mention that it's inexpensive? hahaha

I've signed up to give it a shot, and hope I'll have some good tips to share with you (along with some extra cash in my grocery budget to show for it).

Do you coupon?  Or are you terrified of the process like me?  Either way, I'd love to hear from you!
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Waverly's First Day of School


Today was Waverly's first day of preschool!  


She's doing M/W/F half days at a local private church school.  Ironically, Pomp and Circumstance came on the radio on our way to her first day.  God sure has a sense of humor sometimes!

 I could barely handle the sight of a bunch of toddlers and little kiddos running around in uniforms, it was just the best.  I was also thrilled that one of my sorority sisters has a daughter in Junior Kindergarden there, it's nice to know another family right off the bat.

Waverly had a great day, save for the fact that she used a red Crayola marker as "lip-tick" and came out looking like a bit of a mess.  But that's what preschool is all about, right?!  We celebrated by picking up her favorite doughnut at BoSa Donuts, which she ate in about a minute and a half.


I asked if she had fun, and she said she did but that she "was cryin' because she wanted Mommy to be with me but Mommy went to California". (?!?) What. A. Doll.  All in all, it was a great day.  I can't wait to see how she grows and develops in the next year ahead!
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On My Radar, Vol. 1


I've been playing around with the idea of doing a weekly snapshot of life after coming across this fun snapshot format my friend D.O.N. posted a few months ago.  Here's a little catch up of my first week as a 32 year old:
Watching:  Peppa Pig and Sid the Science Kid streamed onto our Smart TV via YouTube.  Peg + Cat and too much Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood on Netflix.  My old Fantasia 2000 DVD, finally discovered by the kiddos.  (Thinking I need to throw in a good old fashioned Netflix documentary so I can say I watched ONE thing this week that wasn't developed for a primary audience under the age of 12.)

Reading: French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billion



This book was an impulse purchase made during a 2am nursing session during Wilder's first few sleepless weeks of newborn life.  I'm only 1/3 of the way through, but I'm really enjoying the story and subsequent "Food Rules" Le Billion has laid out thus far.  I have not actually reached the part where one learns how to make your own child eat everything though, so will reserve final praise until I've finished.

Wanting: An entire new closet (I'm just being honest here).  In all seriousness, I'm working on slowly transitioning my closet into a capsule wardrobe.  It's a great concept - a small amount of clothing you mix and match to create a larger number of outfits (think those chic 'how to pack for Europe in a carry-on suitcase' pins you see on Pinterest, only using that as your full-time closet for the season).

Fantastic Capsule Wardrobe Example courtesy Color Me Courtney

The hard thing about paring down to the essentials in your closet is realizing how many pieces you own that you'd like to swap for more useful items when your shopping budget is $0.  Pulling a Tim Gunn here and "making it work".  More on this later. 

Needing: To not want to buy new clothes.  The kids to both sleep through the night more than once every 6 weeks.  To finally create a good house cleaning schedule.

Buying: I was a good mom and put all of my birthday money towards Waverly's new school uniforms (hello,  cutest toddler saddle shoes on the planet!), but did splurge on a neon pink messy bow head wrap for Waverly from Ruby Blue.


I discovered the brand after seeing my blog friend Fancy Ashley's daughter rocking some amazing messy bows on Instagram over the past month.  It turns out that they're water/pool safe too, so I decided to get myself an adult sized head wrap to hold back my hair when I wash my face.  So fun.

Listening To:  Jamie Cullum Pandora station.  Wilder crying through the baby monitor because he's refusing to go down for an afternoon nap (for the 4th time this week).

Planning: Waverly's first day of school next week.  Setting up my own printed weekly calendar/planning binder, as my Whitney English Day Designer finished in July.  While I loved (looooved) my Day Designer, I need something smaller/lighter to tote around in my purse/diaper bag for 2 still in diapers.  Also, I'm trying to spend money more responsibly (aka not buying something just because I want it).  I already have a printer, paper, and access to the Internet (all wonderful things I'm trying not to take for granted), so will just go with a pretty, free printable until I come up with a better solution.


So far, this free printable from The Handmade Home takes the cake.

Googling:  Recipes for easy to make party hors d'oeuvres made with ingredients that are supposed to be "good for your skin".  I'm hosting a little cocktail hour and fundraiser this weekend with some sorority sisters to celebrate the launch of my Rodan + Fields business.  The idea of skin-friendly apps to go along with the skincare party theme could either be really adorable, or really dumb.  The jury's still out.  I'll keep you posted.

Cooking:  I've been working on some simple, delicious rotisserie chicken crock pot projects that I hope to blog about soon.

Experimenting: With making my own chicken stock from scratch.  Trying to blog every day.

Dreaming:  Life in London.  This Phoenix heat is really starting to cramp my style, so I find myself mentally relocating my family to a rainy, drizzly fall afternoon in England at least 10 times a day.  Loving the idea of moving back to Cambridge and walking the banks of the River Cam with my wellie-clad littles.  Bliss.


What has been on your radar this week?  I'd love to hear from you!  xo

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101 in 1,001: #72- Take Swimming Lessons With The Baby


I stopped working my corporate job last March, and had 4 solid months to be a full-time stay-at-home mom with Waverly before her little brother made his grand arrival.  Wangling a 1 year old isn't easy for anyone, let alone a waddling 6 month old pregnant lady.  I wanted to spend some good quality time with Waverly while I could, but winter was still in full force in Wichita so there weren't a lot of great activities to choose from.

I decided to look to my 101 in 1,001 list for ideas, and thought that enrolling Waverly in swim lessons could be a good option.  Also? I love that  After I got over the initial freakout about having to wear a swimming suit in public (not a pregnant lady's favorite thing in the world to do), I signed us up for the April session.

I wasn't sure what to expect when we showed up at the Wichita Swim Club for our first session.  When I opened the double set of doors into the club, I was assaulted with a blast of hot, humid, chlorine-filled air and the sounds of high pitched kid squeal echos. I wasn't a swimmer growing up, so I felt WAY out of my element.  And even moreso realizing that I would have to parade around all of these kids and parents as the preggo in the swimsuit. 

Thank heavens- it turned out that the baby swimming lessons took place in this fully enclosed kiddie pool.

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Better yet- the pool was heated to about 85 degrees, so the minute I waded in I felt like I was in a giant bathtub.  Pregnant lady bliss.  Let me tell you what- baby Waverly may not have been a huge fan of these swim lessons, but it was a dream come TRUE for this uncomfortable pregnant mama.

Waverlys First Swim Lesson

Sidebar- I initially choaked a little when I paid full price for the Carmen Marc Valvo swimdress I'm wearing in the photos, but it has seriously lasted (and streeeeetched itself) through 2 pregnancies and beyond, and is still in great condition.  Worth every penny. 

We sang all of those classic swimming songs I had forgotten all about (Motorboat, Motorboat, anyone?) and played a few rousing games of "throw the Koosh Ball and pretend to swim after it!".  We even tried to get the littles to float (supported) on their backs, which Waverly apparently thought was the equivalent of waterboarding.  Though she may be little, her lungs may be fierce.  She even grabbed at me so hard in fright that she snapped the removable strap clean off of my suit.  So much for poolside modesty.

I'm telling you, I would have paid GOOD MONEY to sign up for being able to float around in that glorified bathtub of amazingness with other pregnant gals for an hour or two a week (kid-free, of course).  I think their marketing coordinator had better get all up in that profit stream.

All in all, I'm really happy that I had that little bit of bonding with my little girl, and hope I get to do the same with Wilder soon.


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An Update On My 101 in 1,001 List


In 2012 (man, that feels SO LONG AGO, doesn't it?!) I started a 101 in 1,001 list, committing to complete 101 lofty goals  in the 1,001 days after my 30th birthday...  Little did I know that less than 2 months after posting this list, I would add a 102nd goal to the list- have another baby 15 months after Waverly was born.  So much for goal setting and long-term planning.

There are a few things on the list I've already accomplished and blogged about, like getting a new blog redesign.  There are also a few thinge I've completed but haven't blogged about yet (visiting my parents' hometown of Salina, KS comes to mind).  The good news is that I now have 267 days (starting tomorrow) to finish off the remainder of my list.  Will I watch AFI's Top 100 Movies of All Time?  Considering the only thing I seem to watch lately is Fantasia 2000 or Peppa Pig videos on YouTube, I'm guessing that's a no.  But hey- 10 movies checked off of the list is better than none, right?

My theme for 2014 is "Progress over Perfection", so I'm going to dust this list off and see what I can make of it.

Wish me luck!
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Back To School


Waverly will be starting half-day preschool three days a week, and has her first "big" school event tomorrow- meet the teacher day.  I've had a hard time figuring out just how much to talk about school leading up to her big first day next week.  I didn't want avoid mentioning it at all, and then sneak attack her with a "Hey, guess what?  You're going to be spending 12 hours a week here now!  See you later!" method.  On the other hand, if I mentioned it too much, I knew she'd ask every 5 minutes if it was time to go to school yet.  I decided to do a paper countdown chain to show her how many days she had left until she started "schoo-yul".


paper chain

So far, it has worked pretty well, save for the fact that I'm about 5 days behind in actually removing the paper chains at night before our bedtime routine.  It's the thought that counts, right?

One of the things that just kills me is that all the kids wear uniforms at her new school.  I'm just dying over the idea of a bunch of little 2 year olds romping around in saddle shoes and navy pleated shirts.  Dying.  Here are some of the things that we'll be stocking up on over the next few days.  Who would have thought that a limited dress code would be so fun to shop for?!


Back To School Clothes


Go figure that Waverly's already setting up a killer fall capsule wardrobe before I am!  Cannot wait to see my little student all decked out!


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Things I'm Digging Right Now: TINY


We had one of those wonderfully rare Sunday afternoons last weekend, where the sky was overcast (a rarity during the blazing Arizona summers), and brought out the laziness in all of us.  The kids napped for hours, and we were able to have a quiet few hours watching documentaries on Netflix.  After we finished Forks over Knives (which I loved, and will be writing about soon), I scrolled around for a new title while Ryan went to visit a family member in the hospital.

My next choice- TINY: A Story About Living Small:

 

You guys, this was a total game changer for me.  Not only was it filled with some of the sexiest, most jaw-dropping photos of my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, but the entire concept just blew my mind.  Don't get me wrong- we don't plan on breaking the multi-year lease we just signed 3 months ago, dropping a zero from the square footage we currently reside in, and moving into a little home on wheels with 2 toddlers (though, I'd be lying if I said I didn't fantasize about it a few times a day since watching the documentary).

Rather, thinking through some of the themes discussed in the film has really given a boost of energy to the clutter busting and general rightsizing I've been doing since we settled down her in Phoenix.  In addition to making me incredibly homesick (it's certainly interesting to watch someone contemplate what their sense of 'home' looks like while using your former home as a backdrop), watching TINY has really helped me reset my priorities and look at all my past and potential purchases through a new lens.

Have you watched TINY, or read anything about the tiny house movement?  I would love to hear your thoughts!
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Happy First Birthday To My Son


On The Night You Were Born
by Nancy Tillman

On the night you were born,
The moon smiled with such wonder

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That the stars peeked in to see you
And the night wind whispered,
“Life will never be the same.”

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Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.


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So enchanted with you were the wind and the rain
That they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.

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It sailed through the farmland
High on the breeze…
Over the ocean…
And through the trees…

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Until everyone heard it
And everyone knew
Of the one and only ever you.

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Not once had there been such eyes,
Such a nose,

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Such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes.

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When the polar bears heard,
They danced until dawn.
From faraway places,
The geese flew home.

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The moon stayed up until
Morning next day.
And none of the ladybugs flew away.

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So whenever you doubt just how special you are
And you wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
Listen for geese honking high in the sky.
(They’re singing a song to remember you by.)

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Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)
Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen closely…it’s whispering your name again!)

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If the moon stays up until morning one day,
Or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,
Or a little bird sits at your window awhile,
It’s because they’re all hoping to see you smile…

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For never before in story or rhyme
(not even once upon a time)
Has the world ever known a you, my friend,
And it never will, not ever again…

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Heaven blew every trumpet
And played every horn
On the wonderful, marvelous
Night you were born.

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Happy first birthday, our sweet baby boy.


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Our Personalized Beach Towels from Lattice & Ivy


I recently ordered the kids personalized beach towels from Lattice & Ivy, and am totally flipping over how adorable they are!  Can we even talk about how darling their setup for the summer is?!?!




The towels are huge - 30" x 60" - and are made of a super soft microfiber velour.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when our pool towels take up so much room in our beach bag that I have to pack a separate tote for sunscreen, sippy cups, etc.  I love that these are thin enough to fit in my bag while still having room for everything else I need for the pool.  Waverly hasn't stopped carrying her towel around since they were delivered on Saturday.

You can order basic patterns and colors like Wilder's here (just follow the Personalization Steps dropdown boxes on the right of the screen), or towels in our fun summer Designer Collections pattern series, like Waverly's  beach towel in the Flamingo - Sweetheart pattern here.

If you have any questions about our colors, patterns, fonts, or Designer Collections patterns, just drop me a message on my Facebook page!

Hooray for summer! 

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Five on Friday


I thought I'd jump in with the 5 on Friday link up crew to download a few random thoughts and get caught up to speed around here!




ONE
Wilder's birthday

Our little Wild Man is turning 1 in less than 3 weeks, which is just totally blowing my MIND.  This entire year has seemed like a giant fuzz of moving and travel and change, it's hard to absorb that he's already turning 1 soon.  Every time I pour a new sippy of formula, I can't help but feel a little sad that this will be some of the last formula in the house.  Then I remember that formula costs us about $5 a day right now, and I do a little internal jump for joy that the end of that huge expense is in sight.  We're planning a low-key brunch fiesta with family and a few friends in town, plus my best friend and her family are flying in for the weekend of the 4th.  I'm thrilled that they're coming to visit and celebrate with us, so we have lots to look forward to in the next few weeks.



TWO
Lattice & Ivy

I've recently started repping a brand new gift and accessories company called Lattice & Ivy.  All of the items they sell are completely customized, so you can mix and match colors, patterns, monograms, names, and decorative frames to design the cutest things for yourself or for gifts.  I'm loving it so far, since I'm getting all the satisfaction I received from making personalized gifts with the kids clothing company  I used to run on the side, without having to spend 18 hours a day camped out in front of the embroidery machine.


The company hasn't even officially "launched" yet, so it has been so neat to start at the ground level and work with their Corporate office to fine tune things.  An added bonus is that they're actually based just outside of Phoenix in Glendale (the town where Ryan and I lived when we moved back to Arizona from New York City when he got his MBA at Thunderbird), so I was able to pop by the Corporate office yesterday to meet the team and see the warehouse and production facilities.  Such. Cute. Stuff.  



THREE
Gordon Ramsay Cooking Tutorials on YouTube

I'm a HUGE fan of cooking shows.  You should have seen the Oscar award winning hard sell performance I  put on to try and convince Ryan we needed to go on the MasterChef cruise with Graham Elliott this fall (verdict: too expensive. BOO.)  Since we don't have cable, it's hard to get my fill of Top Chef and the like right now.  It dawned on me last night that there had to be a few good tutorials on YouTube to stream on my laptop and get my fix while I washed the dishes.  A few quick searches, and I hit the jackpot- Gordon Ramsay's YouTube channel.

(Image found here)

I'm a big fan of Mr. Ramsay's cooking and overall vibe (even if I'm not big on some of his more dramatic TV shows like hell's Kitchen).  I've only watched 2 videos, but have already learned a half dozen new tricks for the kitchen.  Pressing play on one of these little videos makes late night sippy cup washing so much easier!  I think this garlic and saffron mayonnaise will be my first recipe attempt.



FOUR
Summertime Blues

It's hot here in Phoenix.  Hotty, hot hot.  I'm having a hard time figuring out just how cool to keep our new house without breaking the bank (last month's power bill was in a very uncomfortable 3 figure range, and in's not even "summer" here yet!).  I came across these pyjamas, and think they'd be a darling way to class up my PJ collection and keep cool(er) at night!



They also came in a really pretty blush color, which appears to be sold out... Sad I didn't scoop them up before they were gone!


FIVE
Juicing

I watched the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix over the holidays, and it really made an impression on me.  Last month, Ryan and I started eating more "clean" recipes and juicing in the morning using the same ingredients as Kimberly Snyder's Glowing Green Smoothie recipe.  We loved how much more energy we had in the morning (and how much less coffee we needed to survive the morning).  Ryan even lost 10 lbs, which was a great side effect.  We fell off of the clean eating wagon when everyone came down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth last month, and we're back to feeling sort of sluggish and blah again.  My parents are in town visiting right now, and so we've all decided to try juicing for breakfast over the next week to see if my parents get the same benefit we were already seeing.  I'll keep you posted on the results!

Happy Friday, all!
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The Great Plague of 2014


One of my best childhood friends got married in Puerto Vallarta last weekend, which was seriously one for the record books.  The little neighborhood girl gang I grew up with now has 5 children under 2 (Waverly being the oldest), with more little blessings on the horizon (and NO, I'm not pregnant.).  Since the bride's little sister is counted among the moms in our crew, it was only natural that children were invited along on this destination wedding.  I'll be recapping how I survived taking 2 kids 2 and under to Mexico for almost a week, travelling without the husband (hint: there were grandparents attending and a LOT of tequila involved).

2014 Puerto Vallarta
Just after the most spectacular beachside ceremony.
Giving my best "Dear God, please stop trying to jump out of my arms so we can get at least one decent family photo" face

Wilder came down with a runny nose a day or 2 before the trip, which I chalked up to yet another round of teething.  The child drools like a St. Bernard (he literally leaves a little puddle trail behind him wherever he goes), so I figured we were just in for some teething mess.  The poor kid was fussy throughout the trip, which I just figured was a part of the drill for shaking up a baby's routine so much in the past 4 weeks- a big move, a new time zone, and now new country?  That'd be rough for anyone to adjust to.

I woke up with a frog in my throat the day after the wedding, I got a little panicky.  Sick and taking care of 2 fussy, out-of-sorts kids under 2 in a foreign country largely by myself?  Thanks, but no thanks.  My friend's mother-in-law had developed a terrible head cold by Monday evening, so I just figured there was a little bug going around our group.  I mean, given the amount of germy air travel and hugging (there were almost 80 people who flew in for the wedding!) and toddlers grabbing each others' water bottles for drinks by the pool, somebody HAD to have picked up something.

 Someone dust off the Mother of the Year Award for me please, because the day after we got home one 103 degree fever and a trip to Urgent Care later revealed that my poor man child had double ear infections.  No wonder he was a hot mess for part of our vacation.  Relieved to have antibiotics on our side, I thought we were in the clear.

The Great Plague 2014
10 pm pity portraits in the UrgentCare


The Great Plague 2014
Poor buddy passed out before we even got out of the door in the morning to take Daddy to work

But wait- it only got better from there... The next day, Waverly started a slow decent into illness over the course of just a few hours:

The Great Plague 2014 - Going going gone 
Going... going(ish)... Gone.
(Also hereby known as the only night she ever fell solidly asleep before dinnertime)

 A few texts around the group later, it turns out that somehow our sweet little group of babies was exposed to Hand Foot and Mouth disease.  Which it turns out is A) way more common than I expected, and B) TOTALLY AWFUL OMG.  High fevers, blisters, the whole 9 yards.

We've felt like we've had the flu, which is apparently only the beginning of the "incubation period" of this madness. We've "lucked out" a bit since we're not covered in sores (WHY DOES NOBODY MENTION THIS KIND OF STUFF TO YOU BEFORE YOU BECOME A PARENT?!) but that hasn't made much of a difference in our overall misery.  We're all still not sure just where it came from, as we haven't been around other kids and nobody else in the group has knowingly come in contact with HFM before the trip.  Which leads me to think irrational, over-the-top mom thoughts like whether we all got it in the kiddie pool in Mexico or something. {shudders}

I can't tell if it's good or bad that it seems to be hitting us in waves; I was sick with the kids all last week and this weekend, and Ryan just spiked his "telltale" fever yesterday.  The poor guy is supposed to fly to California at 7am tomorrow, so is currently at Urgent Care to try and get a firm diagnosis/action plan ( I mean, who should be sauntering into an office with a contagious virus?!)  As bad as it is for me to be sick and have to take care of 2 kids, at least I don't have to shower or change out of my PJs and head into an office, so I'm grateful for not having that added pressure on my shoulders right now.  Feeling very grateful for my husband trying to power through all of this.

We have tried SO hard to make this weekend into, well, some sort of actual holiday weekend, but it's really been a comedy of errors.
Memorial Day 2014
Turning overdue garden chores into fun summer activities.  And since when did my 10 month old son start lounging around the house like a college frat boy in sweat pants?!

Half of me cannot wait to be well again so we can jailbreak this place and go have some fun, but the other half of me has turned into a bit of a germaphobe with this experience, and is afraid to get out of the house lest we catch something this bad again.  You can bet your bottom dollar I'll be Lysoling the entire house twice, and then boning up on essential oils and probiotic supplements and any other crunchy hippie fix to help ward this off in the future.

I hope you had an amazing, relaxing Memorial Day weekend filled with loved ones.  Please tell me all of the fun things you did, so I can live vicariously!

xo
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Back In The Saddle



     It's so bizarre how much my life has changed in the almost 6 years I've been writing this blog.  I started The Dirty Martini Diaries as a way to keep my friends and family in the loop with my life in New York, City, as well as a way to journal planning a long-distance wedding.  Maybe I'm just wound too tight, or take myself too seriously (both of which I have been accused of over the years), but I've never been much for journaling or diary keeping since I tend to go back and be really embarrassed by some of the "in the moment" things I write.  Hanging on to this blog has been different- I've really enjoyed having a written archive of some of the cool experiences I've had over the last 6 years (like attending a taping of Saturday Night Live), and some of the not-so-glamorous experiences (like when I was living on unemployment in NYC and battled with a grocery store clerk over cans of soup on sale).  I've been introduced so some of the funniest, kindest, smartest women that I now feel honored to call friends, and have been able to discover new products and fun events and helpful advice I never would have been exposed to otherwise.  I can honestly say that the only real regret I've had in keeping this blog is that I didn't do a better job of keeping it updated and logging my life more thoroughly.

I look back on all of these posts and wonder "Where in the hell has all this time gone?"  I still remember what it felt like to wake up next to Ryan in our full-sized IKEA loft bed in Manhattan, take the first shower shift before my 3 other roommates, and sit in the dark at the writing desk under the loft bed to blow dry my hair while Ryan slept since our tiny, moldy bathroom had no electrical outlets.  I still remember exactly what it looked, smelled, and felt like to ride the express 2/3 train down from 96th street to 14th street, walk down the platform to the specific spot the door to the 1 train would open up, and watch the rats do a little morning scurry from the trash bags piled up on the platform to a little hole they'd chewed in a metal service door at the end of the platform.  I still remember what the knot in my stomach felt like as the doors of the 1 train opened up at Chambers Street, and the sound of CSS's "Music Is My Boyfriend" blaring through my iPod headphones as I stepped in time with the beat in my 4 inch heels, walking the slow morning death march towards a corporate job that made me constantly feel like I could barely keep my head above water.

And now here I am.  I'm a stay-at-home mom with 2 kids, and have just completed YET ANOTHER move (the 3rd across state lines and the 6th address since this blog began) back to my adopted hometown of Phoenix.  I have to pause and close my eyes when I'm at a checkout counter and the clerk asks me for my zip code, as I have a hard time remembering which one I'm currently living in.  Hell, I have a hard time remembering what day it is, now that I'm not showering every day and referencing my Outlook calendar 30 times.  The only thing keeping the date straight in my head is when I can remember to post something on a daily gratitude journal I've been trying to keep on my Instagram feed.  I juggle diapers and bottles and sharing a messy minivan with Ryan and trying to make healthy food without breaking the bank and keep us from paying off our debt.  I've donated most of my corporate maven work wardrobe, and favor t-shirts from Target and Gap Maternity yoga pants even though I have no plans to have another baby. This life isn't any better or any worse than the life I was living 6 years, ago.  It's just So. Completely. Different.  Like, never in my wildest dreams would I have ever seen myself here kind of different.

One of the many things that having kids has really made me appreciate the art of recording one's life, of nailing down all of those little mundane moments in life as one day they may not be a part of your world and they'll fade away into a distant (or completely forgotten) memory.  Baby gestures and mispronounced words that are all too quickly grown out of.  Hell, I look back at some of Waverly's baby photos and don't have the faintest memory of her looking like that at that certain stage or being that little.  And it makes me want to record every little head shaking habit and silly dance and bathtime routine.  And I also think (perhaps self-centeredly) that my kids would have wanted me to reciprocate and record our adult lives in return to see the little bodega their parents purchased Red Bull, beer, (and sometimes cigarettes) from on the corner or 85th and Amsterdam in Manhattan, or the little vendor stall that their dad thought sold the best smažený sýr when he spent a semester in Prague the year before their parents started having kids.

And blogging is just such a cool way of doing that, you know?  A few keyboard clicks and you have this fantastic online journal with photos and memories and an archive dropdown and a search box (God, I love a blog's search box feature) to be able to quickly Google your own life and put dates or photos to memories into proper chronological context.  Do you care what I did for my birthday 4 years ago?  Probably not, but I really love that I can go back now (and my kids can go back 30 years from now) and be able to see.

So part of me just wants to fully live one of the new-to-me mantras I'm trying to live by now, which is "Done Is Better Than Perfect".  To just dive in and start blogging again to get all these awesome and mundane and contradictory things going on in my life into this online journal for posterity (even if nobody ever ends up reading it again besides me after I've pressed the "Publish" button).  But part of me has been hesitant to do so.

In the years since I've started The Dirty Martini Diaries, this little blog world has changed SO, SO much.  It has gone from tagging other new blog friends in "About Me" posts (remember those?!) and commenting on new blogs to meet friends or give (requested) advice or commiserate on a bad day, to one filled with sponsored posts and affiliate content and people making $100K a year and entire website forums dedicated to talking shit about bloggers and their lives.  It went from readers e-mailing other bloggers for advice on what to wear to a big event, to people emailing bloggers to tell them that their child is ugly because they somehow felt that their advice was warranted on the subject.  It's intimidating and foreign and most importantly a hell of a lot meaner than when I unintentionally left it.

And yes, of course I could just make this whole blog private and record things on some password protected site for my kids to see later on.  But you know what?  That's just not very much fun.  Some of the best parts of my life have come from blogging publicly and putting myself out there to commune with others, and more importantly from others putting themselves out there and dishing out words of wisdom that have changed the way I live my life for the better.  The real question for me at this point is whether to jump back into this blogging pastime that I loved in a new world where people are scrutinized simultaneously for what they say and for what they're not saying, for what they're doing and what they're not doing.  Where people try to read between the lines of each post and each photo and dissect every pixel of what is shared or not shared on this silly little website.

And after months of thought, I've decided that I just really don't give a shit.

I really love my life, and I love this silly little world of social media and all it has done for me.  So I'm going to start blogging again.  Maybe a lot, maybe just slightly less sporadically than the every 6 month schedule I seem to have set for myself.  I'll share what I feel like sharing at the time, and won't share what I don't feel like sharing.  I'm probably going to talk about things that are really deep and serious to me, and also write aloof, materialistic posts about things I've been coveting but can't afford to buy.  I'm going to talk about trying to save money and I'm going to be doing it while carrying an overpriced handbag to the store.  I just am who I am, a person with positive attributes and faults and contradictions and I've finally learned that I really don't need to justify anything about my life to anyone.  So I'm not going to.

And of course it's silly to spend even 30 seconds worrying about someone might think about me or say about me (or to be self-centered enough to think that someone might even waste 30 seconds of their own  time analyzing this tiny, boring, little blog of mine), but again I'm just being truthfully honest and writing what's on my mind (which is the whole reason for this website in the first place).  This is my little, tiny place on the Internet, and I'm just going to be me.  So if you actually are reading this and genuinely want to know something about me, go ahead and ask. I'm an open book as a face-to-face, real life human being (like when people I've just met ask me if having 2 kids in 15 months was planned- good gravy!), and that won't change over e-mail.  Feel free to send me an e-mail any time and I'll try my best to get back to you (after all, I am still juggling 2 kids 2 and under and being a mediocre, seldom-showered housewife who can't seem to shower or keep track of what day it is).

So, with finally getting ALL of that off of my chest, I'm happy to announce that The Dirty Martini Diaries is finally (somewhat) back in business.  As always, I look forward to having you along for the ride, friends.

xoxo,

Lulu

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