What I Wore to… Go on a Thrifting Date With My Husband

You know what’s lovely? When your in-laws invite you over for a Sunday supper. You know what’s even lovelier? When they suggest you drop the kids off early and go out with your husband for a while before said supper. *Delightful* (I just happen to have some of the nicest in-laws in the whole world, by the way.) Normally we’d just leave the three “big kids” and take Pooter with us, but they suggested we leave him, so we had a rare time out completely kid-free.

I really did intend to get a picture of me actually wearing this outfit, but our afternoon got too busy. And way too fun.

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Black dress and nude tank top, Old Navy
Flats, thrifted
Nursing necklace, here

First we stopped at Starbucks, for a little “free splurge” – my husband the teacher gets lots of gift cards from his students at Christmas. Then, knowing we needed to get new running shoes for Princess, we went into the shoe store next door. There we saw a pair she would absolutely love – black and purple and sparkly. Oooooh! But for $54.99? Just not in the budget right now!

We went to our favourite thrift store on the other side of the parking lot. First we dropped off two garbage bags full of donations. (Doesn’t it feel good to purge?!) Then we blitzed the store. We didn’t have much time to hunt, but we did well. For under $40 (well under the price of one pair of brand new running shoes for a six-year-old), this was our haul:

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The big ticket item was a Mexx dress shirt for my husband (for $12.99). We also grabbed three books for Christmas gifts, the much-needed running shoes for Princess, Osh Kosh dressy boots for Princess (the faux-fur lining is incredibly soft! She was thrilled with them.), and Columbia boots for me.

Great deals, a lovely afternoon with my number one guy, and a delicious family dinner. Good day all around!

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Five for Fun

1. I’ve been back to work for three and a half weeks now. It feels pretty okay, you guys.  We’ve got an excellent and highly efficient morning routine going, the lunches have (so far) been homemade, the clothes have been clean, the dog has only punished us once for leaving her alone all day, the Tupperware lids are all still accounted for, and we all still like each other at bedtime.  Almost always.  So, there has been some bickering.  And there may possibly have been one or two incidents where I may possibly have screamed repeatedly at my family to GET IN THE VAN!!!  But generally, things are going well.  I have not even misplaced my keys that many times.  Okay, so seven times.  Really what I’m saying is that 43% of the time I knew exactly where my keys were at the exact moment I needed them.  That’s less than half the time, people.  If you know me at all you would know that the cards in my wallet are organized alphabetically, I fold my family’s underwear, and I have labels on all the things.  But I can rarely keep track of my keys.  So maybe I’ll work on that.  In any case, I feel pretty good about finding that this working mom thing is totally cray-cray most of the time but also highly doable most of the time.

 

Cabin

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2. I recently spent a night away from home at White Point Beach Resort.  Oceanfront cabin, a fireplace, coffee, wine, girlfriends to share or sit in silence with, waves crashing on the rocks, a salty sea breeze, hand-knitted socks, a good book, a comfy chair, and blessed quiet.  It was everything I knew it would be.  Sometimes all it takes for me to remember everything I love about my life is to step away from my life for a short period of time.  It’s good to be back.

 

3. I tried a new curry recipe last week that my entire family (all three of my small people included) loved.  You will find it here.  The only changes we made were to add some sweet potato, diced carrot, about a cup of chicken stock, and about a tablespoon of fish sauce.  I served it over warm naan bread and, you guys, it was nommy.

 

4. My eldest son lost two teeth last weekend and I am pleased to say that the Tooth Fairy remembered to show up both times. Also, I was so not prepared for how emotional I would get over him losing his first tooth.  I’m pretty sure I’ll need to be sedated for his first middle school dance.  My baby is growing up and I don’t like it.

 

5. I really need to go to the dentist, see my family doctor, get a hair-cut/color, wax some stuff, and mop my floors. Since I am having difficulty deciding on the order in which to prioritize these things, in addition to the difficulty I am having in remembering on any given day that these things ought to be prioritized in the first place, I find myself doing none of these things every day so far this month.  I need to change my ways.

What’s for Dinner

Monday night is swimming lessons at our place, which means I don’t have a lot of time to get a meal on the table.

This week was an exercise in using up what’s in the fridge.

I took dry penne, the rest of an open jar of arrabiata sauce, some of my Big-batch Beef from the freezer, a bit of water and a bunch of cheese, threw it all in a covered casserole dish and baked it at 275°F for the hour we were at the pool. (My husband was home.)

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I took the foil off for the last few minutes.

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It was admittedly light on veg, so I microwaved some broccoli in my favourite silicone steamer.

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A magical thing happened: It all disappeared.

Turning 30

I recently turned 30.

30 y’all.

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Leading up to my birthday I wasn’t sure how I felt about entering a whole new decade. The last one had been epic in so many ways I wondered what this next one could possibly offer by comparison. My twenties were full and exciting and about really coming into my adulthood. I did some traveling, missionary work, got married, went to college, lost my father when my oldest was just six weeks old, had three kids, learned to knit, started homeschooling, bought a house, gained and lost and gained and lost many pounds. This is just when I think about my life for the last ten years in point form.

I have to say that so far 30 is magic. There has been such a freedom in letting go of all the indecisiveness and uncertainty of my twenties. I feel so ready to fully embrace this one awesome life that God has given me and do what I can with it. To really embrace this body He has given me and all of the incredible things it has shown me it can do.

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As a young woman I was so quick to compare myself to every last female I came across without even meaning to, really. “She is prettier than me, thinner than me, in better shape than me, look at her beautiful breasts that haven’t nursed a baby and barely need support!” I mean, come on.

I went through a rough patch after my third baby was born. The winter was long. The cookies were all so delicious and it felt so good to just sit on the couch and knit. Well, Spring was a wake-up call because I couldn’t put any of my pants on. I immediately mentally went to war with myself thinking, “girl, how could you let this happen? Get it together. Why can’t you just eat less? Why can’t you just be like that mom with loads of babies who always looks put together and in shape??” I am ashamed to admit that I was unkinder to myself than I would ever treat another person. I would never stand for my own girlfriends or my daughters to treat themselves that way so why was I doing it to myself? Something had to give. For me, it was turning 30. I just decided it was time to be my own friend. This body is the only one I’ve got and I certainly can’t bully it into being more petite. Plus, it’s not even about being a certain number or size anymore. I’m done playing the numbers game. It’s about balance and moderation. I will tell you right now that I am never giving up wine or peanut butter cups. Life is too short. But I *can* put my shoes on the next morning and drag my kids out in the wagon for 30 minutes or choose to take us all to the pool for a family swim instead of just going to the movies.

Now having crossed over to this side I can see that this here body of mine deserves some credit. It has grown babies until every square inch of my belly is marred for life. I have been blessed enough to be able to birth these babes and then feed them from my own body. It’s amazing really. So what if I don’t have the chest of an eighteen year old…tell you what, I bet that eighteen year old wishes she was as confident in who she is, regardless of what she looks like, as I feel.

I’m just done punishing myself for not looking like the 16 year old me. She thought she was chubby too so why should I listen to her? From now on when I walk past a mirror I will not avoid eye contact or start picking apart every flaw I see, I am standing in my own two feet, the body God gave me and saying, “Hot damn, mama. You look good!”

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What I Wore to…Drop my Kids off at Daycare

Good morning, Mighty Ones!

Today is my very first “What I Wore…” post and I’ve been excited about it for weeks.  Let me tell you why.

As many of you know I recently returned to work after twenty-two months at home caring for my three little people.  Big deal, right?  Going back into the workplace after nearly two years of working at home changes nearly every aspect of your life, both big and small.  Because I think that this is something we mothers don’t talk about often enough, I’m going to risk sounding a little shallow here and go so far as to say that one of the biggest changes for me, and one that I thought about often and planned for extensively, was the necessary wardrobe shift.  I love clothes and I love to look nice whether I’m running to the mailbox, chasing my people at the playground, hanging out at home to bake something yummy (never underestimate the mood-boosting power of a fabulous apron, people!), attending church on Sunday morning, on a date with my (very) handsome husband, or teaching middle school.  I like to look my best because, whether I like to admit it out loud or not, feeling like I look nice has a huge impact on my mood.  And we all know the power that “Mommy’s Mood” has over a family.  And thanks to Spiderman, we also know that with great power comes great responsibility.  Therefore, I have come to the very scientifically-based conclusion that it behooves me to take care in this particular area of my life, since it can and does affect my entire family.  Don’t mistake me: This conclusion is never, ever, to be used as an excuse to shop.  Ever.  But it IS to be used as motivation to put thought and effort into creating a sustainable and well-planned wardrobe of things that make me feel fabulous.  There is much more to say on this topic, but I will wait for another time.

Anyway, today is a Monday, and therefore a work day for me.  At this point I would normally be teaching my first class of the day in one of my fabulous new-to-me (I have recently become a highly successful thrift shopper…more on that later as well!) work outfits.  But instead, I find myself at home nursing the inevitable “Back to School Bug” that teachers and students know all too well.  This of course means that instead of a professional dress, make-up, pumps, and pearl studs that I am actually rocking some black maternity yoga pants, a sports bra, and a long-sleeved cotton tee that used to belong to Monique’s sister.  No make-up.  Messy bun.  Runny nose.  Hacking cough.  Snuggly quilt.  Classy.

I did however need to run out and drop my children off at school and daycare early this morning, so I decided to show you that outfit instead.  This could also definitely be worn to work for Casual Friday, errand-running, and pretty much any other time I need to come across as put-together, but relaxed.  All these pieces are either hand-me-downs from friends or thrifted with the exception of the sunglasses (which are prescription), the earrings (which I bought at Walmart for under $4), and the lip-gloss (Covergirl Wetslicks Crystals, in “sassy”).

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Here we have a cosy belted cardigan, a simple black cotton tee with a neckline that is flattering on my body-type, dark-wash skinny jeans, black Blowfish ballet flats, black ball stud earrings, sunglasses, lip-gloss, and a messy bun.  Comfortable, simple, tidy, well-fitting, stylish, and EASY.  Also, highly affordable.

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So there you have it, Mighty Ones:  What I wore to drop my kids off at daycare.

Happy Monday!!

Five for Fun

Fred1. I’m pleased to announce that Fred has been officially adopted by our family! He’s been the perfect addition in every way. Thanks to Gail and all her helpers at Home to Stay for rescuing Fred from an unimaginable situation so that he can live out his days with us. We love him so much! If you’re looking to add a four-legged member to your family, please consider adopting a rescue animal. He or she will love you forever.

2. It’s back-to-school week for me. I have been taking courses from a local university via distance for over a year now. I’m still a little amazed that I can work towards a degree while maintaining a full-time job and a family. What a time to be alive! With The Boy starting school this year, I am happy to teach him that learning never ends.

3. It’s basically fall. It’s my favourite season in many ways, but I think I only wore sandals about a dozen times this summer. No fair.

4. The Boy had a fire drill the first week of school, and he was terrified by how loud he imagined the bell would be. His teacher had practiced with the class the day before it was scheduled, and he freaked out, so she wrote me a note asking if we could talk about it a bit that evening. He freaked out again just talking about it. I found a fire alarm on YouTube and played it for him a couple of times, during which he continued to freak out. At bedtime, he asked if we could say a prayer together that he wouldn’t be so afraid of the bell the next day, and we did. I got an email from his teacher the next afternoon saying how well he did and how brave he was during the fire drill. I am just so pleased with his teacher, his school, and the way he’s adjusting into this new phase of his life.

5. My buy-nothing year is off to a great start. I’m documenting most of it on my personal blog, Monique Makes Do. If it interests you, please follow along. If you’re like-minded, then you can join us over at our Facebook Page!