Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Uncle Wes

Sometimes things happen that I don't really want to write about, but feel like I need to.  This is one of those times.  My uncle died a few days ago.  He had been diagnosed with cancer in September, and it just progressed faster than anyone expected.  I think I'm still in shock a little bit.  I'm sure I will fall apart when I see my dad.

I've been blessed so far in life to not lose many people who I was close to.  My grandpas both died when I was in high school.  That was sad, but they had both been very old and declining in health for so long.  This is different.  This is my dad's little brother.  When I last saw him, there was no thought in my mind that it would be the last time I'd see him.

As one does, I've been thinking about my Uncle a lot over the past few days.  So, here are a few of my favorite memories of this wonderful man.

Uncle Wes and me when I was probably 8, and shortly after that, I decided pictures should all be cropped into awkward shapes, removing the background .  
When I was a kid, Uncle Wes and I wrote letters back and forth.  I have no idea how this started, only that it meant the world to me.  I remember checking the mail and being SO EXCITED whenever I got a new letter, and then carefully crafting my reply.  A few years ago, he stopped by our house when he was driving through and had a binder of all my letters.  I looked through them and didn't understand half of what I was talking about.  We were obviously joking back and forth quite a bit.  I wished I still had his letters so we could line them up and follow the conversation.

I also remember a few times where we got to talk on the phone.  This was back when long distance calls were expensive, so a rare treat for a very chatty little girl.  He had gotten a new car, which I was pronouncing phonetically, Ply-mouth. This cracked him up, and I think of it whenever I see a Plymouth, which is rare since they haven't made any for 15 years!  

Around that same time, I renamed him Uncle Prickle Beard, because well, he had a prickly beard, and it tickled, and I thought it was hilarious.  Then I got older and was completely embarrassed that I had ever called him that, but he would still sign notes or emails as "UPB."

Wes was one of "the little boys," and we loved to commiserate about the injustices suffered by the younger children of the family.  Whenever people talk about the little ones being spoiled, I have stories to tell.  

He had a uniquely witty way of talking and writing.  My dad would pick up this tendency when they were together and it always made me smile.  For example, at the 2005 family reunion, he organized a Scrabble tournament.  After a close championship game, Wes accidentally won.  But he had a prize for the winner, which he didn't want to accept for himself.  He declared me the winner, "via a minimal deficit, but having attained a superior average score per move."  He was tricky like that.  

Most importantly, he loved Jesus and wanted everyone else to, too.  I'm happy that he is in heaven.  But I'm very sad that he isn't with us anymore.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

Book Review - Modern Romance


Since I didn't watch Parks and Rec, why am I reading books by the cast?  No one knows.  But Modern Romance is really interesting and has nothing to do with the show.  Aziz Ansari teams up with sociologists to look at how people date now, with all the technological and cultural changes.  Since I've been married for 8 years, online dating wasn't a big thing for me, but it has been for some of my friends and I think it is fascinating.  

He also talks about the abundance of choices that are available to us now (in all aspects of life, not just dating) and how that can be paralyzing as we aren't happy unless we find the BEST option, which may not even exist.  I absolutely relate to this.  Especially when trying to figure out what things to buy for a baby.  How many hours did we spend researching car seats or cribs?  When they all meet the same safety regulations and are pretty much the same.  

Back to dating, Ansari met with people in a few different cities and a few different countries to see how dating works and how technology is used.  One stop was Wichita, Kansas (my hometown is apparently one of the worst places to date) and now I'm curious if he talked to anyone I knew.  It's not likely, but not impossible.  And I can now blame location on the fact that I didn't have any boyfriends until I moved away.  It also may have had something to do with the fact that I was in high school and taller than almost every boy.  Or maybe that I'm kind of weird.  Impossible to know for sure.  Blame Wichita!

Reading this got me thinking about how much technology has changed just since I first had crushes on boys, and how my generation has navigated all the new ways to communicate.From email to chatrooms to AIM to MySpace and beyond.  I might just have to write another post spilling all my thoughts about that.  I'll be like "back in my day, we didn't have fancy emojis!  We had to use punctuation to make sideways faces and no one knew what any of them really meant! And we had to say I <3U while walking barefoot through the snow uphill both ways holding nothing but a baked potato to keep our hands warm!"

What are we even talking about anymore?  Right, this book was cool.  I think Ansari should do more books like this.    






Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lady Who Lunches



One problem I have with LeTote  is that I want to wear cute things on days I really don't need to wear cute things.  So I end up wearing an outfit to meet John for lunch and he asks me why I'm all dressed up. Granted, this is just jeans and a top, but it feels fancy.  I love this lace tee from LeTote, and was excited to wear it.  I don't have much in this darker green color, so it was fun to wear for a day.  I paired it with white jeans because (a) my good blue jeans were both in the laundry pile (#momproblems) and (b) I thought a light bottom would be a nice contrast to the dark top.  The leopard flats were an obvious choice.  And if we are being completely honest, I just wore the jewelry for pictures, because it was pretty, but I knew Mr. Baby would try to destroy it.  My hair also went into a ponytail immediately.  And then I didn't feel quite so fancy.  And then I changed into workout clothes and went for a walk.  So I will never wear an outfit just to take blog pictures, but I will wear an outfit just to go to lunch for an hour.  Keeping it real.    

Top: LeTote (similar)
Necklace and Bracelet: LeTote
Jeans: Limited (similar)
Shoes: Target (similar, pointy toe)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Weekend Adventures



This is what I wore to church on Sunday.  My sister and nieces came out for a quick visit, so we had a wild weekend!  We used to be on the go nonstop when they visited, but we are now somewhat limited by Mr. Baby's schedule.  But we still managed to squeeze in quite a bit of fun.  It's so sweet to see how much the girls love their baby cousin!  He's not really sure about them yet, and probably confused about the whole twins thing, but he gives them lots of smiles, so I think he likes them.  


We went to a few of the girls' favorite restaurants that they don't have at home, had a picnic and walked around the lake, did a little shopping, walked to the park and let Mr. Baby try the swing and slide (he wasn't really impressed, even though I told him it was fun).  At home, we played a lot of games.  Sorry lasts forever sometimes.  They liked Scattergories more than I expected, and had some very clever answers.  And we laughed so hard playing Scribblish, which is way more fun with kids.  It's basically like telephone crossed with Pictionary.  My favorite was when "Playing piano with your toes" turned into "CAMEL ATTACK!"

My sister and I finally remembered to get a picture together.  We have failed on the last 2 visits.


The girls weren't interested in taking a nice picture, but I tricked them with Photobooth, and we got this winner.


Anyway, it was a fun weekend!  And I really liked this skirt from LeTote, too.
 
Cardigan: JCF (similarsimilar)
Tee: Gap (similar, similar)
Skirt: LeTote
Shoes: Target (similar)


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Winter Reading Challenge


Since I actually finished the Summer Reading Challenge, I'm even more excited for the winter one.  Reading is getting a little trickier since my boy is no longer sleeping all the time, but I can still try.  I like these challenges (even if I don't finish), because it helps me prioritize my ridiculously long to-read list.  So here's my preliminary list of books for each category:
The challenge starts on Nov 1, so I'm trying to finish up Why Not Me and then read Carry On before then!  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Third Friday Whatever



Sometimes you just have to put on a polka dot top, jeans, and colorful shoes and call it a day.  I actually wore this yesterday.  Mr. Baby was napping and I was on the phone with my sister and ironing clothes.  Then he woke up, and John texted me to see if we wanted to meet for lunch.  I'm almost always happy to do lunch, but it was 12:15, and we were both in our pajamas.  I asked if we could do a late lunch, we agreed on 1pm and I took a shower as fast as I can (which isn't very fast).  This was an easy outfit to throw on, and I felt pretty cute in it.  

Yesterday was the Third Thursday, but since no theme was announced, I never thought about it.  Bri announced the them yesterday of "any outfit," so I'll join in with this one.

Also, our backyard has finally gotten the memo that fall is here. Leaves everywhere!

Top: JCF (similar)
Jeans: Loft (exact)
Shoes: Target (similar)
 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

LeTote - One Month Review

It's been just over a month since I signed up for LeTote, and I figured it would be helpful to review it after actually getting a few things.  I've seen most bloggers write the post where they say "hey, I tried LeTote and you should too!" (which I did here) but then no follow up on how it actually goes for them.  LeTote isn't sponsoring me at all. This is just a good old-fashioned review.  And pretty wordy, so I'm sorry.  I just get tired of reading reviews that aren't thorough, so this one definitely is.

A few people asked how many totes you can get in a given month.  I got 3, but I think if I had been quicker on the wearing and returning, I could have gotten 4.  Since I'm not working, I don't have cause to get dressed up every day, so my timeline is a little delayed.  Here's an example of how it went:

Sep 10 - signed up and got the email to customize my first tote
Sep 14 - received my first tote
Sep 18 - sent it back
Sep 19 - got email to customize next tote
Sep 24 - received second tote
Sep 30 - sent it back
Oct 1 - got email to customize next tote
Oct 4 - received third tote
Oct 13 - sent it back

So there's about 5 days in between sending one back and getting a new one.  This accounts for 2 day shipping each way and the one day you have to change anything in your next tote.

So here's what I got in each of my totes during the first month, and my thoughts on each item.  And then a little summary of overall thoughts at the end.



Tote #1: I didn't customize at all.  I just took what they picked for me.  Granted, a few of the items were things I had favorited, so I can take some credit/blame.  I liked everything except the drapey cardigan.  It looked okay in the picture, but in real life, the back was very cropped, which I thought looked weird.  The jewelry is cute, but isn't really functional for me right now.  So I just wore the dress (which was too short) and the top (loved so much that I wore twice), and sent everything back.



Tote #2: I think I changed everything.  So I really liked the style of all these items.  I wore the dress and necklace to church, and wore the top and jewelry to a bridal shower, and the sweater for running errands.  This batch of items was pretty great.  


For tote #3, I had a very specific plan in mind (which very specifically failed).  I wanted dresses that I could wear to the rehearsal dinner and wedding we went to over the weekend.  I thought I picked dresses with longer hemlines, but apparently not.  When I got this box, I tried on the dresses and none of them were quite right.  I should have just immediately sent it back, but I wanted to make it work.  I even bought some ridiculous shapewear to try under the geometric dress, but it was still too short, even once the body-consciousness was dealt with.  The black dress was WAAY too short, especially with the flare.  The windowpane dress was super cute, but super low cute.  It doesn't look that way on the model, but it was not appropriate on me!  I finally thought of putting a cami underneath it.  The jewelry was cute, but again, not super functional for me.  I thought about wearing one of the necklaces to the rehearsal dinner, but Mr. Baby was with us, and I knew he'd just be grabbing it.

The other interesting part about tote #3 was that I got some defective items.  The one dress had some discoloration on the lining.  Not a big deal, but I emailed them right away to let them know it was like that when I got it.  I don't want to be charged for messing something up when I didn't do it!  They quickly replied with an apology and offered me an extra apparel item in my next tote.  I thought that meant I would get 4 apparel items in addition to the 2 accessories, but it really means I get 4 apparel items an just one accessory.  Which isn't quite as exciting, but still an upgrade.  Then I noticed the pink pendant had some chips in it, so again, I emailed to let them know.  They again apologized quickly and offered me a $10 purchase credit.  I have no intention of purchasing anything from LeTote, so I asked if I could get that $10 off my monthly rental fee, but they said no.  After persisting a little bit (because seriously, I'm not going to buy anything), they said they would add an item to my next tote.  Not sure what this is going to look like yet, but I'm glad they listened to my frustration and tried to make up for the problem.

Wow, I didn't know I would have a novel to write about this...  Anyway, in a month, I received 15 items and actually wore 8 of them.  Since I got half price for the first month, and paid $5 for insurance in case of ruining something (because baby), it was $30.  That puts the cost per wear at just under $4.  If I had worn everything, it would be at $2.  For things I buy, I like to get cost/wear down to $1 or less, but since this is a fun way to wear different things, I'm okay with the higher cost.  I'm hoping for this month to wear everything!  Since someone signed up with my referral link, I got a $15 credit, so this month is just going to be $40.  Depending on how it goes, and if anyone else uses my referral link, I may or may not keep it going.  For my current lifestyle, I don't really need new and interesting things to wear, but it is kind of fun to try new things without the commitment.  

I do think I'd really like it if I was still working.  And I would definitely do it if I was pregnant, because they just launched maternity.  Anyway, if you are interested in trying it, you can get $25 off the first month by using my referral link, and then I get $15 off, too!  I definitely think it's worth a month for that price.     

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Book Review - Furiously Happy


Furiously Happy is the new book by The Bloggess.  She's one of the very few famous people I've met (back in 2013).  I really like her blog and her first book, so of course, I had to read this new book, as well.

It's a little more serious than the first book, but that's not really saying much.  Still hilarious and inappropriate, Lawson talks about ridiculous things and serious things.  She shares more about her struggles with mental health, but not in an obnoxious way.  And she just tells lots of funny stories about her various misadventures.  I mean, when the cover is an overenthusiastic taxidermied raccoon, what else would you expect?

Not for the easily offended (or even not-so-easily offended).  But if you like her blog or liked her first book, you'll probably like this one too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wedding Weekend


As I mentioned yesterday, we spent the weekend at a wedding in Topeka! The church was right across the street from the state capitol building, which means the wedding photos are going to be pretty cool.  Like here, we look totally cooler than we actually are.  (that's the church in the background)  



  It also means I took a few pictures of the capitol.  I'm sort of nostalgic about my home state!  

John was a groomsman, so we spent the time between the ceremony and reception on a party bus with the rest of the wedding party.  We stopped a few places, including the middle of nowhere Kansas to take more wedding pictures!  Of course, I had to snag John for a picture of us in front of a field. 


The reception was absolutely gorgeous.  It was at the bride's parents' house, which is kind of out in the country.  They had a big tent set up, and lights everywhere.  The weather was completely perfect.  As I often do, I failed to take very many good pictures at the reception, but here's the bride and groom assessing how to best cut the cake:

We successfully got a friends picture of the women, but the guys disappeared before we could get a full group picture.  I later found them standing around the bonfire, discussing what happens when you throw ice cubes into the fire. (spoiler alert: nothing happens)  


Defeated, I gave up on a whole group picture, but I did get a selfie with the groom!  


And for those of you who read this blog for the clothes:  After my Letote dresses didn't work out quite right, I went on a mission to the mall to find something to wear.  I tried on about a million (okay, maybe like 12) dresses, and ended up buying 2 from The Limited.  I couldn't decide which one would work better when I was in the fitting room, because Mr. Baby was getting mad at me, and I couldn't think straight!  So I brought them both home and tried them on with shoes and accessories, and texted my sisters for advice.  This dress was a little fancier, so I picked it.  I was going to wear heels to the ceremony and then switch to flats, but I didn't have anywhere to keep my extra shoes, so I just went with flats for the whole day.  I also wore my gray cardigan during the ceremony in the cold church, but then it was warm enough the rest of the day to leave it off.  

Anyway, it was a super fun weekend celebrating!  I think we are done with weddings for a bit.  It was a crazy summer for weddings this year!  I think we've had 6 since June!  

Dress: Limited
Shoes: Target


Monday, October 12, 2015

Rehearsal Dinner

On Friday, we loaded up our car and drove down to Topeka, KS for our friend Ben's wedding.  You may remember him from the Montana trip.  Anyway, it was a crazy and fun weekend celebrating with him and his new wife!!  Mr. Baby added some complexity and a whole lot more stuff!  Our car was pretty full for a 3 day trip, and not just because I brought 5 pairs of shoes (and only wore 3 pairs).  

John was a groomsman, so we went to the rehearsal dinner on Friday evening.  Of course, I had to figure out what to wear.  My plan was to stock my Letote with 3 dresses and hopefully be able to wear one for the rehearsal and one for the wedding.  I also picked jewelry that I thought might be cute with the dresses.  Here's what I got:


The black dress was too short.  The geometric one was too short and too bodycon (but I love it so much, I was tempted to wear it anyway.  I might request it again during tights season).  The windowpane dress was too low cut, but I fixed that with a cami.  It was cooler in the evening, so I threw on my denim jacket and pink shoes because I always need some color.


We took a couple pictures at the dinner and then in front of the Kansas Capitol building, but I completely spaced on a full outfit picture until we got back to the hotel and I was already in my pajamas.  Blogger fail!  Anyway, I decided to try the "lay the outfit on the bed and take a pic" trick.     


Don't worry, I remembered to take a real picture of my wedding outfit. But more about that later.

Jacket: JCF (similar)
Shoes: Target (similar)


Friday, October 9, 2015

Book Review - Yes Please


Here's an unpopular opinion: I tried watching Parks and Rec and just couldn't get into it.  It seems like a show I would love, but I just didn't find it all that funny after watching a few episodes.  

Anyway, I kept hearing people say Amy Poehler's book was great, so I decided to read it, even though I'm not a huge fan of hers.  Plus my library has the ebook, which is awesome for me right now.

AP is funnier in parts of the book than I usually think she is on TV.  But she spends a lot of time talking about how hard it is to write a book, or glossing over times in her life that would be more interesting.  I didn't want her to dish all the dirt on her divorce, but some more details about the different theaters and jobs she had as she was working her way up to SNL would have been fun.  I guess the whole thing was just kind of boring, and she seems like she's had a pretty interesting life, so how did a fairly short memoir not capture that?  

I didn't love the book, but for some reason it did make me want to try watching Parks and Rec again.  So maybe I'll try that.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Papa Troll



This outfit is a pretty good example of my mom uniform.  Which was also a pretty good example of my not-a-mom uniform, so I guess what I'm saying is moms are also regular people when it comes to outfits.  Or I've always dressed like a mom.  Who knows.

And now for a random story that is not entirely related to anything.  One of my friends has a 3 year old boy, and was filling me in on the TV shows he is obsessed with.  She was explaining how he LOVES "Papa Troll" and I was imagining some kind of Frozen spin-off with this guy.  But then as she described the show, it became clear that there are no trolls in it at all, but rather dog policemen and firefighters.  Paw Patrol.  Sounds the same as Papa Troll, but I really think my idea is cooler.

Cardigan: JCF (exact in various colors)
Tee: Loft (similar)
Jeans: Loft (exact)
Shoes: Old Navy (similar)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Currently October



First Wednesday of the month means it is time to link up and share what we are currently up to.  Go check out In Residence and Gold and Bloom. to see the other participants!  

eating - less.  I'm trying to get serious about losing weight, which means I'm logging all of my meals again.  It's annoying, but it works!    

exploring - local parks.  Mr. Baby loves to be outside, so we go on walks as much as possible.  On the weekends, we've gone to parks with walking trails, and it's really fun.  Except for that time I got stung by a bee.  Not cool, nature.  

wearing - mostly LeTote stuff. It's been fun to try new things.  I'm not sure how long I'll keep it, but I'm glad I've tried it!

admiring - Mr. Baby.  Seriously, I cannot even stand how cute he is.  

collecting - um... I don't know. I'll be sappy and say memories!  

And most importantly, today is my husband's birthday!  Happy Birthday!!     

Sweater: JCF (similarsimilar)
Scarf: H&M (similar, similar)
Dress: Gap (similar with sleeves)
Shoes: Target (exact without captoe)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fall Florals


When this top arrived in my LeTote box, I thought it would be perfect with my white shorts.  But then fall randomly showed up, and it wasn't shorts weather anymore.  So jeans it is!  I just wore this for a day of running errands with my boy.  I really liked the look of this top, but it was a little too wide and short.

Top: LeTote (exact)
Jeans: Loft (exact)
Shoes: Old Navy (similar)

Monday, October 5, 2015

That's a Wrap



This is another LeTote item.  I really love wrap dresses, but they don't love me.  I wanted to love this dress, but it just didn't fit my figure right, and it was a few inches shorter than I would like.  I would have been more comfortable in tights, but it wasn't quite cold enough for that.  Speaking of tights, I should really check on my stash and see if I need to buy any in preparation for winter.  

I also realized when we were in the car on the way to church that the little dark accents on the dress are actually navy, not black like I thought.  Good thing they are too small for anyone else to notice, unless I tell you. Why am I telling you?  No one knows.  I also started out the morning with a black cardigan over the dress, but it warmed up and I forgot to put it back on for pictures.  

I should be getting my 3rd box from LeTote in the next day or so.  I requested 3 specific dresses, so I hope they work out.  We have a wedding this weekend and I am planning to wear whichever one I like the best.  Unless I hate all of them, then I will panic and go shopping.  

Necklace: LeTote
Dress: LeTote (exact)
Cami: Gap (similar)
Shoes: Target (exact without captoe)

Friday, October 2, 2015

One Time in Class



Every week, Jimmy Fallon asks Twitter to share stories on a certain topic.  A recent prompt was "one time in class" and you were supposed to share something funny or embarrassing that happened.  I immediately thought of a few things, so I figured I could just write a whole blog post about it.  So here are a few embarrassing things that happened to me way back in the olden days when I was in school.  Pretty much 100% due to my general clumsiness.

  • Freshman year of high school, I couldn't get the lid off my white-out pen.  Not one to easily give up when my classwork needed corrected, I pulled really hard and the whole thing broke in half, spraying white out all over me.
  • In my college accounting class, I was playing around with one of those clicky pens, that has the spring inside.  Long story short, I accidentally shot my pen at the professor.  
  • Same accounting class, during a test, we were sitting in the chairs where the desk thing swings up from the side.  Getting frustrated, I put my elbow up on the desk, and rested my head in my hand.  Desk became a catapult, and rocketed my calculator to the other side of the hall, landing at the feet of one of the well-known basketball players.         

So let this be a warning to you - watch out for school supplies that might break apart and/or fly across the room!

Top: JCF (similar)
Jeans: Jessica Simpson (similar)
Flats: Target (similar)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Oc-tote-ber



See what I did there?  That's because this outfit is mostly from my second LeTote box.  The top was my favorite item from this batch of things.  I also liked the necklace quite a bit, as did Mr. Baby.

I wore this to a little baby shower tea party on Sunday afternoon.  And I kind of matched the baby of honor's older sister, who is 3 and super cool.  We should have taken a picture!  If you are keeping track, that's the second tea party I've gone to this year, because I'm so fancy.    

Shirt: LeTote (similar in black)
Necklace: LeTote
Skirt: Loft (similar)
Bracelet: LeTote
Shoes: Old Navy (similar)