Fa la la la la!

12.14.2014

Over the past week or two, the christmas cards have been trickling in. Over the past few years, the quantity of cards we receive has dwindled. I don’t know about you, but I still really enjoy the old fashioned act of sending and receiving cards via snail mail. I love displaying them and reading what families have been up to. I love all of it.

While I hemmed and hawed for awhile about designs (I really loved this one and this one and this one), this year, instead of stressing out about taking photos of my children (and, inevitably, the dog), I found a great holiday photo card option that allowed me to use a collage of photos we took around the world in Epcot back in June.

pear-tree-greetings-photocard

And for something a little (extra) different, I went with a postcard option. It helped save on postage costs, given that we send 150 cards out each year.

pear-tree-greetings-holiday-postcard

Do you still send out cards? Do you do photo cards? What are some of your favorite styles? Its not too late to order your holiday cards through Pear Tree Greetings. They’re offering 40% off all cards right now with a $30 order. Just enter the code 12THDAY.

Disclosure: I am a pearista, but all opinions are my own.

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Holiday party (dress) season

12.12.2014

The holidays season is upon us and along with that usually comes holiday parties. If you’re anything like me, it also means that its time to bust out one of your many LBDs and and your dancing shoes. However, this year, I decided I had enough of the black and it was time to buy a new dress. Little did I know what headache that would bring me!

After many headaches and failed attempts at the mall, I headed to Anthropologie where I decided to try using the personal shopper. Why I didn’t utilize this beautiful option prior to this, I have no clue. Not only did she help me find a dress that flattered my figure, but she helped me pick jewelry and shoes and even told me what specific hose to wear (because let’s face it…this is Wisconsin and its like 10 degrees out. No bare legs look good at that temperature).

I settles on the Water Garden dress by Leifsdottir. Never in my life did I think I’d be wearing a dress that had a floral pattern! Or a dress that looks so grown up!
Anthro-dress

I had this wrap already that I bought from Banana Republic last holiday season.
anthro-party-dress

While she did suggest jewelry and shoes, to keep my budget in check, I found similar earrings and bracelet at Macy’s at a lower price point. I am absolutely in love with these weightless onyx crystal Rachel Roy earrings. I rarely wear earrings because the weight of them gives me a headache. But not these…I’ve already worn them 4 times since then. My shoes (not pictured because I am not a fashion blogger and really suck at taking these pics) are just a classic black pump.
anthropologie-holiday

anthropologie-dress

anthropologie-holiday-dress

And to share, some of the contenders in the dress search…..
anthro dress Collage holiday dress Collage
clockwise from L to R:
Icepleat Maxi Dress via Anthro (I felt like a Greek Goddess. But it was too big. I needed a petite and they didn’t have any.)
Overture Tulle Sheath via Anthro (Runner up. The fit was amazing!)
Rubied Lace Dress via Anthro (Omg. So itchy and scratchy!)
Sugarplum Dreams outfit via The Limited (skirt was totally ill-fitting and the color did nothing for me)
Shimmered Monarch Skirt via Anthro (No. I felt like an old lady and the skirt was not a flattering fit)
Mona Dress via Anthro (the fit was amazing. The fabric was too delicate and I knew it wouldn’t last. Plus I felt like it was more office-y than party)
Isobel Midi Dress via Anthro (This dress is seriously amazingly gorgeous. Photos don’t do justice. But here in winter, there’s a chance the top will get covered up with a wrap. And if that happens, then the dress is no longer so amazing. Its just a very expensive black dress.)

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How to throw a classy bachelorette party

11.17.2014

Recently, one of my very best friends got engaged. Even though its her second marriage, didn’t give me any less reason to celebrate her. She found her soulmate and is blissfully happy.

However, I knew this would be different from the various bachelorette parties I attended in my 20′s. The bride was not about about any tacky feather boas, much less penis cakes.

The first thing I did was hop on Pinterest and create a board to help me generate ideas.  Then I got to planning.

1. Pick a theme

This is when you should take into consideration the bride’s personality and her favorite things. Also think about the bride’s schedule and how long you want the party to go (a few hours? overnight? a whole weekend?).  I went with silver and glitter, because the bride + groom’s daughters dresses are silver and the bride loves anything that sparkles.  Knowing the bride and her busy schedule, I planned a 24 hour party – the perfect amount of time to enjoy friends, de-stress, and have fun without feeling rushed.

classy-bachelorette

 

 

2. Plan and research

Now its time to figure out what you want to do and where you want to host it. I spent time researching activities that a group could do and restaurants that were favorites of the bride.

We ended up doing a painting party at a wine + painting bar, which was super fun.  I reserved 2 adjoining hotel rooms for 6 women (using my husband’s points. score!)  and it worked out perfectly.  Whatever you do, make sure you set an agenda. I have no problem being easy-peasy, but when it comes to group activities, I knew I needed to be organized – have reservations set and have a timeline.

 
painting-party-bachelorette

bachelorette-dinner

If you’re serving alcohol, I also suggest settling on a signature drink. Its easier than pulling out all of your bottles of various spirits. I went with this cranberry + rosemary white sangria, which was delicious and easy. I supplemented with red and white wines, as well as vodka + tonic.
sangria

As well as a champagne toast for the bride-to-be
champagne-bachelorette

And ending the evening with a few hours of Cards Against Humanity and laughing so hard we had tears.
cards-against-humanity

3. Time to decorate

Depending on your theme, you can purchase your decorations already made or you can break out your DIY hat and get creative.  Take into account your venue -its easier to decorate your home because you have access to it at all times, versus a hotel or a rented space. If you need to, enlist the help of a friend who is not involved (trade favors!). Taking inspiration from the collection of ideas I pinned, I got to DIYing.

how-to-throw-classy-bachelorette classy-bachelorette-ideas
Kelly Bachelorette-4

4. Have fun!!

sources | cheers bitches banner made from kit found at Target | backdrop from Spritz brand gift wrap found at Target | chalkboards from Michaels, lettering by AlysonM | tissue paper tassel garland tutorial found here

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Eleven years of the Dynamic Duo. And a surprising diagnosis.

11.13.2014

Their birthday came and went and I struggled with what I’d write for their birthday post. (here’s their 8th birthday one that covers a lot and includes links to prior birthdays)

I tried to compare the start of their 11th year of life to that of their older brother. Eleven – specifically 5th grade- was a really difficult year for us (but OMG – 12 has been awesome). For Elliott, 11 has been just peachy. He’s still his normal, Elliott self. For Norah, well, lets just say that we’ve entered the tween years and its mimicking what Aidan went through….multiplied by 100, because this is Norah and she’s got a STRONG personality.

11 years ago, while sitting in the NICU, watching those monitors and charting their temps and weights, often journaling about their progresses and setbacks, I never imagined that 11 years from then, both would be solid students. One would be into mixed martial arts and be good at it (I still struggle with watching him in tournaments), the other a competitive gymnast. 11 years ago, when they told me that my baby had a brain bleed and what serious ramifications could come from it down the line, I never thought she would be playing violin, flute, piano, and be a ‘Math Olympiad’.

gymnast

BJJ Yellow Belt

They’ve had to overcome a lot…being born 10 weeks early and growing outside the womb is no easy feat. Learning to breathe and suck and swallow…all while gaining weight? That’s like an olympic sport to a preemie, yo. My babies- they’ve come so far. They were colicky (omg, that doesn’t even begin to describe it. Crying from 4pm-1am, y’all). They both had reflux. They threw up all. the. time. Both receive(d) – one still does – speech services, starting in the birth-to-three program. But even with all of that, they were never picky eaters. I prided myself on that. Sure, there were some foods that they eventually decided they didn’t like, but overall, they had an awesome palate.

And then they got older. And Norah started getting pickier. I stood my ground. She stood hers. And yet, she continued to cut out more and more foods, complaining that it smelled weird. Or she just flat out wouldn’t try it.

This family has a motto when it comes to mealtime:

She won’t starve herself, right? That’s what “they” say. Only, “they” haven’t met my daughter, I think….

So at the twins 11 year checkup, I spoke with her pediatrician, who proceeded to ask Norah and I a ton of questions related to her sense of smell and touch and taste. And then I felt like a total and complete jerk. It was one of those mom-fail moments. One of those moments when you think, “why did this never occur to me? why did I not ask about this sooner?”

The pediatrician says that she needs to see an occupational (feeding) therapist because Norah seems to have a sensory integration disorder that is related to food. She has serious food aversions that are starting to impact her growth (as seen on her growth curve) and will continue to do so and will impact her development, as well. She explained that this is not something she will outgrow, but rather, this will worsen if left alone and kids like this literally do starve themselves.

OMG. That’s not something that ANY parent wants to hear. But especially not something that a parent who recovered from an ED ever wants to hear. Ever.

She explained that, as a former Speech and Language Pathologist, she knows that its not necessarily uncommon that this goes hand-in-hand with speech disorders. It could have also stemmed from her prematurity. Who knows. All we know now is that its something that we need to tackle. And I feel like a complete ass for writing it off as stubbornness.

On a positive note, as a friend mentioned to me, at least I don’t have to be the bad guy…I will be paying someone else to do that ;)

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If you had to choose…

11.12.2014

This morning when I went to take the dog to the park, my car doors were frozen shut. Not only that, but it was 23, with a windchill of 14.
On November 12.
This is utterly ridiculous, people. I am ready to homeschool my children each winter so I can live with my parents in warmth.

This past weekend, we were at my parents house and my mom was trying to offload more ‘stuff’ onto me in preparation for their move. Its not like they have tons of junk or that they saved a bunch of crap…their house is relatively small and storage is limited and well, up until this house, we moved every few years.

This home is not my “childhood home”. When I think back to my childhood, a few of the homes we lived in stand out. The old white home on Summer Street- I was only 4 when we moved, but I still remember the layout of the house and my bedroom and the creepy old basement. The ranch home on Memorial Drive with the rad orange and yellow shag carpet and the big back yard with the garden. Or the house we built – my bedroom was enormous and I was in 6th grade heaven. My brother put a hole in my bedroom door when we were fighting and I covered it up with a poster of George Michael from Wham!, only to be revealed when we moved. Whoops. So you see, we never really got the chance to accumulate stuff…we always had a reason to purge.

But now my parents are moving to a new country and they really have to purge. And that made me think….

If you were to move and could only take 10 things, what would you take??

I sat here, looking around my house at my “stuff”….nothing I am terribly attached to, and immediately I knew what I would take.

1-3 – my kids scrapbook albums I made for them
4-6 – misc photo albums of our adventures
7 – my wedding album
8 – my external hard drive (that includes all the photos i’ve done jack and shit with)
9 – norah’s dresser (it was my great-grandma’s)
10- my hope chest (goes with dresser. was geat grandma’s)

It was truly hard to come up with 10 things. Because as I looked around my house, I realized that photos aside, most anything I have can be replaced. And I am still trying to decide if that is good or bad.

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