Monday, December 20, 2010

Trail of lights












Every year we have hit "Zoo Lights" and loved it. Some years we freeze, others we get snowed on. This year we decided to try something new and we hit "Trail of Lights" at Chatfield instead. It was fun and pretty, but it was no "Zoo lights". Oh well, it was close by and we still had a lot of fun with no crowds to fight and no long drive. Here are the highlights!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Passion for Fashion

For the life of me I can't seem to find the "sarcasm font" on my computer. If I could, I would apply it to the title of this post.

I am passionate about many things; my children, education, helping women lift themselves from poverty. Fashion falls some where higher on the list than "dental hygiene" and lower than "really good food". A good day for me is clean yoga pants and a tee shirt. Usually, but not always, my outfit will include clean undies and a bra. Hey, don't judge, I have kept 3 children alive for 5 years and sometimes that takes all I've got.

For a while I could blame my post baby body and the fact that I was in between sizes for my slightly lack-luster wardrobe. Now said baby is a year old and I have no excuse for leaving the house looking like a lesbian librarian.

Last year I did a style post that got me moving in the right directions. Sense fashion changes, I figure it is time to do another little up-date

First up, military style. The means structured shapes, buttons, muted colors. This doesn't mean tassels, at least not for me. I like to take a fashion and figure out how to make it works for my life and tassels just don't work for me.

Cute dress, but a little short for me.


I love the jacket above, I would totally do this outfit. I got one similar to this at Target for about $10 on the clearance rack, it is green.


This jacket is cute too!

Now the ridding boot. Boots don't have to have killer heals to be stylish. Flat boots are very in, especially the type with a little chunk heal and buckle that look like the type the English use as ridding boots. These go great with jeans, skirts or dresses. Fun and comfortable. You can buy some for about $30 in a big box store or on-line for a bit more and free shipping. Check out endless.com.

Lacey tops. Now, there is a good way and a bad way to do this look. Below is the wrong way. It makes a statement, unfortunately that statement is "I'm easy". For heaven sakes woman, put on a cami!

This is a slightly classier way to wear the lace look. Lace detailing is an easy way to update a shirt. Rue 21 has some cute tops for under $15 as long as your know it is only going to last for a season.
Jeggings. I wasn't sure about this look at first and sometime I see it abused. Good: jeggings that look just like skinny jeans with pockets and a button and everything, only softer and stretchier. Dark blue. Bad: light blue denim print leggings with scrunchy elastic waist bands. They just look like bad maternity pants. The ones below are cute. You can get them for under $20.

The sweater dress, maybe a moms best friend. So comfy and warm. I choose sweaters long enough to cover my rather large hiney. If your hiney is smaller and cuter than mine, you can go shorter. All are "mommy friendly" and take just as long to put on as a pair of yoga pants and tee shirt. For under $100 for everything if you shop sales you are without excuse for looking frumpy.
Fashion is frivolous and meaningless, ever changing and completely in the eye of the beholder. But even though I know that in my head, my days seem to go a little smoother when I take the time to look like a woman instead of a frazzled, barely holding it together mother of 3. It doesn't hurt that my husband loves it when I put myself together, too!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thinking

I am a compulsive "over thinker". I am an information junky. These things go hand in hand. When faced with a problem, my first resource is information which is gathered like a rabid squirrel hording nuts facing a nuclear winter. And then I think. I chew over information, mull it over and over again until...well, until it usually ends up in some form or another on my blog.

My dad is quirky, and I mean that in a good way. Even though he is currently sporting uni-bomber hair, he is one of the smartest men I have ever met. Back when he was a grown up (I am saying that because I not sure what he is now, retired maybe?) he was a consultant, which basically means he was paid obscene amounts of money for telling people what they were doing wrong and how to do it better. And to think, I was given all that information for free for year while I was growing up and had no appreciation for it! My dad likes thinks like "mission statements" and "actionable goals" to the point he actually has a mission statement for his life. I think that is endlessly cool. To have something to measure every decision against would simplify things immensely.

I feel kind of like the last 5 years of my life I have been living in "survival mode". I have cranked out 3 babies and kept them all alive while running a home, often by myself. The thing about survival mode is I find it deeply unsatisfying. I hate the feeling of barley keeping my head above water, flaking out because I failed to take time to plan and ending the day with the feeling that life happened to me and I didn't actually spend time doing the things that I say matter most to me.

As baby turned a year old, my life has started to settle. I get a little more sleep. Matt was home for more than one week. I have started to do what I do, which is think. And when I am thinking I am gathering information. Here, in no particular order, is what I am working on:

-I want a mission statement for my life. Not because I want a neatly organized sheet of paper (although that does appeal to me on some level) but because it forces clarity when it comes to what I believe is important and can serve as a guide for making decisions.

-Stuff. I have a problem with too much. Actually, I am a product of a culture who has a HUGE problem with stuff and I some how got sucked in. People matter, stuff doesn't. If it doesn't add to my life, it takes away from it and should be given away to bless someone else.

- Emotional stuff. Stuff we hold on to isn't all physical, I need to figure out what emotional dust bunnies are collecting in my closet

-Body stuff. How am I treating my physical body and is it honoring to Him who made it?

- Spiritual stuff. Growth. Service. Love.

As we end 2010 I have decided I want 2011 to look different. Intentional. I am not sure what steps I need to take to get there, but here is the first.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Blame my Mother

It is her fault. I can't help the way I was raised, I was brain washed from young age.

Some of my earliest memories of Christmas are of my mother in the kitchen. Every year she would slave away, Christmas music blaring, while she baked one delicious sweet after another. She would make sweet breads and candy's, cookies and bars. We were allowed one or two but the rest were packed away in Tupperware in the freezer. Until the day we made plates.

All the yummys were brought out and lined up on the table, fudge, gingerbread, toffee, caramels, cookies of all types, mini loves of cranberry orange bread. Assembly line style, plates were filled to overflowing, wrapped, labeled and bowed to be distributed among those we deemed worthy, pastors, teachers, bus drivers and friends.

To me, Christmas is synonymous with baking and I blame my mother. When I play Christmas music I just can't keep myself from whipping up a batch of whoopie pies or revel bars. Soon the house smells good and my children are underfoot waiting for the goodies to come out of the oven. The treats are shared and eaten, then frozen for a later date when they will be put on plates for those important people in our lives, friends and neighbors maybe even the mail man.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Time

Its that time of year again. And frankly I am feeling a little...grinchy. I don't know if its that fact we have yet to have a good snow (HELLO! It is freaking December in COLORADO! what the heck?!) Or if I am just sick of Matt having to travel or if I am just put out buy all the commercialism and consumerism of the season, but my Christmas spirit is, well, lacking.

Eliana loves this time of year and I do my best to make it very special. We bake ridiculous amounts of cookies, even for me, decorate the house, read special stories, the whole works. And yet my heart just feels...grumpy.

Last year we got a little people manger scene. We brought it out this Christmas and Eliana loves to tell the story. She will actually hide all the pieces from her sisters because "they just don't do it right!"

The other morning I came down and the scene was all set up, Eliana style. That means everything, from sheep to camels to kings, was facing the sleeping baby Jesus. All the pieces were crowded around as if they just couldn't get enough of the baby in the manger. I guess that girl has been listening all along, I am pretty sure my 5 year old is doing better at maintaining focus than I am.

Maybe my heart will get there, too, crowded around a rag wrapped babe in the arms of a scared teen aged girl. A King, who gave up his throne to walk among those who would hate him to the point of death, but who choose to love above all else to show those who have grinchy hearts the way to live. Maybe I too can squeeze in between the donkey and the sheep to turn my heart to what this season is really about.