Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Favorite Things: 33rd Birthday Edition

My 33rd birthday was yesterday.
I love my birthday for a few reasons:
1. I get to hear from so many friends that I don't through the year (Facebook's redeeming quality)
2. I can be sure that my husband will relieve me of all responsibilities, surprise me with something I don't buy myself (like Fiji water) and maybe something I've pinned or mentioned wanting (like my beloved DSLR). This year was no different. It's the small things, isn't it?
While I'm feeling ambivalent about turning 33 (isn't that my mom's age?), I've compiled a list of 33 of my favorite things to share

Some faithful beauty favorites and girly pleasures like:
1. Essie Sole Mate nailpolish
4.  Eucerin Redness Relief Cleanser
6. Gel manicures
7. Beauty indulgences that make me feel like a woman, not just a mom-servant: haircut, eyebrow wax, pedicure, dryBar

And then there are things I've come to appreciate for their novelty:
8. Running into a store alone
9. Actual conversations w/far-away friends, hearing their voices
11. Getting distracted enough on the treadmill to hit the zone
12. Any day my husband is home, when he'd typically be working
13. Take out & a movie w/my husband after the kids are in bed 

Family life favorites:
14. A house full of family: eating, laughing, reminiscing, celebrating, chatting
15. Baby singing in her crib, behind closed door, after we've said goodnight
16. My 7 y/o reading to me, taking turns with pages
17. My capable 5 y/o volunteering to help
18. My three kids smooshed together 
19. My husband laughing out loud at the screen
20. Beach days: charcoal grilling, sand forming, wave jumping

Every day extraordinary things:
21. Finding a bargain on what I'd have to buy regardless
22. Clear counters
23. Having exact change
24. Mrs Meyers Basil countertop spray

Screen time favorites:
25. A Cup of Jo weekend & motherhood posts, Adam's Instagram feed, Copy Cat Chic finds
26. Homeland & College Football

Yummy favorites:
27. Chopped salad
28. Cucumber, ginger, lemon, mint water in a pitcher in my fridge
29. Panera creamy tomato soup in a bread bowl

Things that make me feel alive:
30. Climbing a mountain: problem-solving, scared to step, reaching the summit
31. Singing, especially harmonizing & especially show tunes, jazz & leading worship
32. Roaming NYC streets alone, Metro card in hand, no particular place to go
33. Thoughtful gestures; effort to ask, support, surprise-both given & received.

So, tell me, what are some of your favorites?

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thankful for...

I'll be honest, I nearly didn't write this post. It seemed hypocritical considering I've focused a great deal on the anticipated, but still tough challenges we are facing.
Beyond the significant stuff, terribly superficially, I've bemoaned my wardrobe all week. Fed up with my over-washed, stretched-out, unflattering, unappealing collection, I donated nearly everything warm in early Spring so I couldn't fall into the trap of wearing it again this Fall. Yikes!
Turns out compiling this list was just the sort of catharsis I needed.

1. Complimentary messages from blog readers-mean more to me than they probably should. Thank you!

2. Crisp mornings made magical by this liquid Fall in my fridge. How? & Who?: I'll never tell.
3. Dancing with my daughters during the movie's ending credits (Tangled gets us up every time)

4. A thoughtful card & treat from a treasured friend in my mailbox

5. Left to roam alone, the birthday girl kept handing her tokens out to strangers. Felt like we had the place to ourselves, which exponentially increases the enjoyability of this place.
6. Personal best time running (followed by a most pathetic run the next day. never. wearing. those. shorts. again.)

7. Gala apples

8. Happening upon an Uggs sample sale. Daughter & I, who happen to be sample size, happen to be the ones in need of Winter boots.

9. No news is good news, right?

10. After a few school work sessions ended in tears (mine), we're proudly displaying some progress!

11. "Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing."
James 1: 2-4 (VOICE)

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Birthday girl's greatest hits

She was delivered via repeat cesarean and was due within a couple days of my birthday. When they asked me to choose a date, I nearly chose my own birthday, thinking it would be neat to share with my daughter. Ultimately, I decided against it. I had a hunch she'd want her own day.
Boy, I'm glad I did. She's not fond of all the "you look just like your mother!", "oh my! this isn't Lilah, this is Tina!" chatter. "I am Lilah." she'll declare. And you are one of a kind, kid!
You get us wide-eyed with your competence, hand-over-mouth-agape in shock, rolling on the floor laughing, and your will challenges us incomparably.
Remember when she was 2 1/2 and she lifted her 6 day old sister out of the bassinet? And when she walked into a silent, full waiting room and asked, "Mom, so this is what old people smell like?"

In honor of the birthday girl, here are some of Lilah's Greatest Hits here on detailgalblog:

4. Shouting "Shut Up" during a sacred moment

5. #2 was supposed to be a playmate for #1

And a bonus: (because I couldn't have 6 on a 5 y/o birthday post and I couldn't leave it out)
What did I do to deserve you? 

Happy Birthday, Lilah Sophia!
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thankful for...

1. Library day is big for him. How many books he can bring home is bigger news than who his teacher will be each year. "I get 3 books today, mom!" He emptied his bag after his 1st library day this year and...wait for it... presented a book to his sister, who didn't get to bring a book home from her Kindergarten library visit. He loves her! He really loves her! (Such displays of affection make their incessant bickering such a wonder to me)

2. 85+ degree weather mid-September in NY
3. Coffeehouse chat with my sister-in-law
4. Dad staying with us this week means spontaneous run outside, date night, kid-free errand-running, & alone time with MidKid.

5. All online school shopping packages arriving and everything is a keeper
6. A patient, gracious, hard-working husband. It's been a rough couple of weeks, I know.
7. The way she packs a purse & kisses her "beah".

8. belly laughs from the room where they're wrestling while I make dinner
9. Anesthesia-induced sleep, day of rest & special attention does a girl good. I wouldn't complain if they needed to take another look.
10. Homeland Season 2 in my mailbox
11. The way she contains her enthusiasm long enough to sympathize with her left-behind little sister, playing made up games at the bus stop

12. "Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. 
Then you will receive all that He has promised...
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."  
Hebrews 10:35 & 11:1 9 (NLT)

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Monday, September 9, 2013


Reading The Kitchen House. I started it yesterday. It's reminiscent of The Help. It is equally as hard to put down. 
Read Where'd you go Bernadette? last month. Really enjoyable read. fascinating insights into genius' lives and minds. Certainly affirms the importance of using your abilities, getting help when self-help isn't helping, and letting go.

Listening to: John Mayer's new release, Paradise Valley (and not yet over Born & Raised after seeing him live last month).

Getting used to: having just the little one home every afternoon. I find I don't want to put her down for a nap, as much as I crave alone time.

Looking forward to: Wicked on Broadway and another kid-free weekend in NYC

Trying to get into: Halloween! My son is a wild about it! He's begging to decorate the house, pouring over online inspiration, even bought a BH&G magazine on the topic with his allowance! Meanwhile, I grew up ignoring the holiday, so anything besides pumpkins & hay is new for me. This seems like a nice compromise:

Praying for: good friends for my kids at school, church/community, insightful test results, balance

Resisting: My baby girl calling me "Mom".  "Thanks, mom.", "I'm sorry, mom" coming out of her cherry lips seems wrong. I want "mama" back exclusively!
Enjoying: The kick-off of football season! A good reason to have a house full, eat chili & chips, & curl up in a quilt.

Running (which is more like jogging lately) to:
12 Pandora cardio stations you may not have tried
Warm up:  Cups (when I'm gone)  (PS: FOND camp memories playing that game!)
Cool down: Just give me a reason (the rhythm works nicely for abs too)

Cooking: Homemade Sunday sauce w/meatballs & Italian Sausage
Baking: Cinnamon Bread. (pretty good.) Fudgy Chocolate Chunk Brownies Winner! Simple to throw together & decadent! I sub TJs white whole wheat flour in both.

Drinking: coffee only occasionally instead of 2x daily (at least)
Have any yummy tea recommendations???

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kindergarten for my 4.9 year old

This day snuck up on me. 
The truth is: we weren't going to send our girl to Kindergarten this year, favoring the "red-shirt" trend for 4.9 year olds turning 5 just before the cut off. For a few key reasons, we changed our position and registered her for school. Many hours were logged researching and deliberating on the issue. Both sides have convincing arguments and this decision feels critical, so I empathize with you if you're currently discerning the most advantageous path for your child. 
Honestly, I could still argue both sides but we ran out of time and had to make a choice.

A bit of advice: 
Trust your gut. If your gut has more anxiety then peace, consider waiting a year. Maturity goes a long way when you're in middle school.
Know your district's policies on retention, some (like ours) do not allow it.
Know when to stop listening to other's opinions.
This is a good article on the topic of red-shirting, if you're interested

Completely unaware of the process, she was THRILLED when we broke the big news.
She packed her backpack with supplies and we caught her setting out her "1st day clothes" a week too soon. I didn't think we'd get her to leave the school this morning when we dropped her brother off for 2nd grade. 12:30 couldn't come soon enough! She asked us to leave her as soon as we connected with her new teacher. 
My child, you are "out of the box". You consider the lines, and often choose to live outside. We are praying your teachers have patience and appreciation for your gumption. We marvel at your competence. We pray you'll listen carefully, obey faithfully, and nothing will crush your exuberant spirit!

"For the Lord your God is living among you
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
 Zeph 3:17 (NLT)

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