Friday, September 30, 2011

IKEA Excitement

It's Friday....yay! I'm so excited about my weekend. I'm getting up early tomorrow, driving to meet my mom, and then we're heading to Charlotte to check out the IKEA store there. This is my first-ever trip to IKEA, and I'm more than a little excited. I've been wanting to buy the Expedit bookcase for Ava's room for a few months now. Her room is small-ish, and she has lots of crap stuff. I'm tired of it being all over the place, so we are getting her organized ASAP.
EXPEDIT Bookcase, white Width: 58 5/8 " Depth: 15 3/8 " Height: 58 5/8 " Max load/shelf: 29 lb  Width: 149 cm Depth: 39 cm Height: 149 cm Max load/shelf: 13 kg

I thought I could just order it online, but shipping costs were outrageous. No way was I going to pay $129 in shipping for a $129 item. Silly, right? So I've been trying to figure out a good time to get down there, and it's finally happening.

Even better is that it's just my mom and me, for the first time in AGES. Post-shopping, we're going back to my parents' house where I will spend then night. I almost invited Ava to go with us. She's a decent little shopper, and just adores my parents. But after much consideration (about 30 seconds), I decided I deserve a little time away. (Now, if someone could just explain why I feel a little guilty about it).
Anyway, back to IKEA. I also want to check out this toy storage system:
TROFAST Storage combination, white, multicolor Length: 72 1/2 " Depth: 11 3/4 " Height: 37 "  Length: 184 cm Depth: 30 cm Height: 94 cm
I would love to have this in our playroom (which is really our dining room, but playroom is much more functional these days). I love the drawers. 

Of  course, not far from IKEA is the fabulous SouthPark Mall, which houses North Carolina's only Tory Burch shop. 

In the unforgettable words of Liz Lemon, "I want to go to there."


PS - If you're a fan of my blog (which I know you are), please become a "follower" by clicking over to the right. Thanks! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dinner in a hurry.

Despite everyone's hectic schedules, I'm really trying to get some halfway decent dinners on the table most nights. Some nights, it's just not possible. Tuesday, for instance, will always be Chickfila night around here. Ava has dance until 6:15, and then I go straight to tennis once she gets home. But I'm trying to come up with some quick, healthy meals that we can all eat. I've also been trying to seriously cut back on grocery bills. I sort of hate couponing, though, so it's better for me to just simplify meals. 

On Monday night, Ava made a random request for tomato soup. That worked out well, because I had decided to make a frittata, and I didn't have enough eggs to feed the whole family. So, Ava and Davis got tomato soup, whole wheat crackers, cucumber slices, and oranges. Good enough. Morgan was working late, and I was hungry, so here's what I made for us: (excuse the iPhone pic)

Spinach, sun-dried tomato, and feta frittata, served with acorn squash. It was all stuff I had on hand, and so yummy and easy. For the squash, I just sliced it in half, topped with some melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper, and roasted it at 400 for just under an hour. 

If you've never made a frittata, they are so easy. I used 4 eggs, which were beaten. I chopped up my spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, then kind of mixed it all into a bowl. I dumped that into a pan (sprayed with cooking spray), and crumbled some feta cheese over the top. You cook over medium heat until it's kind of soft-set, then it goes under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes. Voila. Dinner. And even though my kids had a different dinner that night, this is definitely something they will eat without complaint. And, if you're looking for other varieties, asparagus and goat cheese is one of my very favorites!

I'd love to hear your quick and tasty weekday dinners in the comments section.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm not above bribery.

Happy Monday, friends. This past weekend I embarked on something I had been dreading: streamlining my 6-year-old's bedtime. It had gotten beyond absurd. I think I've talked about it before. First, there's getting into pajamas, brushing teeth, using the bathroom, etc. Easy enough. No problems there. Then we're in bed, where two books are read, either by me, or by Ava. That all just depends on how tired she is. Since I think that bedtime has gotten a little too late, I've been trying to cut down to one book. Plus, now that she's six, the books tend to be longer.

Post books, there is a family hug, then a lullaby (the same one we've been singing since she was itty bitty), then multiple hugs and kisses. After that, she likes to read books on her own in bed. I get that. I like to read in bed, too. Besides, I'm not one to discourage a love of literacy.

The problem is that Ava likes to read her books until about 9:30pm. And during that time, she tends to get up a couple of times, then "requires" that someone (me) walks her back to her bed. And finally, once she's ready to go to sleep, someone (again, me - her preference at night) "needs" to take her books out of her bed, cover her up just right, place blankets on the correct side of her, and then give one more hug and kiss. After that, there is much talk of being scared. Then we leave the lights all on and she falls asleep.

I told you it was absurd.

So, on Friday, I decided it was time for that insanity to be put to rest. (Pun intended. Sorry.). Morgan was out of town, and honestly, it's easier for me to deal with a meltdown when I'm all alone and don't have another adult to commiserate/feel guilty with. The new bedtime routine stops after we read books, say prayers, etc. If she wants to read on her own, that's fine, but no one is coming to remove her books or tuck her in again or give the 103rd "last" hug/kiss.

As you can imagine, there was LOTS of pushback. Lots. After about 45 minutes of crying, screaming, and generally melting down, she was asleep. Ahhh. Saturday night was pretty much a repeat of the same. Davis even had an opinion about the situation. When Ava's protests got too loud, Davis, who was securely in his crib, yelled, "Be quiet!!"

The weekend was hard, but I just knew it had to be taken care of.

Yesterday, Ava and I were at the mall for a little girl time. She came across an Angry Birds stuffed animal that she wanted. This one, to be exact:

She was really pushing hard for it, but I wasn't about to buy that stupid thing for no reason. I know good and well that it would take only a few days for the poor red bird to be relegated to some distant corner of her room, never to be played with again. 

But. I am not above a little bribery. No, not at all, my friends. I made a little deal with her that if she gets through this week without fighting me on bedtime, the bird will be hers. One week. Long enough to get in the habit of an easier bedtime. Short enough to keep the reward in sight. 

I'll let you know how it goes. I think it was easier to hear her cry it out when she was a baby and couldn't talk. I resolve to stay strong. And when this is taken care of, I'll work on getting rid of Davis' pacifier habit. Now that's one I'm really dreading.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm in lu-lu love.

Despite my love of all things I really can't afford, I've never felt that I was above anything at Target. For the last few years, most of my workout apparel has come from Target. I've always loved C9, and really, at those prices, you can pretty much stock up on it. Besides, I've never really wanted to invest big bucks in clothes that I just sweat in.

Recently, though, I've been going to classes at Pure Barre

(Please be aware that I'm kind of hesitant to even admit to going to classes there, just because I feel like if you see me, you're going to be expecting some kind of amazing results, and I don't want to disappoint anyone. Please lower your expectations now.). 

So, I've noticed that all the regulars at Pure Barre do their workouts in lululemon athletic gear. It looks great, so I had to check it out. Naturally, I first looked online, but we have a small showroom here in town, so I had to go check it out in person. That was probably a mistake, at least for my checkbook. I got these two pieces:

 Wunder under crop pants. Seriously, people. You don't know comfort until you've worn these pants. They suck everything in, but in a flattering, no-muffin-top sort of way. I hate all other clothing now. I just want to live in these. All the time. 

lululemon athletica -...

My plan was really just to get these pants and just work out in them with all my Target tops. But then I just had to try on a few tops. And I walked away with this one, the Power Y tank:

Power Y Tank

Love it. It totally stays put during a workout. No riding up. And for those of us who are uh, less fortunate in the chest, the built-in bra offers plenty of support. I love it. I need more of them. So, without further ado, here is my lululemon wishlist:

My friend Heather just got this for her birthday and I am completely jealous. Clearly, it's perfect for fall, so I can't wait until Christmas to get it. It's a must-have. Winter morning runs? Check. Cute for running errands around town with a 2 year old in tow? Check. Comfy. Check. 

See that nice, longer length? How it covers the bum? Love that. Thanks, lulu. But do you have to be SO pricey? 

Last, but only for now, I guess I need some full-length pants, too. It's going to get cold eventually, right? I'll just take a pair of these Astro Pants Thanks.

Santa is definitely getting a lulu wish list from me this year. I have never, ever been a fan of living in lounge wear. I just feel better if I'm dressed. But honestly, if I can wear cute athletic wear that not only feels great for workouts, but looks good for daytime errands, I'm sold. 

Check back with me on Monday, when the topic will be "Crying it out: harder at six years than six months."

Have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tennis date

image credit

Last week I mentioned to you that I had a tennis date with the husband. As you may recall, I started taking tennis lessons back in July (read all about that here). Along with three friends, I've been going to my lesson weekly and I really thought I was getting decent. If you know me, you won't be surprised to hear that I really have no athletic ability whatsoever. For instance, I played soccer for years growing up, but never scored a goal. I have attempted to learn golf, but I rarely make contact with the ball. You get the idea.

You can imagine my surprised delight when I started playing tennis and discovered I could actually hit the ball. After two months of lessons, I was starting to feel pretty confident in my game, so I told the husband I wanted to play with him. Leading up to this game, I was a little cocky. I just kept thinking, "He hasn't played in at least 10 years. I'm gonna totally SCHOOL him on the court. I have fancy tennis clothes and totally look the part, so I will win!"

I guess I overlooked the fact that he is one of the more athletic people I know. He can drive a golf ball, like, 1000 yards. He can run fast when he wants to. And he's just generally agile. I, on the other hand, struggle to stay balanced when walking across a room. It's quite shocking that I can walk at all in heels. Thank God for wedges.

On the court, we started hitting a little, just to warm up. It was clear then that I might be in for a little more of a challenge than I had anticipated. Plus, in our clinics, we'd been playing in more of a doubles format, and really had never played an actual game. After our warm-up. we started our match. And there was no schooling on my part. Morgan pretty much rocked it and beat me quickly in 2 straight sets. You know how many games I won? ONE. One measly little game. Talk about taking me down a notch. He kept putting a fancy backspin on the ball, and I may as well have been playing against Roger Federer. Or at least Andy Roddick. Bottom line, he is good. I actually think he should practice some more and join a team, but he says he's sticking to golf.

Ava wants to get back into lessons once she's finished with soccer next month. Hopefully she won't be able to beat me just yet.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Emmys....Sunday Night Snoozefest

I tried, I really tried. I thought maybe the Emmy Awards would be kind of fun to watch this year, especially with Glee and Modern Family getting so much love. I lasted about an hour, and then it just turned into background noise. I was thrilled that Friday Night Lights finally got the awards it deserved. Connie Britton should have won, too, but at least we got to see Kyle Chandler accept his Emmy.

(An aside: are Eric and Tammy Taylor not just the greatest tv couple? They are the parents I want to be, the friends I want to hang out with. And not seeing a shirtless Tim Riggins every week might just send me into a complete depression. I hear rumors of an FNL movie, though, so all hope is not lost with the show's cancellation).

Okay. Onto Emmy fashion. It was just about as boring as the rest of the show. Lots of red, lots of beige. No real standouts. I had a few favorites, though.

My best dressed of the whole night has to go to Sofia Vergara wearing Vera Wang. She nailed it with color, and that silhouette made her rockin' figure look even better. Jewelry and makeup look great, too. Hollywood glam at its finest.

Emmys: Sofia Vergara
image here

My runners up are Claire Danes, Evan Rachel Wood (although I HATE her hair), Kristin Wiig and  Lea Michele (the back of that dress...omg! love!). 


images here

Now, it utterly pains me to say this, but honestly? I really didn't like Gwyneth's midriff-baring dress. AT ALL. It felt like she was trying too hard. Or something. I don't know. I just kind of hated it. I adore her, think she's gorgeous, and certainly has the body to pull off anything. There was something about how the see-through part was cut that I just didn't think was all that flattering. Her makeup looks pretty, though. And the jewelry is great. What was weird to me was that on the red carpet, she said something like, "I'm just realizing my dress is a little see-through." Um? Really? Because the rest of us noticed the second you stepped onto the red carpet.
Anyway, here's the dress:

Who did you think had the best and worst looks of the night? Feel free to post in the comments!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Friday

I'm excited about this weekend because there is really nothing pressing on our agenda. Ava had early release from school today. In preschool, that would have made me cringe, but now that I feel like I never get to see her, it's great to have her home a little early. Plus, we have nothing to do for the rest of the day, and I'm so happy to just hunker down all afternoon. It's cloudy and only about 60 degrees. I just love fall. And yes, I know it's technically still summer.

One project I have got to tackle this weekend is ordering some pictures. I think it's been a solid 18 months since I ordered any actual photos. They just sit in my computer's hard drive, but not in frames in my house. Silly. Davis' teacher asked that we bring in a photo of our child, as well as a photo of our family for their classroom. That's when it occurred to me that our last family photo that I have a copy of is from when Davis was 6 months old. Oops.

I do have a few of him on my iPhone, though. Do you think I should send this one?

This is one of those pictures I'll have to save for his rehearsal dinner. Poor Davis. I feel bad even posting this. But it's funny. Ava was furious that he had gotten into her shoes. 

Maybe this one is a better choice. He picked fleece Santa pajamas to sleep in the other night. It was probably 92 degrees that day, and I had them out for consignment. It was a battle I didn't care to fight.

For some reason, I love to take pictures of my kids when they're sleeping. It's good to have their finest moments captured on digital film.

Now, for one I really do love. A moment of true affection between siblings:

I'm sure Ava was screaming at him the next minute, but here's proof of how much they (sometimes) love each other. Since Ava has been in school all day, they get along so much better. 

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New favorite read + Missoni for Target.

Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me a link to a hysterical blog, so I had to share with you. It's called Suri's Burn Book. It's basically celebrity trash-talking, as observed by Suri Cruise.
Obviously, it's not REALLY Suri,but just what the writer imagines Suri would say. Except without a pacifier in her mouth, I suppose. It's pretty damn funny. Please take a look.

On a related note, I was reminded this week of a blog I used to read. I'm sure you're familiar with it, but if not, please visit Go Fug Yourself. Celebrity fashion scoop at it's finest. I think writing with the girls from GFY might be my dream job. (You listening, GFY girls? I'm happy to take on freelance assignments.)

Also, speaking of fashion, can you believe all the hype over the Missoni for Target line?
As I'm sure you know by now, the line launched in stores and online yesterday, and it pretty much all sold out by like, 9am. According to George, the man who works at the inside-Target Starbucks, women were lined up at 7:15 am yesterday. The store opens at 8. I went there at 9:30, not to scope out Missoni, but to pick up a prescription. When I pulled up, I remembered that the line was making it's big debut. I had already been disappointed over the summer with the Target collaboration with Calypso, so I just wasn't expecting anything all that great.

I took a quick look and noticed pretty much everything was gone. And frankly, I didn't care. There were some girls' items left, and I could have gotten some cute flats and a dress for Ava, but I decided to pass. To be quite honest, I didn't think any of it felt well-made, and I didn't think the pieces were worth the prices. Let's face it: real designer pieces are expensive in part because of the actual label, but mostly because they are exquisitely made. These pieces were manufactured in China, unlike the real Missoni, which is Italian-made.

The one item I would have like to have gotten my hands on was this throw:
Missoni for Target® Throw - Colore
Target had it for $39.99. And now it's going on eBay for $200. And I think that's stupid. If they get more in, I may pick one up. 

Now I must go tend to my non-napping 2-year-old. Early bedtime, here we come!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


First off, I am so sorry for being the worst blogger ever. I promise to be better moving forward. I feel like time is just being sucked away from me these days. Either I'm not managing my time well, or there just isn't enough of it. Probably a mix of both. Anyway, please expect better from me starting now.

So. I was under the impression that sending my oldest child to school for 7 hours a day would somehow make my life much easier, and I would feel so relaxed, work on projects, keep my house neat as a pin, etc. So far, that is completely not the case. I am frazzled, feeling a little nutty (even more than usual), and utterly exhausted. I'm sure the fact that I get up around 5:30 most days to exercise only increases my exhaustion. But that's my time, and I wouldn't give it up.

I think things will get more normal. I've just had a bunch of little things going on that have kind of prevented me from getting into a real routine. I think I spend more time in my car right now than in my house. First, there's driving to school. That's easy enough - just drop off in carpool line. Then we scoot 5 minutes down the road for Davis' preschool dropoff. No carpool line there (grrr), so we have to get out and walk him into his class. He's doing regular preschool two days a week, and Mother's Morning Out one day. Starting next week, preschool will be from 9-12. Last week and this week, however, it's 9-11. Not long enough to get much of anything done. Luckily for me, Mother's Morning Out is 9-1 from the start, so at least I have that one day.

Once everyone is dropped off, there are errands to be run. Or, if Davis isn't in school, I try to do something to entertain him. Then we get home, have lunch, get him down for a nap, and I try to make my house look like a tornado didn't come through it. After that, I usually have to wake D up to go sit in carpool line at Ava's school. That takes up at least 30 minutes. Thank God for the DVD player in the Odyssey.

Right now, Ava also has soccer and dance. There's generally enough time to scoot home, change clothes, grab a snack, and head back out to one of those activities. I didn't time anything very well, because it seems like most days we're not getting out of her activities until 6 or 6:15. And you know what that means - dinner.

I won't lie to you. My kids have had more ChickFila and McDonald's in the last 2 weeks than I'm comfortable admitting. But in addition to their activities, I've got some of my own. Come on, you can't expect me to give up my tennis lessons now that I'm on my way to becoming the next US Open champion, can you? (More on that later in the week, by the way). The point is that a homemade meal is not always an option.

I used have mixed emotions about weekends. (The following may offend some of you who can't stand to be away from your kids, but I like to keep things real here.) I was always excited that the husband was going to be around to help with Ava and Davis, but I also kind of cringed at the thought of keeping everyone entertained and happy all weekend. Now, though, I really do like the weekends. I feel like I hardly see Ava during the week, so I'm finding that I look forward to some one-on-one time with her.

The other nice thing is that since Ava and Davis aren't together 24/7, they are getting along really well (as far as siblings go). The end of the summer brought endless bickering, but some separation seems to have rekindled their love. Sure, there's still fighting, some inappropriate name-calling ("poopie head" comes to mind), and even some hitting, but more than that, there's a lot of affection. And that makes me happy.

So, bear with me. I'm still adjusting to this new, hectic schedule. I'm sure in a few weeks it will feel routine and not so crazy. At least, I sure do hope so.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

More Gwyneth Love (just call me a stalker)

If you're a regular reader, you know my love for Gwyneth Paltrow is unending. Well, her latest blog post on GOOP just makes me love her all the more. She chronicled her recent trip to the Venice Film Festival, where she was promoting the Steven Soderbergh-produced film, "Contagion."  If you didn't think she lived a charmed life before, you will now. When hanging out with Matt Damon is just part of your daily life, you're a lucky girl.

And when you get to rock this Prada dress at your film premier? Well, heads turn. And other girls get REALLY jealous. Seriously, this dress is the ultimate blend of high fashion and girlie perfection. I am smitten.

images via

And then I love how cool she looks all dressed down, heading to the airport;

image via
Can I also mention how badly I'm wanting to go to Venice now? 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day. Good times.

Happy long weekend, everyone. It's been a good one around here after the first week of Kindergarten. I'm happy to report that Ava likes her new school, even if the days are a little on the long side.

The husband and I got a little time to ourselves on Saturday at the UNC/JMU game. Yesterday was a full and fun-packed afternoon at the pool. We thought it would be nice to let Davis skip his nap and just spend the day in the water. Ah, the best-laid plans. In the 5 minutes it takes to drive to the pool, he fell asleep. So, Morgan let him sleep a little, then met up with Ava and me. I should mention here that Davis is one heck of a good napper. There's no playing in the crib. No stalling. Just sleep. He loves his nap. But it was a holiday weekend, so we messed around. We managed to play at the pool for 5 hours, then showered the kids, and everyone was asleep early.


Early to bed means early to rise, and I heard Davis jumping around in his crib at 6am. I was in an Ambien-induced coma, and I think he was actually awake for several minutes before my brain even registered what I was hearing. I know lots of people have kids that get up early, but I've always been lucky in that mine are reasonable in their waking hours. As luck would have it, just as I realized Davis was up, Ava was at my bedside complaining of a "bad dream" (suspicious). So everyone was just up and ready to go. And it was still dark outside. Grrr.

This brings me to the highlight of the weekend. While I went for a run this morning, the husband took the kids to Dunkin Donuts and then to the park. When he got back, we headed to the pool. Again. I knew Davis was tired, but I figured he would be fine once he started playing. Aside from the fact that he catapults himself around the baby pool, narrowly missing the wall each time he lands, he was good at the pool. Up until the point when he wasn't good. And then all hell broke loose.

We I thought that maybe we could get the kids some lunch. Never mind that it was 1pm, and on a normal, non-6am-waking day, Davis is napping by 1:30. Never mind that he was clearly tired and grumpy. It was the last day of the pool, dammit! We were staying!

Well, you know how it went. He wanted ketchup for his hot dog. We didn't put the ketchup in the right place. We decided to pack up the food and head home. Trying to get clothes on him was like trying to dress an alligator. I think his screams could be heard throughout the pool, and probably into the neighboring houses.

I was beyond mortified. I know, I know. We've all been there. No one is really judging, right? But when your kid is the one having the tantrum, it sure does feel like everyone is staring. In our case, I'm pretty sure they were. Really. He was THAT loud. It was terrible.

Within about two minutes of me wrestling him into his car seat, he was snoring in the back seat. As the husband said later, "Well, we played with dynamite, and we got burned."

He's right.

Never mess around with a 2 year old's naptime.

xoxo,Publish Post