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the prodigal returns OR the stitch fix is here!


I’m not even going to bother to apologize for my vast absence. Nor am I going to pretend that I’ll be able to start blogging regularly again. Between juggling my active family, teaching full time, and working as a travel planner part-time, I have exactly zero free time.


This seemed blog worthy: My first Stitch Fix box. For those who don’t know, Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service. You register and complete a style profile, and then a personal stylist shops for you and sends clothing/accessories that are tailored to your style. You can specify if you want business, casual, or dressy pieces, and they’ll send you 5 items. You can choose to keep all 5 or zero or something in between. If you don’t keep any items, you pay a $20 styling fee, but it’s applied towards your order when you keep something. {However, you get a 25% discount if you keep all 5 items.} If you’d like to check it out, please click this link {full disclosure: I get “credits” for anyone who orders a Fix.} You can even sign up to have a monthly delivery!

So, after weeks of waiting, my box finally arrived. Wanna see what they sent?  Of course you do.

Hurry up and open it already!


I actually squealed when I opened it. This week, I had been wishing for red pants, and lo and behold, there they were. AND, navy is one of my most frequently worn colors, so the two pieces in the box also had me excited. AND my obsession with the chevron is legendary, so that top jumped right out at me as well. This is gonna be fun…





The red pants are by Margaret M and cost $98.00 They are skinny and would work with ballet flats for fall/spring or boots for winter weather. My husband thought they were a bit too big, but I really like the color and do not believe the next size down would fit. Plus, you can’t exchange for a smaller size; it’s all or nothing.


The black and white chevron blouse is lightweight and works for layering or possibly on its own in warmer weather. I like the pleat detail on the back, and love chevrons, so this was a no-brainer. It’s by Fiancee and costs $38.00.



This shirt from Tart ($58.00) is navy and cream striped with a sequined design on each shoulder. While I’m not in love with the design, I don’t hate it either. Plus, the shirt is lightweight and can easily be layered under a cardi, so the sequins become a non-issue. I’ve been wanting a navy & cream striped shirt for a while, and when one arrives on my doorstep, I don’t argue.




This longsleeved navy blue cardigan by 41Hawthorn is just my style. Simple. Versatile. A closet staple. And for $48, I’m in.



The last item was a very long know necklace by Rikka. ($32.00). I’m not crazy about it and my fantastic husband just got me something similar, but it’s a much better deal to keep it since I’m keeping the other 4 items. I would probably have been more excited had I not just gotten something like it, but I think that for future Fixes, I may specify no jewelry.

The total cost for all 5 items was $274.00. Less the $20 styling fee credit and the 25% discount, I got all 5 items for $190.50.

All in all, I LOVED my Fix and have to apply serious personal restraint not to sign up for another one straight away. You should DEFINITELY scope it out. Now. Get to it!


do you have two thumbs?



About two weeks ago, over an innocent lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I found myself suddenly living out a moment that I’ve imagined countless times in my mind- Pete discovered that his left hand is different.


I’m not even totally sure how it started. I think Emerson was saying something like “If we all pitch in to clean up, it will go faster because four hands work better than two.” And she started figuring out how many hands we have in our whole family. Pete, for his part, was not paying much attention at all, but then Emerson said something about her thumbs and then said (with the utmost sincerity, kindness, and blunt honesty that only a sibling can give) “Pete, you only have ONE thumb.”

P- “One thumb?”

E- “Yes, you only have a thumb on your right hand but not on your left.”

P- “Emer, {his nickname for her} how many thumbs do YOU have.”

E- “2.”

P- “Mama, how many thumbs do you have?”

me- “I have two, Pete. Most people have two thumbs, but God made your hands different because he knew that you were smart enough to figure out how to do things even with just one thumb.”

P- “Iris {our nanny}, how many thumbs do YOU have?”

I- “2, Peter.”

He looked at his hands for all of 5 seconds and declared, “I have two thumbs as well.” And with that, while I had tears in my eyes {both pride that he was so confortable with himself and sadness that we even needed to have this conversation in the first place}, my kids went back to eating PB & J and talking about Jake and the Neverland Pirates. The moment was totally surreal, but it was not to be the last of its kind.


A few days later, we ran into my dad at the YMCA and while they were playing, I heard him ask “Gwapa, do you have 2 thumbs?” My dad confirmed that he does indeed have 2, and that was that. Pete seemed to just want to check it out, but wasn’t lingering on it.


Until this weekend. Emerson and I were in Colorado for a wedding and the boys were hanging around here. At one point, Jeff was pushing him on the swings in our yard, and Pete became very quiet. Jeff thought he might have dozed off and said “Hey, Peter, are you awake?” Quietly, sadly, he said to Jeff, “I only have one thumb.” He was sitting there, thinking about the fact that his hand is different. The kid is not even 2 1/2 years old, but he’s already so introspective. And we can see that it’s hurting his feelings to know that he’s not the same as everyone else.


Break my heart. Break my freaking heart.


As his mom, I just want to FIX this for him. But that’s not a realistic possibility. And while he is A-MAZ-ING at the things he can do on his own, the fact of the matter is that he will always look different. Now, I’m a firm believer that he needs to know from the get-go that YES, his hand and arm are different but that he is totally “normal,” and according to Psalm 139, he’s “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God. I don’t want to hide his differences from him or keep it a secret. My feeling is that I’d rather he hear it from us than from some punk-assed 7 year old on the playground at school. I’d rather arm him {pardon the pun} with the feeling that he’s different but equally awesome so that when that day comes (and, unfortunately, I know it’s coming), he’ll have the confidence in himself to shrug it off and move on.


In my heart, I know that he’ll find some great friends, and even a great girl that would love him just as he is. Check out this picture… He’s so blessed to know that type of love his entire life. This is my absolute favorite picture from this summer. She’s holding his LEFT hand! There will be more bumps in the road, Bug, but always know that you are loved and You. Are. Awesome!



can we talk about pete for a minute?

This boy is just about the sweetest thing ever. Sure, he flops on the floor when he doesn't get his way. And he's a rotten listener, especially when someone suggests that he cleans up his toys. And he's into everything. He's so curious to see how things work and what makes this or that happen. Yep, he's definitely a BOY. But he is also so generous and sweet and loving. Most mornings, he gets up and his first words to me are "Good morning, Mama. How was your sleeps?" Some lucky days {like today}, we get to snuggle in my bed for a bit and he'll gently rub my face and dish out the complements. "I like your brown eyes, Mama."  "I like your soft cheeks."  Sigh.

He's also just about the most generous person on two feet. Without fail, whenever he gets a treat of some type (Skittles, ice cream, granola bar, you name it), he always  says "Would you like a taste, Mama?" And when Emerson begs a taste, his standard response is "Sure. Sure." Love that boy.

He's a lover too. When he sees that Em is upset about something, he'll come over and snug her or rub her back. And she's generally less than enthusiastic about this, but that doesn't stop him. The very next time she's upset, her little brother is right by her side. And his Mama falls a bit more in love with him each time.

Thanks, God, for sending us such an amazing little man. May he be a role model for our whole family!


celebrating 5!

Somewhere along the way, the summer has slipped through my grasp like grains of sand at the beach. I go back to teaching in less than 2 weeks. What the heck?!?!?


Speaking of time slipping by at warp speed, guess who is turning FIVE this week?? Miss Emerson B! We had the big birthday bash today, and we used a Candyland theme. A pretty loose Candyland theme. Think of it more like “Emerson’s Candy Fantasy.”  We had 10 kiddos here for games, songs, and of course, the Candy Bar. Enjoy the pics!

This greeted guests as they came in the front door. Jeff had the great idea to wrap PVC pipes to make giant peppermint sticks. A great touch!


We used our Cricut to make a few things, including the sign that said (as per Herself’s request) “Welcome to Girling Candyland. Come on in!” And I loved the paper honeycomb balls wrapped in iridescent cellophane to make giant candies. Thanks, Pinterest! Emerson was so proud to be able to help (and it gave her some great tying practice too.)


I have a friend with a cookie decorating business, and she made some Candyland game piece cookies for each guest to take home. They were darling!


The Candy Bar was the centerpiece. After the guests arrived, I told them the only rule for our party: You can eat as MUCH candy as you like! Their eyes were as big as their smiles when they heard that. Although 2 kiddos told me that they would get cavities or tummy aches from our party. I reassured them that one day off the wagon would be ok.




Instead of a cake, we made simple cupcakes and the kids decorated them however they wished with candy.


Emerson has such wonderful friends. We are truly blessed. Happy Birthday, Big Girl!





things she says

In the last couple of days, Emerson has had me holding my sides with laughter. There's no possible way these will be as funny to you, but I MUST write them down so that I remember them. Again, go with me here...

E (on the phone, frantically)- "Mama, Mama! I need you to do me a HUGE favor when you get home."

Me- "Sure, what is it?"

E- "Whatever you do, PLEASE don't mop the floor. That's the favor."

Me- "I think I can handle that."

E (apropos of nothing)- "Mama, do you wanna know what my favorite part of the Monster Truck Jam was?"

{Mind you, this took place in February and it's now July, but whatever.}

Me- "Yes, actually, I DO want to know."

E- "It was the cotton candy. Cotton candy is my favorite type of cotton AND it's my favorite thing about the Monster Truck Jam."


Me (at bedtime during prayers)- "Em, what do you want to thank God for today?"

E- "You. I think you're the greatest person I know. I guess I should have said that on Mother's Day, right?"

Me- "Oh, I don't know about that. It sounds just as nice to me on July 20!"

{I added this one in because I know that she won't be saying this to me in 10 years.}

{also during our bedtime, during our Sing, Sing, Sing Goodnight song}

Me- "Sing, sing, sing goodnight. Sing goodnight to the pool..."

{We usually only sing goodnight to people, so this struck her as a bit odd.}

Em- "Sing goodnight to the POOL?!?! What in the world???!?!!" And then she dissolved in to a fit of giggles.

I told her that her friends are so lucky to have her because she is a funny, funny girl.


go with me here

Often times, I think of my blog as my personal journal, and I forget that anyone reads it. And with my sporadic posts this year, I'm sure there are hardly any readers. So forgive this self-serving post, but Emerson shared a bedtime story with me tonight that had me in stitches and I need a place to record it ASAP.

I went in to give her a hug at bedtime, and she's under the covers in her "cave," talking to her buddies.

E- "Mama, wanna hear a story about Stuffy? (her 5 foot long stuffed dragon that she won at Disney World last year."

Me- "Sure, Big."

E- "Well, back in the days, before he came to live at Disney World, he was a REAL fire-breathing dragon. And Teddy {picture a small brown bear the size of a Beanie Baby} was a Knight. He had on the full armor of God {she's been listening to the soundtrack from Backyard Bible Camp NONSTOP ever since the second week of June. It's hard to say no to Jesus music, but I'm ready to go postal on these same 6 songs!} He had the Helmet of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness.


He didn't have the shoes because they didn't have any in his size, so I had to rent some for him."

Me- "Wow, Teddy! I had no idea that you had lead this adventuresome previous life as a Knight in the Full Armor of God!"

I then gave her the hug and told her to keep dreaming and sharing her story with her buddies.

She's something, that one.


my sweet boy

I’m just totally in love with this sweet boy these days. Sure, he has about 4 flop-on-the-floor tantrums everyday, and yes, his favorite saying right now is “I can do it all. By. Myself.” {and he really says it like that!"}, but I just can’t get enough Pete. And I thought I’d share.


One of the things I love the most about him right now is that he genuinely seems to GET the concept of gratitude. {I wish he’d teach his sister!} Every night during our prayers, I’ll say “What would you like to thank God for today?” and he’ll respond with some great answer- not just the last thing we did that day, and not always right away either. Sometimes he needs to think on it for 30 seconds or so. And then he’ll pipe up with something like “Getting to see our cousins,” or “Being with Grandma and Grandpa,” or “Playing fort with my sister.”

Seriously. He GETS it! And he’ll randomly tell me that he loves me during the day. AND he thanks me for stuff. Like today- it’s 157 degrees here {again!} and he particularly enjoyed a refreshing drink of cranberry juice. He was quietly drinking it for a few minutes and then said, “Thank you for getting my juice to me, Mama. It’s tasty.”



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