Thursday, April 10, 2014

Getting my fix on!

I guess I've been living under a rock or maybe we can chalk it up to adoption and moving? But I hadn't heard of Stitch Fix until I saw a friend post her Stitch Fix link on Facebook. I clicked through to check it out and I was intrigued. As much as I love clothes, I don't particularly enjoy the act of shopping.  When I go to a store it is because I know exactly what I'm looking for. I get it and I'm out.

I went straight to work filling out the detailed Stitch Fix survey. Geek alert - I secretly love surveys.   I told them my height, weight, average clothing size. The kinds of styles I like, the items I want more of and the price range I'm willing to spend on each category. Then I scheduled my first fix for the week of April 7th and waited.

Here is the photo I said was most like my style in the selections they provide. They call this "casual chic," which is  funny because I call it "I'm a stay at home mom so it really doesn't matter what I look like." But I'll take "casual chic."

April 10th, 2014 Ta-da.... there is a personal stylist on my doorstep - actually it's my Fed Ex guy with my very first Stitch Fix - potatoe potato! I got some new clothes and didn't even have to pick them out.

Here are my five items...

1 scarf, 2 shirts, 1 pair of pants, and 1 dress

Here is the Styling guide that came with my clothes - cool little idea.

Here's how it looked when I opened the box...

And I see pattern... this is quite foreign to my closet but we will see how this goes...

So outfit number one... the purpley tank with pockets and the "pants"... Before we go any further I have to address the fashion issue that could be one of my biggest pet peeves - LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS - let me expand on that and say leggings are especially not pants for those of us in the 40+ club. Now having said that if you want to continue to subscribe to the notion that leggings are not pants DO NOT buy these leggings - OH! MY! WORD! So comfortable that they make me simply want to buy long tunics and only tops that cover my bottom so I can wear them every day. They are thicker than typical leggings and my girls even asked if they were jeans when I modeled them for them. So forgive me if you see me committing this fashion faux pas - I'm sorry they are just so comfy.

Opinions on the purpley tank & black "pants" ;-)

The daughters...

Kennedy - thumbs up
Terry - That's cute
Ryan - Oh I like it

The husband...
That's cute.

The bat wing cream colored top

Okay I know this totally washes me out, but my current "go to" top - as in if it's clean I'm wearing it, is a very similar design in my signature black. So I really think if I can add some color, or maybe a black scarf I will wear this comfy cosy top. 

Opinions on the bat wing cream colored top that washes me out

The daughters...

Kennedy - Yeah
Terry - That's nice
Ryan - Nice

The husband... 
I like the other top better

The very big scarf ...

Again - not my colors (though I do like the leopard print)  but keeping in mind that if I keep all 5 of my items I get 25% off and this is the cheapest item it may just make the cut.

Everyone agreed - the scarf didn't do anything for me - so if I keep it I will need to put it away as a gift for future use because it is very nice just not my color.

My photographer got silly while I was changing outfits. 

Looking totally unimpressed with my favorite item in the box. Awkward.

Opinions on the black & white stripe fit & flare dress

The daughters...

Kennedy - you look like you are going sailing
Terry - that's my favorite
Ryan - very nice dress 

The husband...
Wow - you need to keep that. :) 

So this was a cool thing for me to try. If you are a stay at home mom like me you spend most of your shopping time keeping your growing kiddos in jeans that aren't flood pants and shoes that don't cramp toes. New clothes for mom are usually a luxury even if they come from Target while you are there getting a jug of milk. So this was a rare treat for me but given my stylist Rachel's success I may try it again in a few months.

So now if you think you might want to show yourself some love and try it out you may be wondering.... "How does this Stitch fix thing work exactly?"


If you haven't yet clicked on one of my referral links (hint, hint) you can do that now and as a thank you Stitch Fix will give me a $25 credit towards my next fix. So let me thank you in advance. :-) Bonus you get your own personal referal link when you sign up for your first fix. From there it is very self explanatory. You create your personal style profile, pay the $20 styling fee (which you can use as credit even if you keep only 1 of the 5 items they send you), schedule your Stitch Fix delivery. After you receive your parcel you have three days to decide what you like and want to keep - love it all - keep it all and in addition to your $20 styling fee credit you will get 25% off everything. Don't love it all? Pop the returns in the postage paid envelope and be sure it's postmarked within 3 days so you don't get charged for your items you don't want.

You can schedule to receive an automatic fix monthly - or like I did just schedule one to try it out. I'm thinking I may schedule 1 fix per season - so my first fix was my spring fix. I will go ahead and leave feedback for my stylist about what I liked/didn't like and what just didn't work for me and hope for a great summer fix. That's the other great thing is that you can go in and update your profile and leave notes for your stylist if something changes. i.e weight, style needs due to a new job, a wedding you need to attend etc... Pretty cool and I didn't have to leave the house.

By the way, if you haven't guessed by now - I'm keeping everything! That gives me the 25% discount so it works out to about $40 per item. Not too shabby for sitting at home having someone else look at my profile and pick things out for me - everything fit perfectly. 

Gotta go update my Pinterest style board for my next fix! Casual chic stay at home mama signing off!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Happy (first) birthday party!

He is 13!!!!

It's amazing how quickly they grow up when you start parenting them so late. ;)

The birthday boy isn't a fan of cake, so I made individual chocolate chip cookie "cakes," frosted them and added M&M's to make them look like Lego pieces. Thank you Pinterest

S had a Lego movie themed birthday party. It was his first official birthday party ever and we were able to have it on his actual birthday. He was so excited I can only compare it to when my friends had an adoption shower for him and I came home with all the gifts for him. Although his adoption was finalized a few weeks prior to his 12th birthday we chose to celebrate that birthday with just dinner out as a family. All the attention and excitement from Christmas was a lot and we wanted to keep the 12th birthday small.

You only become a teenager once in your lifetime. :)
So there had to be a party. 

This is also his first season ever playing basketball. He has an awesome coach. S is doing well, having fun and making some great friends. It was fun for Michael and I to spend a little time getting to know these boys a bit off of the basketball court. They were all very polite boys. Loud, yes... but still polite. :)
Seeing as we just moved to the area a few months ago and we don't know any of these boys parents we were very thankful they let their sons come and join S for his first 13th birthday party.

I love that they pray before each game - I snapped this as I was bowing my head in the stands and didn't see until I reviewed the pictures he spent prayer time tying his sneakers. Still getting used to the whole church thing. 

His very first basketball game ever and he takes the tip off - proud mom & dad in the stands. 

The party was fun and we enjoy watching him play basketball. But life at home still certainly has it's struggles. School is still a challenge, or should I say homework is still a challenge. He will be starting Middle School this fall and I'm really trying to balance helping his learning with leaving him with more of the responsibility of completing his work. 

It doesn't make for good mother/son bonding time.  :( 

On another note Michael & I are now officially the parents of FOUR teenagers ...  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Anybody there?

It's been a long time since I've even visited my blog so I won't be surprised to find myself alone here now. :)

So much has happened for our family in the past few months. Not the least of which is a relocation to North Carolina. Leaving Florida was hard to say the least, but North Carolina still has beautiful weather and is a full 10 hours closer to home in Canada. We've already made the drive once - 20 hours feels better than 30 - let's just leave it at that. Everything is relative I know.

When we went to Canada in August we attended Michael's dad's funeral. Then celebrated my brother's 40th birthday on what was also his wedding day. We were only home for a week but it was jam packed with emotion. Adding 20+ hours of driving on either end of that didn't exactly lessen the stressfulness. But we are settling in well to our new surroundings.

Michael likes his new office and his new commute is a breeze compared to Tampa. K is finally getting going in Vocational training - her first pre-placement assessment is actually tomorrow. She is anxious to get to work and start earning some money. She tells me everyday about gifts she is going to buy everyone for Christmas. I don't know what job she will have but if her Christmas shopping list is any indication it's going to pay very well. :) T is getting through her college classes and looking at finishing up her two year stint at community college over this coming summer - "smarty pants." It's amazing how the thought of moving out of one's parent's home can serve to boost your scholastic endeavors. She will be attending a State college fall of 2014 instead of fall 2015. We are very proud of how hard she works. R is in eighth grade at a very different middle school - we certainly lived in a bubble in FishHawk. She is seeing what I believe to be a more realistic view of society. She is doing well in her classes and making friends. She actually had her first sleepover here on Friday night. R is still really missing her FL friends and I'm hopeful that she will understand making new friends here doesn't mean she has to forget about her old friends in FL. S is in a great little elementary school just a couple of streets over from our house. He is doing well socially - as expected - and continues to struggle academically - also as expected. :( First parent teacher conference is tomorrow afternoon. His teachers are great and I'm anxious to have a good sit down and see what they have for feedback on his school experience. As for me I've been working away at things around the house and obviously keeping busy as a chauffeur for the kiddos.

Considering this is an adoption blog.... how's it going? Well it's going. Day by day and week by week. We still struggle daily with things that are assumed by us to be common knowledge to S. So often we are wrong. There are so many things he doesn't know - his shampoo or soap runs out, he'll let me know right? No. Vocabulary is a constant struggle - language barriers are minimal but certainly a complete understanding of the English language is not there. Not understanding vocabulary and continuing to struggle with reading inhibit all of his other subjects at school. We push forward and celebrate the fact that he is a happy and friendly little man with a heart of gold. Soft, tender, mushy gold.

How about a few (dozens) okay a few photos to end on?

The newlyweds in Canada on August 17th. 

Always fun to see cousins in Canada.

 The new house in NC comes with lots of trees and that means new yard work with dad - a woodsplitter is a good time. 

We haven't seen autumn foliage since 2005. The beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. 

 S had never seen trees like this before - he wasn't overly impressed ??????

T turned 18! Oh my!

Campfires in the new backyard - s'mores - YUM!

R got braces.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Something different.

I'm taking a little venture away from adoption and family today. I'm actually going to share a little about  me.

After my children were born I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. That diagnosis was more specified after we moved to Florida and I began seeing an Endocrinologist and I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. The symptoms of Hashimoto's include fatigue and weight gain. I had always been able to control my weight with exercise and healthy eating. Always that was until around my 37th birthday - an extra 5 pounds - no big deal... that turned into 10 which turned into 15 which turned in to 20, well you get the picture. No matter how much I exercised and made healthy eating choices - all the things that were previously able to get my weight (if not my fatigue) in check. Nothing worked anymore. When I went for my annual physical I had high cholesterol - WHAT? When I visited my Endocrinologist in February of 2013 I was sharing with her - and she could see on my chart my steady weight gain over the past 5 years. Her response was "This is your life now." Skinny young Dr lady say what? Nothing "inspires " me more than to have someone tell me I can't do something. My thyroid levels were good on paper but my body was telling me differently. I was exhausted - battling to squeeze into my most generous sized jeans and falling asleep sitting on the couch in the early afternoon.

I had been following my friend's weight loss success on Facebook. At that time she had lost 62 pounds - now she has lost over 72 pounds. She was looking amazing and yes it looked too good to be true. But I was feeling desperate and my increased exercise and healthy eating was proving my sweet Endo correct - this continuing weight gain seemed to be my new normal. So I contacted my friend to find out what was the secret to her success.

Her secret is Omnitrition. What did I have to lose? Frankly 20-25 lbs is what I had to lose. Well Omnitrition helped me do just that. I started taking Omni Drops on February 23, 2013. By the end of April 2013 I had lost 22 pounds. Victory!!! Of course losing weight was one thing - keeping it off would be quite something else. I know, very pessimistic of me - but I prefer to say I was trying to be realistic. If history was any predictor those 22 pounds would surely find their way back. I'm happy to report it has now been 2 months - and I've maintained my loss!!! WOO HOO! Not only have I maintained my loss - I have maintained it while celebrating two daughter's high school graduations and moving ourselves four states away. No stress there right? No cause for emotional eating, celebratory indulgences. Oh I did both - but thanks to the reset with Omni Drops and great supportive vitamins and supplements that I continue to take my weight has not wavered more than 3-4 pounds and has easily gone back to my end of April weight.

Please do not confuse my weight loss success with curing my Hashimoto's - that will never happen. What Omnitrition has done is let me feel comfortable in my clothes, I am energized like I haven't been in many years, I'm sleeping soundly and waking up feeling rested. I still start every day with my Dr prescribed thyroid medications. I will continue to have my cholesterol and thyroid levels checked regularly. Omni has given me a quality of life that I haven't had in a long time.

So what does my 22 pound loss look like? Here you go.... when I took this after photo I was only at  -21.6 pounds. I actually lost exactly 22 pounds. Cool tip - taking a photo without a flash makes you look like you have a tan - I do not have a tan.

Do you have weight to lose? Are you chronically tired? Have trouble sleeping? I'd love the opportunity to share Omnitrition with you. Contact me at

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Another graduation...

Graduations are such momentous events. I was looking forward to the days when my two eldest daughters graduated high school but I truly don't think I was prepared for the emotion of it all. I already posted T's photos from her graduation. K graduated a few days later, here are her photos.

The girls graduations were each held at the Florida State Fairgrounds. The marquee on T's graduation day looked like this:

By K's grad day it looked like this - considering the occasion correct spelling is important no? ;)

Gram helping the graduate with her tassel.

Looking for us in the crowd - she said she never did see us. :(


The moment that "got me" in each of the girl's ceremonies was when they were proclaimed "Graduating class of 2013" and the entire class moved their tassels - I don't have one good photo of either graduating class turning their tassels because it's difficult to take a good photo with a trembling hand and blurry eyes. 

That laugh melts my heart.

Congratulations to our eldest daughter. We have never been more proud of you. 

Special occasions call for special celebrations....

When your graduating senior chooses to forgo her senior prom you still want to be sure she has a memorable evening to commemorate this very special occasion. In two past years K has attended the Best Buddies dance but she didn't go this year. Only once in all four high school years did she attend homecoming, T went with her. However when it came to her senior prom we were hoping she would go. When she told us she wanted to buy a prom dress and NOT go to prom, that didn't surprise us. We told her we would buy her a prom dress and we would celebrate as a family with dinner out at a nice restaurant while Grammy & Grampy were here for graduations. That seemed to please her.

Prom or not every girl needs a pretty corsage for her special evening out.

A couple of dapper looking dudes.

For those who know K you will understand why I had to post so many photos.
For those of you who don't know K allow me to explain. 
1. K doesn't like to have her photo taken.
2. K doesn't smile all that often.

I hope that clarifies why we needed so many photos and why I'm sharing so many here.


At this point I may need to remind you this celebration was mainly about K - but it sure looks like Grampy & S were enjoying themselves in the limo.

Cheers with littlest sister....

... and Gram & Gramp.

Grampy had fun with all the buttons..

Each of the boys had their turn sitting with the grandparents for a photo.

Mama and her girlies.

We arrived at Bern's Steak House - R and Gram look so cute in this great big chair in the waiting area.

Our private dining room - such a cool experience. Our waiter was great. He told us this room was popular with the secret service when past presidents have dined there because there are two entrances/exits to the room. Cool. We also toured the huge kitchen, the wine cellar and finished the evening with dessert in the Harry Waugh Dessert Room. I now understand why people say they sometimes go just for dessert. Impressive.

R is going to eat her veggies. 

We love you K - we enjoyed spending this special evening with you.