Monday, August 5, 2013

Virtual Empty Canyon

Hello! (Hello! Hello!) I realize that being gone for almost a year means I'm probably shouting into a virtual empty canyon, but if anyone is out there, I think I'm going to give blogging another try. Hopefully. We'll see how it goes.

Where have I been for a year? Mainly, I've been trying to keep up with this young lady:

This is my daughter C, who just turned a year old on Saturday. She is a delight in every way, but being her mother, being Cary's wife, and working full-time has meant that what I'm wearing has moved to the back burner. And what I have to say about what I'm wearing has been removed from the stove altogether. Add that to the fact that most of my pre-pregnancy clothes haven't fit until recently, and you have an explanation for where I've been for a year.

But. BUT. I like writing, and I like clothes. I feel good about my forever-different body, and now that I have a toddler instead of an infant, I feel like I have my feet back under me enough to spend time on a little more than baby, marriage, and work. I definitely don't think this blog will look like it did before; in fact, I have no idea what it will look like. But it's a good creative outlet. When C grows up, I want her to know that I did creative things. And I'm pretty sure collapsing in front of The West Wing on Netflix doesn't count as creative.

Also, I just noticed that I have eleventy jillion pictures of C, and very few of me in the last year. I read Allison Tate's wonderful essay, "The Mom Stays in the Picture," last year, and I want to stay in the picture too. To that end, here's a picture of C and me at the Jacksonville Zoo in June:

This is her "put me down" face.
So off I go into the virtual empty canyon. Feel free to jump on a burro and follow along. Am I really talking about burros? This metaphor is falling apart. Until next time, reader(s).

Monday, October 15, 2012

Back, Maybe?

Hey everyone. Sorry I fell off the face of the internet for four months. To quote Inigo Montoya, let me splain. No, there is no time. Let me sum up.

I have a two-month-old baby, so my wardrobe, time, and energy are a bit limited. That's the quick summary.

The longer version: as my pregnancy progressed, I started to hate my wardrobe. You would too, if you'd been wearing the same 10 pieces for nine months. So getting dressed in the morning wasn't very inspiring. Then at the beginning of July, I started having contractions and had to spend a week on bed rest to keep from going into labor, so I wore pajamas a lot. I got to go back to work, but only half days until my maternity leave started. Not very encouraging in terms of creative dressing.

And then my daughter was born on August 3! She is practically perfect in every way, and such a petite little peanut - 6 lbs 6 oz and 20 inches at birth, and about 10 lbs now, at 10 weeks old. Her birth was pretty easy for me - I had a scheduled c-section because she was breech, so I got a full night's sleep the night before and never had to be in labor. My recovery was quick, and I am enjoying my time at home with her so much. I'm on maternity leave until January, so I have lots of time to spend with her (although it still doesn't feel like enough!).

Here we are on her birthday.
About eight weeks old, showing off our love for shoes.
Unfortunately, a lot of my prepregnancy clothes still don't fit right. I'm only about 10 lbs away from my prepregnancy weight, but my shape is different now, so I wear the same clothes a lot. I want to try to keep up with at least some outfit posts, but I'll probably be pretty infrequent until the Peanut is a little bigger and I'm a little smaller! But in the meantime, I wanted to let whoever's still out there know that we're happy and well. And show off pictures of the Peanut. I mean, look at her. Who wouldn't?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Baby Shower Convert

My sister-in-law Beth, my awesome nephew F, and me
F and me, chillin' with a giant pile of presents
My in-laws: Cary's aunts, sister-in-law, and mom (to the right of me). Love these people!
Academia: I have long been uncomfortable at baby showers. For a long time, that was because I was trying to get pregnant and baby showers were sad for me, but even before that, I had a hard time finding things to talk about at showers. I was always the only childless person at them, and what did I know about bottles, diapers, and nursing covers? I went to a shower once when people oohed and aahed over what I swear was a disembodied arm designed to simulate the weight of a mom's arm to comfort the baby in mom's absence, while I sat there with my mouth hanging open. I am so not making this up, but the internet has completely failed me and I can't find a picture. What should I search for - "disembodied arm for baby?" It was the weirdest moment in a long history of weird baby shower moments.

But. BUT. I have discovered that when you are the mom-to-be, baby showers are wonderful. There's yummy food, you finally have something to contribute to conversations about swaddling blankets (aside: my fabulous sister Suzanne got me these and they are so soft, I might steal them for myself and let Baby C deal with it. I have actually had dreams about the softness of these blankets), and you get so. many. presents. Plus, you're surrounded by people who love you and your baby. What could be better?

I've had two showers now: one at Cary's work, and one on Saturday, hosted by my priest's wife and attended by lots of church ladies, plus several of my in-laws (Cary's mom, sister-in-law, and two of his aunts), my sister, and the most fascinating baby on the planet, my nephew F. Both were great, but the presence of family at Saturday's shower made it extra special. It was such a lovely afternoon, and I left feeling so grateful that my baby has so many people supporting her and praying for her before she's even born. The baby shower lovers have won me over - I can't wait for the next one (even the next one that's not mine)!

Sartorial: You can't see my whole outfit in these pictures (many thanks to my mother-in-law for taking and sharing them), but this is what I wore to the shower. This dress was cool and comfy in the June heat, and I think the flower in my hair added just the right amount of whimsy. I felt pretty and maternal all afternoon.

Bonus Sartorial: My nephew F is wearing a tiny polo onesie and tiny khaki pants. Isn't he the preppiest little thing you've ever seen? I could just eat him up.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Parenting Practice

Academia: I'm still off conferencing in Houston, and hopefully will be able to report to you next week that it went well (I'm writing this on Sunday night before leaving). In the meantime, I give you another outfit I wore last week, on a day when the students were really wearing me down. It wasn't a bad day at all, but just a day in which everyone had a question, or a weird problem, or a complaint.

It was exhausting, but in a way, probably good practice for parenthood. After all, Baby C will be here soon and she will need me way more than any student I've ever had. I'm sure it will feel different - I'll love my daughter more and differently than my students, which will make meeting her needs easier in some ways. But there will probably also be days when I feel run down by how dependent she will be on her dad and me. For those days, my job can be an excellent warm-up.

Sartorial: Wearing fun clothes can make tiring days a little better. Bright purple and red, comfortable jeans, and a big flower in my hair all make me smile. That's something to keep in mind for those inevitably tiring days with Baby C: putting on happy clothes might help ease that worn-out new mommy feeling.

To any moms reading this, how did you make yourself feel a bit more human on long days with your baby?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Conferencing in the Lone Star State

Academia: Happy Memorial Day, y'all! I hope anyone reading this in the US is enjoying the holiday (and if you're not in the US, I hope you're just having a nice Monday at work). I am spending my Memorial Day flying to Houston for the annual NAFSA conference. NAFSA is an organization for international educators and administrators, and a colleague and I have a poster presentation on Wednesday. I'm really excited; this is my first national conference and I'm looking forward to see what this type of conference is like. I can't wait to report back to y'all next week about my first foray into academic networking!

Sartorial: I wore this outfit last week, but I'm wearing something very similar for the flight today - just swapping out the shirt and adding a blazer (so I don't have to pack it). These pants are sooooo comfy, so they're great for the plane, but can also go straight from the airport to conference registration and still be appropriately professional. And I think the animal print shoes make the whole outfit a little more fun - yes, I'm going to a conference, but my shoes don't have to be stuffy, right?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hispanohablante (Sort Of)

Academia: Check-in week for the summer term is over, and my free time and energy have returned, huzzah! Y'all have heard me talk about how crazy the first week of the semester is approximately eight billion times, so I won't go into much detail. I drove students around, I gave seminars, I answered what are now extremely familiar questions about housing, immunizations, insurance, and life in the US. Blah blah blah.

The only thing that really stood out as different was how much Spanish I got to practice during the week. We have a strict English-only policy at work; not because we hate our students' native languages, but because the best way to learn English is to use English as much as possible. So usually, I try to encourage my students to speak English with me, even though I minored in Spanish and am passingly fluent. But last week, we had several new Spanish-speaking students who really didn't speak English at all, and it was more important that they understand how signing a lease, opening a bank account, and buying health insurance works than that they get a few more hours of English practice.

It took a bit for my Spanish to un-rustify, but once I got going, I felt like I got by reasonably well. Everyone seemed to understand what I was saying at least. Plus, it's good for me to put myself in my students' shoes linguistically from time to time. Spending two whole afternoons speaking only Spanish reminded me how hard all my students are working every day to live life in English. It gave me a renewed admiration for them. At the beginning of the semester, when students are beating down my office door, remembering just how brave and determined they are helps me stay flexible and patient.

Sartorial: I wore this outfit last week on one of my Spanish-speaking days. I spent the afternoon driving students to see apartment complexes in the rain. Rainy days always make me want to wear jeans, and these pants are the closest maternity alternative I have. Actually, on a hot, humid day, they were better than jeans - the chambray fabric is lighter and looser than denim, making them the perfect summer pants. The loose top was cool and comfy in the humidity as well. All in all, not a bad outfit to spend a day in.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Paris Pics

I fully intended to take outfit photos yesterday, y'all. But I got home from work later than I thought I would and had to rush out to babysit my adorable nephew, Baby F, and when I got home, I had milk drool on my shirt and my hair was doing some interesting things. Not very fashionable. So instead, I give you pictures of Paris!

I went into this trip intending to be extremely stylish - it was Paris, after all. But then I realized I left my trench coat at home and also that Paris involves a lot of walking and stair climbing. After that, my main plan was to stay warm and not have tired feet. I never put on sneakers or a sweatshirt (except for one very chilly evening at the Eiffel Tower when I was so cold and tired I cried and Cary gave me his fleece), so I avoided looking like a completely tacky American tourist. But next time, I'm going back not pregnant so I can sartorially represent the US a little better.

Notre Dame, which was a gorgeous 10-minute walk from our hotel in the Latin Quarter.
Defeated by the Louvre. Seriously, this museum was hot, crowded, and badly signposted. By the time I got to the Mona Lisa, I was just cranky and ready to sit down. 
Baby C goes to Versailles!
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