I love my job. I get to go to the State Fair of Texas every year for work. I get to interact with new people and see new things (and of course eat amazingly delicious food, like the Fried Sweet which is an exceptionally wonderful pie that is 3 pies in one–buttermilk, peach and pecan). I don’t just love my job because it takes me to the motherland of corndogs and fried everything, there’s more to it than that, but that’s another story for another day.
Anyway, I was so excited to see this sign for the second year at Fair.
It made me laugh last year when I saw it, which was perfect given the fact that it felt like I had such a storm inside the last time I was there. What a difference a year makes…
Daisy Crazy. It’s so her.
Bright. Vibrant. Silly.
Today she’s celebrating 59 years.
It’s hard not to be sad. But instinctively, I know I have to fight those feelings for Ava. I don’t want her growing up scared of losing me (yes, she’s already mentioned it and it’s one of her “bad dreams”). It’s an ugly feeling to have, so I get it. I don’t want her dwelling on the sadness of the Gma she never knew.
So instead of being sad, which is a very easy thing to do (usually it comes on the eve of, and not as much on the day), I decided to do what my mom would do. I don’t remember a time when she was without lipstick. She’d wake up, get her makeup on, including her lipstick, and that’s how she’d start her day. As soon as she finished her meal she had her lipstick on–who needed a mirror? She was always made up.
So here’s me, real smile, rocking my lipstick like her. Looking like her, like I always knew I did. Even when I was a punk teenager and I protested the fact that I did.
Happy birthday mom.
I participated in the Mary Lambert Heart On My Sleeve album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review BUT all opinions are my own. AND THIS GIRL IS SO AWESOME SO WAIT DON’T GO!
So I’d never heard of Mary Lambert before One2One sent out an email asking if I wanted to try out her album. Of course I googled her and played a couple clips before I opted in, because there’s no point downloading music that’s just gonna take up space on my computer when I don’t even want it. I fell in love after the first few words of “Secrets,” and knew I wanted to check out the whole album. I could quote all the entire song here because that’s how much I love it, but I won’t. Here’s a highlight though:
They tell us from the time we’re young / To hide the things we don’t like about ourselves / Inside ourselves /
I’m not the only one / Who spent so long attempting to be someone else /
Well I’m over it / I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are.
Dude, she’s good, she’s real, she’s beautiful. She’s deep and she brings a message, more than just some artists that sing songs that stick in your head. I had no clue she was nominated for 2 Grammys–but she damn well deserves them.
I wanted to learn more about her so I read her bio. She’s all about empowerment. I love that she talks about being vulnerable, and not feeling shame about it because that’s what keeps you from truly living a free life. Vulnerability about your “weaknesses” hits home for me given what I wrote recently about Mental Illness Awareness Week. One of Mary Lambert’s goals is to start a charity that offers free mental health services. She’s bipolar, gay, and not afraid to put herself out there. Gah. She’s awesome. (Not music related, but there’s so much more to an artist than the sounds that they make).
Ok, now back to the music.
Favorites: Secrets, So Far Away, Rib Cage, Chasing the Moon, Monochromatic
She’s got this feel to her that’s a mix of Florence + the Machine, Sara Bareilles, Christina Perri. She’s the perfect melding of awesome.
She really truly is and I’m not even saying that because they sent me this album to try. I don’t know how to describe her. Then there’s this song Rib Cage, it’s got this awesome vibe to it that’s “smokey” and deep. She’s just beautiful. I’m pretty sure this album is going to be on repeat for a while. Wow.
Pretty damn impressive. Her album came out today, October 14. GET IT. Love it. Repeat.
Wanna check Mary out for yourself? You can buy her album: * iTunes: http://bit.ly/MaryHeart * Amazon: http://bit.ly/MaryLHeart
Try- Colbie Calliat
Have you heard this song yet? It’s amazing. It’s a song that EVERY woman needs to pay attention to. Especially for those with little girls. So inspiring.
Everything, everything that we do to make ourselves beautiful, the things that we do to for ourselves on the outside isn’t for us. It’s for everyone else. But why? It shouldn’t be.
At the end of the day, after all the makeup is gone, the expensive clothes, shoes, face is off, the question remains: do you like yourself?
The bottom line is you can’t push yourself until nothing is left–not when it’s all to please others.
The first time I heard this I was almost moved to tears. As a woman, as a mom, it’s inspiring. Why do we do what we do? Who are we acting for? It should be for ourselves, but is that the truth? Anyway, it’s a heavy message but a beautiful one and a great song. fyi, that links to Amazon but it’s not an affiliate link or anything.
This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), so I’m going green–the awareness color of mental illness.
To be honest, I didn’t know MIAW existed until I saw this picture posted to Notre Dame’s Instagram account. Notre Dame has illuminated their iconic campus mural green this week to raise awareness for MIAW (in addition to the numerous events planned on campus). click on the picture for the full article
As if I couldn’t love Notre Dame more.
Why does MIAW matter?
Because millions of people live with mental illness. 42 MILLION live with some type of anxiety disorder; nearly 15 MILLION have major depression.
Because mental illness is stigmatized.
Because many with mental illness are afraid to speak out or ask for help.
Because One in FOUR adults will experience mental illness.
Because I am one of those four–and stigma and fear still make me feel embarrassed and afraid to type that.
During my 6 week postpartum visit, I talked to my doctor and he asked a few follow up questions. “An isolated incident. Not regular pattern.” Ok, sounds right. We both wrote off PPD. I escaped.
I went back to work to be a lawyer, a wife, mom to 2 kids, manage a house, and 2 dogs. I did a damn good job at it, too. I was like every new working mom. I’d get tired, I felt worn. I began to rationalize the tired, mood as “just” part of being a working mom with two kids. In reality, I knew that whatever I was feeling had a deeper culprit–I wasn’t just tired.
Then the anxiety started and I knew something wasn’t right. I had never struggled with anxiety–at least not that I knew of. Thinking back, I realize I probably always have.
I recognized my symptoms when I read Jill’s blog, and 6 months after Allie was born, I talked to my doctor again. This time there was no doubt, but I didn’t have the classic PPD everyone knows about. I had postpartum anxiety (PPA)–something I didn’t even know existed–until I read about it on Postpartum Progress.
I wanted to be able to blog about living with PPA-the ups, the downs, the treatment, all of it. The best resources I had were the people who had been through it. The women who had lived it and come out on the other side and shared their stories. I wanted that to be me for someone else. The stigma and fear of what others would think kept me from doing it. It still does–mostly.
As a professional with a family, the consequences of admitting to having PPA can silence you into submission. It’s scary to wonder how you’ll be judged by the real people in your life. Would they think I’m any less capable of everything I’ve already accomplished? It’s just easier to put on the face and pretend that nothing is going on. Telling yourself that nothing is wrong makes it so, right? Nope.
If you read my blog at all over the last year, you know it has been a bit rough–go back and you’ll see radio silence that you can track through the ebb and flow of anxiety and depression. I’ll admit it was an uphill battle that sometimes felt like it would never end.
That’s where an incredible network of friends and professionals comes in. The right doctor. The right meds. The right everything. I’m so glad that I never felt shamed for seeking help–I know others who have. I’m thankful for a loving husband, wonderful kids, a great dad, and an awesome support system.
It’s been a long road that has required a lot of work, patience, love, open minds, care, and prayers, but things are better. Things are good.
Now you know that mental illness doesn’t just affect who you think it does. It’s the guy next door. The neighbor down the street. The coworker in the next cube. The girl putting on the happy face and saying hello.
So with all of that said…
My name is Jess. I suffer from anxiety and depression. I am an ass kicker and a fighter, and I will win this war.
Never be afraid to ask for help.
Always be proactive.
You are never alone.
Every storm runs out of rain.
Here’s a link to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
That probably means nothing to you unless you were a teenager 10 years ago. Or maybe you’re a part of the “Clueless” generation. Or your best buddy sends you a “Happy Mean Girls Day ” text to start your morning off right.
Or you’re me and it’s all of the above–minus the teenager part.
In 2004 “Mean Girls” made its debut before Lindsay Lohan had the crazy. Rachel McAdams and Tina Fey are in it too, so it’s even more awesome.
The October 3rd thing is a part of the movie where Lindsay Lohan’s character tells her crush what day it is. And just like on “Wednesdays we wear pink,” this became a thing.
Even Time magazine did a hilarious piece about Mean Girls Day recapping the top moments from the movie, so it’s like totally fetch.
Obviously: I love Mean Girls. It’s on my iPad. It’s in my top 3 favorite movies. When I’m crazed at work I play it in the background. I can pretty much recite it by heart. I’m not even ashamed to say that my top favorite movies aren’t deep, stirring classics (other than Gone with the Wind). I like fluff and I cannot lie.
So I either completely just wasted 3 minutes of your time (sorry) or we just had a quick stroll down memory lane with Cady and Regina. Either way you learned that I like teenage cult classics. If you know me, this doesn’t come as a surprise at all. Pitch Perfect… Devil Wears Prada…
We had a LONG commute on Wednesday. Multiple accidents and stalls meant that it took us 1.5 hours door to door to work. Yeah.
We ended up trying to bypass traffic and drove by our favorite donut shop. Allie asked if we could get donuts for her teachers (she’s super thoughtful like that), and
A) traffic was going nowhere,
B) it’s always nice to do something for teachers, and
C) I like donuts and I like keeping a 3 year old happy in gridlock.
So we stopped. Allie got donut holes and I got this:
Delicious melt in your mouth goodness. Until Allie looked at me with disgust and says, “that donut is HUGE. Mines are little.”
Thanks for that, honey. She’d be a great diet coach.
I got a hair cut! Apparently this is a yearly thing because Timehop (an awesome app that shows you pics from same day, previous years) showed me I got my hair cut exactly this same way a year ago.
The top is what I was going for, and the bottom is what I got. I’m not so good with styling, so close enough. I wanted to go shorter so I think this is a step there. Next up? Probably darker hair.
Happy October 3rd, y’all!!
We like TV. I won’t pretend that we don’t. You know my affinity for some of the trash on TLC, it’s my guilty pleasure when I want to zone out and relax in bed after the billion things in my day.
We’re also a working family on a tight schedule. By the time we get home it’s close to 5:30 (if we didn’t make a quick trip to the grocery store) and the kids want dinner and all so I’ve got to get some form of food on their plates. Feed the dogs, Ava usually has some dishes to unload, I throw some dishes in the dishwasher, stuff stuff stuff.
Luckily Ava has a fantastic after school program that includes an hour of time for them to do homework and have learning time. Most of the time that means that when she gets home, so there’s no homework time required. Mostly, but not always. We always review the assignments and papers sent home for the day.
This leaves us a small window before bedtime. Allie goes to bed at 7:30, Ava’s bedtime is 8:00. Kids need sleep!
TV is one of those topics that many people are pretty opinionated about. Many people ban it during the week, or like us they allow it but maybe on a modified schedule.
I don’t think tv is a bad thing. I always watch the shows with Ava’s watching so I know what the topics are. Recently on Austin and Ally the topic was bullying. On Dog with a Blog (I know–it really is a dog with a blog) the topic was about the main character who wanted a social media account because all her friends had one but her parents wouldn’t let her. I really appreciated those topics and was glad that we could talk about them.
I don’t mind that the girls get to unwind a little watching tv while they have dinner together. Often we don’t get to eat with them because it’s too early for us but we always sit and chat with them about their days. Each gets to watch one show. Sometimes they don’t even get that if we get home late from dance class, errands or because there’s homework to get done.
Regardless, come 7:00 we have SCREEN OUT. There is no tv, there are no iPads, iPods, iPhones. NOTHING. No computers. No technology. There’s coloring, reading, playing. Anything but screens in faces.
At first Ava balked. She hated it. The cries of how unfair it was! But now it’s a regular thing and I announce screen out and off she heads to start shower and get ready for 7:30 mandatory read time. Yup, we have mandatory 30 minutes of reading time before bed. School requires 10, we require 30.
But screen time out is a good thing. So we don’t just do it at night. When are other times we have screen time out?
- On weekends–we have mandatory breaks throughout the day (when we aren’t doing other things or going out and about). There’s nothing wrong with tv, but I also don’t want them watching it for 6 hours straight.
- When Ava goes on restriction. Let’s be real. Sending a kid to his/her room isn’t really a punishment. Unless the bedroom is a hole with nothing in it, that’s not really the hard life. Ava sits playing with her Barbies or Legos. What really hurts is taking TV or iPad away. We have her get chores done, then she can get her creative juices flowing, whether that’s reading, drawing, coloring, she has to find an alternative.
It may sound loose, it may not. But this works for us. To each his own, right?
What do you have going on?
Allie has moved up to a new 3 year old class with new friends and new teachers. It didn’t faze her one bit, but I was the one that was sad that she was leaving her little 4 pack of buddies. I’m rational and told myself that they’d to meet up together on the playground, but still. We definitely miss the comfortable place with the old teachers and the old classroom, but you can’t be in the same place forever or you’ll grow moss, right? I should’ve known she’d be fine. She loves going to school and looks forward to seeing her teachers.
Allie’s already learning a few letters which is absolutely awesome and exciting to me!! She’s tracing letters with her fingers whenever she sees them and she’s sounding them out. Right now we’re on letter “C” so there’s a long way to go to get to “Z”, but I can definitely see that she’s going places.
I love that they’ve got computers in her class. They even have Spanish class (even if it’s just 30 minutes a week). The fun thing is she sometimes watches me drive up and is waiting for me at the door with her day’s work in hand.
~~~TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, read STANDARDIZED TESTING) is up on us. This is the first year Ava is taking these tests. At back to school night we learned that all of the cool stuff they’re working on is gearing for TEKS. At least it won’t be boring. I get it, I do. There has to be a way to test kids to ensure they’re all learning, regardless of school. But it’s rough.
Ava had some word problems (TEKS style) the other day and I will absolutely admit that we were stumped. As adults, we read things literally. At school, she got taught something different. Regardless, it was a lesson that everyone had a hard time with we weren’t the only ones.
I imagine that somewhere in the back of their little heads, they feel the pressure. Before school started, we were talking about what she was excited about and expectations, and one of her fears (besides math) was testing. How she even knew about it is beyond me. But she did.
~~~She’s currently moving on up in ballet but she took last semester off so we’re still “figuring stuff out” as far as whether she’ll be able to stay in that class. She’s a little behind but there’s nowhere for her to go since she’s aged out of the last class. It’s a little frustrating to say the least, but I guess there’s always private classes for her to catch up. We’ll see how this plays out. Guess I’ll just be the squeaky wheel everywhere I go. Helicopter anyone?
~~~Now for the fun stuff. Ava made choir at school. HOORAY!! She was so pumped. It’s been her “dream” to be in choir since she started school. She’s so excited for her first concert in November. We’re also planning a museum/historic monument trip. Living in Austin we have a ton of options. I think we might finally visit the Texas Memorial Museum and check out some dinosaurs.
As for me, I’ll be visiting the Harry Ransom Center at University of Texas where they have a “Making of Gone with the Wind” exhibit. I can’t wait to wander and take it all in. My mom adored Scarlett and would have loved going to this exhibit. The exhibit will even feature Scarlett’s famous “green” dress (apparently it’s more of an olive color) on display.
I love the movie–even if it is a far departure from the book (this exhibit talks about the reasons for that). I read my mom’s worn copy of the book cover to cover and will probably read it again, and I’ve started the so-called sequel, “Scarlett.”
Anyway, how’s school going for y’all? Tell me we aren’t alone.
I picked Ava up after school and she proudly showed me her new smile and tooth-filled baggie. She finally wiggled out her loose tooth and that meant one thing…dun dun dunnnnnnn–the tooth fairy (TF) would be making an unplanned visit to our home that evening.
Luckily I had cash in my purse, no additional work required. Other than remembering to actually hide the fiver under her pillow. Score!
But no. The pressure was on after Ava told me that her bff left a note asking for her tooth fairy’s name and got one back with something cool and not only that, she got PIXIE DUST.
A name AND pixie dust?
Now the $5 in my purse seemed exceedingly inadequate. Jess was going to be making a late night trip to HEB (the grocery store) once the girls were in bed. So my story begins.
First things first–the pixie dust. HEB is awesome. School supplies for glitter? Check. Then off to floral where they had this awesome tiny jar with bent metal on it that looks just like…pixie wings! The whole store probably heard my excitement when I found it. DONE. For good measure, picked up a crisp $5 to replace my crumpled one.
On to her name. I am not creative enough to come up with a cool name for a tooth fairy. Off to the almighty Google. First site up on the search results lead me HERE, and Meadow Saturnglow was born. I took a few flowery details from the site and winged it by incorporating some of the things Ava and I had wondered about that afternoon–does each family gets their own tooth fairy; where does she live; is she a queen? It took me at least 30 minutes to sit there and try to print out that fancy cursive-ish, but I knew she’d love it.
Pixie Dust and Notes from the Tooth Fairy
When I snuck up to leave the goodies for her, I found a tiny wrapped gift for the tooth fairy. I couldn’t bring myself to unwrap it, so I just taped her tooth to it and stuck it in a hiding spot. This part is as wonderful as Christmas morning. It makes your heart grow 10 sizes and you realize why you jump through all the hoops for your babies.
Ava woke up that morning and was beyond happy. She studied her note and reread and reread it. She was so pleased with herself because she KNEW she was right about the tooth fairy being a queen and living in the clouds.
And there you have it, folks. That is the story of how Meadow, our family tooth fairy came to be. She will belong to my girls forever and living in the cloud as the queen with her rose petal skirt and pale pink wings.
It’ll be a sad sad day when I can’t get to do these missions for these girls anymore. I hope they keep their little hearts believing for a long, long time.
Ava started going to religious education (to me that’s a fancy way of saying “catechism”) two years ago. I used to sit in her class with her weekly so the next year, I figured, why not make myself useful? I signed up as a helper.
That went well and a few times I was a pinch hitter and filled in when the lead teacher was out of town or couldn’t make it to class. She put together the curriculum and basically we worked directly out of the teacher’s edition.
Then she left and I decided, sure why not? I can teach. By myself. As a lead. I know. Me and my ideas.
And that’s how Ms. Jess the Kinder catechism teacher was born.
The first week was a hot mess. At least I thought so. This week though, I gotta say it was pretty awesome. I spent a ton of time on Pinterest trying to figure out what I wanted to do that would be fun for the kids and eat some time. A spent bit of time on Saturday cutting and pasting and getting ready for class. This is what I came up with.
I was pretty proud of myself because my kids thought it was awesome. Hearing them say it was cool was even better.
It got me thinking though that my wee bit of teaching for an hour on Sunday is nothing compared to what teachers do for our kids all week. The time they put in. The money. People think teaching is the best gig because teachers “work 9 months a year and get to go home at 3:30.” Yeah no.
I remember my mom spending tons of time prepping. I remember her setting up her class (and I remember having to break it down when she moved classes and had to quit teaching). I remember when she was student teaching my dad, brother and I went to her pre-k classroom and decked it out in a Hawaiian theme. Why I remember that, I have no clue. I just know that we were there at night and using stuff she had bought to work on the project.
Teachers don’t make big bucks either. But the amount of money they put in is a lot. Ava’s teacher bought a bunch of extra supplies for kids that may not have everything covered. They buy prizes, incentives, decorations, workbooks. You name it, they make sure they have it. The majority of Ava and Allie’s library came from my mom’s classroom.
Anyway, the point of this is: thank your kid’s teacher. Often. Every now and again ask if there’s anything they need for the classroom and offer to send it in.
Send in a “hey you’re awesome gift” every once in a while–nothing fancy, maybe just a coffee thermos and some Starbucks Via instant packets. Maybe just a bunch of flowers from the grocery store or a pastry for breakfast. It doesn’t have to be expensive, even a note from you or your kid just saying how much you appreciate the work they do.
Volunteer at school if you can. Any time you can donate helps to offset time they could be using for something else, even office staff.
Just know, teaching is far from a 9-3 job.
I went to a small high school for students wanting to pursue a career in the medical field. I am clearly not a doctor. Not sure what happened there, but it was a great school so it worked out, and I learned a few things along the way. And I know how to take blood pressure.
Since we were so small, we shared our campus with another high school and piggy-backed extracurriculars. I was a flag girl in band, did a brief stint on the tennis team (yikes), and I played on the golf team.
Some parents went to football games, but I can honestly say I don’t remember a ton being there. But in high school, you’re focus is far from parents in the stands, duh. My parents went to my games to watch me on the field, but I don’t think a lot parents did that. Thanks mom and dad. There were no band boosters making fancy buttons with ribbons saying “My kid is in the Band” or shirts saying “Cheer Mom.” It wasn’t like that.
Last weekend we went to a small “hometown” high school football game.
Parents were everywhere. There were all types of sassy “My kid is a Dancer and I’m just as Hot” shirts (I made that up, but you get the gist).
There was the band, the cheer squad and the ginormous dance team. A 50 member dance troop. I’d never seen such a thing until college. These girls were made up like dolls and pulled out the makeup just before halftime to make sure they stayed that way. Allie tried to copy their cheers from the stands.
Everyone was so proud of their team, their kids. They had a fight song with words! My cousins went to that high school and sang along with hooked pinkies. I had never seen a fight song till we visited my sister in law at Texas A&M (THAT was cool).
It was so much fun. The girls had a blast and so did we.
Of course, college football is in full effect. I’m sporting my SMU Mustangs t-shirt today. I love working at an office where I can dress like this. I have to buck the system and wear something that isn’t burnt orange around here. Last week it was my blue and green in prep of the Notre Dame v. Michigan game (last game of the historic series).
Don’t ask me who SMU plays this weekend, because I have no clue without looking it up, plus they’ll probably lose anyway. Truth. I do know that June Jones (their former head football coach) has resigned so maybe now their interim head football coach can give them a better shot at scoring at least a few points and not being outscored 88 points in 2 games. To be fair, one game was against Baylor who is a top ranked team. Poor ponies.
Another confession? I never went to a SMU football game during my 3 years of law school. Um…or the 4 years that I lived in Dallas after that.
I can tell you that Notre Dame plays Purdue tomorrow and that they SHUT OUT Michigan last weekend. Sorry Andrea. Good job Michigan for giving it the good old college try.
If the atmosphere was awesome at this little high school football game, I can’t even wait to see what the stadium is gonna be like at Notre Dame when we head up there. All I know is we’ll be looking to Touchdown Jesus and praying to Our Lady of Victory that weekend!
*Disclaimer: I do not actually know much about football. Without instant replay, I’d be in trouble. I have to pay really close attention and know just a few things: horse collar, false start, delay of game. Yeah still learning. I know just enough to make it sound like I know something. But I’m learning! Might as well be able to do something besides go to a game just to eat nachos and eat candy.
As of August 25 or something, Starbucks sent out an announcement that made pumpkin (and fall) lovers everywhere squeal with delight.
Despite their attempt at being cute by saying “Ehrmergourd” in their email (just no), and the attempt at making you feel like you were in a top secret club by giving the top secret “code” to get the barista to share the goods (they’d probably laugh), fall officially arrived in the Starbucks loving suburban world.
It’s here. The PSL. Pumpkin. Spice. Latte.
But then there was that one blogger who tried to poo all over it by saying *GASP* there’s no pumpkin in this latte! Um, ok, you’re surprised? And food coloring, bad chemicals, the usual. Words words words.
Regardless, I had my first PSL of the season on Saturday (8/30) and I have no shame in saying it. It was damn good, too. Picture it: sipping a latte, pjs, cinnamon rolls, and College Gameday. Yessssssss. That’s the picture of fall.
I’m pretty sure I’m having J climb up into the attic this weekend to bring down my fall box(es). Last year I wasn’t in the zone and I didn’t get a single thing put up. Nope, not this year. It’s on. Maybe I’ll even decorate the office. Might as well pretty up the place I’m holed up for 8 hours a day.
Crank the OneRepublic, pour the PSL and add in the perfect decor and it’s like my office will be a cozy little nook of productivity or something. *heh*
Maybe I’ll even craft up one of these babies, because I’ve come back to the world of Pinterest. Exhausting days at work require mindless zone out time in the evening. One can’t watch Gypsy Sisters every night, you know.
Minus the initial, of course, because I’m weird about that stuff.
The ballet semester is starting up again. Both of the girls are ready to get back to class.
There is college football to be watched. High school football games to attend.
Most importantly and most exciting for us, we’ve got a Notre Dame football game ahead of us. IN SOUTH BEND. Ahhhhhh!!!! Cam McDaniel (Texas boy) and Coach Brian Kelly. Eeeeek!
So yeah, I’ve got the fall bug. If you see a girl in jeans and a scarf, it’s me. Because my office is 60 degrees. Yeah, that’s it.