stitch fix #1 {How-to edition}

Let me just begin by saying this. Taking photographs of yourself is not easy. I’ve spent the last hour standing on a stool in my bathroom, trying on different clothes, posing in different to find the most flattering view, and smiling so much my face hurts. {I hope you appreciate my smiling in the pics.}

Here goes.

When I first signed up for Stitch Fix, I filled out a questionnaire about myself. In order to know what clothes I’d like they asked what I did for a living, how often I dress up, and anything else I’d like to share. They also had photos of clothes and I could choose whether or not I liked them. (I could even say I LOVED or HATED them.)  And, of course, they needed my size. I shared that I am a stay at home mom and that I like to dress comfortably… But I’m also willing to try something new outside of my comfort zone.

I waited anxiously for the week it took for my fix to arrive. It finally arrived yesterday and I couldn’t wait to open it! I was very impressed when I opened the box. It was packaged nicely and neatly, so I felt pretty fancy. A teal envelope had a little note written to me with info about the pieces they sent. They even had cards with photos of the clothes with ideas on how you can wear them. (i.e. wear this one with a skirt and flats, OR wear with heels and a big colorful necklace, etc) Again, I was really impressed.

There was also a separate sheet with a list of the items and their prices, also reminding you that if you keep all 5 things you get 25% off your entire purchase!

Here’s what they sent.

#1 Faux Wrap Dress

I’m sharing this one first because I LOVE it. When I took it out of the box I wasn’t impressed. I actually thought I’d send it back before I even tried it on. The pattern seemed weird. A wrap dress? What? NO WAY. Well, never say never. Look, I’m smiling.

dress2

The fabric is smooth. It’s actually flattering to my soft, plump belly. And that little belt, well, its perfect. I think it gives the illusion of a smaller waist. Who doesn’t want that?

The length of the sleeves is ideal, too. They cover a lot of my arm which means I won’t need to wear a sweater on top!

When I walk the skirt flows in a pretty way. It makes me feel like twirling. I like this dress so much I’m already planning on wearing it for our Valentine’s Day dinner with friends.

INFO: Faux wrap dress, $64

VERDICT: Not what I would ever pick out for myself at a store, but surprisingly cute. KEEP!

#2 Knit tank & #3 Skinny Jean

I really like this combo. I told them I am a stay at home mom and wear jeans everyday and they delivered.

jeansshirt

 

The tank is super soft. I like to wear gray (Ian’s favorite color) so this is perfect. I like the peachy orange color, too. It was hard to take good pics of the back of it, but its actually cuter in the back. Its solid gray and has a large oval peep hole below the neck. None of the pics I got were flattering so I didn’t post one of the back. Oh well. I like it.

These are not your typical jeans. Right out of the box, they felt fancy. Thick denim. Dark wash. Lighter thread color stands out. They also have a little stretch in them. I’ve been needing a pair of nice jeans. These are great.

INFO: Knit Tank, $48 & Skinny Jean, $78

VERDICT: These are pieces I will wear A LOT. The top can be worn with a cardigan now or with shorts in the spring and summer. KEEP! And jeans are always needed. It’s hard to find a pair that fits right and looks good. This brand worked well for me. KEEP!

#4 V-Neck Knit Top

This one is such a pretty color and its really, really soft, too! And its silky/flowy.. is that a word? I’m wearing it with a cami underneath because it would show more softness around my belly than I would like. 🙂

I chose to wear it with leggings. Again, I’m trying to wear things outside my comfort zone.

shirt1

 

INFO: V-Neck Knit Top, $38

VERDICT: I’ve wanted something tunic-like for a long time. This is longer than most of the shirts I own. I like that I can wear it with jeans or leggings. The cut on top with the trim is something different for me, too. KEEP!

#5 Gem Drop Earrings

earrings

I probably shouldn’t have asked for jewelry. There is a place for that on the questionnaire.  I’d just rather get more clothes now that I know I’ll like them. If I change my mind later or need something special for an occasion I can also ask them to send me some.

These earrings are pretty. I don’t have anything like them. Color or shape. I like that they are dangly, but not too big. I think I will make an effort to wear them since I have them. Think outside the box, Denisse.

INFO: Gem Drop Earrings, $28

VERDICT: I like these earrings. (not love) I could probably take them or leave them, but here’s something to consider. IF I keep all 5 pieces I can get 25% off my entire order. So, when I calculated everything, It would save me more money overall to keep the earrings because I’d save more than the $28 they cost. BAM!

BOTTOM LINE:

I LOVE STITCH FIX! They got ME right! You may not like the things they picked for me, but that’s okay because I DO, and I’m the one who will wear them. I can totally see myself wearing them!

My advice to you would be to give it a try. Fill out the questionnaire as detailed as you can and hope they send you some things you’ll like and actually wear. It really was fun to open the box with surprises inside. 🙂

If you decide to get your own Stitch Fix, use my link below so I can get referral credit. I’d love to keep shopping and posting my finds!

 

Click on this link to get your own Stitch Fix!

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/4595052

I’m HALFWAY done parenting. {happy birthday, emma}

emma

Happy birthday to my firstborn. She is nine years old today, and I couldn’t be more proud of her. I cannot believe I’ve been a mommy for this long! In some ways it seems like its been longer than that, and yet, I can still remember those first few months after she was born. Like it was yesterday.

Last night as I tried to sleep, I thought about her. I thought back to things about her in the first few months and years of her life… her first steps, the first time she went swimming, her first words… her sweet toothless, gummy smile.. her bald head {she didn’t have hair for a LONG time.} I will cherish those memories always.

I remembered how brave she was during the time that Ian was sick and not home for several months. She’d always been mature for her age, talking way earlier than other kiddos, and bright as could be. She was reading before she started kindergarten, spoke before she was two, and just had a maturity beyond her age. At five years old, she went through family hardship some kids might never have to face. God knew to make her strong.. and smart.. and He gave her faith. For that reason, she was able to survive the season life threw at her. She made me so proud.

Today, I realized I only get her for another nine years. That’s it. Isn’t that crazy? I’m halfway through the parenting years under my roof. At eighteen I pray she will be a responsible young woman, ready for college, and ready to face the world. I pray that I would continue to raise her in a way that will prepare her for that. I want to teach her to be gentle, honest, and hardworking. I want her to love others more than herself, and to treat others with respect and kindness. I want her to fill a need when she sees one. I want her to do God’s work, selflessly. I want her to LOVE others.

I want her to change the world. So, today, on her ninth birthday, I reflect on these things and set my mind and my heart on those goals. God has trusted me to be her mommy. I pray that I’m up for the challenge and teach her well.

 

Nightmare at Disneyland.

carsland

Those two words are an oxymoron. Opposites. Isn’t Disneyland the happiest place on earth? Well, yes. Except on the afternoon of July 16 last year.

Our family took a wonderful vacation last summer. It was the much anticipated, long awaited trip to Carsland for the kids. See, we told the kids we could go to Carsland when Daddy was all better after his amputations. Last summer, two years after surgery, we were finally able to make the trip.

We started the trip in San Diego, visiting the zoo and the beach. A few days later we drove to Anaheim to Disneyland {a.k.a. Carsland.} We had three days to enjoy Disney. The first day was magical. We chose to spend the day at Disney’s California Adventure Park, which is where Carsland is. We were all in heaven. Even me. I may have shed a few tears when we saw the sign for it. We were finally there. It was a milestone reached. Daddy was finally better.

The next day, July 16, was our second day. We went to Disneyland that day. In true Disney fashion, everything was perfect. Picturesque. Colorful. Happy. Delicious. Everything you could hope for.

At three o’clock we sat to watch the parade. I left Ian with the kids a few minutes before and got us some ice cream to eat while we watched. The music was lively, the characters were amazing, and my kids watched with their jaws dropped. They only closed their mouths occasionally to swallow and smile.

About halfway through the parade, my three year old Luke fell asleep on my lap. Thank you, Lord. I thought. If he can get some rest he can make it later tonight so we can stay longer to see fireworks. The parade ended beautifully.

“Let’s go shop while Luke’s sleeping,” I said to Ian. “I can hold him and we can finally get a chance to cool off and buy some souvenirs.”

So Ian, Emma, Jack, and I walked into the Emporium (I think that’s what it’s called.) It’s the store closest to the main entrance of Disneyland on the left as you are walking in. We were mesmerized by all the Disney treasures in there… toys, dishes, clothing, candy, you name it. It was all there. I followed Emma around for a few minutes. Ian and Jack were off looking at something else. Luke was still sleeping in my arms. His thirty six pound body was starting to feel like sixty.

“Where’s Jack?” Ian asked all of a sudden.

“I don’t know. Isn’t he with you?” I said.

“No.”

{Let me just interrupt right here to say my heart is beating rapidly and my stomach and head feel faint as I am remembering this}

“He’s not with me,” I said.

“Jack,” Ian called out loud.

“Jack?” I repeated.

We expected Jack to come out. He was probably hiding behind a rack of clothes or playing with a toy close by.

Nothing. Silence.

Ian started walking away from me. “Jack. Where are you, buddy?”

Nothing.

“Emma did you see Jack?”

“No.”

Luke was still sound asleep in my arms.

“Jack… Jack!…JACK!!!” I called out.

At this point, people started staring at me. My heart was banging in my chest. I needed to breathe.

Panic. I was fighting back tears.

“JACK! JACK! COME OUT, BUDDY! PLEASE COME OUT!” I yelled.

Nothing.

I didn’t know what to do. Where’s Jack? God, where is he?

Ian came back. No Jack.

All of a sudden a Disney cast member (employee) came up to me.

“I see you are looking for your son…

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW HIM?

WHAT IS HE WEARING?

WHAT COLOR ARE HIS HAIR AND EYES?

HOW OLD IS HE?”

Oh, God. I’m going to pass out. Oh, God, Jack is a missing child. They are asking me all this because he is lost. Really, really lost. Oh, God. NO. PLEASE NO! I WANT JACK NOW!

“He is five years old. He has brown eyes. Brown hair. He’s wearing a blue striped Mickey shirt like this one.” I gestured to the shirt my sleeping Luke was wearing.

“Please help me. Please find him…. JACK! JACK! JACK!” The cast member walked away, talking into the walkie talkie he had in his hand. I continued to roam the store yelling for my son. People stared. I didn’t care.

“His name is Jack? What’s he wearing?” a lady asked. “Don’t worry. We’ll help you find him.”

{Again, I’m interrupting because I’m crying as I write this.}

“Ma’am,” the cast member came back. “We have shared your son’s description with everyone. We are doing everything we can to find him.”

God, please help us find Jack. What if someone takes him? What if he is sold away and I never see him again? Poor Jack! This trip that was supposed to be so fun… and now he’s gone. Oh, God, please help me!

Poor Ian. He had been running around like a crazy man looking for Jack, too. That store was huge, and there were several exits. He had done his best to search everywhere. Still, no Jack. He came back to me to see if I’d found him.

“JACK! JACK! JACK!” I screamed every few seconds. I knew he’d come to me if he heard my voice. “JACK! JACK! JACK!” Nothing.

There was nothing I could do. The clock kept ticking. It had been ten minutes since we realized Jack was gone.

——-

“They found him!” another cast member announced from inside the store. She, too, was holding a walkie talkie.

“Where is he?” I asked. “Who found him? I need to get to him!”

I don’t remember exactly what happened in those next few minutes. I only remember that those three minutes felt like three hours. I wanted to see Jack. I wanted to hold him and know that he was okay.

We stood in the same spot at the Emporium waiting. Luke woke up. I was surprised he had slept through most of my screaming.

“Someone is bringing him now. He should be coming from over there.” The first cast member pointed to the door we originally walked into. Ian and I raced out the door. He beat me. I was still holding Luke.

I watched as Ian ran, his fake legs reflecting the sunlight. In the distance I could see my little boy, holding hands with another one of Disney’s special helpers. I was relieved when Ian finally got to him and held him in his arms.

I couldn’t fight the tears anymore. It was just too much.

I finally reached them. I was sobbing. “Jackie. Baby. Where did you go? We were looking everywhere for you.” I didn’t yell at him. I spoke softly. I’d been so scared, but now I was so grateful he was safe.

“Here, let me take Luke,” Ian said. I handed him off so I could hold Jack.

There are no words to express how I felt holding Jack right then. After missing him for just a while, but thinking I wouldn’t see him again, it felt so good. My boy. My sweet, little boy. He had been alone. He looked like he had been scared, too.

To make this story a bit shorter, I’ll summarize what happened. It turned out that Jack walked out of the store on his own accord. He got lost in the store first, and when he didn’t see us, he thought we had left without him. So, he left the store to look for us. {poor baby}

He had made it all the way to the entrance of the park by himself, where someone must have spotted him and alerted a cast member. It happened as they were sharing his description through their talkies. Jack admits that he was scared. If you ask him about it he’ll tell you that’s the most scared he’s ever been. I feel the same way.

This could have had a very different ending. I’m grateful it didn’t. Disney must have a super duper plan of action for times like this. Looking back on it, I am very impressed with how it was handled. Way to go, Disney!

Thank you, Lord, that you kept Jack safe that day. I’m grateful for your protection over him and for the people who helped us find him.

 

We did not stay for the fireworks that night. We actually decided to leave right then, at about five o’clock. That was enough for one day. I needed to get back to our hotel and be alone and together, if that makes sense. The next day was our last day there and I wanted to make it a good one. We went back to the Emporium because I wanted to thank two specific cast members for what they’d done the day before. Unfortunately, they were not there. We expressed our gratitude to the person we saw anyway. Then we went to find the best corndogs in the park (per his recommendation.) 🙂

 

Here are some things to take away from our bad experience:

1. MAKE A PLAN: IF they get lost, what should your kids do? We’ve told our kids to STAY WHERE THEY ARE. Obviously, Jack didn’t remember to do that. Still, we have to try to have a plan in place. Figure that out for your family and remind them often, especially as you are entering a big place, store, restaurant.

2. PUT IDENTIFICATION ON YOUR KIDS: My boys are so young that they don’t know their phone number. Luke probably wouldn’t even tell someone his name if he got lost. There are bracelets you can order with your kids’ info these days. {I still need to get these for my kids} I had written Jack’s name and my cell phone number on the back of his neck with a pen a few days before when we went to the zoo. Unfortunately it wasn’t there anymore that day.

————-

Before this happened to me, I had heard the stories of other kids getting lost. I just always thought it would never happen to me. I’M A GOOD MOM. I WON’T LOSE MY KID. I thought. Well, guess what? I did. I don’t want anyone else to go through that unnecessarily. Hopefully my bad experience will shed some light on this topic and make us all more aware. It’s a relief to be done writing about this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buckle up. Get ready.

I’m getting ready for the birthday marathon in our family. My two oldest have birthdays three days apart, January 20th and 23rd. Parties were easier years ago when we did one combined party, but as they’ve grown older the desire to have their own is too much. So separate parties it is.

The get-togethers are like night and day. My daughter prefers an all-girls sleepoverish party with her friends coming over to our house in pajamas to make crafts and watch Troop Beverly Hills. (Yes, one of my favorites from my own childhood.) My five year old boy wants a Ninja Turtles themed pizza party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. The ticket blaster and video games for two hours can only be described as heavenly for my adventurous, high energy boy. Again, the parties will be like night and day.

And yet, preparations have to be made for both.

Guest list.

Cake.

Party favors.

Outfits for the party.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Birthday table with gifts and breakfast of choice for each kid. THREE DAYS APART.

Good thing I love birthdays.

Big 12.

iankiss

No, not the conference… Our anniversary! Ian and I celebrated TWELVE years of marriage this past weekend. When you consider that we dated for five years before getting married, that means we have been together for 17 years! That’s half of my life!!!

Pretty soon the number of years we’ve been married will exceed those before. Crazy.

In honor of our Big 12 Anni, here are twelve things I love about you, Ian, because I know you are reading this.

1. Your smile. Despite not brushing those pearly whites for weeks while you were in the hospital, they still look pretty good. That smile of yours can still make my heart skip a beat.

2. Your smarts. “Who is the smartest person you know?” I was asked recently. I must not know many people… Or you must be THAT smart… Because my answer is you. You are the smartest person I know. Sometimes I pretend all your useless knowledge is uninteresting, but, deep down, I love that you know everything. From technology to food to sports to foreign affairs to everything else, you always have the answer.

3. Your heart. This one is all encompassing. You are kind, generous, and loving. You always tip more generously than I do, and you remind me to give the kids a break once in a while. Watch out though, that heart of gold of yours will get you in trouble if you’re not careful. Especially with our kids.

4. Your determination. I’m pretty jealous of this one. I admire your motivation.. Your never-ending positivity. There is nothing you can’t do when you’ve set your mind to it. Starting your own business, installing a ceiling fan that takes 12 hours, walking on fake legs… The list could go on and on.

5. Your fathering skills. Our kids have you wrapped around their fingers and I love it. You are gentle and nurturing to them. You are also tough and strict when you need to be. I like that I can call you over to be the bad guy when I don’t want to be the bad guy. I love looking over at you as you discipline.. most of the time you are biting your lip trying not to laugh at one of the kids for the most recent violation.

6. Your husband skills. You are an amazing husband. Much better than I deserve. I realize how difficult I can be sometimes, and you know just how to deal with me. Sometimes you give me the attention I crave, while others you just let me be. You get it right about half of the time. That’s pretty good.

7. Your ability to change the lyrics to any song. You can turn Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off into a song about Jack’s soccer game or Luke’s favorite snack. Or about our dear Lacey Pooh. Every song can be about Lacey. I pretend not to be impressed. I should join you in the silliness more often.

8. Your coding skills. You are good at your job. Great, actually. I love how excited you get about your programming. Unfortunately, you lose my interest a lot. I can only be interested in fields and locations and commands for so long. Still, I admire you for having the passion you have for your work. Not many do the work they love long after the work day is done. You are fortunate to love what you do.

9. Your neatness and organizational skills. Oops. Not. These I do not love. These we must work on. Let’s admit it. I’m not perfect and neither are you.

10. Your willingness to please me. “Let’s go to Disney! Let’s go skiing! Let’s buy the boys bunk beds! Let’s move the furniture in the living room..again! Let’s organize the garage! Let’s sign Jack up for basketball! Let’s buy a new car!” I always have requests. And you always aim to please them. Thank you, my love!

11. Your fake legs. Um. Prosthetic legs. They are a daily visual reminder of what you’ve been through, who you are, and how proud I am of you. These pairs of metal have given you the life you had before you got sick, back to a new normal. For these legs, I am so grateful.

12. Everything else. You are practically perfect to me (despite what I said in #9.) I love everything about you. Even the things I don’t love, I do love because they are a part of you. Does that make sense? There isn’t much you can do wrong in my eyes. You mostly do everything right.

 

If I had to marry you all over again, I happily would. Happy 12 years, Love! Praying for many, many more!

struggles.

I struggle. I struggle a lot. And I struggle with much.

Am I a good mom? Am I a good wife? Is my house clean enough? Is it organized? Are my kids learning to be messy because of me? Am I feeding my kids and husband the healthiest foods? Am I teaching my kids to feel entitled and irresponsible? Are my kids getting the best education? Should I home school? Should they stay where they are? Is everyone getting enough exercise? AM I??

Am I a good daughter? sister? friend? Do I make an effort to reach out to my friends? Geez, maybe not, and maybe that’s why I never hear from them anymore.

What am I doing with my life that is purposeful? (I don’t have a job that helps the family income, what value am I providing instead?)

Every single day I have thoughts like these. I hate them. I hate feeling like I’m inadequate or not good enough. I want to just enjoy life without these thoughts always in the back of my mind. How can I do that?

I believe that God has a plan for me. I am Ian’s wife. I support, encourage, and love him. I have three kids to love and raise. I am child of God above all, and there is much I can do in that. God’s work can be done everywhere and is endless.

So, why do I struggle? Why do I continue to question my purpose? I don’t really know. I’m not one for resolutions. Instead, I like to set goals and make plans. But I’m stumped on this one. I’m not sure how to give myself the slack I need. I don’t know how to let go of the things that bother me about myself. Maybe admitting these things and being honest about my weaknesses will help me in the year ahead. Maybe I just need to write about these ugly truths. Could that be how I finally end the struggle?

I suppose I’ll find out.