Wednesday, February 29, 2012

boyfriend jeans

It's not an amazing outfit- nothing creative about it!- but it's what I wore around the house today. I posted earlier that I'm trying to find ways to dress for a day around the house without turning to leggings or Victoria's Secret sweats and promised to try to take pictures of it.

The things that are wrong with this picture:You can see my bra straps in the back, which I'd hide if we were going out, the shirt is wrinkled because I've been schlepping around in it all day doing the things that need done, and the picture quality is poor because I'm taking pictures of myself standing in my bathroom YET AGAIN. But here it is, nonetheless. A picture. :)

These are the boyfriend jeans that I purchased for $35 (instead of $98!) from J.Crew last week. Aren't sales great? And yes I did wear the necklace around the house for no reason. Because I'm Lauren Becker. And that's just what I do to make myself happy. I may or may not have also worn red lipstick for part of the day, as well. But you'll never know because I refuse to collect proof of further ridiculousness. It's just for me, anyway. ;)


And can someone please tell Jerr that the term "boyfriend jeans" was assigned long before I came along? I get reprimanded every time I use that term. Someone around here thinks husband jeans is a more appropriate choice of words....lol

judge me, judge me not



Things change the second time around.

With Roman I was so picky about so much. Naps were only to be taken in his crib or in a pack-n-play at someone else's house, his blankie was never to leave said crib, etc. But I'm typing this while Liam naps in the swing. As he does every afternoon. And this morning, Roman took his blankie with him in the car. It stayed in there while we went to Wal-Mart with friends, but only because he was too busy playing and having fun to care.

I've changed. The things/battles that seem important have changed. Not all- I still place a very high priority on naps happening, there are other things that just aren't allowed to happen, but if we need to watch a second [or third!] episode of something on television every once in a while because it's been a long day and Mama needs a break (or Roman needs a break from me) then bring it on, Elmo. Bring it on. Because in the big picture, it really doesn't matter.

I was just talking with girlfriends Friday night (one who has three kids and one with four) about how the reality changes when you add another member to the family. I used to hear about babies who napped in the swing and thought, "Come on, Mom, be willing to do a little bit of extra work to teach them to sleep in the crib. Don't be lazy. That's the way it's supposed to be done." Yet here I am- my youngest napping in the swing. Not because he won't nap in his crib, because he actually naps well in there and sleeps in it all night, but because he sleeps harder, longer when he's in the swing and when Roman is taking his one nap of the day, you better believe I'm doing whatever I need to do to guarantee that both boys stay sleeping for the duration of that 2 hour break. This mama needs her alone time!!!!!

A side note: the word guarantee will forever be a word that I cannot remember how to spell and must always use spell check. Why can't my brain remember it!??!?!

Yet the very thing I'm doing now is what I judged other moms for being lazy for a year ago. Oh, Lauren. Even admitting that makes my heart feel ugly.

That thought, though, is what led me to start a conversation with Jerry on the way to church Sunday. I was talking about how things aren't always what they seem based on my current, limited perspective. And that gets me in trouble so much. I struggle constantly with my judgmental heart. It's one of those things that I've really been working on the past few years, but just when I think I'm making progress I catch a snapshot of my heart and think, "Have I gotten nowhere?!?"

The thing that sucks is that it only makes my life harder and more judge-filled. I'm serious. Others don't know the thoughts I think so I'm not hurting them, I'm hurting me. Example: thinking I'm a good mom for only letting my child watch one episode of Elmo every day. Oh, pity the mothers who are lazy and let their kid(s) watch more than that. Right? Wrong. You do what you gotta do. (Btw- since when is a GOOD MOM defined as "one who only lets their kid watch one tv show a day? That's ridiculous.) But my ugly, prideful heart doesn't hurt the mothers whose children watch more than 20 minutes of television a day. In truth, my ugly, prideful heart only makes me feel CRAZY guilty when Roman watches more than one show. Which, I should honestly note, is more days than not. I'm the one I'm hurting by judging someone's decision. And when Roman watches a second episode it's not because I'm being lazy. It's because stuff has to get done- dinner has to get made and little fingers can get burned, or I had to teach lessons that night so Roman ate his dinner on time and Jerry and I have to eat an hour later but he already had dinner and needs something he can do by himself while we sit at the table and enjoy conversation together. What toddler is going to sit at the table doing nothing for half an hour when they've already eaten an hour ago? But from my position before, I didn't consider those things. I automatically jumped to assume the worst of someone.

I'm embarrassed.

But I'm writing about it because talking to Jerr about it made me wonder how many other people- not just moms and not just females, even!- hold such high expectations for themselves and look negatively on others who do what you can't fathom themselves doing.... "Oh, my toddler would NEVER eat a meal like that." "How old is that kid and why would he ever be allowed to ____"

I know those are examples from a life of a mother, but moms are some of the meanest and nastiest people to each other! WHY IS THAT?! Shouldn't it be the other way around? That's another blog topic some day. And one I probably won't write because it wouldn't be very kind.

Chances are high that we'll find ourselves in that same place later, doing the same thing they did because of reasons that aren't on our mental radar right now, and we'll be extra hard on ourselves because we "always said I wouldn't be THAT person."

Man, I can't wait for the day I am genuinely able to look at a scenario that seems less than favorable and know that can't be the case. Or assume there must be something about that situation that I don't/can't yet understand that would allow for that decision to be the best one or the necessary one.

That would be a much more beautiful heart to have.

It's a good thing I have a lifetime to practice.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

tangerine tango


Every season my mother and some of my friends ask what the "it" pieces are for their wardrobes. If you were to ask me the same question, part of my answer would be tangerine tango.

The Pantone Color Institute is involved in determining the "it" colors for each season and it affects home design, clothing designers, even paint colors you buy for your walls at the home improvement store near you. Bet you never thought about who determined that, did you? ...Except maybe for that moment in "Devil Wears Prada" when Anne Hathaway's character [I think?] is laying it out there. (It should be known that I have a horrible movie memory, so it could also be her boss. I just remember there was a moment when it was explained just how relevant the current fashion is to the average consumer, even if highly uninterested in current trends.) And this year the color of the moment is tangerine tango. You can read about it here.

So for those of you who like to be fashionably in style, add a pop of tangerine to your closet. The obvious way is to buy a shirt that color, but a tube of lipstick plays nicely with some of the other trends of the Spring/Summer season. However, if those ways are too bold for you or tangerine just doesn't flatter your skin color, it can also show up in nail polish, a purse, a pair of shoes, or a ring. Other noteworthy players for the upcoming season are metallics, menswear prints (think men's suits), and nautical stripes. But seriously- when aren't nautical stripes hot for spring and summer?
(pictured: MAC lipstick in "morange")

I should add, too, that whatever goes for the runway also goes for the home. So you could also grab an accent pillow for your couch to go along with the new bottle of nail polish.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

when a tee and jeans go shopping

I promised to try to post some pictures of the outfits I've been wearing lately and this was yesterday- I took the boys to the mall to walk around and get some birthday gifts while Jerr had watch from 2-10. Happy Presidents Day, dear!

So, one of my favorite things to do is wear my skinny jeans, rolled twice to sit above the ankle. Because it hits at the narrowest part of the leg, it's a flattering way to mix it up. It also looks cute rolled a little higher to hit right above a small bootie.

I didn't wear a necklace but my tee has cut-outs covered with black mesh in a side graphic design so it adds its own detail. Throwing on the chunky watch and a pair of sparkling ballet flats makes it look accessorized without wearing much at all.


I forgot about the best accessory of all: bright red lips. They aren't pictured because I took this picture after I got home and at 5pm there is very little reason to re-apply lipstick, especially when I was getting ready to take dinner to Jerry at work. When I have plans to lay some smackers on my man, I have learned it's a good idea to delay the sticking-of-the-lips. Sadly, brightly painted lips only get an air kiss in return. But who can blame the guy?

Nothing fancy but it'll do for a day at Williams-Sonoma.

Where I want everything.
*wistful sigh*.....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"stay at home" style

It happened after Roman was born and again after Liam joined the family- reinvention. Closet purging. Addict-like cravings to get new clothes after wearing the same 4 shirts every day for the past 40 weeks.

The fun part? After funneling the vast majority of our tax return monies into our savings account so we can buy a house next winter, Jerr and I treated ourselves to some "fun money" to shop with. Game plan needed. I thought to myself, "Okay, make it good. Let's get some cute blazers, some brightly-colored skinny jeans- I'm thinking red and yellow- some gorgeous color blocked heels.....heaven.

pause.

I spend all of my days at home except for grocery runs and church on Sundays. I'm all for being a stylish SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) but pretending that I'm just going to perch prettily atop my couch all day while wearing 4" heels, skinny jeans, and a blazer is nothing short of delirium. And while I have accrued a pretty extensive collection of yoga pants, running leggings, workout tops, etc that I think looks pretty flattering and "put together" for the gonna take the boys for a walk and then clean the house today times, I hardly feel dressed, let alone stylish.

So I thought about it.

For at least a good week.

And then I figured it out!

Problem: skinny jeans are my favorite but are too tight for comfort when playing on the floor with a toddler
Solution: rolled chinos: they're colorful, stylish, and cotton. Throw in a pair of loose boyfriend jeans to change it up and it's perfect

Problem: blazers are too restrictive for cleaning showers and too hot for Hawaii
Solution: vintage tissue tees from J.Crew- bright colors required!

Problem: heels are out-of-place at Gymboree and I'm barefoot in the house
Solution: ballet flats: especially bedazzled nude ones!

My new daily uniform for home and everyday errands:
Not bad, right? It looks put together but feels good, and allows me to move freely without being leggings or yoga pants. Especially when playing with bright colors.

The best part? I bought three pairs of J.Crew chinos this week: 1 for $26, and 2 for $35. I love online J. Crew sales and ebay.

Oh, by the by- they're originally each $79. SCORE.

Also among my purchases were a few other brightly-colored tees for $17 each (originally $30), a pair of boyfriend jeans for $35, originally $98,(they're a looser fit and a more casual vibe for me around the house, but can still be dressed up when rolled and worn with a pair of 4" heels, a fitted blazer, fitted white v-neck tee, and a statement necklace. Mmm.), and a few more tops that were on sale. Add to that some purchases from Target, like a pair of bedazzled nude flats for $19.99 and two really gorgeous statement necklaces, a black maxi skirt, and a 70's-inspired...shirttopthing... and my closet is feeling much better.

So I feel pretty victorious, figuring out a stylish way to "stay at home" and good sales considered. And I'll definitely post some pictures of myself actually wearing them. It's just that every time I think about taking a picture to post I realize there is spit up on my shoulder or a toddler's fingerprints in ketchup on my pants, or dog drool smeared across my knee.

I mean, my life isn't glamorous. But it rocks. :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dear Mom...


Dear Mom,

When are you going to learn that I do not like a dirty diaper? And when I am hanging out in said diaper, why do you still rack your brain trying to figure out whether I'm hungry (I shouldn't be), tired (I just had a nap), or gassy (I don't sound like I'm in pain), only to yet again think to yourself, "Why did it take me this long to think of his diaper???"

The sooner you catch on, the happier we'll all be.

Oh yeah, and Mom- in case I don't tell you enough, thanks for all the diapers you change. I'll pay you back in the form of protection from Roman when he is a high schooler and tries to put you in a Full Nelson the way Uncle Billy does to Grand Schmammy. I've got your back, Mom. Glad we had this talk.

Love,
Liam

Monday, February 13, 2012

L is for the way you looked at me....



So as a daily "gotta love your man" catch-up:

Friday: I took one of Roman's first finger paintings, cut out a 5x7 rectangle, and put it in a frame. I wrapped it up and gave it to Jerr for on his desk at work. :) Score.

Saturday: We decided to go out to eat and I let him pick anywhere he wanted to go. Buffalo Wild Wings it is! Bonus- we have very similar tastes in music/activities/decorating/eating so I enjoyed myself tremendously, also! If you have never had their Salt & Vinegar dry rub, you are missing out. I inhaled my wings and bought two bottles to take home with me. I have plans for Friday night's dinner. Forget BWW, it's all about LBK: Lauren Becker's Kitchen.

No? Didn't work as well? Darn.

Sunday: I had plans to talk to a girlfriend Sunday afternoon and I had asked Jerr if he'd take the boys so that I could have an uninterrupted, hour-long phone call. But then I realized that Jerr never gets time to himself that doesn't also involve homework or evening tv time with the wifey beside him. So I sacrificed my much-anticipated time alone with a friend, free from interruptions, to give it to him instead. I won't lie and say it felt good doing it because by the time I hung up I was stressed and frustrated and had a pretty solid selfish dialog/argument going on inside my head...but today it feels good to have done it.

This month is good for me- not just [I hope] for Jerry. I find myself in a constant state of "how can I serve him? How can I love him in a special way today?" and that affects my attitude and comfort zone. And challenges my creativity. After the first week I had checked off all my standard "I love you" acts and still had- and have- a lot more to go.

Thanks, God, for a husband worthy of the time/energy/effort to be loved well. I have prayed for my husband ever since I was 16. I made a list of the qualities I wasn't willing to sacrifice in a future spouse. And on our wedding I gave him a shoebox full of notes and prayers I had written to him since I was a teenager. And it cool to be on this side of it, feeling like I got even more than I ever dared to hope for. I have a man who was everything on "the list" and then some. And I'm still in awe of that some days.

Those days are good days... they make sure he survives the other days ;)

Sorry. It was getting too sappy around these here parts.

Happy Monday :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

aaaaaaand game on! ...Again.

So I was successfully loving on that man of mine in a special way every day- until my youngest son, Liam, went into the hospital yet again. (As a side note, I realize I have never posted about the week we spent in the NICU right after Liam was born. I may do that some day, or I may not. I still think about that time often but it would take a lot of time and energy to revisit those days and I don't have either of those things to spare right now. Maybe some day, but then again maybe not.) And because Jerry took care of Roman at home while I took care of Liam at the hospital, it was kind of impossible to leave him notes or give him extra-long back massages.

But we are home now and the loving has continued!

It all settled down Wednesday night so yesterday, Thursday, was the first day back to normal. Last night when Jerry sat down to do his homework, I gave him a beer. Now, that sounds really lame. Let me explain why this was one of the most monumental acts of love yet this month: IT WAS A YUENGLING. We cannot get them in Hawaii and it is Jerry's [second] favorite beer ever- one of the very few beers I enjoy. My friend, Michelle, sent a six-pack to us as a part of an incredibly thoughtful care package to celebrate Liam's birth- along with an Anthropologie coffee mug for me and some awesome clothes for Liam and Roman. Jerr and I decided that the fair thing to do was split the pack down the middle, giving each of us three to savor- and I gave him my third and final one last night as a grand gesture of love.

Because nothing says "I love you, hunny bear" like a glass of alcohol??

Thursday, February 2, 2012

seasons


Seasons are a funny thing. Not the spring, summer, winter kind of seasons (though, ironically, the above picture depicts exactly what I mean using the seasons of the year) but the passing periods of time that require certain things of us. Like seasons of friendships, seasons of a certain career, seasons of specific ages of your children, or seasons of God-given trials in life that result in learning and growth. Seasons.

I feel like being in the military makes friendships seasonal- for better or worse. For me, friends come and go in waves; never one at a time. About a year and a half ago I found myself with a group of quality friends, but within about three months they each moved away or things occurred that caused a divide. Then came the period of rebuilding. I look around now and realize I am once again surrounded by friends. Actually, I realized the other day that I have never had such a large number of such quality, real friends in my life. I have, really, about 8 incredibly solid girlfriends in my life that I consider myself close to. And I guess it's normal for me to have a lot of friends in general because I am a social girl- I LOVE knowing and being in relationship with people. You know when you're in school and your parents go to parent/teacher conferences? And while they're there the teacher has to find a nice way to talk about the things you do that drive them crazy? You know, like when they say, "Oh yes, Lauren is quite a social butterfly; she has such charisma." When what they really mean is "Lauren won't stop talking to the people around her and I'm about to throw her out the window." ;) I have always loved people. And my favorite thing in life is to be in relationship with those around me. It's why I loved teaching. I love music and singing, but what I loved most were the precious relationships with the students that were fostered because of teaching them music.

Yet once again, this summer most of my current girlfriends will be leaving and I'll find myself having to rebuild my world. And in December it will be me who leaves. To yet again, rebuild.

Seasons.

Sometimes this phenomenon sucks and I feel alone. Sometimes I get tired of having friends who have only known me for a few months of my life. It's hard to have history. And it's what makes friendships hard to upkeep because I have literally TONS of friends across the U.S. and when I have a spare group of minutes with which to make a phone call I don't even know where to start because it's been months since I've talked to anyone. But other times it rocks because I love meeting new people, I have learned that there are cool people everywhere you go, and I love being shaped and impacted by each incredible person who touches my life. It has taught me how to both hang on to friendships and let go of friendships. Sometimes at the same time with the same person. Don't ask me to explain what I mean by that because I'm not sure I have understood it well enough yet to put it into words.

I was thinking about seasons of friendships this morning while hanging out with one of those 8 girlfriends who is in the "rebuilding" season right now. The good thing is that it's always moving and the ebb doesn't stick around forever- the tide always comes back in.

Alright, that was waxing on corny-poetic there. I'm cutting myself off.

But the word season has been on my mind in other ways lately, too- Roman is in a season of Toddlerhood. Liam is in a far-too-brief-but-not-fast-enough season of Newborness. Both technical terms. Seriously, go look them up. I'm sure Webster lists them.

And the season of moving and starting a new life in a new place yet again. But for what is HOPEFULLY the last time. We are 10 months away from leaving this beautiful, tropical rock in the Pacific and going to [what we believe AT THIS MOMENT to be] Charlottesville, Virginia.

Seasons.

Nothing in life stays the same forever. Sometimes that's a sad reality- when we find ourselves in a particularly sweet season, it hurts to think of a time when it will end. Other times it's encouraging and the only way we survive a horribly painful season. We grow, we change, we learn, and we move on.

I'm torn between quoting the lyrics from a 60's era song or quoting Bible scripture. Both say the same thing.

"A time to weep and a time to dance, turn, turn, turn." That about sums it up. ;)

_______________________

Oh, and the update for Day #2 of Romance Month- today will consist of a 30-minute long back massage while he watches any television program he chooses. :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

how a mom finds time to blog

There are two steps to finding/creating time to blog as quickly as I can in the morning:

Step #1-




And step #2-
2 buckets, one empty and one filled with warm water + measuring cup + big plastic pool = one happy toddler. Simply because any time with water is a grand old time in Roman World.


I'll add that scenario quickly becomes this-
Imagine in your mind that you can hear him rambling on and yelling because he thinks it's funny to hear the echo around his head, and you'll experience this adventure in its entirety.

What can I say- desperate times call for desperate measures! Now excuse me, I have a boy to dry off....and a kitchen floor, too. Oh well!
;)

they'll say it all began with poptarts


Day 1: buy his favorite kind of Poptarts and put them by the door with his badge to take in to work tomorrow. Attach a sticky note- in the shape of a heart, of course- swooning over him a little bit and thanking him for working so hard to take care of us.

I don't buy Poptarts often so to me, this is a small way to say "I was thinking of you while grocery shopping and I know you." :)




ps- I really love that there are several of us doing this together and enjoying sharing ideas back and forth. :) You guys rock.