Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why I'm not the only thing my child needs...

I wear a lot of hats. At any given moment, I can be simultaneously responsible for the health and well-being of a two-year-old and a fortune-500 company. (Okay, probably not the health and well-being of the company, per se, but at least the company's assertion of its intellectual property.) Many days are a hazy jumble of bath time and conference calls and contemplating whether string cheese and freeze-dried strawberries counts as a healthy meal for a toddler. (For the record, I say it does.)

I'm trying to do it all. And, as any mother—working or not—knows, that's totally and completely impossible. Because if I'm doing ALL.THE.THINGS, I'm probably failing miserably at at least one of them. (Or, more likely, most of them.) Stretching yourself thin only works for so long because, eventually, cracks gaping holes begin to form, and your ish starts falling apart.

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So I'm left in this difficult place. This place where I crawl into bed at the end of every day and wonder how I'm going to keep doing this. I literally laugh out loud when people tell me that I've got a great work-life balance because, when I'm in the throes of a busy spell at work, I feel like the world's most mediocre mom. I carry so much guilt around because I'm not with Grace every single moment of every single day, and I can't stand the idea that I'm missing important moments with her because the Court set a midnight deadline on a Friday night, and I need every spare second to finish my brief.

As I look back over the last two years, I absolutely see periods of time that were fraught with late nights and missed bedtimes. Grace spent a good chunk of her second birthday at school because I had an expert report that was due that day. And I will never forget the day that I was working late and called Micah so that I could tell Grace good night. I heard her crying for me in the background, and it crushed me. To my very core.


There have also been so many magical moments. I'm fortunate to have a job where I can simply choose to stay home on days when I don't have any work to do. (It's rare, but it happens.) So there have been many instances where we both played hooky so that we could read books and eat cookies and watch Frozen all day long.

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I also happen to be married to a man who adores spending time with his daughter. He picks up all my slack with her (and then some), does more than his fair share of the dishes and house work, and still manages to work his own full-time job. Plus, he's not bad to look at, either. (He's basically a unicorn.)

So while I may not manage to find balance on any given day or week or month, I do look back over the last two years and see that it all really does seem to even itself out. Some days I'm an amazing attorney but a crappy wife. And other days, I kick butt at being a mom but drop the ball with my friends. That's just the way it goes, and all I can do is try and give my best without giving up my sanity.

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And something that's also been really resonating with me is the idea that I am not the only good thing for my child.

I am absolutely not saying I don't want to have or don't plan on having a deep and meaningful relationship with my child or that I don't want to be an engaged and involved mother. In fact, if you know me at all, you know that's the opposite of what I want.

But I am saying that the one-on-one time she gets with her daddy on nights that I have to work late is good for her.

The afternoons spent with grandparents who pitch in when Micah and I are overloaded are good for her.

The hours she spends at school each day with other kids her age and teachers who love her and are committed to teaching her things I never dreamed of are good for her.

I am not the only influence she needs.

And so I reject the notion that I am failing my child by allowing others to pour their hearts into her while I spend my days doing a job that I love and am good at. After all, it has been established that it's the quality of the time you spend with your kids, not the quantity, that predicts how bright their future will be.

I also recognize that my job in raising Grace is not simply to ensure that she and I are close. My job is to equip her to face the world. In this quest, she and I will inevitably (hopefully) create and maintain a wonderful and rewarding relationship, but that cannot be the end game for me. If it is, I will have missed the point entirely.

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When I allow the stress of trying to juggle it all overwhelm me, that stress becomes significantly more harmful to her than the time away from her could ever be.

So I'm working on letting the guilt go, friends. I'm doing my best to remember that I can be a wonderful mother to her while also thriving in a career that fits me well and pays the bills. I don't have to choose.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fashion Friday: A Stitchfix Review

April's StitchFix brought a few things I loved and a few things I didn't. Let's talk about it.

Bay to Baubles Celina Triple Layer Chevron and Bar Necklace ($28)

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I kept this necklace because I've been dying for a layered necklace, and gold is my jam. Chevron is not my jam, but this looked less chevron and more arrow to me, so I went for it. (Also, can you see how much the red has faded out of my hair? Boo.)

Collective Concepts Esten Button Up Sleeveless Blouse ($54) 

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The shape of this was off. As was the price.

Papermoon Briar Maxi Dress ($78) 

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When I began to pull this dress out of the box, I literally gasped I loved it so much. The fabric is to die for, both in terms of the print and the feel. SO soft. But when I put it on, there was something about the waistline that didn't flatter. I could have possibly fixed that with a belt, but I didn't feel like messing with it, so I sent it back. Tearfully.

BRIXON IVY Jarred Lace Detail Cap-Sleeve Blouse ($68) 

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I almost kept this shirt. For the same reasons as I almost kept the lace detail shirt from last month. I'm obsessed with lace. And though cap sleeves usually don't work on me, this shirt was really flattering, and the color is gorgeous. But I just WOULD NOT spend nearly $70 on a shirt like this. I will splurge on certain things, like dresses and tunic-ish tops, but this will end up under a cardigan for work. Not justifiable.

Pixley Colibri Bird Print Tab-Sleeve Blouse (48)

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This was too fun not to keep. I've got tons of tab-sleeve tops from prior fixes, but I couldn't resist the whimsical bird print and the colors of this one. I want to find some fun pink skinnies to put with this top. Maybe I could pull that look off?

Two for five again this month. Have you guys joined yet? How are you liking it??

** All links in this post to StitchFix are referral links, but I love this company and do these posts because they're fun. Over and out.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Stuff and Things...

// Daydreaming of D.C.  My sister-in-law decided a month or so back that we needed a girls' weekend in a bad way. We found the only free weekend we had in the next four months and then set out to figure out where we could go on the cheap. We found roundtrip flights on Virgin from Dallas to D.C. for $100 apiece (insane.), so we decided to go for it, and we are officially heading to our nation's capital next weekend! 

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If you've got any tips or suggestions for us, we are all ears. For now, we're planning on a moonlit tour through the national mall to see all the monuments and memorials, exploring Georgetown, checking out a Smithsonian museum or two, touring the Capitol (we had to contact our state representative to pull this one off!), and sneaking a glimpse of the White House. We're also going to see the Arlington National Cemetery, the National Cathedral, and stuff our faces with delicious food (and cupcakes!). I can't even tell you how excited I am.

// Party planning.  Gracie's actual birthday was last Friday, but we're having her party this weekend because last week was just insane with work. We're doing a super simple donut and PJs party, which I hope will be a hit with my donut-loving kid. I've done basically zero to prep, and I'm praying it'll all come together on Saturday.

// Getting my ish together.  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I've been eating like crap, so I decided to do a Whole5 to get myself on track. (I didn't want to commit to the full 30 days just because when I finish I tend to go off the rails a bit.) Last week was amazing, and I'll definitely be doing that again.

// Wearing kimonos and cowboy boots. Y'all, I can't get enough kimonos in my life right now. Bring me ALLTHEKIMONOS.

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And these ridiculously expensive cowboy boots are probably my favorite thing in my closet right now. I love that, in Texas, I can get away with wearing these bad boys all summer long.

// Staring at this face.

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Why does she look fourteen? I cannot even.

What stuff and/or things do you have going on? Link up with Kristin and Joey and tell us!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


My darling Grace,

How are you already two? I know I am a few days late, but I'm still marveling at the fact that we celebrated your birthday this last weekend.

Because I swear it was just yesterday that I was lying in that hospital bed, weeping at the sound of your sweet, little cry. How can it be that you are now big enough to put your little hands on my face and pull me in for a kiss? How is it possible that you're old enough to say, "I like this shirt, Mommy!"

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You are the funniest little thing right now. You still love Frozen, fruit, DONUTS, and playing with your babies (you have a special affinity for Baby Audrey). You have a fascination with shoes and LOVE playing dress up in Mommy's shoes.

You are incredibly polite most of the time, nearly always saying "please" and "thank you." You're deathly afraid of the pediatrician's office and loud noises.You think Daddy is the funniest person on the planet. You adore your grandparents and cousins.

You'd sit and read books all day long if you could. You truly are your mother's child. In so many ways.

You sleep 11-ish hours at night and still take a 2.5 to 3-hour nap every day. Mommy and Daddy fight over who gets to rock with you and read you books before bed. It's the sweetest time with you as you lie there in my arms, snuggled up in your blanket, and point out my eyes and nose and ears.

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You love going to school and seeing your friends and teachers. Everyone in the building knows your name because you know their names. When we leave in the afternoon, you insist on hugging and kissing all of the stuffed animals sitting near the exit door. Every single one of them.

You only like listening to certain songs. "Jesus Loves Me," "Let It Go," "Shake It Off," and "Love Is an Open Door" are really all you'll tolerate in the car. If I try to turn on the radio, you throw a fit and yell "OFF!" until I give in.

You are BUSY. You run around from thing to thing and mostly prefer to do it all yourself ("Gracie do it!"), but you will still hold my hand whenever I ask you to.

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Being your Mommy is the most beautiful thing, sweet girl. You are happy and funny and challenging and full of so much love and life. It's all I can do to keep from squeezing you to death every time I look at you, and your dad and I both say, "she's the cutest thing I've ever seen" approximately eleventy million times a day.

Happy (belated) birthday, Gracie girl. I love you more than all the stars in the sky.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015


As a mother, there are certain memories you feel pressured to try and create for your children. You know what I'm talking about. Pictures with Santa Clause and/or the Easter Bunny. Pumpkin patches at Halloween. Dyeing Easter eggs. 

I often dread and avoid these things, as they almost always involve crowds, messes, a screaming child, and/or uncomfortable clothing.

In Texas, taking pictures of your child frolicking through the bluebonnets in the spring undoubtedly falls within this category of "mandatory" moments. I skipped them the last two years because I just figured they wouldn't go well. Based on our experience last weekend, I probably was not wrong.

Gracie mostly just wanted out of the bluebonnet field, and I could not get her to crack a smile for the life of me. But I have to say, we still ended up with some really adorable pictures. So maybe it was worth it, after all?

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(I think this picture may actually be evidence of a criminal offense. You're not supposed to pick the bluebonnets. Oops.)

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Her hands in those pockets. I die.

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Poor kid. Ha.

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Hallelujah! She broke free from the bluebonnets.

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Maybe next year we'll get a smile. :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pretty on the inside...

My mother tells me that she spent a lot of time when I was a little girl telling me how beautiful I was. No matter what awkward stage I was going through at the time, she always made an effort to remind me that I was beautiful. 

She never gave it a second thought until one day she when said, "You're so pretty, Ry-Ry," and I turned around, flipped my hair back with my hand, put my hand on my hip, and said, "I know." Ha.

It was then that she began her quest to make sure I understood how important it was to be pretty on the inside. I seriously can't even tell you how many times I heard her say "pretty on the inside," as she encouraged me to be a person of kindness and character. 

Now that I am the mother of a young girl in an age where appearance is so often prioritized over all else, I see why my mom thought it so important to instill in me this idea that beauty isn't everything.

It's honestly really hard. Because every time I look at my daughter, I want to tell her how pretty her little face is.

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I mean, seriously. It really is the cutest.

But what I really want is for her to be kind. Generous. Selfless. Honest. Genuine. Hard-working. Thankful.

I want her to be trustworthy and creative and quick to offer an encouraging word to people around her.

I see flashes of so many of these qualities in her already, and it's so much fun watching the shape of her little personality begin to form.

I don't really know that this post has a real point. Mostly, I just wanted to remind myself what a weighty thing it is to be entrusted with a little person to raise. All I can do is my best to make sure she knows that it's who she is—at the very core of her being—and not what she looks like that matters.

How do you teach your kids to be pretty on the inside? 

Friday, April 10, 2015


I mentioned on Monday that my family and I went to the Dallas Arboretum this past weekend. Just before we ran out the door, I grabbed my big camera and actually managed to get a few pretty pictures while we were there. 

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We tried so hard to get one of all of us looking at the camera. We clearly failed.

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There were tulips for days.

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The two trouble-makers on the left and sweet Blakely on the right.

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Gracie basically jumped into the fountain. Like every other toddler on the planet, she loves water.

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Gracie hugged the Easter Bunny for approximately .5 seconds before she screamed bloody murder.

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And a certain little blue-eyed beauty was loving her some Uncle Micah. (I think the feeling is completely mutual.)

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After Grace adorably smelled these gorgeous flowers, she pulled all the petals off and threw them on the ground.

And that's how you do a garden with a toddler.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy feet...

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the package I received in the mail from Lipton Publicity. They had contacted me about doing a review of some Kushyfoot products, and while I don't often do product reviews or sponsored content, I had heard of Kushyfoot and thought it'd be worth giving the products a try in the hopes that they'd send me some of their Flats to Go. (I had seen them somewhere and really wanted to try out a pair.) 

Turns out, they actually have a lot of cool stuff, and they were kind enough to send me several things to try.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the peep toe foot covers, which fit really well under my favorite pee-toe booties. I had expected them to be really uncomfortable, but I hardly felt them.

The extreme low cut foot covers held up to the name. I put on my skimpiest flats and they barely poked out of the sides.

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I will definitely be wearing these this things often, as I adore wearing low-cut flats, but I do not adore the way they start to smell by the middle of summer.

And, to my delight, they did, in fact, send some of the Flats to Go I had my eye on.

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Am I the only mom who leaves work, runs to the grocery store for a few things and wishes every time that she had stored a pair of flats in her car so she didn't have to run around the store in heels? This is precisely why I'm thrilled about these flats. They're even small enough to fold up in your purse. We often walk to a nearby food truck park for lunch at work, and you'd better believe I'll be taking these with me on days when the weather is pretty so I don't have to make the trek in four-inch stilettos. Also, they feel like legitimate ballet flats, which makes me feel dainty.

I've also got my eye on these athletic socks for the gym. So fun, right?

So if you're in the market for any kind of sock, they have anything you could possibly want at really great prices. And everything they sent was really comfortable. Go check them out, friends.

* Lipton Publicity/Kushyfoot provided all products. All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Up for air...

Hi there.

I've been MIA because work has been a nightmare lately. There's just so very much of it, and when I finally get my head above water, I mostly just want to sleep. And kiss Gracie and Micah.

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On nights and weekends, we're playing and singing and dancing and laughing. And disciplining. My sweet girl has a mind of her own, and we're always working on obeying with a happy heart. (I stole this concept from my sister-in-law because I just love it. I'm not trying to raise an automaton, but I also need her to not shout, "I DON'T!" when I tell her to stop pulling Lilly's tail. Ha.) Mostly, Gracie has been really sweet and funny lately. She's saying all kinds of things. The other morning, she walked into the bathroom and said to Micah, "Hi, Daddy! I like your hair."

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We've also had some success in the potty. And, yes, I remember promising not to regale you with tales of Gracie's potty successes in too much detail. I will not break my promise. Suffice it to say, we've had potty victories of vary kinds in the last couple of weeks, and we're all excited. It's ridiculously hit and miss, so we're not pushing it. But it's progress.

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(She's not yet sure how much toilet paper is appropriate. When in doubt, the whole roll will do.)

I've eaten like crap for the last month and a half. Mostly because I haven't had time to go to the grocery store, much less plan and prep Paleo-friendly meals. But I feel like I'm slowly pulling myself back together. Tonight we had a delicious creamy lemon and kale soup that I'll enjoy for lunch this week, and we've got several other yummy things in store.

We spent this past Saturday at the Dallas Arboretum with my family. I'll have a whole post on that later this week, but I couldn't resist sharing this one.

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Aren't these sweet cousins the cutest?

I will also confess that I've got a slight baby name obsession at the moment. I'm not pregnant, I swear. Not even close. But I've got a list going of my favorite boy and girl names. Because it's always good to be prepared.

What are your favorite baby names?

Sunday, April 5, 2015


In Him, all things are made new.

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He takes this soul of mine—colorless and bleak and bound for an endless stretch of winter—and brings light and life and promise again.

Because He loves us so.

Happy Easter, friends.
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