Pages

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WIWW: Old Navy FTW

I seem to always have so much I want/need to talk about,  (I need to talk in order to process) and no time to do it, and it's driving me a little bit batty. Does that happen to you?  I suppose that's a permanent condition of adulthood, isn't it?

Hang on, Gertie! I'ma fly y'all through last week, in reverse, really quickly, and then go supervise the kids who are out "watering the flowers" in the back yard. How much damage can they do? They're outside, and it's just water. (Don't answer that.)

I SAID DON'T ANSWER THAT!


Tuesday ootd

Maxi skirt, top, tank - Old Navy
Jewelry - LOFT, Charming Charlie
(My skirt is clean.  It's my mirror that's dirty.  Can't win 'em all, right?)

Monday ootd


Top, skirt, cami and necklace - Old Navy

(I would like to share the discovery with you that when I allow myself to eat sugar, I get a gut.  Almost immediately.  The pooch under that cami is not a new little FriedOkra baby growing.  It's about two cups of homemade strawberry jam.)  (Just in case the tabloids are watching me.)

(Maybe Jennifer Anniston likes jam, too.)

Sunday ootd #ootd


Shorts, top (which I am currently deeply in love with and want to wear every day) and necklace - Old Navy
Sandals - Guess via DSW

Saturday ootd #ootd


Top - Old Navy
Mint jeans - LOFT
Necklaces - LOFT and Lia Sophia
Shoes - Hinge via Nordstrom

Ootd Wednesday


Striped top - Thrifted
Shorts - Old Navy
Shoes - BASS
Turtle necklace - Charming Charlie

Sometimes you just have to build an outfit around your adorable fake-jewel-encrusted turtle necklace.

And that's What I Wore last week!  I'll also be linking this post to Fashion Friday and the casual Friday link-up at Two-Thirty-Five Designs.

Hey, don't forget to LIKE the FriedOkra Facebook page to find more daily outfit ideas, check out all my fashion-and-beauty related Pinterest finds, and find links to my favorite posts from other style bloggers and much more.

You KNOW you need to leave me some Comment Lovin' down there. Comments are better than money to us bloggers.  And I never spend them all in the same place.)  And if you leave me a comment, I'll know where to find you, so I can come love on you, too.






Like the FriedOkra Facebook page. 
Subscribe. 
Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Motherhood this Week: The Summer Love of a Lifetime

I purposed to make this season intentional and adventurous, and it has been those things, for sure. But since school ended and my children came back full-time into my days, the biggest change in our daily lives has had much less to do with exploring our world together than it has with exploring hearts and connecting with one another soul to soul.

I wish I could write it better than that. I wish I could put you in my heart and have you feel what I'm feeling for and with these children of mine these long, hot summer days. I feel freshly-tilled like deep rich black soil inside. I'm this drying, compacted field turned over anew to receive the air and sun and be nourished by steady, cooling rains, and planted with fruit-bearing vines.

We've lived and loved together as Mama and children, and the simple beauty of connection has gently rocked us over and over again, but these days feel like booming earthquakes and landslides and torrents of discovery and understanding between us. We're together in ways that we've never been before, and it feels like falling in love.

Bean and I spend evenings reading and talking together, and these times mean more to her than I've ever seen anything mean. She vibrates with joy to see me walk into her bedroom door and lie beside her on her bed. It's a gift of hers to make me feel, when life seems always to be hinting at my expendability, that I am the center of her world (she gets this from her Daddy). These easy times with her - reading and chatting and hugging and laughing - they are so natural and simple, but they don't feel fleeting. They don't tick by spent and over. They dig foundations in me and stack up sturdy to build lasting, permanent heart-structures we'll live together in, she and I the rest of our lives. There, she shares with me from her depths - worries, questions, wishes - and I know we're constructing these places so right, and so good, and I pray we can build them so roomy and so strong and so warm and beautiful and inviting that they will make a welcoming home for our hearts together, forever. I would live with this sweet person anywhere. Her love touches and reminds me that giving away a heart and accepting another in return doesn't always have to be scary or risky. Sometimes it's the easiest, most surprisingly joyful thing in the world. Like sitting very still in the bright sunshine and having a beautiful butterfly land on your shoulder.

Peabody and I spend two hours together in the cool 'noon shade of my bedroom, reading books atop the bedspread but under a soft quilt just for naps, cuddled close, talking softly in short sentences. He's a child who needs me to make him the center of my world. My love for him must be huge and deep, and he must see and feel his special, important place in my heart to be happy and at peace. The biggest love is the only acceptable love in my son's heart. He loves me biggest, and he craves my biggest love back. To be learning this now, to see it in him, this boy who is his mother all over again, pint-sized and masculine, is taking me on such a journey of self-discovery and a power trip, all in one. I understand on such a molecular level the nourishing love and acceptance he craves, and finding I can give this richness to him right out of myself feels absolutely God-washed. I watch what just loving Matthew does to his face, how he soaks my offerings up and they transform his fears and fury into peace and gentleness. I've opened my eyes to see how alike God has made my son and me, and we've fallen into the perfection of this harmonious, organic mother-child relationship, and both found it amazingly good. I'm learning how to give this boy what I've always needed, and he is absolutely lapping it up. How beautiful is that?

This intentional summer has opened my family's days to fun exploration, but now I see the piece I couldn't plan - that togetherness has opened our hearts and souls to discovery of one another on new levels. And you know what? I didn't put that on my bucket list, but oh, I know Who did, and as I fall more deeply in love with the children He's given me, I fall more deeply in awe of our Father.




Like the FriedOkra Facebook page. 
Subscribe. 
Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WIWW: Devil with the Blue Dress and White Dress On

I was in a groove early in the week, happily mixing it up with different takes on black and white and then I got completely bored with that and had to go color-crazy.

That's kinda how I roll in general. I fall in love with something and can't get enough of it, and then all-of-a-sudden BOOM! I'm completely over it, and I go all knee-jerk/back-lashy in the opposite direction.

It's not so bad with clothes, but I'm guessing the boyfriends of my past would probably say it's not the best approach to relationships.

Sorry boys!

(I dated a lot of white boys before I married Al. Can you say "inevitable?")

(Bwah-ha-ha.)

(I'm really not the least it cavalier about the way I've handled past relationships, but guilt and remorse don't play out well in quippy, funny outfit posts, and after all, I am very happily married now, as are all of them that I have kept up with, so it all came out well in the end.)

Wednesday ootd.


Black v-neck tee - White House, Black Market
White boyfriend roll-up shorts - GAP
Sandals - Katie & Kelly via DSW
Necklace - LOFT

Ootd Thursday: Berry picking with the kids.


Polka dot shorts - Target
Top - H &M
Sneaks - Converse

Friday ootd


White tee with lace embellishment - J. Crew
Skirt - Garnett Hill
Flip-flops - Payless
Jewelry - Charming Charlie


Ootd Sunday

White dress - GAP
Shoes - Payless
Jewelry - LOFT


Saturday ootd


Blue dress - J. Crew
Flip-flop belt - Lilly Pulitzer
Yellow clutch and bracelet - Charming Charlie
Flip-flops - DSW


Ootd Monday


Top - H & M
Shorts - GAP
Belt - J. Crew
Crochet sweater over shoulders - Thrifted
Sparkle flats - Chinese Laundry via DSW
Gold jewelry - Charming Charlie

Ootd Tuesday

Top - Old Navy
Shorts - Old Navy
Belt - Target
Jewelry - Charming Charlie
Red Sandals - B. O. C. via DSW



And that's What I Wore last week!  I'll also be linking this post to Fashion Friday and the casual Friday link-up at Two-Thirty-Five Designs.

Hey, don't forget to LIKE the FriedOkra Facebook page to find more daily outfit ideas, check out all my fashion-and-beauty related Pinterest finds, and find links to my favorite posts from other style bloggers and much more.

You KNOW you need to leave me some Comment Lovin' down there. Comments are better than money. (Unless you're trying to keep from breaking some white guy's heart.)  And if you leave me a comment, I'll know where to find you, so I can come love on you, too.






Like the FriedOkra Facebook page. 
Subscribe. 
Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hope y'all had a great Father's Day weekend.

I've got both kids in camp this week and am wanting to take these extra interruption-free hours to check a few items off my personal to-do list while I have the chance.  So instead of sitting here in front of my computer, writing and stuff (which is what I REALLY want to do) I'ma take a few days off from the blog and get some stuff done.

 See you Wednesday or Thursday.  Hope you have a great start to your own week!

xoxo


Like the FriedOkra Facebook page. 
Subscribe. 
Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Weekend Style: Hello Heatwave!

Our temps are hot and going nowhere but up, up, up over the next week. Are you ready for All The Summer?

You'd think that a Carolina girl like me would be excited to see the upper 80s and 90s, like a homecoming, but y'all? After six summers up here, where the temps usually don't cross over the 88° mark more than a handful of times all season long, I have to confess, don't even know how I survived in the South all those long, hot summers.

And even more honestly, in weather over 85 degrees, my preference would mostly be to stay inside wearing nothing but a t-shirt and shorts that don't actually touch me anywhere, with the A/C cranked down to Supah-Frost until things got sane again, but that's not an option with all the motherhood I've got going on right now, so I'm thinking swingy sun dress, flip flops and shades until I can get my hot body poolside, where I will immediately strip and immerse like white lightening and stay immersed until sundown.

heatwave!


Happy Weekend and Happy Father's Day, y'all.





Like the FriedOkra Facebook page. 
Subscribe. 
Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Week in the Life 2

Evening sun, blue skies, gentle breeze, freshly cut grass...


Last Friday night we were all still recovering from the evil stomach flu of 2012 and had been cooped up in the house all day until the late afternoon, when I decided to get us all dressed and outside for a bit.  I'm not gonna lie to you, the main reason I initially bothered to drag my sick self out there was so that I could feed the kids their dinner in the grass and then let them STAY in the grass for a while thereafter, thus avoiding having to clean up any post dinner, um, shall we say, fall-out, beyond just a quick shot with the hose.

But once sat in my comfy chair with the warm, golden setting sun on my skin and the fresh air tousling my hair and skirt I felt much better, and was happy I'd made the effort, and happily no one actually lost his or her dinner after all.

That time, anyway.

Thinking of some special heart sisters as I sip sangria.  xp


But Sunday around one-ish, we dropped Bean off at a birthday party and I had the rare privilege of a late lunch date with just my two handsome men.  We made as if to celebrate with cocktails, as we thought we'd finally shaken off the gloom and doom of the tummy virus, when after toasting one another, taking our first sips of this delicious peachy white sangria, and setting down our glasses, we were both caught up in one final ridiculously violent tidal wave of vomit streaming out of Peabody's mouth and all over the table in front of him.

Um.... Cheers?

However, it has remained the final tidal wave to date.  So there's that.

Daddy's making pancakes!

Monday night, Al came home with a spring in his step and a few grocery bags on one arm and announced gleefully that he'd taken Tuesday morning off and was making us all blueberry pancakes and maple sausages for breakfast.  Y'all would not have BELIEVED the squealing and jumping up and down that ensued.

The kids were pretty excited, too.

He made ME some strawberry pancakes, and they were THE BOMB.  If you've never added fresh strawberries to pancakes (you add them to the cakes while they're cooking, just like you do blueberries), you must try it.  Such a delicacy!

(I have to say here that contrary to how it may seem, we do do other things around here besides eat and vomit.  I have no photographic proof of this, but you must just trust me.)

Headed to the park for a picnic, arguing about his driving like a little old married couple.


On Wednesday, I surprised the kids with a little trip to our neighborhood park for a picnic lunch.  It's a bit of a haul down there for people with legs shorter than my arms, not that I walk on my arms but you know what I mean, so I encouraged them to take their Jeep and I walked along behind them.  They rode along for the four block trip arguing and bickering like a little old married couple about Peabody's driving.

We had a great picnic and some fun times on the park's very fancy playground and I thought all had been forgotten of the previous squabbles, but you SEE who drove them HOME from the park afterwards, don't you?

*she's* driving home.


Mmmm-hmm.  And check out the body language on both of them, too.  I giggled all the way home. OLD MARRIED COUPLE.

He NEEDS to stay little.


(Y'all know I had to throw in a SUCKER shot of my baby sleeping.  This is what keeps 'em coming back, right here.  The sleeping baby pictures.  If I'm still blogging in 20 years, you can expect to run across the occasional picture of a 68-year-old Al, dressed up in a blue baby bonnet and a pair of men's size 10 knitted booties, sleeping exactly like this.   (Hey, he's already got the hair for it.)

Berry picking!


Yesterday we went to one of our FAVORITE places in our home town, our own Tom's Farmer's Market.  Tom (also of corn-growing-fame) grows the most amazingly beautiful strawberry plants I've even seen, laden with the freshest, shiniest, ripest, most sweet, succulent, amazing strawberries ever.  We picked seven pounds of them in all of fifteen minutes, and probably ate an additional pound (it's perfectly acceptable, they TELL you to feel free to snack while you pick) as we squatted among the plants, exclaiming and proudly showing off our harvest to one another.

That was fast!  We'll be back though.  These berries are delicious!


My two sweet berries posing proudly with their pick.  Would you LOOK at those happy faces?  (Another sucker shot.)  (See y'all next week, right?)

Just found this on my phone from earlier.  I guess he does know how to take a picture.


(I didn't think he was really taking a picture of me.)  (Peabody knows more about my iPhone than I do, and that's not an exaggeration.)


Happy National Strawberry Shortcake Day!

I can't even look at this without wanting to RUN into the kitchen and make another plate of it.  We came home from Tom's and made a pound cake so we could have fresh strawberry shortcake after dinner.

We're nobody's fools around here.  When you have seven pounds of fresh, delectable strawberries to eat up, you make haste with the pound cake and the fresh whipped cream.

Poolside is a way happier place with a 7 and 3 year old than it was with Miss 6 and Mr. 2.  Pretty stoked about that.


We left the pound cake cooling on a wire rack and headed out for the pool, where I quickly and blissfully discovered that poolside is a much happier place as the mother of a 7 and 3 year old than it was as the mother of a 6 and 2 year old.  Like, I-didn't-even-have-to-leave-my-chair-once happy.  Like, Oh-look-at-that-poor-mom-over-there-with-the-toddler-and-the-preschooler-that-looks-SO-HARD-thank-GOD-that's-not-ME-whew-please-pass-the-Cheez-Its-and-Amen happy.  I didn't think I'd ever get to this place poolside again, and here I am.  Amen again.

All in all, I'd say summer is treating us just right so far.  How about you?

I've linked this post, featuring some of my favorite Instagram photos from the past week, to InstaFriday at Life Rearranged.





Like the FriedOkra Facebook page. 
Subscribe. 
Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Reminder

Originally published May, 2010.



Photobucket


Years ago in my twenties -- another lifetime, another me almost -- I spent summer weekend house-sitting for the family of a professor in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tucked into the corner of a busy, thriving urban neighborhood, theirs was Craftsman-style home, offering the welcoming big-breasted hug of a deep front porch that made me wish I had a swing and a glass of lemonade and a few free hours on hand. A house with a big front porch does that to me, a girl who grew up with two grandmothers who had considerable front porches of their own (take that however you want to.)

This home burrowed into my heart the moment I lay eyes on it, and it has never really left me - I visit it in my mind and make a slow, careful measuring-up walk-through on days when I'm scrounging around to remember what exactly it is that I've purposed to make of my family's life together in our own home.

I lived there the weekend long in a hazy golden dream, borne up out of my own young, stranded, stranger-filled existence and into this family's cozy, scrubbed-worn-and-warm life. I don't know, even now, exactly where I was or how I got there, but when I left that heart-place I knew one day I had to go back there and own that life, that simple warmth, that vibrant togetherness, just right, for myself.

I needed the free-spirited kids that slept in those quilt-covered beds, needed the golden retriever named Annie whose thick leather leash felt like another hand in my own as we walked. I needed the vibrantly-dull hardwood floors with window-squares of spilled sunlight and the old humming fridge in the kitchen with pictures of a beaming wedding couple and blue-painted handprints and crayon rainbows and I heart Mommy taped and magneted on the front and both sides. I needed half a loaf of raisin bread from the bakery on the corner, and fresh cucumbers and basil from the little plot out back. I needed the professor and his wife's bedroom with shades pulled halfway down over wide-open windows and sheers lifted by the breeze and talls stacks of books on each nightstand, his, hers, theirs. A pair of reading glasses waited on her side. A solid old alarm clock held down his - practical, sturdy, ticking out loud this man-of-the-house's ready, intelligent strength and protection.

I needed the peace of the quiet family room, wrapped in the sleepy shadows of afternoon, the fireplace of bricks and stone, the rocking chair in a corner with threadbare wool cushions and arms smooth and glowing with the patina of grandmothers' palms and babies' feet. I needed the stillness of the streetlights in the evening, their halos in the warm night air spreading faded green down over the deep night blue of the neighbors' front lawns as the scent of peonies quietly meandered through the screen doors waft by waft. I needed the history and permanence of a tiled old bathroom and clawfooted tub and even the good-natured under-performance of the old water heater that made a steaming hot bath impossible, but cheerfully offered up copious amounts of warm-enough.

I needed, even then, the husband who knew the wife's strengths and weaknesses and respected her, even admired her (as my mind gathered somehow from the warmth of their bedroom, the intimate heart of their life together).  But oh, he could predict her struggles and effortlessly recognize her joys and sorrows in the curve of her cheek, and he would cover her heart like one of those soft, heavy quilts on the kids' bed just at the moment she needed him to. And I longed to be the wife who tucked her children into those beds and clicked off the dim hall light, then went to her husband and quietly laughed with him, looked deep into his eyes and breathed who he was inside, trusted and believed in him, and steadfastly carried his dreams tangled up and confused with hers inside her soul, just as their fingers looked when she noticed them entwined together in church or on the deep sofa or as they walked upstairs to bed, the two of them.

This is what I needed.

Nearly twenty years later, I am home.

 And I have nothing at all that was in that house, except everything.


Like the FriedOkra Facebook page.
Subscribe. 
Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

WIWW: For Flamenco Dancing and Surgery, of Course

Another Wednesday, another chance to show you what I wore.  Which remains the single weirdest thing I do all week.  Okay probably not the weirdest, and especially not this past week, because this past week I did some fairly uncommonly weird stuff, even for me.  

So did you notice that several weeks ago I changed the location of my outfit posts?   I did that to make it so I could take them straight up and down.

Apparently Eileen no matter where I stand.


Ootd Thursday!

Dress - Victoria's Secret
Gingham shirt - Ralph Lauren
Shoes - Payless 
Bag - Audrey Brooke via DSW
Jewelry - LOFT

Shoesies!

Aren't these fun?  I wore them pretty much every day after I bought them on Monday.  It's like I was starved for shoe cuteness or something, and I've just been gluttonizing myself on them because OMG. WEDGES.  WITH FLOWERS.  NOM!  I'll normalize again eventually and get them into a less frenzied position in the shoe rotation.

Ootd Friday

Eyelet skirt - Target
Grey tee - Talbot's
Scarf - Target
Shoes - Payless
Bracelets - Charming Charlie

Something about this outfit made me wish I had some castanets.  Are you somewhat surprised to hear that I don't actually own any castanets?  Even I find that a little bit surprising.  I'll have to rectify that.  I'm fairly sure I'm the kind of person who should own castanets.


Ootd Saturday.

Dress - Victoria's Secret
Shoes - (Ahem.)
Necklace - LOFT
Bracelet - Charming Charlie

I get so dang many compliments on this dress.  I actually wore it out shopping Saturday.  Clothes shopping.  And the store employees in every store were all, "SHUT UP.  I love that dress.  Where did you get that dress?"  Seriously!  In White House, Black Market the girls all sorta clustered around me exclaiming, "OH YOUR DRESS IS FABULOUS.  It's so COLORFUL."  

"Well um ... YE-E-EAH," I said, looking around the store. (Blink-blink.)



Sundaycoird


Tee - Old Navy, years ago
Skirt - Garnet Hill
Necklace - LOFT
Shoes - Payless 

This was my favorite outfit of the week.  I've had this tee for almost four years and never really loved it, but then I put it on with this Garnet Hill skirt and it was as if lightening struck, and I saw the shirt in a brilliant new light.  It's funny how the right combination can bring out the best in a piece that never really did much for you before.  

Or it could have just been the cute shoes.

Anyway, I'm pretty much counting the days until I can wear this outfit again.   

Annnd ... One.


Sundaycoird

(Hee hee.  Just kiddin'.)

Ootd Tuesday.

Shirt/Necklace/Shorts - LOFT
Shoes - Guess via DSW

Fun stuff I picked up at the super sale going on at LOFT.  The top kinda looks like scrubs, doesn't it?  Which is completely appropriate, because I wore it yesterday, which also happened to be the day I had the dubious honor of surgically removing a small ball of blue Play-Doh from my 3 year old's ear canal. 

That was a special time for both of us, allow me to assure you.  

And that's What I Wore last week!  I'm also linking this post to Fashion Friday and the casual Friday link-up at Two-Thirty-Five Designs.

Hey, don't forget to LIKE the FriedOkra Facebook page to find more daily outfit ideas, check out all my fashion-and-beauty related Pinterest finds, and find links to my favorite posts from other style bloggers and much more.

You KNOW you need to leave me some Comment Lovin' down there. Comments are better than money. (Unless you're trying to pay someone to get Play-Doh out of your kid's ear.)  And if you leave me a comment, I'll know where to find you, so I can come love on you, too.







Like the FriedOkra Facebook page. 
Subscribe. 
Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'

Monday, June 11, 2012

Motherhood This Week: Asterisks

.

Today I'll fold up the tarps and towels we fashioned into vomit-safe islands around the house last week. I'll put away loads of clean laundry, and wipe down counter tops and door handles with disinfectant. I'll empty the fridge of take-out left-overs from last week, write up a meal plan and pick up a new propane tank for the grill. I'll sort through the shoe bin by the back door and pair up the mates, find every flip's flop amidst the jumble.

And I'll get out my calendar and plan another week in the life of the Cobb family.  


This time with bold-faced, two-times-the-point-sized font asterisks for the unexpected.

A perfectionist forgets about the asterisks as she plans and dreams her children's perfect summer. She forgets that kids wake up grumpy some mornings, or sick in the middle of some nights. She forgets they'll start thinking syrup tastes like dirt on pancakes-for-dinner-night or that they'll be too distracted by the dinosaur bones they find in the garden to concentrate on digging holes and watering plants or that a three-year-old bandit will have swiped the carefully-placed tampons and recital tickets from Mom's purse at the exact wrong moments.

A perfectionist overlooks the reality that her best laid plans - made in the names of her children - will sometimes change dramatically with the whims of their natural unpredictability.  She forgets or hasn't learned yet to be okay with this, to take it in her stride, instead startling awake in the early morning hours to the cacophony of broken promises and failure drumming in her ears.

She reaches for her husband, who has been reached for in this same pounding moment a hundred times, and he smooths his brown warmth back around her, the same sweet brown warmth every time like molasses on an anxious, frozen pat of butter on a biscuit, and he melts her, reminding her that failure was never born of such heartfelt trying.

He reminds her that love made the plans, and love in return remembers nothing of their brokenness.  That asterisks are simply the stuff of real life.

  • This week we will pick fresh strawberries and to make our own jam*.
  • And go swimming*.
  • And clean up bedrooms*.
  • And churn home-made ice cream*. 
  • And get back to our after dinner walks.*
I will accept the asterisks as they fall like stars around us, and in their glow I'll love my children more than my plans, and learn to love myself more than my ability to edit real life into my version of perfection.

(*)

Subscribe.  
Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Weekend Style: Dressed Up or Down

dressed down or up

I was texting with my sweet, funny friend Kelly last night (as I sat in bed with the stupid stomach bug) when she sent me a picture of her cute self in a new dress she'd picked up at LOFT yesterday. Many styles are on sale now for $39.50 and others (the dressier styles mainly) are 50% off their regular prices on-line. Thanks, Kelly! I'll be stopping by LOFT this morning (and not breathing on anyone) in hopes of grabbing a new (inexpensive) frock or two.

What I love about a simple little dress for summer is how easy it is to just pop on for daily wear with a cute flip-flop and a straw tote.  To create a layered look, toss a chambray shirt over it, knotted at the waist. For a dressier occasion (dinner out, church, brunch, a play or concert) you could pair one of these cuties with a bright shoulder bag, a sweet wedge and maybe a crisp white blazer. Dresses like the ones I've shown here are almost universally flattering, and they are just so feminine and fresh that you couldn't help but feel pretty in them.

I'm linking this post to the fun and fantastic Fashion Friday.


  Subscribe.  
Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Week in the Life

Morning...

The sun rises so ridiculously early in the Midwest in June, y'all.  By 4:30 AM, it's full-on daylight.

Al said last night, "We're going to get some of those black-out blinds like in Cameron Diaz's bedroom in the move The Holiday."

"Ooooh!  Can we get the bedside button to raise and lower them like she had too?" I thrilled.

"Absolutely, only your button's name will be Al, and you won't so much push it as just give it a gentle nudge."


Diptic

When your whole family wakes up before 6 AM thanks to the full-on daylight in all the bedrooms, you get to take advantage of the farmer's market.

Where you lay around on a blanket in the shade and fervently wish you were still in your bed.

Untitled

And when you're revived enough to get up and run around, your Mom will stick you up in a tree to keep you from getting too far away, and go back to napping on the blanket like a lazy Mama hippo in cut-off jeans and sunglasses.

Calling all "bubberguys!" The first annual Cobbie Kids Butterfly Tea Garden is open for business.  Come in, pull up a rock and have a little nectar!  :)

Bean did a section in school this spring about butterflies, and she's been begging to plant a butterfly garden for weeks. Yesterday we picked up some pretty flowers at the local nursery and popped them into the black soil in a ring around the base of the butterfly bush I put in last fall.

While I was digging to soften up the earth so that the kids could make holes for the plants, we discovered a buried cache of "dinosaur bones!"  And after that, I finished planting the rest of the flowers by myself while my two wee archeologists carefully washed, examined and exclaimed over our finds.  And then we put those in the butterfly garden, too.  They look a lot like rocks, but don't be fooled.  Those are the spiny plates from a prehistoric stegosauraus's back, my friends.

Bean completed her first solo sewing project today.  :). She's already more patient and detail-oriented than I am.  (which isn't saying much, but SHE did very well!)

Peabody and I are still taking our afternoon naps together, so Bean spends that time in her room reading and crafting. One afternoon she surprised me by finishing up this tiny raccoon buddy from an American Girl kit.  She has immeasurably more patience and stick-to-it-iveness than her Mama.  Which is pretty much any at all.

Oh summer.  You and your warm shoulder kisses...

The weather's been brilliant here.  The kids had some friends over one afternoon to take a dip in the kiddie pool, and then spread out towels to let the sun warm and dry them.   They look like itty bitty teenagers here, don't they? They wanted music so I put on The Eagles for them and there was a fit of eye-rolling so violent I'm pretty sure the ground buckled.  I'm surprised you couldn't hear them groaning at me from your house. I don't have any Bieber, so we eventually agreed on silence.

Except for Peabody belting out a few hopeful bars of "Angelina Ballerina" here and there.

Poor kid just wants to be one of the girls.  Sadly, he does not yet understand the ever-shifting culture of the 7-year-old set.

Lunch!  Romaine, grape tomatoes and fresh mozzarella pearls with balsamic and evoo.  I got this idea from somebody on IG... If it was you, thanks.  Delicioso!

I made a salad of chopped romaine, torn basil, mozzarella pearls and grape tomatoes with some balsamico and olive oil for lunch one day and sat out on the back porch to eat it.  That's just water with a lime in it,  not a gin and tonic.

 By mid-July? Can't make any promises.

And she will eat.  The whole.  Thing.

That ice cream Bean is holding?  That's only two scoops.  She ate the whole thing.  And then she metabolized it before we were out the door of the ice cream shop and asked for a ham and cheese sandwich when we got home.

.

Where does someone with absolutely no body mass put that much food? In her top knot?

As I mentioned, Bean has her big annual dance recital this weekend. I took this picture before we left for dress rehearsal last night. It makes me all heart-clutchy to look at it.  After the dress rehearsal we ate pizza at one of our favorite restaurants. Peabody ate a LOT of pizza. And then? On the way home? In the car? He projectile vomited all of that pizza and also evidently the four previous days' meals as well right out onto the back of the seat and floor in front of him. I have never seen so much barf in my entire life.

That made me heart-clutchy in a totally different way.

(I didn't take an Instagram of the barf.)

(You're welcome.)

Rockin the summer buzz.  :)

(God makes little kids this cute so you will feel sorry for them and not toss them out the window in disgust after they fill the entire floor of your car with pizza-and-lemonade vomit.)


--------------

I've linked this post, featuring some of my favorite Instagram photos from the past week, to InstaFriday at Life Rearranged.


Like the FriedOkra Facebook page. 
Subscribe. 
Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bean Meets Blog: They're Happy Tears

This past weekend, as I sat at my desk editing this post, Bean sidled up beside me and read a few lines on the screen.  She's always been an over-my-shoulder reader, but I don't think she's really ever paid much attention to my blog.  This time, though, because the post on the screen had her name in it, she reached out and stopped my manic scrolling and frantic deleting/re-typing and asked me to print the entire post so she could read it.

So I did.  She came back a few minutes later and asked, "Mom, can I have more please?" (Oh, the thrill of her wanting to read more!  It will stay with me for a very long time.)

As luck would have it, I'd just been going through the archives over at 5 Minutes for Parenting, slowly copying those posts (there are over 100 of them, this could take a while) and storing them here on FriedOkra, and I happened to have this long overdue thank-you note I wrote to Bean during Peabody's babyhood handy for her.

Many of the commenters on the original post sweetly pointed out that one day Bean would read the letter and be touched by it.  And they were so right.  Ten minutes after I handed her the printed copy, she came running back to me with it in her hand, sobbing, and threw her arms around my neck.  I held her for awhile and then pulled her away slightly to look into her eyes.

"Baby what's wrong?  Why are you crying?"

"They're happy tears," she choked out.

"You just got a glimpse of how much I love you.  How crazy-much you mean to me, my sweet baby," I hugged her and wiped away my own tears.

And she quietly nodded into my shoulder.

Here's the post originally published December 15, 2008:


Photobucket


Dear Bean,

You and I went to the grocery store and made cookies together today.  Just an ordinary trip to the grocery store and a simple little mix and bake project for Mama and Bean.  No big deal.

It’s funny though.  I’m finally beginning to come out of the mother-of-a-newborn fog I’ve been in for 4 months, and in the gradual clearing I can see how scarce the moments like those we spent together today have been since Peabody was born.  And how much they mean to me, and to you.

Bean, you amaze me.  I worried before Peabody was born that you’d be hurt by his “intrusion” in our relationship – that having to share me with him would be too hard on you, and I’d see you sad and lonely, which would have broken my heart.  Instead, you’ve lovingly embraced your brother’s presence in our lives for the blessing that it is, and you’ve quelled all of my fears as to what another child would do to the bond you and I have had since YOUR newborn days.  You’ve been my constant sidekick since the day we brought our little baby home from the hospital, always helpful, always enthusiastic and generous, offering your toys to entertain him, your Teddy and blanket to help comfort him, your medicine to make him feel better when he had a cold.

But more than that, you’ve been so sensitive – sensitive way beyond anything I’d expect from an adult, much less a four-year-old – to me and to my feelings.  In moments when I’ve sunk into the hopelessness every new mother feels when her baby won’t be soothed, you’ve been there to pat me on the back and say, “Mama, sometimes babies just cry.  It’s not your fault.  He’ll be okay.”  In moments when I’ve been exhausted, dead on my feet and empty to my core, you’ve sat beside me, your tiny arm thrown around my shoulders, and said, “He’ll just keep getting older day by day, Mama, and he’ll get easier to handle,  I promise.”

There are the times you’ve made me laugh outloud, too.  Like the time you came into the room and your brother looked up at you and squealed and laughed.  You trotted past me as I stood there watching him, crowing over your shoulder, ”Man, that kid SURE DOES LOVE ME!”  Or the time you said, “Poor little Peabody’s so sick.  He’s been frowing up all day long.  I bet if we gave him some of my yummy Tylenol he’d feel better in a JIPPY!”  Oh Bean, how many times you’ve saved me from humorlessness – a punishment worse than death, in our household.

But mostly you’ve helped me just by forgiving me, no matter how snippy or short I’ve been, no matter how many (thousands and thousands, I’m sure) times I’ve scolded, “Bean, BE QUIET, DO NOT WAKE UP YOUR BROTHER!” When I allow myself to contemplate all the hours you’ve sat bored, or hungry, or tired, or just lonely, waiting for me to feed Peabody, or put him to sleep, I feel so disappointed in myself for letting you down, for allowing you suffer, for putting anyone else’s needs ahead of yours, and yet YOU never seem to hold it against me.  You are quick to defend me when I put myself down, quick to tell Daddy to BE NICE TO MAMA, and always so willing to accept every bit of love and attention I can finally give you, no matter how many times I’ve had to put you off.

And even that, in its own way, is heartbreaking to me, yet I am so deeply thankful.  For the beautiful girl who looked up at me today with her eyes sparkling when I pulled out our new matching gingerbread aprons and oven mitts and suggested we bake cookies, and exclaimed, “Mama, you are THE BEST SANTA CLAUS EVER!”

I’m thankful for you, my beloved daughter, who in her acceptance of and unconditional love for me, despite my obvious shortcomings and blundering humanity, makes it easier to forgive myself, and start each new moment we spend together with hope that I can one day grow to be good enough to deserve the heart of such an amazing little girl.

Thank you for being you, my first sweet baby. I love you.

Mama

------------------------

I do a lot of fretting and stewing over my writing and "where I wish I could be" with this old blog of mine, but you know what?  If I never write another thing in my life, never publish another post here or anywhere else, never thrill over another reader comment, never bask in another word of praise or bit of accolade, I will forever be grateful to God for prompting me to start a blog, even if it was just to lead me to write this ONE letter -- one that my daughter can hold in her hand the rest of her life and know, for sure, no matter what, that she is absolutely wonderfully perfect in my eyes and that I completely adore her.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What I'll Probably Be Wearing Wednesday

What I'll probably wearing this Wednesday?  Is barf.

I'ma make this brief, because yep, Norovirus II, starring Peabody, is now playing in my family room. And in my guest bedroom, and in a bathroom or two, and there's a bit of a "trailer" in the linen closet. Pretty much wherever we don't have a tarp down to catch vomit (we've had them down in the kids' bedrooms since last week when Norovirus I, starring Bean, hit theatres), because that's how these things always go, isn't it?

These are the outfits I was able to capture over the past week. I won't even apologize for them, since for part of the week I was nursing a sickie, and then after that Summer!!!! Vacation!!!! started, and both kids have been home ALL THE TIME ACK! and we apparently have been too busy trying to cross off every single thing on our Summer Bucket List in the first 48 hours to care what we've got on.

(I mean, personally, I really do care, but my caring and my getting to actually do it don't necessarily go hand in hand when I'm full-time mothering both kids. I haven't been to the bathroom since Saturday lunchtime, but I have filled and refilled the kiddie pool fourteen times, unwrapped about a hundred ice cream sandwiches and built an amazing butterfly garden complete with a wading pond and nearly-natural-looking "outcropping" of rocks.)

(And that was just yesterday from 3:30 to 5 PM.)

Believe it or not, that's the sick one.

(That's Bean in the background on one of her sick days. Can you imagine what she's like healthy? Perky little thing.)

.
(Side braid and nude make-up.)


Superstar Jeans - Old Navy
Tee - Gap
Necklace - LOFT
Flats - Chinese Laundry via DSW

Ootd Sunday


Tunic/Dress - Old Navy
Leggings - J. Jill
Necklace - LOFT
Sandals - Katie & Kelly via DSW

Ootd Monday.


Superstar Skinnies - Old Navy
Bird shirt - Old Navy
Bracelet/watch - Charming Charlie
Necklace - LOFT
Sandals - Guess via DSW


Ootd Tuesday


Untitled

Peasant top - Thrifted
Cut-offs - An old pair of Lucky Brand Jeans that I DIY'd
Necklace & Bracelet- Charming Charlie
Flower Wedges - Payless

.


Silk blouse - Victoria's Secret
Boyfriend Roll-Up Shorts - Gap
Belt - J. Crew
Bucks - Bass
Necklaces - Charming Charlie


And that's What I Wore last week! I'm also linking this post to Fashion Friday. Hey, don't forget to LIKE the FriedOkra Facebook page to find more daily outfit ideas, check out all my fashion-and-beauty related Pinterest finds, and find links to my favorite posts from other style bloggers and much more.

You KNOW you need to leave me some Comment Lovin' down there. Comments are better than money. (Unless you're trying to pay someone to clean up toddler vomit.)  And if you leave me a comment, I'll know where to find you, so I can come love on you, too.






Like the FriedOkra Facebook page. Subscribe. Get my updates in your in-box by subscribing via email using the link on my right sidebar.
Find me on Twitter and Instagram.  There, as anywhere, I'm simply 'FriedOkra.'