I get nostalgic coming home. This week Jack and I headed home to the house I grew up in, over the rolling hills miles outside of the small southern Ohio town that I’m from. There are so many memories here, happy ones and sad ones. This was the place I ran through the tiny maze-like hallways with my cousin and our baby buggies. The kitchen table where I had years of “cakes in the morning.” The gravel driveway that I ran across barefoot to and from the pool during the summertime. At the other end of the driveway, the school bus stopped for me from grade school until I got my first car. The house where I spent every Christmas with my insanely large and AWESOME extended family. Christmas gifts covering the pool table in the basement, sheer chaos and squeals over getting Pound Puppies from Uncle John. The house where I hunted Easter eggs and I’m pretty sure there are some misfit eggs still hidden in the basement.
I got ready for all major high school dances in this house. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, I packed up my car and headed to Ohio State University, and this house was always the first stop I made when I got back into town. On September 11th, 2015 I woke up to see Today Show footage of the Twin Towers just moments after the first building was hit. I brought a few boyfriends to this house and finally “the one” who asked for my hand in marriage in the living room. 3 months after my wedding, I surprised my family with news that a baby was on the way in this very house. My Mom took her last breath here, surrounded by her family. And I’ve continued to return to this house with each of my children. And it will forever be a special part of their lives too. They’ve built snowmen in the front yard, run barefoot in the grass, caught lightning bugs on hot summer nights, and cuddled with so many family members here. My heart is happy when I’m home.
I don’t typically share a lot of personal stories on L. Avenue. I mean, my life is pretty norm core and I think most of y’all pop over here for the fashion, right?! I can be pretty witty, so maybe it’s for the one liners too. HA! Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with dear diary entries, but feel compelled to write a little more than just a typical outfit post today. Today is my Mom’s birthday. She passed away a few years ago and it’s the 3rd birthday without her. Even though she’s partying in Heaven today, I make a point to celebrate her birthday here too. It’s therapeutic for me. And so is writing this blog post. Truth be told, she didn’t love birthdays and said she was 29 for like my entire life. So she’s probably shaking her head at the idea of me writing to the world about her big day. Don’t worry Mom, I’m not telling them your actual age, ok?!
I woke up pretty sad today, missing her and feeling a major void when I told the girls it was Nana’s birthday. So I tried to fill my day to stay as busy as possible. I had a productive breakfast meeting after carpool drop-off and then headed to Nordstrom for some shoot prep. Guess who I ran into?! My MOM! Not really, but in spirit, we bumped heads we were so close. I swear I’m not totally cray, but while perusing Nordstrom’s contemporary collection I came across a graphic tee that reads, “AC/DC 1981 tour.” Get this y’all, my mom’s favorite band was AC/DC and guess what year her only daughter was born in? Can you guess?? 1981! Now if that’s not a sign I don’t know what is. I felt her presence and of course bought the tee. She would be so proud to see me rocking it today. My mom was a really cool chick. Anybody reading this who knew her is probably sobbing right now. Hope the tears are happy and that you guys play “You shook me all night long” for TJ today.
More big baby news for L. Avenue! My brother and sister welcomed a little girl into the world this Wednesday. We love Eloise Jane already, and I can’t wait to watch her grow up with her big brother, Max. Here’s five links for reading this weekend:
Decorate :: Eloise will have a Palm Springs inspired nursery with this crib sheet. Seeing this girl’s room makes my imagination go wild for all the magical ways her room can evolve with this theme and color scheme.
Go :: I’m already salivating for a boozy brunch at Leo’s Oyster Bar on the San Francisco Bay for my birthday, but my next stop may be this whimsical café on the other side of the world.
Browse :: I feel as though I’ve found my British kindred spirit in Louise Roe, budding lifestyle blogger who happens to reside in the same city as my top two faves, Garance Doré and Emily Schuman. May have to pay a visit to LA!
Eat :: I recently discovered acclaimed Houston chef Chris Shepherd’s curated list of his favorite spots around town. WD and I tried London Sizzler, and it satisfied my saag paneer craving big time.
Shop :: I love the feminine edge of this biker jacket, and for the price, I wouldn’t feel bad for only wearing it on occasion in the mild Houston weather.
Looking forward to volunteering at tonight’s A Couture Cause and meeting some of you. Don’t be shy, and please say hi!
There’s a scene in the movie Christmas Vacation where Ellen complains to Clark about his ridiculously high expectations on big events like holidays. Boy can I relate to old Clark Griswold. My family will shake their heads in agreement while reading this post. And I’m pretty sure they’ll remind me for years to come about how I frantically went to great lengths to dismantle our dead Christmas tree in order to put up a new, fresh tree just 5 days before Christmas. Stringing lights with a newborn strapped into the baby bjorn…do not try this at home, folks. I digress here, but have to ask, do any of y’all obsess over this type of stuff too? If not the tree, stressing over getting the right gifts for people, writing thank you’s in time, making sure you sent a Christmas card to your OBGYN because well, she was responsible for a safe birth of your newest family member on the front of the card. Ha!
Seriously, there is so much chaos during the holidays, how do we not all go cray cray? I spent the best part of December worrying about things that are mostly out of my control, like what if a kid is sick for the holidays? There isn’t enough hand sanitizer out there to prevent this fear from coming to fruition sometimes. And the sickness train rolled into town and stopped at our house multiple times this Christmas.
My biggest anxiety was realized when a perfect storm of illness swept through my family a few days before Christmas. As a result our social calendar of festivities with family and friends was shut down. And we were on lock down. But in the end it was still a great Christmas. Maybe the best one yet. How can this be??? Well for starters we were forced to be at home with just us. Our new family of 5. At times I longed for my sisters or a babysitter or someone (anyone!) to just give us a hand while in the trenches. But while we were down there some really magical moments happened.
I guess that’s what you might call the spirit of Christmas. The good stuff. While I was too sick to even text my friends Merry Christmas (sorry guys, can this blog post shout out count?), I was laser focused on my kids on Christmas day. I spent zero time cleaning up anything (the house can wait) even though towards the end of the day the kitchen was starting to remind me of a frat house. I spent zero time trying to get my family dressed to the nines to go to Christmas dinner at our friends house. And as much as I look forward to going to that fun festive party, I honestly didn’t mind frozen pizza and pigs in a blanket with my party of 5. Gathered around the table eating the freezer’s finest, holding Jack while he slept so angel-like, the sweet voices of my little girls, and catching my husband’s eyes and knowing that he got it too. I’ll store this scene in my mind as the best Christmas memory to date. No frills, just us. And then next December when I get all crazy about Christmas being perfect I’ll remember what perfect really is.
We just received our New Year’s cards in the mail from Minted and I love how they turned out! In case you missed my earlier post, you can read more about the design process here. And in case you didn’t get around to sending out a Christmas card this year, there’s still time to put together a festive card celebrating the new year on Minted.com. The process is super easy and the card design options are pretty legit. There are cards with real gold foil, glitter (my fave!) and the letterpress options are gorgeous. Once you upload your photo/photos, there’s this slick feature that let’s you preview a sample card in each design template with that photo. This saved me so much trial and error and I put our New Year’s cards together in less than 20 minutes. I included the feature to print addresses on the envelopes which is also a major time saver. And Minted had my cards to me in less than 3 business days. It doesn’t get much better than an efficient, seamless process for beautiful cards for a mama with not a minute of free time to spare these days.
My nephew/niece count will reach a dozen at the start of the new year. My sister-in-law is due in January, so she’s having a sprinkle soon to celebrate her first daughter. I’m giving her this book (spoiler alert, sis!), thus the inspiration for this installment of the Friday Five:
sadness :: Famous figures speak their peace on dealing with depression, and there’s an overwhelming consensus that being sad–in some ways–feels good and like a release while being depressed feels numb and like nothing.
glamorous :: Always a girl in pearls, I finally found a proper evening bag to bring to weddings and special occasions in the summer, winter and seasons in between.
love :: A college friend’s older sister reached out to request a flower from each of her close friends to make a friendship bouquet. It’s acts like these that make kindness karma go round.
impressed :: I visited the Degas exhibit at MFAH last night and was wowed by his portrayal of movement, preparation and performance. Dallas is rivaling it with a Monet exhibit: which impressionist do you prefer?
It’s November, and there are new people in this world, notably Lyndsey’s baby. Her hands will be very literally full, so I’m savoring this admittedly selfish time in my life where I can go out and about with WD, friends, family and just me. So, today’s Friday Five features my Fall bucket list.
The clock is winding down before this baby will be here. From the get go I was certain this baby would be early. I was deemed “high risk” because my fluid has been low with both prior pregnancies and I had to go on hospital bed rest when I was pregnant with Charlotte. Of course, the second you proclaim your confidence in any future outcome that truly isn’t in your control it goes the opposite of the way you planned. Especially when it comes to life events as unpredictable as pregnancy can be. The only certainty with this pregnancy is that my C-section is scheduled for early November if I don’t run out of fluid (can’t help but laugh when I talk about fluid, makes me feel like a car or something!) or go into labor between now and then.
Odds on the gender…
I’ve also been pretty confident about my gut feeling on this baby’s gender. I’ve been thinking boy from day 1, so it will be pretty hilarious if this baby ends up being a girl. It’s so hard NOT to be confident this baby is a boy. Case in point–everyone I know (except Bret) thinks I’m having a boy. If you hear something enough you can’t help but start to believe it’s true. Further evidence shows that there are girls being born all around our circle of friends and family and zero boys. When gender odds are 50-50 and everyone you know is rolling pink, the dice has to roll blue at some point. So I’m going all in on blue this time around. Which means this baby is for sure going to be a girl now, right?! Either way, I’m super excited, anxious, nervous, happy to be on the verge of bringing a new baby into this world.
When I was 27, single and traveling 24/7 working on a Presidential campaign I didn’t foresee a husband and 3 kids at 35. A LOT has happened in the past 8 years that’s for sure. My Mom always told me my 30’s would be my best years. They have certainly been the most major of years in my life, a husband and almost three kids later. I look back over my 30’s so far and if I can take one thing away for the next 5 it’s to slow the F down and enjoy it all a little bit more. It’s not naturally in my DNA to do this. I didn’t realize it until I was talking to Leighton’s teacher about her personality and her feedback was exactly what I’d seen written on my report cards year over year. In so many words, lighten up! People see a fun, outgoing exterior but at the end of the day, I’m pretty intense and overly focused; Serious about being a good mom and wife to a fault that I dwell on my own shortcomings way too much. And serious about doing things in this word productivity wise—being successful in business, making money, contributing to my church and community. It’s exhausting and it’s time to slow my roll. Say yes to less. Take the time to waste a moment. And while I’m at it, enjoy the moment. Put the phone down. Nothing is that important that it can’t wait a few more minutes. This new mantra might not help my punctuality though. Oh well.
Wow, I really got off on a tangent there guys. I’m sure most of you have already clicked to the next thing on the internet by now so I’m probably just talking to me (and maybe my Grandma who reads this blog religiously). Anyhoo…..here’s to the next 5 years that make up what I will probably look back on as the best years ever.
All coffee talk aside, it wouldn’t be a birthday on L. Avenue without a wish list. Since it’s Friday, I’ll give y’all my Friday 5 ultimate birthday wish list.
I swear I don’t usually intend to match with the girls, but when I realize that we are in fact twinning it makes me smile pretty big. They love it and I realize my days of a. picking out their clothes/shoes and b. the girls thinking it’s cool to match with their Mommy are numbered.
I’ve been on the hunt for silver metallic shoes for a while. I almost bought these pumps last year but passed thinking I wouldn’t wear this metallic enough. Well metallics are hot again this fall and the loafer is king. I’ve been drooling over the Gucci loafers but recently came across this Rebecca Minkoff pair for less. They sold out on Shopbop quickly but are still available here.