Stuff I Bought At Macy’s This Weekend

I like to shop at Macy’s because my mother in law worked there for many, many years (back when it was Foley’s!) and now she is retired but she has a lifetime discount and it stacks on top of coupons and sales and we can usually get some pretty SCREAMING deals on stuff. This weekend we hit Macy’s together and I totally scored two fabulous things.

(Well, three things. Kind of. You’ll see.)

Thing The First: American Living Navy Stripe Maxi Dress, $29 and until Sunday you get an extra 20% off

Here is the model wearing it.

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And here I am wearing it with my silver Jack Rogers (still love ‘em! I want a pair in gold now) and a pinkish-red Clare cardigan that I got at the J Crew outlet when they were $19 (keep your eye on them, they go on sale allllll the time), and I do not love this cardigan with this dress but it is what was clean so…this is not a fashion blog that’s just my real life.

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Now. I am not a maxi dress person. I am 5’4″ and I usually feel that a maxi dress makes me look short and dumpy and I know you will be shocked when I tell you that is not usually the look I am going for. And it DOES make me feel SLIGHTLY that way anyway (something about all the fabric? I am not used to so much fabric on my person), but I am 35 and I have had 3 kids and I have realistic expectations, mmmmkay? I feel like this thing could use a belt of some sort, but I took it home for like $20 after some crazy coupons and the sale discount. I like it though. I am going to go ahead and get the solid navy one, too.

This just feels too easy to wear to school pickup this fall when it’s still hot. (I also felt very validated when I saw it had great reviews online.) If you decide to buy this but you aren’t reading this until Monday DO NOT BUY IT YET. They always run the extra 20% off starting on WEDNESDAYS, so just sit tight and they’ll run the sale again in a week or so. I mean, you do not pay full price at Macy’s, that’s just the RULE. This isn’t a $40 dress. Somewhere in the $20-$30 range is right.

Thing The Second: Idealogy Long Sleeved Hoodie, $38, but you can get an extra 20% off if you hit the sale right

Here is the model wearing it.

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And here I am wearing it.

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This is what I would call part of my wardrobe of Everyday Clothes. I have taken to wearing basically gym clothes every day. It is usually something like stretchy gym capris, a tank of some sort and sneakers. Sometimes flip flops. Sometimes a t-shirt. You get the idea.

I wear these clothes because I wake up and I start chasing people  at 630am, and shoving 100 pound grocery carts across the pavement when it’s 102-degrees, and someone has to haul all those heavy groceries inside while keeping Preston from running out the door into the street, and there’s just no way to keep myself from sweating with three kids to chase after from 630am to 930pm, okay? This is my life.

I move a lot; gym clothes are designed to be worn by people who bend and squat and run sprints to rescue 18-month-old children from climbing the stairs when an older sibling has knocked the gate down. I am much happier now that I have stopped putting on nice clothes in the morning and then trying to spend the entire day not ruining them, because that was just impossible and I was not a very fun mom when I was saying NOPE to all the fun (messy, sweaty) things. ANYWAY.

I usually source my wardrobe of gym clothes at Target or TJ Maxx and sometimes Old Navy but I gotta tell you that gym crap at Old Navy usually fits terribly. I knew I wanted a little hoodie to throw on for this fall but DAYUM hoodies can be kind of expensive. This one is usually seventy bucks! (Ridiculous.)

I have been searching TJ Maxx but coming up empty for a few weeks. I found this beauty on the clearance rack and I LOOOOVE it. The material is stretchy and soft and thin. It’s long (not cropped AT ALL, I am the aforementioned 35 years old I don’t need anything in my life CROPPED). The hood is very fitted and the sleeves have thumb holes and it’s just all around solid. I don’t think it’s a terribly great value (at $38 I am still cringing because it’s just a little jacket), but it’s the best one I’ve seen for a while. I also got one in grey.

But, extra 20% off, blah blah, you get it.

Time

I kind of miss projects that had a definite start, middle, and end. I don’t mean work projects, because I really don’t miss working all that much, no no no, what I miss is the simple luxury of having time for a project that requires my full attention for longer than a half hour.

Before the children I had all kinds of time on my hands and looking back it seems completely LUDICROUS that I had entire DAYS and NIGHTS to do anything I pleased. More than anything I am wide-eyed at how WASTEFUL I was with all of those lovely hours. When I look at Past Me, I start to sound like an old lady. “Ah, youth!

Right now I have a few spare minutes here and there. Never more than ten or fifteen of them at one time and more likely it’s two or six minutes. And because of our schedule and the ages of my children (1, 3, 5) I am hardly ever alone. This isn’t a complaint, it’s an observation. I am probably alone for less then thirty minutes a day. I like my kids and they’re a lot of fun, but everyone needs alone time. It’s hard to do anything for myself with bits and bobs of time that I may or may not get. I have been trying to make myself a dentist appointment since 2011.

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I have been thinking a lot lately about seasons of life and how an important and formative season in MY life (The Baby Years) has already happened to me and is already a rather large collection of binary numbers (that render as photos) inside of this very Macbook. One day, I will sort and sift through all of the videos of babies on swings and toddlers learning to Franken-walk. But I can’t yet, I’m already thick into starting up my next season (The Kids Go To School Years). I’ll have time for reminiscing later. The photos and videos will wait.

I wrote out what grade all the kids will be in over the years and it, well, it made me really upset to see an end date on Raising Children. There was a definite feeling of, “Oh. That’s….all we get? It’s going to be…over?” And of course I knew that it would be over and they’d grow up eventually, but to see exactly WHEN that would happen felt very different.

It was so specific!

Here in 2014 is where Claire goes to Kindergarten and there in 2031 is where Preston graduates from high school. That’s only 17 years from now. It’s a long time, but it feels like such a slim window when viewed on paper as a list of dates.

What really made me sad was seeing the countdown backwards from having three children in the house, to two, to one, to none.

Sad isn’t the right word even, it made me feel positively despondent.

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I started to feel anxious. There are just eleven summers after this one before Claire graduates from high school. ELEVEN! Do you know how many National Parks there are that I want to drag my kids to? How many beaches and states and sno-cone stands? A LOT MORE THAN ELEVEN, THAT’S WHAT.

It’s so easy to say, “some day, when they are older, we will do XYZ” but THERE AREN’T A LOT OF YEARS TO DO IT ALL. I CAN SEE THEM ALL HERE ON MY PAPER AND THERE AREN’T THAT MANY. There aren’t even that many years in the middle where they will want to be seen with us in public. I figure we have maybe 4 or 5 of those. (Maaaaybe.)

And then (oh yes, there’s more on this delightfully melancholy trip into my future) there are only a few weeks left that I’ll have all my kids at home with me. The part where I have everyone at home is almost OVER (it will never happen again!) and I’ve only just today realized it!

Sure, we’re going to take lots of pictures and do lots of things and make enough memories to fill our heads for the rest of our lives, and the children are still certainly MY CHILDREN even after they’ve grown up, but my time with them all under one roof just feels so limited now that I’ve seen the specifics in ink. There’s an end date out there. Some day, all of this laundry and these lunchboxes will simply go away.

***

Charlotte still sometimes comes into our room at night and curls her little space-heater body next to me in a ball, whispering, “Mama, Mama, I yay (lay) with you?”

Oh, yes sweetheart. Yay here and be small and three for as long as you want.

7 Quick Takes: Backpacks and Lunchboxes, Sawbones, Two Dots, Waffles

1. Summer is going rather well over here. I have not found myself overcome with a feeling of OH NO, OH NO, IT’S TOO HOT even once! It’s been sticky, sure, but it hasn’t been awful. (Yet.) We have kept very busy. We did VBS for one week and that was great. We were all tired by Friday, but it was fun and it chewed up a whole week for almost free. Claire went to Grammie Camp for two weeks.

We went to Houston and toured the Johnson Space Center. (Unless you hear about some kind of multi-million dollar renovation, you don’t need to visit unless you want to see Mission Control, which is an four-minute stop on a half-day visit.) We lit some sparklers. We have made the most of an open gym pass. We have been to gymnastics class. We have been to the pool. We have collapsed into hysterics when we get too tired from too much fun.

2. We have been trying to plan a vacation all year and it’s just not working out and it’s so damn annoying. Part of it is trying to use points, part of it is Claire being in school, part of it is “where in the hell do we want to take Preston AND the girls? No, really, WHERE COULD WE GO that would actually be FUN and not WORK?” We keep saying that if we give ourselves just a year and a half Preston will be where Charlotte is right now, which is pretty talky and independent and a lot of destinations will seem more do-able. For now, we are spending a lot of time near home.

3. School starts in five weeks! Claire will be carrying a Texas A&M Jansport bag (expensive at $47, but I had a coupon for 20% off and it was Texas A&M, which I knew she would love and I dig that nobody in her class will have this so it will be easy for her to find it every day) with a blue LL Bean lunchbox and Charlotte has a pink LL Bean bag (and matching lunchbox).

Lunchboxes were $16 each and the only reason I bought these is because they look like they will fit my favorite Ziploc containers PERFECTLY. I have purchased Land’s End lunchboxes before and they’re great. We still have (and use) the one Claire used as a toddler in daycare.

Char’s backpack was $27 with a positively pathetic 10% off coupon (which was good to the lunchboxes too), but I am told that’s the best LL Bean does, so I bought these back in June. I was not exactly bargain shopping here; this was mostly about aesthetics. I’m happy with what we’ve got, which is really all that matters since I will be the one picking all of this up off the floor and really, if I enjoy looking at the junk on my floor that makes it KIND OF better, right?

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Wait, don’t answer that.

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I am really hoping to get several years out of each backpack before I send them back to the manufacturer for new versions. The packs come with robust lifetime guarantees (and maybe the lunchboxes? I wonder if the lunchboxes have a magic warranty?) and even if my kids don’t carry these backpacks forever  I AM KEEPING THOSE BAGS (OR THEIR DESCENDANTS) FOREVER because that’s the kind of point I enjoy making. (To myself.)

4. I have most of Claire’s school supplies purchased (post forthcoming on The List and What It Cost) and I bought some fun lunchbox stuff, even though I am not really a Fun Lunchbox Mom.

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Now that I am looking at that selection of sandwich cutters it looks like I might be on my way to becoming a Fun Lunchbox Mom. Huh. Well, I am not committing to anything, okay? I refreshed Claire’s supply of shorts and shirts in a new size 6 (!) since those items are about to disappear from store shelves in favor of sweaters, which I have never understood since summer lasts until OCTOBER here in Texas and my kids have always needed two summer wardrobes because shorts season spans eight months.

5. Shall we have a podcast update? We shall! (Previous favorite podcast posts are here and here.) My new favorite is Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine. It’s a husband/wife (the wife is a Doc) and the shows are about an hour long and they discuss all of the “dumb, bad, gross, weird and wrong ways we’ve tried to fix people.” (The proverbial “we.” Not the hosts.)

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I started with the episode on vaccines and even though I have read A LOT (no, really, A WHOLE LOT) of things about vaccines since becoming a parent, there was new information here! And isn’t that so much fun when you get new information on a subject as tired as that? IT IS.

Like, when the idea for inoculation against smallpox was first circulating there were a lot of MOTHERS who said “Try it on me. I am tired of seeing my children die. I will do anything to save my children.” And to hear that (which, to be quite clear the procedure was something like, “cut my arm and put some pus/scabs from someone else’s smallpox pustules in my body and then see if I die”) (OMG) and contrast it with some of today’s parents who are intentionally WITHHOLDING vaccinations and it’s just like….sigh. Many commentaries on the regression of society and Idiocracy. (WE WORKED SO HARD FOR VACCINES AND PEOPLE ARE JUST IGNORING THEM OMGGGG.) Anyway, it was quite interesting, highly recommend. I am just getting into this one. I thought the c-section one was interesting (another topic I’ve read a lot about, but this podcast had lots of new information).

6. I have been spending a lot of time playing Two Dots. The fire is horrible. HORRIBLE. It’s worse than the Candy Crush chocolate and THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING because the chocolate made me quit Candy Crush about a year ago. I am on level 110 (of Two Dots, not Candy Crush) and every time I play I find myself ANGRY and WORN OUT and no I’m not QUITTING. Do I look like a quitter? LEVEL 110! I just need that one lucky board…

7. I posted about wanting a waffle maker and my mom gave me her waffle maker, which was really my grandmother’s waffle maker, which SHE got as a wedding gift in 1953. Still works! Make GREAT waffles.

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I have made two batches so far (both Pioneer Woman) and they were good but I am not wild about the part in the recipe where I have to beat four egg whites in my mixer. That just seems like a liiiiittle too much work in the morning for breakfast. So if you have a waffle recipe you like (no pre-made mixes, no vegetable oil) then I definitely want to hear about it because I am in the waffle making business now.

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