Friday, January 30, 2009

Shiny Casual on a Day Off!

This is the polyvore set of my outfit I wore on my day off. I actually got inspiration from "My Delightful Obsessions" blog, here:

I changed it up a bit...but still have to give credit where credit is due! Thanks!

Here is the link to the Polyvore set itself:

Here it is on me...right before I left for Costco with my brother. I am sort of surprised how comfortable I managed to be in the behemoth of a store. Let's not even begin to talk about how much I bought (and scary enough, how much we will USE)!

Had to add this pic, because my brother took such a nice pic of me and CW. Her outfit is so darling itself. It has RUFFLES on her butt. AWESOME. At Costco, I bought her an outfit with a bee on her butt and a ladybug on her butt. Does she need them? No! But will she look that is enough for me. Oh, and at 5.50 per outfit, no big deal!

I also want to mention how much I love the Picasa 3 photo editor...although Photoshop elements does more, if you want quick fixes, this is where to go. I used the GLOW feature on this photo. :)

Okay, ladies, here he is single brother...

Once again...he is free and single and loves babies. He said I had to put a picture of him that shows his face for you ladies out there to see. :) Whatever!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

All the ice and snow was awful...

Truly, I am a winter weather wimp. It's okay. Most of us "natives" of NOVA are...we know we can't drive in the bad weather, and we try to not drive if we can avoid it.

That said, I appreciate its beauty, especially when it is sun-dappled...which usually happens the day after a storm. We got our beautiful winter scene last night (Wednesday) at sunset. GORGEOUS. The sky was purple and red and the snow looked so harmless sitting there bathing in the late day sun.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fun (and tears) with Rex in the snow...

So the snow came and went and left in its place some awful ice. Ugh. Our driveway is impossible to get up, and the street itself (where it is shady) is an ice rink. I only got to school today because my dad came and met me in the neighborhood where the ice had melted. I wonder how many other people had to make contingency plans because they were unable to get out of their unplowed 'hood. Thanks, Fairfax truly make us on our street feel like the "forgotten part of Fairfax County." Anyone else who lives in Bailey's Crossroads feel like we do? I mean why bother being part of the largest, wealthiest county in Virginia if your services are nil when you need it the most?

That said, on Tuesday afternoon when the snow was pretty and fluffy, we decided to let Rex have some fun outside. His birth, February 12th (almost February 13th), 2007 was the last time it really snowed in the DC area. Therefore, he has actually never really experienced snow. Turns out he loves it...a little too much!

Here is our house in the snow. Jim is shoveling the longest darn driveway in the world. And although it is hard to tell from the pic, the driveway is a hill going down. The carport is not really visible from the street. Even when I pitched in we barely made a dent.

Rex is looking ready to pounce on the snow, which is what he did three seconds after this shot was taken.

I taught Rex to throw snowballs. LOVED IT! I probably shouldn't have, but ehh, we don't get snow enough here to make me nervous about him getting really good at it.

Here is Rex and I about to head in for the day. That boy is impervious to the cold. Look at his belly, all exposed. Does he care? No. Do I? Yes.
Because it was freezing and his little hands were like icicles, I brought him in after ten minutes. OOOOH! He was ANGRY! He stood at the door and screeched for about twenty minutes. It was quite dramatic. Behavior like this makes me and Jim very reluctant to let him do fun things, but we hear they outgrow these temper tantrums. Let's hope!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Monday outfit for School...

I couldn't polyvore this outfit because I have no time on my hands (grades are due this week...), so I just had Jim take the pic so I could post it. This silk shirt is a gift from my dad's secretary at his job from a few years ago. She went to India (where she is from) and brought this back for me. HOW SWEET. :) I received a million compliments on this shirt all day Monday. The pants are J. Crew matchstick cords in citron. Here is the secret of the century...I never, ever thought pear shapes like me should wear straight-leg pants like this. Then I went to J. Crew and tried these on and they looked fantastic. They really look best with the flowy shirts and all, but the fact that I can wear these at all and not look like some sort of Super-Cow is a minor miracle. Either J. Crew matchstick cords are magic or I just lucked out and found the perfect pair of bright yellow pants. The shoes are these fantastic wedges from Nine West last winter. They are a beautiful creamy camel patent-leather and VERY comfortable.

I actually wore a bit more makeup than I normally do, and I think the kids at school liked it. I always hear them say, "Mrs. J, are you wearing makeup? 'Cause I like it..."


What I wore on Saturday to church and dinner at Moe's...

So I decided it was too cold to wear anything but cashmere and a heavy pair of jeans to church on Saturday night. Well, yeah, then I became stupid and wore my Allesia peep-toes in Root, too. Hmm, footwear over sanity? Yup, this time anyway! The Ava cashmere sweater in light spearmint is too pretty. I love this color. I think the collar is awesome at framing necks and faces, and since I would rather highlight that than my hips, there you go...the jeans are my lee riders (wal-mart--12 dollars, gotta love value)...and the beautiful, fairly impractical) allesia peep-toes. Only downside to this outfit? I think the cashmere sweater is not fitted enough through the torso, so it made me look kinda weird through the waist (or it could be the way I am standing to pose for this photo). Well, whatever...I will wear it again...I love the entire outfit and since I don't think I look like dog doo (some of you may disagree), this will be a repeat outfit.
Oh, you vixen, ms. stormy tweed lille jacket. So pretty and seeming so appropriate for winter but you really are not, are you? It was so cold that night and this darling coat was a bit too light for my needs. The Ava cashmere sweater did very little to help, either. least you are as pretty as my peep-toes, maybe you can come out and play again when it is March and a little less brisk outside. (It was about 30 degrees F on Saturday night--cold here for us in VA.)

Since some of you look at my posts to see the individual items up close...well, here you go. Look at the lovely detailing. I would NEVER had paid full price for this coat, but on way reduced sale, I did not say "no." I love J. Crew Collection pieces and when I can score one, I am very pleased...

Aren't they of my kids with various relatives...

Okay so this first one is CW by herself, but whatever...too freaking cute...look at the double chin. Only time in a girl's life that being kinda chubby is more adorable than not.
Rex is cuddling on his daddy in glad I got to capture this moment (love when the camera is ready exactly at the right time).

So CW and I are making the same the same time...when she was born I thought she looked nothing like me, but as she gets older, I definitely can see how she is my girl, through and through.

This is my dad with CW. He loves her to bits...I think he wishes I had stayed that small...but had I done that, there would be no CW. Dilemma, for sure!

Amanda and Rex holding court in Rex's bedroom. Amanda rarely lets us take pics of celebrate, this may be the only one you ever see again!

Okay girls, he is single, he loves babies, he is 32 years old, and he is my brother. What do you think? Any takers? Look at how he holds CW...I mean, come on! :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

I love this blog...not mine, silly!

Modern Capital is THE blog that turned me on to this whole "blog" thing. You wonderful J. Crew bloggers only furthered my desire to have one of my own.

So Modern Capital is a blog solely devoted to mid-century modern architecture of the DC region. The site owner really knows his stuff and seeks out real estate listings for cool, funky, mid-century homes in this area. He doesn't limit it to one part of the region, instead it incorporates all of what would be considered DC metro. He has on his blogs many listings from Alexandria, Annandale, Bethesda, Rockville, DC itself (especially Southwest), and Reston. Since it is mid-century modern, he doesn't include (for obvious reasons) any of the bungalows in Arlington or beautiful townhomes of Alexandria. You will see on his site more one-level houses with expanses of glass filling the front of the home to vertical-sided two story homes with cathedral ceilings and clerestory windows.

I check his blog got so bad over the summer that my husband said, "you read this guy's blog more than his own mother." And to that I say, Damn right I do! (My husband has since admitted that he is glad I know all about this architecture style...he enjoys taking walks with me and having me point out the most obscure features of all the modern homes in our neighborhood.)

Anyhow, I let the owner of Modern Capital know that I saw a cool contemporary home for sale in the neighborhood I teach (I have been swooning over this house for years), and he posted the info on his blog! WHEE! (Okay, very nerdy that I am excited by this...but for crying out loud, people, what did you expect...the name of my blog is my superfluities!) You were warned when you clicked on the link that said "my superfluities," and not some more easygoing name like, "rex's momma" or "teachswimparentlove."

So head on over is totally worth it! And let the site owner know if you find anything mid-century and cool for sale in your 'hood. I am sure he will appreciate it!

I heart you, moderncapital blog!

Okay...weight loss again...

This post is positive. My last weight loss post I dove straight for the jugular and spoke about my struggles with weight and how I will never feel quite thin enough because of some issues I had in the past.

I am now 11 pounds down from where I was at Thanksgiving! YAY! I have about 9 pounds to go until I am the weight I was before I had Rex. (That is still higher than I was...I had to take hormones to get pregnant with him.) However, 9 pounds away from my size 10s! YAY! I am actually starting to find that my size 12s (pants) are very loose. I always seem to be a size 6, 8, or 10 in tops and I always stay there. I am a lucky pear who gains weight in my bottom half!

I am about 20 pounds from my ultimate goal...not 129 pounds (like I was when I was anorexic/exercise crazy); not 142 pounds (my wedding day)...but 155 pounds which is a great weight for me!

How did I do it? Well, as you know, the original weight fell off by simply having the baby. After 6 weeks though , weight loss is on you to lose (or so I have found). I simply decided (at Thanksgiving) to walk more, exercise when I couldn't walk (like my fave swimming), take some yoga and pilates classes for strength-training, and also eat better. Notice I didn't say eat less...I simply am eating better. More fruits and veggies, much less sodium, and way more home-cooked meals.

I am so excited to represent some voice of reason. I know there are others out there on the Internet preaching and practicing what I do, but hey, the more the merrier.

I am so sick of this constant parade of string-beans as the "look" for America. Why do we have a nation represented by the extremes? We have the most obese and the most skeletal representing us in magazines, on TV, in movies. I want to show there are nice, normal sized people in the USA!

So, girls of the middle, UNITE!


Sophisticated in School...

So here is what the outfit that I wore on Wedsnesday, January 21, 2009 looked like on me. My hips look nice and wide with the jacket off. That said, I actually don't mind, because my waist looks tiny with the yellow belt on...I feel like I am channeling a 1950s era woman with this blouse/pants/heels combo.

Yes, the white pants make my hips look bigger, but it is less noticeable with the Aubrey jacket on:

Of course the best part of my outfit is my daughter! :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh the lovely Can Can in Richmond...

I could go on and on for ages about how good and awesome the Can Can is in Richmond. Located on Cary Street, this French Brasserie is incredibly popular and I have never gone and seen it anything than less than half-full.

Here's why: Good service (even when toting two under two); Friendly customers (everyone is always so happy when they are there); A fantastic wine list (I am salivating right now); Great ambiance and lighting (why are so many places so dark...I want to see my food and my friends); and of course, AMAZING FOOD (especially their fries).

I have never had a bad meal here. I vary it, sometimes going for the hamburger, sometimes the salads, sometimes soup. Each time...near perfection. The fries? Simply the good as my other favorite fries, Five Guys. Oh, and the bread basket with butter? Awesome, fresh, crispy bread and the creamiest butter (I am sure eating it puts me in heart attack territory but it is so worth it).

I hope I have convinced you to come. Here is their website:

By the way...this restaurant sits in stark contrast to the miserable experience we had at Andy's BBQ, which was close to our B&B. We had meant to go to another of our Richmond faves, Extra Billy's BBQ, but at the last minute changed our mind. BAD IDEA! Andy's had horrible service, not very good bbq, and get this...a candy machine at the front door that our wonderful waitress sat us right next to...which for any of you with a toddler know...never put the toddler next to candy. Let's put it this way...we packaged up the eh food, took a very angry (I WANT NANNDY) Rex, and got the heck out of there.

So here are some pics:

Superb layout (the lighting...I can see my food!):

A very happy Jim, CW, and Rex (note the lack of candy machines):

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Richmond on a cold day outfit on me...

These were taken on January 18, 2009. Top one taken by my husband, bottom one by me in the mirror.

The bottom one is me against a matching wall near Cary Street. :) Love it!

My school outfit...January 21, 2009

I wore this outfit to work on January 21, 2009. It felt good to put on something fairly stylish...which is the exact opposite of what I did on Monday, Tuesday, and today (I finished the draft on 1/22/09). Monday I sat at home all day in my pjs. HOT! ;) Tuesday we went for a walk and I wore my warmest outfit possible...which is not super-stylish. Today (that would be 1/22/09)...well, we had a field trip. Nothing says "middle-school teacher" quite the way a bright blue tee emblazoned with "THE STARS" on the back. I did wear my madison stretch chinos and my yellow perfect patent flats, but there is no getting over the tee. And you know what is sad? This is actually the best looking tee I have ever had here and it has been seven years!

So back to my outfit from yesterday (1/21/09--I will figure this blog thing out). I decided to belt the leopard silk top (so soft and flowy) with the patent-leather belt. It actually worked, and it is rare for a belt to work on me that high. It cinched the waist in perfectly and made me look tiny there (which conversely made my hips huge, but ahh, whatever). I topped it with the aubrey jacket, whose collar I LOVE! The pants are the claire pant in white. I have them in black, but they are a smidge to small, so white it was (which everyone loved considering it's January and freezing). I love the length on these pants. 28" inseam means a little above ankle on me, and it flatters my feet (weird thing to want to flatter--but the shoes must be shown). I also wore the Etta Suede Peep-toe wedges in orange and pink from last winter. I know I have some other shoes in this polyvore outfit, but I couldn't find an exact match.

I will post the real shots later, but the link to this outfit is:

RIchmond on a cold day...

I wore this when we went to Cary Street (on Sunday, Jan. 18) and did awesome shopping and ate at one of my favorite restaurants...Can Can. I will post pics of me wearing it in real life later and I will post a review of Can Can as well.

The Ecole jacket is cobalt...and a GORGEOUS color in real life. The cords I wore are not J. Crew but a similar color and cut. The Xhiliration shoes are plum and not super-comfortable, but very cute detailing makes the shoes worth it. The Merino turtleneck is this saturated wine color and the wool itself is soft and warm. I actually think I prefer J. Crew merino to their cashmere. The Meribel scarf is so long it is crazy...but very warm, chic, and an awesome color. The pillow ring is dainty and special and looks very nice on my finger.

Link for the outfit is on polyvore (here):

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mankin Mansion Guestbook...

The other picture post was getting to cumbersome with all those snapshots, so I saved the pic of what we wrote in their guestbook for its own post.

Pics and such of Mankin Mansion...

Here is the lovely outside (ignore the fact that is January and grey--I can't fix the weather): Here is the info on a sign (if you want to call rather than e-mail).

Here is the room (notice the ample space for babies and parents):

Here is the outside with Rex and CW and me playing:

The great game room (pillow room has curtains and is one of the vertical pics):

Lovely Mankin Mansion in eastern Richmond...

I always seem to stay in the city center, Museum district, or the western portion of Richmond. I have never stayed in eastern Richmond (near the airport).

Well, hubby had other plans, and I must say I am glad he did. He knew I wanted to get the heck out of NOVA for at least part of the weekend (Obama will become president this Tuesday and everyone seems to want to be here). Now we only stayed one night at the Mankin Mansion but it was worth it.

First, it got us the first goal of getting out of town (too bad we couldn't stay more nights). Second, it let me discover a part of Richmond I had never explored. Third, and most importantly, can we say family friendly?

Even though this B&B is a wedding resort, they don't mind if you bring children and you aren't getting married. Some of the B&Bs Jim looked at were only willing to take children if they were "over 12 and well-behaved." Well, okay then. I guess you will be seeing our money either never (most likely--Jim and I are not in favor of subsidizing the snooty sort) or in the short 12 years before CW is that age (and this all provided we don't have more kids).

The room was not child-proofed, but I am now the master of child-proofing and it took me about four minutes to make it so...the room had a kitchenette with a sink, fridge, microwave, plates, cups, bowls, cutlery, glasses, and even a corkscrew (which I used, of course...). Turns out we used the kitchenette after our dinner out on Saturday night failed (there will be a post about the atrocious Andy's BBQ later).

The B&B also has awesome breakfast (a WHOLE lot of food), a game room (LOVE IT) with foosball, pool table, a basketball hoops game, dart-board, a "pillow room" to watch DVDs and videos, a well-stocked video/DVD library, books, a popcorn machine, a poker room, some sort of shuffleboard, and even two comfy couches (I nursed CW there). You could probably even take the DVD you want back to your room to watch it there--our room in the carriage house had a dvd player.

The outside was fun, too. The grounds are immaculately kept and groomed. There is even a huge chess set for the kids to play with!

I will post the pictures in the next post...with descriptions...



Richmond is so lovely...

Now don't laugh. I LOVE RICHMOND. I have been passionately, over-the-top, in love with this capital city since 1996. I admit I have an excessive love for this city.

What makes me love it so? Well, it reminds me of DC and South Arlington (this is where I grew up...I moved a whole three miles away as an adult to Alexandria) of the '80s. Not too crowded, a little gritty, pockets of beauty, culture in the form of many museums, theater, and diversity, friendly folks, and interesting little shops and restaurants wherever you turn. It is a city with a small-town feel.

Well, DC and Arlington grew up and became the uber-mega-city that it is today (although thank the sweet Lord that there are still lovely pockets like Old Town). I get so frustrated to see my hometown of Arlington turned into a hipster's paradise. People act like Arlington still has all those things that I waxed poetically about in the last paragraph, but so much of it has become cleansed and generic. For example, in North Arlington, there is a neighborhood called Clarendon which in the early 2000s reached a height of mass hysteria. Everyone had to move there...such a small town feel in such an urban space...blah, blah, blah. Well, yes, Clarendon did have 1992. Then everyone "discovered" it, small shops, homes, and buildings were all torn down to make way for some sort of "new urbanism" project. What was put up in the place of an actual small town in an urban space? A clean, shiny, developer's wet dream of an urban there are apartments, luxury condos and townhouses...and guess what? You can walk to the Pottery Barn and the Starbucks (I love both by the way...but not when it means tearing down something that isn't broken...) and then head to the metro for a jaunt to another "new urban" project in DC.

I can't speak to what has happened to DC because of the development, but I do know that it is happening. Some of DC may have needed the developer's magic touch. In fact, I am hugely in favor of bringing development and commerce to places that DESPERATELY need it. If a place is quite lovely on its own, why destroy it by making it exactly like the rest of the country? And please spare me the whole "Clarendon is unique thing." It its uniqueness is limited. It still is special, but I bet it could have been even more special if there had been more time and energy spent to retain some of the lovely original features of that neighborhood.

My biggest worry? I grew up in South Arlington, very near Glebe Road and Columbia Pike. This area has GORGEOUS old buildings from the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. I am all for maintaining and preserving these examples of the 20th-century, but unfortunately many of them (remember Arlington Hardware?) are being torn down to make way for brand-spanking new buildings made to "look" like the buildings they just tore down. AGH!

Now granted, I am not a bleeding heart liberal who wants to get rid of development. I LOVE most big box stores. I happily head down to Potomac Mills on a regular basis. Heck, I even visit them in outer Richmond. :) Here's the they really need to be in the inner-city and inner-suburbs? Can we save the small businesses and smaller, more affordable homes or does progress spell something different? I am sure you know how I feel.

So back to my original post topic, why Richmond? I feel that Richmond, because of its neat juxtaposition of history and demographics (it isn't booming the way NOVA is), will be able to maintain and preserve an area of loveliness and culture without having to overdo it the way Arlington has had to...

I am planning on publishing posts from the places I went this weekend. I go there often, so I hope there will be many future posts highlighting some of these places I have come to adore.

What outfit doesn't look better with a little baby?

Here is my Friday outfit with CW. Yep...outfit looks a million times better!

What I wore on Friday, January 16th...

Since I was in Richmond (MY VERY FAVORITE CITY EVER--don't act so shocked, it is lovely) this weekend, I did not get a chance to upload my Friday outfit.

I really don't look very good in black, especially in winter, but the outfit itself is darling. I love the Fiona Jacket in citron, even if it is tad big (I bought a ten). The turtleneck fits perfect and the candy sequin tee is so much fun (I also have it in light blade and have not worn it yet). The jeans are some riders I got at Wal-Mart. I doubt I will wear them much longer (I continue to lose weight) but man, they are comfy. I wore the jacket only part of the day, it got a bit warm in my classroom. I have uploaded two pics to show the difference.

The shoes are Savona from Winter 2007-2008 J. Crew. They are a bit wide at size 11, but the perfect length.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Weighty worries...

As you know, I am the very proud momma of a 23 month old and a 4 month old (as of Sunday). Well, along with that comes the weight gain. I gained 38 pounds with this last pregnancy and have lost 25 of them. YAY!

Well, you think that would be satisfactory. I only have 13 pounds to go, right? Well, technically yes. However, I started the pregnancy off at a higher weight than I would have liked.

Before I had Rex (first-born son), I was 155 pounds. That is a fairly nice weight on me. I am a swimmer and I am pretty strong, so I know that I will never be one of those stick-insects. I am 5'8" and should weigh around 140 if you believe the "charts."

In attempting to get pregnant with Rex, I was placed on hormones for about a year (long story for another time) and consequently gained 12 pounds, putting me at 167. Still not a bad weight, but I had to move from size 8 bottoms to a size 10. It seems with every 10 pounds I go up a size.

So now I am a 12 on the bottom. Not bad and if I stayed this size forever and was able to stay strong and healthy that would be fine.

I think...

See when I was younger, I dated the skinniest man on the planet (or so it felt). He was 120 pounds (soaking wet) and about 6 feet tall. Yeah, I know. Obviously something was up...he was an anorexic. And he wanted me to be one, too.

He asked me out when I was a bit heavier (freshman 15 or 20 from college). I weighed at 20 what I weigh now, except I didn't have pregnancy to blame for it. So the extra weight showed up in my face and other areas that don't get affected when you gain weight from pregnancy. We went out many times and really enjoyed ourselves. This was March-May of 1996.

Then I went to Belize to participate on an archaeological dig in a cave in the wilds of the western forest. It was a physically demanding two weeks and I lost about ten pounds after fording rivers, climbing boulders, you name it...

So you know where this is going, right? The boyfriend said, "I like the way you look, and I would probably break up with you if you gained the weight back." Okay, had I been me, only at my age now, I would have said, "I know how I can lose 120 pounds real fast...," but I didn't have the guts to say it.

I continued trying to lose weight for him, through a combination of a lot of exercise (think swimming 5 days a week, averaging a mile each time) and his brilliant idea of "skipping lunch." I would actually sneak lunch the way I sneak J. Crew shoes into the house now...except sneaking food is really messed up. If he ever saw me eating at lunch, or overeating, he would give me the look. It was awful. I guess sort of abusive, huh?

It took me forever to fall out of love with him. He was "the one" of your youth that just makes you crazy, dramatic, impulsive, and yet at the same makes you feel amazing (even through all the weight crap).

I eventually got down to 129 pounds. Some of you tall ladies out there are thinking, "so what--that is what I weigh." Well, let me put it to you like could count my ribs from about 6 feet away. Yeah, that's real healthy.

Sometime I will post pictures of me real thin and you decide. If you are freaky, you may go for the super-skinny girl that I once was...and although I have my days where I want that (see what happens when you mess with girls when they are young?)...I really truly believe I need to celebrate health and vitality, not skin and bones.

When you have a lot of J. Crew in your closet...

I have so much J. Crew and a lot of it is winter clothing. This means I get to be very inventive with layering and colors. Well, turns out when it is so cold (coldest in God knows how long)...layering is key. So my love of layering actually serves a purpose. :)

Black turtleneck--love the tissue tees, a fitted and soft layer to keep your body toasty. The Black candy tee is delightful...just enough flair to keep it from being a boring black shirt. The jeans are my Friday staple...I love wearing them when we are allowed. The jacket is the color for me. I refuse to wear all neutrals. One of the teachers here calls me "fluorescent." It's totally true...and I don't deny it! The shoes are supposed to be Savona suede ballet flats in sour lemon and purple, but I couldn't find them on I used the Jane suede flats instead in the set. I obviously am wearing them with socks...

Here is the link to the polyvore site:

So I received a compliment from one of the kids...he said, "ooh, looks like you're losing a lot of weight." Smart KID! :) He knows the right thing to say to a woman desperately trying to lose the "baby" weight or as I like to say, "getting down to my fighting weight."

I am going to blog a bit later about my excessive obsession (you could call it a superfluity) with keeping my weight in a good range. It is healthy only in that is serves the purpose of keeping me "healthy." I am not sure how healthy it is for my psyche...especially since I have been worried about my weight since I was 20 years old and not even close to being fat...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My outfit...on me...before the party...

The outfit obviously pales in comparison to the best accesory ever, my baby girl Caroline Wealthy (or CW as I like to call her).

I liked how comfortable I was while hosting my husband's office party. I wore the outfit the entire day...from 8:30 am teaching to 10:30 pm clean-up after the party.

Why were we hosting a party on one of the coldest nights ever in Northern Virginia? Why was it on a Thursday? It actually was a belated Christmas party. It had an original date of December 18th, but it had to get pushed back. So there you go, a January 15th "Christmas" celebration.

It was kind of nice, though. Because Christmas and New Year's are done with, no one at the party was stressed about getting shopping done or travelling or getting to another party. Nope, it was pure frivolity!

I drank a lot of good wine and ate a lot of great food. Can't beat that...we should do this every January 15th!

Something I have in abundance that has nothing to do with consumerism...

My son and daughter are the loves of my life. Seriously. I love my husband, my dad, my mom, my brothers, my step-mom Amanda, my in-laws, etc., but I know my love for my son and daughter is something I never before fathomed having.

I am passionate, yes, but often in a very cerebral and practical way. I LOVE swimming because of the zen-like high I get from pounding out the laps...I LOVE J. Crew because of the way that their clothing allows me to feel and (often) look good. I LOVE teaching because I can pass on to a future generation the minute details of what America is, what is has been, and what it can be.

These things that I am passionate about--I could and WOULD throw away tomorrow if I had to choose between them and my kids. No one ever warned me that I would turn into a "mama" bear when I had kids. I feel my instincts kicking in when I am with them...a sheer mix of giddiness, fear, hope, joy, and yes, a huge heart-shaped helping of love.

I always think, "okay, that's enough...I can't possibly love them anymore," and then they do something else that makes my heart skip a beat.

Latest heartbeat-skipping moment: I have been trying to get Rex (my son, now 23 months old) to say "I love you" for ages. He can say our president-elect's name (imagine it--OBAMA! yelled loudly) but not "I love you." So two weeks ago, upon putting him in the crib, I say, "Rex, can you say 'I love you?'" He looks at me with those big blue eyes of his, takes his bottle out of his mouth (yeah, yeah, he shouldn't have a bottle at his age), and says, "wuv you..." My heart about stopped beating. He now yells it on a daily basis...when I am leaving to go to work, putting him to bed, letting him watch yo gabba gabba, you name it. And get this--my heart still skips a beat.
I think there will be many more lovely instances like this in my life. This is the best kind of overabundance to have ever...